|Product type:||Armoured Vehicles|
In January 1946, the British Army issued a requirement for a new armoured car as a replacement for the Daimler Mk II and AEC Mk III armoured cars developed during the Second World War. Design work on this new vehicle, called the FV601 (A), began in the same year as the Fighting Vehicles Design Department (FVDD). This facility then became the Fighting Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (FVRDE) and then the Royal Armament Research and Development Establishment Chertsey. Today the Chertsey facility is part of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA).
As originally conceived, the FV601(A) was to have had a crew of four and be armed with a 2-pounder gun fitted with a Littlejohn Adaptor to increase the muzzle velocity. But in February 1948 it was decided that the 2-pounder was not powerful enough so a new weapon, the 76 mm gun L5, was designed by the Armament Design Establishment at Fort Halstead (now part of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency), but was not ready until 1953. In 1947, a contract was awarded to Alvis Limited of Coventry to build two prototypes of the FV601 which were completed in 1953. The first mock-up, fitted with a 2-pounder gun, was completed in 1948.
As the FV601 prototypes were being built, Alvis was also building the FV603 armoured personnel carrier which eventually became known as the Saracen. As the Saracen was urgently required for operations in Malaya it was decided that Alvis would concentrate on this vehicle and the six preproduction vehicles, the FV601(B), would be built by Crossley Motors at Stockport in Cheshire.
The FV601(B)s were completed in 1955 and had a slightly different shaped turret from the prototype vehicles as well as different vision equipment and different hatches for the commander and gunner.
Production was authorised in 1956 and the vehicle entered production at Coventry in 1958 with first vehicles delivered to the army the following year. Production continued until 1972 by which time 1,177 vehicles had been built. The vehicle was succeeded in the British Army by the Alvis Scorpion CVR(T) which is armed with a new and lighter version of the 76 mm gun of the Saladin called the L23. The Saladin is officially known as the FV601(C) Armoured Car 76 mm Gun (Alvis Saladin Mk 2 6 x 6).
The Saladin has been replaced in all front-line British units by the Alvis Scorpion CVR(T). More recently, the 76 mm armed version of the Combat Vehicle (Reconnaissance) Tracked family of vehicles, Scorpion, has been phased out of service with the British Army. All other members remain in service including the more recent Sabre which had the turret of the Fox armoured car armed with a 30 mm RARDEN cannon.
Kuwait Army Saladin armoured cars were used against Iraqi units during the invasion of Kuwait City in the Summer of 1990.
The all-welded steel hull of the Saladin is divided into three compartments: driver's at the front, fighting in the centre and engine at the rear.
The driver is seated at the front of the vehicle and is provided with a single-piece hatch cover that folds forwards onto the glacis plate for improved visibility. The driver has three No 17 periscopes, one in the hatch cover and one on either side of his position.
The all-welded turret is in the centre of the hull with the gunner seated on the left and the commander, who also acts as the loader, on the right, both with a single-piece hatch cover that opens to the rear. The commander lias four No 17 periscopes arranged around the forward part of his hatch and a single swivelling periscope to the rear. The gunner has a periscope forward of his hatch cover, the lower part with a magnification of x6 for fire control and the upper part with a x1 magnification for observation. On the left side of the turret, just to the rear of the mantlet, is an extractor fan. A small rectangular observation hatch is provided in the rear of the fighting compartment, just below the turret ring. Either side of the turret below the turret ring is a crew escape hatch.
The engine compartment at the rear of the hull is separated from the crew compartment by a fireproof bulkhead and is fitted with a fire warning system and a fire extinguishing system, the latter being operated by the driver.
Air for the engine compartment is drawn in by two fans via six louvred engine covers and then passed through the radiator and expelled through grilles at the very rear of the hull.
The engine is coupled to a Daimler fluid coupling which in turn is coupled to a Daimler epicyclic preselective gearbox which transmits power to the transfer box consisting of a bevel and helical gear, incorporating reverse and a differential and enabling the five gears to be used in both directions. This transfers the drive direct to each centre bevel box and then via transmission shafts to the front and rear axles. Each wheel houses epicyclic reduction gears and is connected to the bevel box by a transmission shaft and two universal joints.
The suspension at each wheel station consists of an upper and lower link, with the upper attached to a longitudinal torsion bar which issplined to a tube and in turn is secured to the hull. Steering is hydraulically power assisted on the front and centre roadwheels.
The Saladin does not have an NBC system or night vision equipment.
Main armament of the Saladin consists of a Royal Ordnance 76 mm L5A1 gun with a vertical sliding breech block and a hydro-spring recoil mechanism. A 7.62 mm (0.30) machine gun model M1919A4(L3A3/ L3A4) is mounted coaxially to the left of the main armament and a similar anti-aircraft weapon is mounted on the right of the commander's hatch. Six 66 mm smoke grenade dischargers lilted on either side of the turret are electrically fired from within the vehicle. The 76 mm gun fires the following types of ammunition: canister, HESH, HE, HE/PRAC, SH/P, smoke/BE and illuminating.
The 42 rounds of ammunition are stowed vertically: 11 between the commander and the gunner, 12 on the left and 11 on the right behind the driver and 8 at the left rear of the hull.
The 76 mm ammunition is manufactured by Royal Ordnance.
In 1991, it was announced that A F Budge Limited and Alvis Vehicles Limited had developed a repower package for the Saladin armoured car. The existing petrol engine is replaced by a Perkins 180 MTi diesel developing 180 hp.
Additional improvements have been made to the chassis including a modern cooling pack, a new electrical system, upgraded brakes, a fire suppression system and the replacement of the original transmission with a more modern automatic transmission.
The diesel installation requires only minor changes to the engine compartment and offers the advantages of improved reliability and simplified maintenance, lower fuel consumption, increased operational range and reduced risk of fire.
This conversion package has already been trialled in Asia together with an upgraded Saracen (6 x 6) armoured personnel carrier, while the Alvis Stalwart with the same has been evaluated by the UK.
In May 1994, Alvis Vehicles announced that it had been awarded a contract worth US$10 million for the supply of upgrade kits for Saladin, Saracen and Ferret vehicles from an undisclosed country in Asia, believed to be Indonesia.