Hi everyone, today I would like to suggest an ATGM carrier that saw service with the british armed forces from 1986 all the way up to the mid 2000’s, The FV120 Spartan MCT (Milan Compact Turret). This anti-tank variant of the the FV103 Spartan APC was designed by Alvis as a specialist infantry carrier to give more protection Milan anti-tank teams based in West Germany during the Cold War, as it was belived the armoured protection and high mobility of the chaissis would allow the AT unit to be more effective in the field. Though the cold war never went hot in europe the Spartan MCT still went on to have a sucessful service history lasting over 20 years, before the milan ATGM system was replaced in the mid 2000’s in british service with the American Javalin missile system. Because of its Its improved armament, ammunition count, and ability to direct fire, I belive the FV120 is a significant improvment over the current swingfire ATGM carriers currently in game, and as such i think it would make a fine addition to the british tree for those seeking a more conventional ATGM experiance .png “:)”)
The TDLR for the fv120 spartan MCT is as follows:
- 60mph (96kp/h) top speed
- small profile
- 2 possible atgm options, the Milan 2 and the Milan 2 multipurpose, with direct fire capabilities -15 degrees of depression allowing it to easily shoot from behind cover
- 13 atgms carried with 2 ready to fire (15 total)
- Mira thermal sight for more easy target acquisition
- fully rotatable turret
The Spartan MCT is a ATGM tank destroyer of UK origin, that was designed to provide more protection and higher battlefield mobility to Milan anti-tank teams based in West Germany during the Cold War. For this role Alvis was tasked with creating a specilist infantry carrier, which involved the mating of the FV103 spartan chassis with a french made euromissile milan compact turret. This vehicle then proceded to enter UK military service as the FV120 Milan MCT, also know as the Spartan MCT. It is yet another vehicle in the British inventory based on the now venerable CVR(t) platform, along with its similar ilk like the Scimitar and Scorpion.
Because of its original nature as a tracked armoured personal carrier, the Spartan posesses a low silhouette, but this was increased due to the addition of the new turret, but even so it has a small profile for a combat vehicle, being comparable to the Striker currently in game. The firepower of the MCT, takes the form of a dual missile turret, carrying two Milan anti-tank guided missiles ready to fire, with an additional 11 missiles carried inside the hull to replenish the rockets in the turret as they are expended. This choice of two rockets was due to testing and think tanks in the uk, during the era when the swingfire was entering service, with the egg headed boffins determening that the kill probability of each swingfire was about 40% so it would take precisely two and a half missiles to kill each enemy tank, with the likelyhood of the ATGM carrier being able to kill two enemy vehicles before itself being destroyed, which is why the striker has 5 swingfires in its odd rack configuration. The higher killing potential of the milan, increased the Hit to Kill to about 50% hence the reduced ready to fire rack on the MCT. The MCT can engage one target at a time within a range of 2.5km, which is significantly less than the swingfire’s 4km, but in terms of war thunder it should be able to hit anything on a conventional map. This turret is suplimented by a 7.62 L37A1 machinegun in a seperate cupola, which was a standard addition to many members of the CVR(T) family, to provide better infantry defence for the relativly vunerable APC.
In terms of protection the Spartan MCT, has the standard aluminium armour of the CVR(T) family, which provides all-around protection against small arms fire and shell splinters. The sloped frontal 90 degree arc of armor provides some degree of protection against heavy machine gun fire over a longer distance but in its intended role the MCT would be firing its missiles from behind cover utilizing its -15 degrees of turret depression. The main advantage of the MCT though was its ability to engage the enemy with its Milan’s well under armour protection, where as with many vehicles the milan missile required the operator to be exposed. This in combination to the tracked chassis and limited weight, meant the Spartan MCT possessed good mobility on and off road like the rest of the Spartan family of vehicles, as it was fitted with a Cummin’s turbo diesel offering a on still unbeaten road spead of 60mph (96 km/h). regardless of these impressive stats, the MCT variant of the Spartan was only acquired by the United Kingdom, and was phased out of service by the MOD in the mid 2000’s when the javelin began to enter service in large numbers.
