GKN/Alvis Simba IFV (20mm)
vehicle design and service history:
The Simba 4x4 family of Light combat vehicles were designed as a private venture by GKN, as a complimentary vehicle family to the Saxon primarily aimed at the export market. The idea was to create a family of wheeled vehicles capable of local manufacture, along with a modularity allowing for a variety of armament packages to be installed in order to meet the different operational requirements a client might expect to encounter.
The hull of the Simba is of all welded construction, and composed entirely of steel armour, providing the occupants with complete protection from 7.62 mm ball small arms fire and shell splinters. Additional thermal installation was installed within the roof, and forced air circulation came fitted as standard. This would then be supplemented with either an optional heater or full air conditioning depending on the climate of the country in which it would be deployed.
In terms of internal layout, the driver sits at the front of the vehicle, on the left in a cab with bulletproof windows, and a single piece hatch that opens to the rear. The vehicle is powered by a Perkins Engines Company diesel engine situated to the right of the driver, which is aerated by louvres at the lower front of the glacis, and the outlet on the upper side of the glacis. This engine is mated to a Clark combined gearbox, which transmits power to both the front and rear axles. Behind the driver is a rather large troop compartment, which had numerous vision blocks on each side of the troop compartment, with firing ports allowing infantry to engage outside threats. These troops can enter and leave the Simba via a single large rear door, or a door on the left side of the hull. These doors also possess vision blocks and rifle ports.
The basic Simba would be used as an APC and would be fitted with a one-man turret armed with a .50 (12.7 mm) M2 HB machine gun and two banks of four electrically operated smoke grenade dischargers. Aside from this, a wide range of armament installations can be fitted to the Simba based on need. One vehicle was demonstrated with an 20mm Oerlikon cannon, in a turreted configuration where it could be used as an infantry fighting vehicle. This presented design would later be modified to accommodate a Helio 925 turret, armed with a 25mm cannon, which would see service in the Philipines. The 20mm variant would serve only as a proof of concept and demonstrator and would see no further service.
Mass 11.9 tons
Length 5.35 m (17 ft 7 in)
Width 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in)
Height 3.2 m
Crew 3 + up to 8 infantry
Armor 8 mm steel armor
Main armament 1 x 20mm Oerlikon cannon
secondary armament 8 x smoke dischargers
Engine Perkins 210 Ti diesel turbo charged intercooler engine 210 bhp
Power/weight 18.75 bhp/ton
Operational range 660 km (410 mi)
Maximum speed 100 km/h (62 mph)
- Simba Armored Personnel Carrier | MilitaryToday.com (Design history)
- Army Guide (Additional history)
- GKN Simba - Wikipedia (Wiki page for the vehicle)
- GKN Simba (Another source)
- The Eighties - Think Defence (Additional info on saxon and simba)