Argus Air-Droppable, Amphibious, Reconnaissance Vehicle

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Argus Air-Droppable, Amphibious, Reconnaissance Vehicle


Background and Capabilities:

KNOW YOUR ENEMY has been a principle governing military operations for a considerable time, as Military history has shown that commanders are not able to make a sound tactical plan without having accurate and up to date information about the enemy. It was this idea that lead to the Argus Project, as with the development of more explosive and lethal nuclear weapons during the early cold war, the information available would be vital in regards to the proper selection of targets, especially with the limited time window that may prelude a nuclear war. The increased range and effective range of nuclear weapons also dictated deeper incursions from Recce in order to obtain said information. This nessessitated the development of a versitile reconnaissance vehicle both for emergency and conventional wars and internal security, which manifested as the Argus project.

When considering the type of vehicle required, that any new reconnaissance vehicle would have to fulfill the following criteria:

  1. Reconnaissance under Corps commander
  2. Reconnaissance under Battle group commander
  3. Continiously operative
  4. suppliment long range, all weather airbourne surveillance equiptment

This criteria meant that any vehicle designed must have the following features in order to maintain its battlefield role:

  1. continuous contact and observation of the enemy by day and night.
  2. surveillance of wide areas that may not contain the enemy
  3. prevention of enemy recon in the combat zone
  4. Radiac survey
  5. provide mobile, armour protected light firepower
  6. conventianal armoured car tasks

These points were then considered and applied to the design of the Argus amphibious armoured car, which i will now outline below:

Surveillance and Sighting/Vision devices:

In order to preform its role as a scout vehicle Argus was fitted with a rudimentary radar system, that should have in theory allowed it to detect men at 1,600 yards (1463m) and ground and aerial vehicles at 18,000 ( 16459) yards. Thus allowing it to detect enemy movements in all weather and light conditions, making it a measurable improvement of existing recce vehicles currently in service at the time. This system was supplimented by the production of a more efficient sighting and observation system for the crew, which was arguably more advanced than its peers for the time. This included a commander’s periscope that could elevate 3 feet, with all around vision, allowing the tank to preform visual observation from a complete turret down position, while also allowing the tank to preform full all around observation without having to move the tank or traverse the turret. The addition of the driver being stationed in the turret, allowing another set of eyes for observation, as from his station in the tank he has two periscopes, one facing forwards and another backwards, allowing him to steer the vehicle in both directions without guidance. All periscopes and other vision/sighting equiptment on the tank are also fitted with anti-nuclear flash devices. For night operation, the tank can be fitted with an illumination spotlight as a primary lightsource, along with infra-red binoculars for all members of the crew.

Powerplant, Transmission and suspension:

The selected powerplant for the Argus is Rolls Royce k50 multifuel engine, producing 200 brake horse power. The main characteristics of this engine are as follows:

  1. it is a 2 stoke, 5 cylinder vertically opposed engine, which can be ran on a range of fuels from diesel to ht80.
  2. the weight, size and simplicity of the design producing such power is seen as an advance in military engines. It is also specifically designed as an A.F.V. engine to allow easy maintenance and supply of spares.
  3. the engine has very low heat rejection, allowing a lighter and more compact cooling system, producing cooler exhausts and therefore producing a lower thermal signature than its peers.
  4. it has a low fuel consumption producing a range of 800 miles.

In regards to the transmission, the tank is equipt with a hydrostatic circuit allowing the following advantages:

  1. any desired gear speed can be selected through a single lever, whilst maintaining best engine speed.
  2. the controlled ratio eliminates the needs for brakes other than for parking
  3. the system is suitable for slew steering
  4. conventional clutch, gear shift and reversing systems are eliminated, reducing driver fatigue.

In terms of suspension, the Argus is equipt with hydroneumatic suspension, using trailing arms linked to four foot diameter wheels, that are 15 inches wide. This design provides the following advantages:

  1. variable rate suspension with “ride control” for a wide range of terrains.
  2. Vehicle attitude can be adjusted via suspension
  3. maximum cross country preformance can be achived from the power plant and transmission
  4. crew comfort and safety of equiptment will be improved.


