Vehicle design and service history:
The FV107 Scimitar is yet another member of the numerous CVR(t) family, in this case, a derivative of the Scorpion variant which entered service with the British army in 1971. The FV 107 Scimitar was designed as an armoured reconnaissance vehicle, in a similar vein to the FV 101 scorpion it was derived from, though it differed by mounting a high-velocity 30mm L21 RARDEN cannon instead of the 76mm cannon found on its more up-gunned sibling, and it was used prolifically from inception up until April of 2023 when it was finally retired, albeit the MK II Scim was a completely different vehicle from the original run, instead being based on a modified Spartan chassis.
The Scimitar like the vast majority of the CVR(t) derivatives was designed and developed by Alvis, and initially, it differed only from the Scorpion in terms of its armament. Thew fv101 and FV 107 were designed to complement each other, with one preforming close support, with the other possessing anti-tank capabilities. In line with the other members of the CVR(t) family, the Scimitar has a thin aluminium armour hull, designed to provide protection for the crew of three (Commander, gunner, driver) against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. This created a lightweight platform, which was originally powered by a 4.2-liter petrol engine, which was a commercially available sports car engine, though these would later be refitted with more reliable Cummins diesel engines developing 195 hp, as part of the CVR(T) Life Extension Program (LEP). This greatly increased operational range and had improved reliability, allowing the vehicle to maintain the nippy performance common for the members of the CVR(t) family. The Scim is also fully amphibious after being fitted with a floatation kit, where it propels itself through the water using its tracks.
The 30mm Rarden fitted to the Scimitar is a ubiquitous weapon within British armoured units, and is capable of firing single rounds or utilizing a fully automatic mode, giving it a maximum rate of fire of 80 RPM. The cannon features a duel-feed system and the gunner can instantly switch between ammunition on the fly, which in combination with the Rarden’s reputation for being accurate creates a rather impressive anti tank weapon for its weight and size. The RARDEN was complimented by a coaxial 7.62 machine gun, along with two banks of 4 smoke grenades mounted one on either side of the turret.
The design would not remain stagnant though, and over the course of its long service with the British, the Original Scim would be modified multiple times. The timeline is as follows:
1970s-1990s: Scimitar 4 - Jaguar petrol engine, NV sight
Scimitar SPIRE/ESPIRE 4 - Jaguar petrol engine, thermal sight, LRF.
Later ESPIRE also incorporated TNTLS - a more rudimentary GPS/INS navigation and spotting system that gave coordinates and bearing of lased points. But it wasn’t incorporated in to many Scimitars until they went through the CVR(t) Life Extension Program.
Scimitar LEP ESPIRE 6 - Cummins diesel engine, thermal sight, LRF, TNTLS
Scimitar LEP BGTI 2 - Cummins diesel engine, 2nd generation thermal sight and networked BMS, LRF with basic deflecting-reticle FCS*
Scimitar LEP EM 235 4 - ESPIRE spec vehicle with up-rated Cummins engine, final drive from Stormer, driver’s thermal imager. (Later, 3rd generation thermals and BGTI LRF/FCS)
The light weight and air portability of the Scimitar constantly proved itself of value for the British armed forces with notable encounters with the venerable machine including in the first Gulf War where a pack of Scimitars knocked out an Iraqi t-62 medium tank frontaly with their APDS rounds. Another interesting encounter took place when the Scimitars made landfall in the Falklands, as due to the high turret traverse and elevation angles, the RARDEN is a rather effective anti-air weapon against Helicopters and low-flying aircraft. This was proven when a Scimitar swatted down an Argentinean A-4 Skyhawk during the Falklands war at a range of 1000m.
Unfortunately, like a lot of the CVR(t) family the Scimitar was beginning to show her age by the early 1990s, and experience indicated that the fleet needed overhauling, which would ultimately result in the Scimitar mk.II which despite the name was a fundamentally different vehicle, even if externally it looked rather similar. In total 486 FV 107 Scimitars would be built for the Royal Army, with Latvia buying 123 of these vehicles in 2014. During this same year the MoD ordered a total of 245 new recce and combat vehicles to replace the Scim, with the intention of the Ajax replacing it in service in 2019, though if you are familiar with that can of worms its safe to say we are a half decade from that AFV actually entering service.
Mass 7.8 tonnes
Length 4.9 m
Width 2.2 m
Height 2.1 m
Armour aluminium armour
Main armament 30 mm L21 RARDEN cannon
Secondary armament 1 x Coaxial 7.62 mm L37A1 MG
8 x smoke grenades
Engine Cummins BTA 5.9 diesel 190 hp (142 kW)
Drive tracked, with 14 lbf/in2 (0.98 kg/cm2) ground pressure
Suspension Torsion bar
Operational range 450 km
Maximum speed 50 mph (80.5 km/h)
Additional historical photos:
- FV107 Scimitar Mk.2 - "Sharpening the Blade" - #13 by da12thmonkey (Thanks to @da12thmonkey for the digestable upgrade pattern for the scim and additional historical photos)
- FV107 Scimitar - Wikipedia (Wiki page for the scim)
- FV107 Scimitar Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle | Military-Today (Additional info)
- Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) - Wikipedia (Wiki for the CVR(t) family)