Ferret Mk 1/1
|Manufacturer:||Dimler Company Limited|
|Product type:||Armoured Vehicles|
Late in 1948, Daimler was awarded a contract to design and build prototypes of a new scout car under the designation FV701. The first prototype was completed in 1949 and delivered to the Army for trials the following year. After trials it was adopted for service with the British Army and was named the Ferret. The first production Ferret, the Mk 2, was completed in mid-1952 and the first production Mk 1 was completed late the same year. Throughout its production life the basic hull of the Ferret remained unchanged although slightly more powerful engines were installed as well as different turrets fitted to meet different requirements. Production of the Ferret was finally completed in 1971 by which time 4,409 vehicles of all types had been built.
In 1966, the Daimler company was awarded a contract to build 15 prototypes of a new vehicle called the FV721 (or Fox as it later became known), which were completed between 1967 and 1969. The Fox was accepted for service with the British Army in 1970 but the production order was placed with the Royal Ordnance Factory at Leeds (now owned by Vickers Defence Systems) rather than Daimler at Coventry. When production of the Ferret was completed Daimler closed down its production line for wheeled armoured vehicles. The Fox is based on experience obtained with the rebuilt Ferret Mk 4 and Mk 5.
Alvis is now the design authority for the Ferret and supplies the spare parts for it. Alvis Vehicles built all of the turrets for the Fox light armoured car.
The all-welded steel hull of the Ferret is divided into three compartments: driving at the front, fighting in the centre and the engine at the rear.
The driver has three hatches, one to his front and one to each side, each of which contains an integral No 17 day observation periscope. The front hatch can be folded down onto the glacis plate for increased visibility and can then be fitted with a splinter-proof windscreen with a wiper blade and an electric motor. The two side hatches can be opened upwards on the outside for increased visibility when not in a combat area.
The manually operated turret in the centre of the hull has a single-piece hatch cover in the rear part of the roof which can be locked in three different positions, and the rear part of the turret folds down to the horizontal enabling it to be used as a seat. Mounted in the forward part of the turret roof is a sight periscope AFV No 3 Mk 1 used for aiming the turret-mounted machine gun.
Mounted either side of the hull below the turret ring is a vision slit protected by a glass block. At the rear of the fighting compartment are two hatches which can be opened for increased observation. On each side of the hull, between the front and rear roadwheels, is a hull escape hatch. The left one is covered by the spare wheel and the right by a stowage box.
The engine is at the rear of the hull and is fully waterproofed and will operate when completely submerged without any preparation other than venting the crankcase breather pipe. Drive is transmitted to all four roadwheels through a fluid coupling, five-speed preselecting epicyclic gearbox and a transfer box, incorporating a forward and reverse mechanism and a differential unit to give five speeds in each direction.
The suspension at each wheel station consists of a single coil spring which encloses a double-acting shock-absorber and is mounted on a stabiliser bracket at the bottom and carried in a bracket at the top attached to the hull plates. The tyres are of the run-flat type.
The Mk 2 is armed with a turret-mounted 7.62 mm (0.30) Browning machine gun which can be elevated manually from -15 to +45°, turret traverse being a full 360°. A total of 2,500 rounds of machine gun ammunition is carried. Mounted either side of the hull at the front of the vehicle are three 66 mm smoke grenade dischargers which are electrically fired from within the vehicle.
The basic Ferret has no NBC system, no night vision equipment and no amphibious capability. In order that the vehicle can cross trenches, Ferret Mks 1, 2 and 3 have provision for carrying steel channels on the front of their hulls.
Early production vehicles had BSF threads and different gear ratios and were powered by a Rolls-Royce B60 Mk IMA six-cylinder petrol engine developing 120 bhp at 3,750 rpm. Later production vehicles had UNF threads and the B60 Mk VIA six-cylinder engine which develops 129 bhp at 3,750 rpm.