MCT during a training operation (exercise free lion), interestingly even more additional Milans can be seen strapped to the side of the vehicle further increasing its ammo capacity well out in the field, A different vehicle from the same unit (below is 41A the above is 41b) is also pictured in the image posted in the introduction, but both can be shown carrying two additional milans on the left side of the hull what amounts to an external ready rack:
Another MCT from the same unit, this time 41D:
MCT belonging to the 7th armoured brigade out in the desert during desert storm’s operation Granby, the crew popping out of the hatches giving a good idea of the size of the vehicle, which had a crew of 3:
Image showing another MCT in what looks like the uk:
A second black and white picture of the MCT:
A MCT lurking at a trade show, likely in an attempt to get some export adopters that never manifested:
The vehicle is equipt with The euromissle Milan MCT compact turret, Which due to the year of introduction in the British armed forces allowed it to fire a selection of 2 possible ATGM’s, that where held in stocks. They where the Milan 2 and the Milan 2 multipurpose which would both be viable for different uses in game. According to the sales brochure the Atgm’s possess the following penetration values, which seem more than capable of dealing with most threats in game. It is also worth noting that the MCT possesses the Mira (Milan Infra red Adaptor) night sight, a thermal Sight produced by Thales, with a detection range of 4,000m and field of view of 6° x 3°.
Additional specifications are as follows:
In terms of performance, the Spartan MCT has the following hard statistics:
|10,670 kg (10.50 long tons) 9 ton 55 lbs Battle weight
|5.16 metres (16.9 ft)
|2.48 metres (8 ft 2 in)
|2.63 metres (8 ft 8 in)
|3 (commander, missile operator, driver) plus the capacity to carry 4 infantry
|2 x Milan Atgm’s mounted in the MCT turret, with 13 additional missiles stored in hull
1 x l37a1 machinegun in a seperate cupola (2500 rounds)|
|Engine|Cummins 5.9 turbo diesel
190 hp (140 kW) at 4,500 rpm|
range|320 mi (510 km)|
|Maximum speed|60 mph (96 km/h)|
Because of these characteristics you end up with a fast ATGM platform that packs quite a punch against armour of all kinds.
- The Eighties - Think Defence (mentioned along with the other variants of the Spartan)
- CVRT Spartan (MCT version) - Blogs of MV restorations - HMVF - Historic Military Vehicles Forum (Forum post of someone restoring a MCT, offering some nice internal pics of the vehcle)
- Spartan MCT | Weaponsystems.net (overview of the vehicle)
- https://web.archive.org/web/20091229104055/http://orbat.com/site/toe/toe/uk/uk_equipment.pdf (Pdf report listing the Spartan MCT in the spartan section along with some of its capabilities being in service in at least 2002)
- https://www.army-technology.com/projects/milan-anti-tank-missile/ (Info on the milan missile system)
- British Military Weapons - Milan (History in british service, also outlining its retirement, and thus the retirement of the Spartan MCT)
- Javelin - Think Defence (Source of most of the pictures)
Additional posts from previous thread on the old forums that are of value:
Time for that big post as promised yesterday, firtly i apologize for the quality of this photo, but its nailed into a frame that is too wide to fit in my scanner, but it shows the Mobile Milan section my dad was asigned to, which was based at oxford base munster in 1988. I have removed the bottom of the frame from shot, as it procedes to list the personal by full name, so for privacy reasons I will leave it missing.
but aye moving on to the Spartan MCT, my father went into quite a long winded conversation about it, before periodically detouring to cast shade on stuff like the AJAX and the Scorpion 90.
The first thing he mentioned was that he started as a driver due to there being a lack of trained tracked vehicle drivers, because he was in anti-tank, and had just gotten his Tracked Vehicle liscence it was the logical progression to be assigned to the Spartan MCT. he was then later upgraded to the turret operator, and he had the potential to become the vehicle commander, but never took it. When i asked him why he explained because the commander had the unenviable job of getting out of the MCT (through his turret hatch) to reload the Milans into the turret, and as such it was the most unpopular of the three positions on the vehicle. The operator of the turret on the other hand could remain seated at all times, and was in the most protected part of the hull, so that was my farthers prefered position in the vehicle.
regarding the operators position, he said the scope, and higher elevation made it much easier to use than the man portable Milan, and with the MIRA sight, which he immediately followed with its acronym (Milan Infrared Adaptor) it could be effective at spotting targets up to 4000m. This raise the question of why it went to 4000m if the Milan 2 had a range of only 2000M, which my dad of course gave me the distances in feet (6562 feet ) as that was what the training manual was written in. He went on to explain that the Milan required a lot more hand eye cordination to use compared to more modern systems, but as long as the wire didnt snag as it was firing and it was not too windy that 2000m was just a recomendation, and the rocket could achieve a range that basically equated to as far as the fuel would carry it. It was also not self detonating, so what would occur was the wire would simply snap and the Milan would keep on going, though now without any operator imput as it transformed essentially into a dumbfire rocket. He said that during training if you adjusted correctly you could reliably hit stuff in the 3000m range, which is why the MIRA went that far. he then followed this up saying when they where training they called it tossing an E type down range with the cost, as supposedly one Milan cost the same as a Jag, and he concluded that the first few shots where always fun, but once you got to number 50 of the afternoon it got rather boring if the training tagets where not soft skin.