In order to fulfill its role as a scout vehicle, the Argus was equipt with powerful radio equiptment, which took the form of the following:

  • C13 wireless set- 200 watt output with a range of 60 miles
  • C42 wireless set- range speech of 15 to 20 miles

these sets were chosen for their robustness and ease of operation, as these two sets were already tried and tested. To ensure security of transmissions, a simple push button coder was installed to the c13 set, eliminating the need for code books, which have been comprimised in the past. The power requirements for this equiptment is easily met by the 4 kilowatt alternator the Argus was equipt with.

Amphibious capability:

Argus is fully amphibious without outside preparation, and is steered with a rear mounted propeller at a speed of about 4 knots. The shape of the hull along with the large tires gives good stability in the water, and the tank is fully capable of firing both its main and secondary armament while swimming.


for equivalent size and weight Argus provides better protection than any other vehicle currently in service at the time, due to a combination of both a lower profile along with all members of the crew being housed within a protected turret. This crew compartment is fully NBC proof, and is also shielded to protect against the heat of a nearby nuclear blast. In terms of conventianal protection, it is completely resistant to 12.7mm munitions on the front and sides at 100 yards, and resistant to a medium airburst up to 30 yards above it, though unfortunately the direct armour thickness is not listed in any of my sources so it can only be estimated, though based on the airburst it can be assumed the cast turret is significantly thicker than any other part of the vehicle.


During any Reconaissence operation it might be nessessary to engage teh enemy either offensivly or defensivly, so in order to forfill this role the Argus was equipt with the following armaments:

  • ADEN 30MM cannon
  • M37 .30 Browning mg
  • Vickers Vigilant MCLOS wire-guided anti-tank missile

The ADEN cannon should be familiar to most, as it was the primary cannon used by the royal airforce during the cold war, and is capable of firing both AP and He ammunition at a rate of 600 rounds a minute or single fire. The AP shot will defeat enemy light recon vehicles, while the HE should be effective against light vehicles and defeats up to 1/4th inch plate without trouble. In addition to this the ADEN is provided with 75 degrees of elevation, allowing it to effectivly engage low flying low performance aircraft such as helicopters.

The coax browning 30 cal which has been repeatedly proven to be effective against both infantry and light vehicles, and is simply standard secondary armanent for all british armoured vehicles during this period of the cold war. This version is an improved model with improved barrel life compared to the previous iteration.

The Vickers Vigilant is a light weight wire controlled weapon, with a range of 1600 yards, giving the Argus the ability to engage medium armour with a penetration of 567mm. This weapon is considered a defesnive weapon, and was not to be used offensivly, and is controlled with a thumbstick mounted within the turret.

As standard the Argus is also equipt with multibarrel smoke dischargers to provide instant smoke as required.

Interestingly the guns are controlled through a hand elevating gear and torque amplified traverse, that can be controlled by both the gunner and the commander, who are both capable of laying all weapons from their position in the turret.

Vehicle Specification:


Mass: around 10 tons

Length: 16 ft

Width: 9 ft

Height: 7 ft, 10ft with commander periscope extended

Crew: 3 (commander, gunner, driver)

Armour: Up to 32 mm (1.3 in) on the hull, around 50 for the turret.

Main armament: ADEN 30MM cannon

Secondary armament: 1 x M37 .30 Browning mg

1x Vickers Vigilant MCLOS wire-guided anti-tank missile

Engine: Rolls Royce k50 multifuel engine, (200hp)

Power/weight: 20hp/t

Suspension: 6x6 wheel

Operational range: 800 miles

Maximum speed: 50mph, 25 off road, 4kts when amphibious

Sources (Massive thanks to Jarms on the armoured archive discord for providing this rare documentation):

  • Argus, School of tank Techology Bovington:

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  • Report of suitability of ADEN 30MM gun for use in a A.F.V.

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This looks so cool! The armament is unique too, which I really like! +1

Good recipe for an event vehicle IMO

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Aye its definitely one of the more exotic vehicles i have seen recently, hence my making a suggestion for it.

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Does it only carry a single missile? Or are there more stored internally like the BMP-1 and 2?

I would assume there is more inside, but it doesn’t specify, though there is clearly space for it

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I would hope so. 4 missiles would seem to make sense.

well it has a large hatch on the top, so i would assume that was to expediate reloading.


Looks like it has been sat on.
I will name it, the pocket greggs. As its like a pasty in your back pocket you’ve sat on. +1

Let me know if there’s every any other vehicles you want me to dig into the Aussie archives for.

+1 from me of course.

+1, this would be an absolutely crazy vehicle that would make a big difference to the tree