- Ferret Mk 1
This is called Car Scout 4x4 Liaison (Ferret Mk 1) FV701(C) and has an open top which can be covered by a canvas. It is armed with a 7.62 mm Bren LMG or a 7.62 mm (0.30) Browning machine gun, with 450 rounds of machine gun ammunition carried. Later production models are known as the Ferret Mk 1/1, FV701(J).
- Ferret Mk 1/2 (FV704)
This is identical to the Mk 1 but has a crew of three and is used by infantry units as a light reconnaissance vehicle in forward areas. Its official designation is Car Scout Liaison (Ferret) Mk 1/2. It has an armoured roof with a hatch and is armed with a 7.62 mm pintle-mounted Bren LMG. The single-piece hatch cover opens to the rear and periscopes and vision blocks are provided for observation by the commander.
- Ferret Mk 2
This is basically a Mk 1 fitted with a turret and is officially known as the Car Scout 4x4, Reconnaissance (Ferret) Mk2FV701(E).
- Ferret Mk 2/2
This was a local modification carried out in Malaysia and is basically the Ferret Mk 2 with an extension collar
fitted between the top of the hull and the machine gun turret which enables the commander/gunner to have a better field of fire.
- Ferret Mk 2/3
This is a later production model of the basic Mk 2 and is officially known as the Scout Car Reconnaissance Mk 2/3 (Daimler Ferret 4x4) FV701(H). The description in this entry relates to this model.
- Ferret Mk 2/4
This is a Ferret Mk 2/3 with additional armour.
- Ferret Mk 2/5
This is a Ferret Mk 2 brought up to Ferret Mk 2/4 standard.
- Ferret Mk 2/6 (FV703)
The full designation of this model is the Scout Car Reconnaissance/Guided Weapon Mk 2/6. It is basically a Mk 2/3 with a single Vigilant ATGW in its launcher box mounted on either side of the turret. As far as is known, there are no Ferret Mk 2/6s now operational. In addition to being used by the UK it was sold to Libya and the United Arab Emirates.
- Ferret Mk 2/7
This is a Ferret Mk 2/6 with the missile system removed and is therefore basically a Ferret Mk 2/3.
- Ferret Mk 3
This is the Ferret Mk 1/1 brought up to the same standards as the Mk 4 but with the machine gun turret.
- Ferret Mk 4 (FV711)
This model is basically an early Ferret rebuilt with stronger suspension units, its original 330 mm diameter drum brakes replaced by vacuum-assisted 381 mm diameter disc brakes, and with large wheels and tyres. A flotation screen is carried collapsed around the top of the hull and, when erected, the vehicle has amphibious capabilities. There are watertight stowage containers either side of the hull, and the number of servicing points has been reduced.
This model is no longer in service and was used only by the British Army. It was essentially a Mk 4 with a turret mounting four Swingfire ATGWs.
- Ferret Upgrade
In March 1988, Alvis announced that it had developed a repower package for the Daimler Ferret scout car. This package involves virtually no hull cutting and comprises a Perkins Phaser engine (110MT) developing 109 hp coupled to a Chrysler A727 fully automatic transmission. These are interfaced with the existing transfer box and drivelines while the cooling system has been modified.
Other modifications include the replacement of the existing periscopes by new Helio periscopes, new smoke/fragmentation grenade launchers, new machine gun mount and a new machine gunsight.
According to Alvis, the weight, road speed and acceleration of the Ferret are unchanged, while the range, reliability and life cycle costs have been much improved. In 1988, Alvis signed a formal joint-venture agreement with the Malaysian Mining Corporation to use the Alvis upgrade package. The Malaysian Army requirement has been met with the Alvis Repower Package. Production contracts were signed during early 1991. This upgrade programme is now complete and it is understood that about 70 vehicles were upgraded.
In May 1994, Alvis Vehicles announced that it had been awarded a contract worth US$10 million for the supply of upgrade kits for Ferret, Saracen and Saladin vehicles from an undisclosed country in Asia, believed to be Indonesia. It is understood that this upgrade programme is now complete.