Regarding the capabilities of the Milan he spoke rather highly of it, and said if you shot something like a land rover with it, the vehicle would esentially disapear due to the size of the expolsive head, leaving a burning husk of a lower chassis. In terms of soviet armour, he then went through the composition of the Russian 3rd army, making note of the threat level of each vehicle. He said T-55 where the most common, but the Milan could easily deal with them, followed by the T-62 which was the same story, when it came to the t-64 and t-72 he fished out his NATO target manual, which showed where to aim to kill soviet equiptment, marking where they thought the ammo, engine and fuel where. interestingly for the t-64, t-72 and early T-80 the ideal location to hit it was the front turret face, which has some pretty thick mantlet armour on it. When i mentioned this my dad said, according to his training you shoot it there so the concussion wave knocks off the turret regardless of composite or ERA, in something he refered to as panning, as the concussive shock of the Milan negated the armour and just tore the turret off, which would then consistantly land upside down behind or to the side of the tank, with the apperance of a pan, hence the name.
This moved on to ammunition load out, which my dad put at 15 to 20 Milans carried, in what had been the troop bay of the Spartan, with even more if you decided to strap them to the hull externally. The reason it was listed as 13 in the sources i have found is that the troops where expected to sleep partially in the troop compartment and partially outside it with a tarp over the rear door to form a tent during operations. Of course on a cold night in west germany the squaddies had a better idea, and instead put the tarp over the front of the vehicle engine deck and let the engine idle for a while, so they had a nice toasty tent to sleep in, and as such they could fit more stuff in the troop compartment, as they where not sleeping in it. On the note of keeping warm, my dad also said he liked the Samaritan as during week long operations you could park it in german barns, as it was not too big, allowing you to take the whole vehicle inside wth you in the event it was raining or snowing. During this explanation of equitment, He ruminated that in hind sight having half a dozen ATGM’s strapped to the outside of the vehicle might have been a bad idea, seeing as if they had been shot at they would probably of been killed, but it meant the loading process was faster and they didnt have to drive back to resupply as often during the sometimes 6 to 10 week long training exercises, and as such was deemed acceptable.
He also said you could fire it on the move, though not more that what it was capable of shifting in 1st gear due to the risk of the wire snagging on something, or being thrown off by the jolt of the brakes. This would mean in game the thing wouldent have to come to a complete stop before firing, and would be able to snap shot enemys that suddenly appear to the player. The only complaint he had about the vehicle was it was not as heavy as the warrior, and as such it could have issues with traction on certain soft terrain in comparision to its larger brother, though it was nothing major, and was still able to move relativly nimbly over snow and mud. He explained the doctrine behind the MCT was about hunting in pairs and being assigned to flank the Russian tank units, in a manner that sounded incredibly close to the doctrine that created the M18 hellcat in ww2. Overall he rated the vehicle very highly, as it was capable of crossing countless bridges (due to its 10 ton weight), was mobile, packed a punch capable of killing anything in the soviet inventory at the time, and was reliable.
Hopefully you found this interesting, and if you have any outstanding questions about the Spartan MCT, i will be happy to ask him about them, as he seemed rather pleased to be able to discuss the vehicle, as i assume due to its obscurity no one has asked him about it in over 20 years.
Additional information regarding these two photos.
This photo of vehicle 41D was taken during the Staff College Demo 1988, as my dad recognized some of the chaps in the photo, the uniforms and the numberplate of the vehicle. He said he could tell it was from that training due to and i quote “Everyone being too clean for it to have been taken on exercise”
for the vehicle pictured my dad immediatlely said this was definately not taken in service, and was likely a demonstration due to a few factors, firstly the placement of the union jack, which on vehicles in service was located on the back of the vehicle and the mudguards. secondly was the helmets with goggles which where different to the ones they where issued, but imo the most interesting point was the location of the camo netting, which on this vehicle is too close to the engine deck and exhaust, which would have resulted in it setting on fire if the vehicle engine had been running for a prolonged period. He also said from his experiance that he had never seen a Milan MCT with a road wheel mounted on the front, which based on all the pictures i have seen seems to ring true.
Some additional pics from my dads stash, as after we had our little talk he posted the first pic on one of his group chats, and the squaddies came out of the woodwork to have a crack about stuff they did over 30 years ago. Most of the pictures i would consider personal, but a few are suitible to post, and are as of yet likely the first time they have been posted on the internet. Hope you enjoy them:
Note the large boxes on the front of the Spartan MCT, these hold the aforementioned conents that would have been in the troop bay, freeing it up for additional Milan missiles, also note the position of the camo netting, which is as far away as practically possible from the engine deck to prevent it setting on fire.