Alvis Shadow OAV

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 Alvis Shadow OAV


Vehicle design history:

The origins of the Alvis Shadow OAV (Offensive Action Vehicle), stems from British experience in 1990-91 during the first Gulf War. During this conflict, the British made use of light and highly mobile strike vehicles, resulting in the MoD drawing up a specification after the conflict in an attempt to capitalize on the lessons learned, and hopefully bring a new purpose-designed strike vehicle, capable of rapid deployment into service. This desire was nothing new to British forces, as the concept of a vehicle capable of deep penetrations behind enemy lines stemmed back to the long-range desert forces of North Africa during WW2.

With the specification drawn up the MOD launched bid requests for an international competitive tender in 1994. The contract itself would be awarded to Alvis Vehicles of Coventry in 1995, who would then undergo development of the vehicle under the working name Shadow. The base concept of the Shadow was to produce a lightweight vehicle but highly capable vehicle within a budget. This was achieved by focusing on incorporating as many commercial off-the-shelf components as possible without compromising the desired end-user requirements.

To achieve this goal, Alvis partnered with Reumech OMC of South Africa and Supacat, an English company with extensive experience in producing air-portable vehicles. Alvis would act as the prime contractor and integrator, with Reumach providing the rolling chassis, and the top-hammer frame provided by Supacat. This combination was due to the existing chassis, being either too large or unable to carry the desired payload capacity within the size constraints. Because of this, the design was based on the Reumech Cheko armoured SUV, which had a conventional steel, all-welded chassis.

This Chassis would be propelled by a GM diesel engine and automatic transmission, combined with a Reumech proprietary shock absorbers and a ZF-independent coil spring suspension system. The wheel base was also reduced by 10 inches allowing 2 Shadows to be carried aboard a CH-47 Chinook helicopter. The GM 6.5-litre V8 turbocharged engine gave an output of 190hp, mated to a GM Hydramatic 4-speed automatic gearbox coupled to a Borg-Warner 2-speed transfer box, allowing the vehicle to drive in both 2 and 4-wheel drive. This drive train arrangement was chosen due to the part’s commonality with the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV; colloquial: Humvee), often leading to it being miss reported as being derived from the Humvee, a trap even Tank Encylopedia has fallen into with their coverage of the vehicle. This part commonality was chosen to enable ease of logistics with British forces during cross-operations with American forces. As part of this design, the radiator system was also redesigned, allowing engine cooling to operate correctly in areas of ambient temperature above 40 degrees celsius, like those expected to be encountered in desert conditions. The change to the wheelbase size also allows the Shadow to be driven directly into a Chinook Helicopter, something the HMMWV is incapable of doing.

The Shadow possesses 2 fuel tanks, filled with fire impression inserts, and double-skinned to further protect against splintering and ruptures. The two tanks are also cross-linked, allowing fuel to be transferred in the field from one to the other in the event one of the fuel tanks is punctured. The Shadow possessed integrated plates to the frame structure to further strengthen the design, along with a 3.7-ton winch, allowing it to recover itself or another Shadow vehicle if the need appeared. Another interesting feature is hidden in the grille of the Shadow, as it possesses a removable seed screen, protecting the radiator from damage from trees, camel thorn and other forms of vegetation.

From the outside though, the most notable feature of the Shadow is its large box-type roll cage. This roll cage possesses a helio-designed turret ring mount at the top, allowing the vehicle to mount a wide range of weapons. A second weapon mount was present on the front right, to be operated by the front passenger riding shotgun. This configuration gives the vehicle a heavy armament for its weight and size, with a 7.62 mm General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) mounted on the front passenger side (the right) and an M621 20 mm cannon on a P20 mount on the roof. This configuration was shown on multiple occasions at trade shows, though the actual armament could be configured to meet the client’s needs, with a 106mm recoilless rifle, 107mm MLRS rocket system, MILAN ATGMs and more banal armament choices like an m2 browning or automatic grenade launcher also being suggested for implementation. This was combined with four smoke grenade banks, each possessing 4 grenades, with 2 mounted on the front of the vehicle and 2 on the rear, giving complete coverage for the vehicle.

Alvis was keen to market their vehicle, and it was tested extensively in South Africa, including a 22,000 km endurance test. The British Army also underwent multiple testing as part of their tender, with two preproduction Shadows being provided in 1996, for the MoD, which were then used for trials. Unfortunately, the vehicle was found lacking in some way, and the British armed forces decided not to adopt the vehicle for service, resulting in Alvis attempting to market it to other possible clients. One such excursion included taking the vehicle Stateside in November of 2000, when they displayed it at the AM General stand during AUSA, to demonstrate its compatibility with existing HMMWV vehicles, though like earlier attempts this too failed to draw out orders, and the Alvis Shadow was relegated to another footnote in British light vehicle development.

Vehicle specification

Mass 4800 kg

Length 4.87m

Width 2.06m

Height 1.8 m

Crew 4

Armour 9mm

Main armament 1 x M621 20 mm cannon (720 rounds)

Secondary armament 1 x 7.62 mm GPMG
16 x smoke grenades

Engine GM 6.5-Liter V-8 turbocharged diesel engine (190 hp)

Power/weight 39.5 hp/t

Transmission GM Hydramatic four-speed automatic transmission, mated with a Borg Wrner two-speed transfer box

Maximum speed 70 mph

Additional photos:




I was hoping someone would make a suggestion on this thing. +1 as a Wiesel 1A4-esque equivalent.

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This is just a not crap Ystervark, at this point i think its just the bosvark where i have not suggested a direct/ better British equivalent. I can probs find something if i felt like it, but for now i am back to looking at ships as I got sucked down the warrior hole and am going to extract myself before i drown in there.

That’s fair. While I fully support the Shadow’s placement down there, I’m not sure how those in the “muh immersion” camp would take what is essentially a Humvee variant at such a low BR, even if it makes sense. As for a Britsh Bosvark equivalent or better, I’d argue that the Ford F.30 with the quad 20mms you suggested already fits that bill, or at least gets really close.

+1. No armor is the best armor

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Is it possible to use atgm in this thing?

Personally, I’m against these kind of additions. Simply because I see it’s BR being incredibly low.

Its just a better british ystervark, i have been going out of my way to suggest vehicles like this, as they prove the SA additions were just poor choices, at this point i think i have found a better or directly on par equivilent for everything now bar the concept 3, which has more of a side grade with the saladin pipsqueak

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I generally tend to prefer that lower BRs be reserved for older vehicles (part of why I don’t like COIN very much) but let’s face it, we already have plenty of out-of-place vehicles already. All things considered this really doesn’t look that out of place anyway, it’s obviously not WW2 era but it’s also not glaringly modern.

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