From the Vault: Vickers Valiant MBT

Today we present an article on the mostly forgotten Vickers Valiant Main Battle Tank. This article is from the March-April 1983 issue of ARMOR and is authored by noted tank expert Richard Ogorkiewicz.  The Valiant MBT (also knows as the Vickers MBT Mk 4) was designed in 1977 as a follow up to the Vickers MBT developed in the 1960’s as a private venture.  While the original Vickers Mk 1 MBT was relatively successful, being adopted by the armies of India (as the Vijayanta) and Kuwait, and the later Mk 3 version was used by Nigeria and Kenya, the Mk 4 Valiant never made it past the prototype stage.  The primarly selling point of the Mk 4 was the inclusion of Chobham armor and a “universal” turret capable of mounting either the L7 105mm gun, the 120mm rifled gun of the Chieftain MBT, or the Rheinmetall 120mm gun of the Leopard 2.  Unlike most British main battle tanks, the Vickers series used a torsion bar suspension rather than the Horstmann system found on Centurion or Chieftain.  It’s worth pointing out that the Vickers MBT Mk 4 was the second unsuccessful British tank to be named “Valiant.”  The first was a dreadful WW2 era infantry tank prototype (A38) developed by the Ruston & Hornsby company.  This vehicle is preserved at the Tank Museum in Bovington, in part as an example to armor students on how not to design a tank.

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