The FV601 Saladin is a British armoured car developed in the 1950s as a replacement for Britain’s aging fleet of WW2-era AEC armoured cars. Production was assigned to Alvis, and designing was outsourced to Crossley Motors. Design work began in 1947, although development was delayed due to Alvis shifting their focus to the Saracen APC, which was urgently needed for operations in Malaya. Nonetheless, production of the Saladin commenced in 1958, shortly after which it entered service with the British Army. Only weighing 11 tonnes, the Saladin has a crew of 3 and an impressive top speed of 72 km/h. The base model Saladin is typically armed with a low pressure 76mm cannon capable of firing HESH and smoke shells.
The Saladin saw reasonable success in the export market, with over 20 countries purchasing the vehicle throughout the 20th century, including Germany, Australia, Portugal, Indonesia, Kuwait, Jordan and more. The Saladin remains in service with over 15 nations today, and is praised for its reliable performance in harsh conditions, such as the deserts of the Middle East.
However, the Saladin was notably outperformed in the export market by the French Panhard AML. The AML was both cheaper and better armed (in its 90mm variant) than the Saladin. The base model Saladin, only firing 76mm low velocity HESH and smoke, could only engage infantry and light targets. The AML 90, however, could engage much heavier and more armoured targets with its 90mm HEAT-FS, which was seen very favourably in the eyes of export customers.
The Saladin 90 is an attempt to up-gun the FV601 Saladin to the standard of contemporary armoured cars, likely in an effort to win over export customers. The gun used is the 90mm 90/46 KEnerga Mark 8, a potent cannon capable of firing APFSDS, HESH, and smoke rounds - a giant improvement in capabilities over the previous 76mm cannon.
The 90/46 KEnerga Mark 8 cannon was developed in the 1970s by MECAR, as an improvement on their previous 90/28 cannon. The aim of the development was to create a light, yet powerful, gun that could be mounted on wheeled vehicles weighing between 7 and 14 tonnes, while also being capable of dealing with the increasingly armoured threats of the Cold War.
Why should it be added to War Thunder?
Britain currently has a gap in light vehicles between the Eland 90 (7.3), and Rooikat Mk1D (8.3). The Saladin 90 would fit this gap perfectly, belonging at a BR of 7.7 - 8.0. As well as this, the Saladin is an iconic British Cold War light vehicle that is not yet in the game, and the Saladin 90 would be a more useful addition to the tech tree than the 76mm variant, as the 76mm variant lacked the capabilities to engage heavily armoured targets.
Engine Rolls-Royce B80 Mk.6A @ 180hp
Power/weight 15.5 hp/tonne
Suspension 6x6 wheel
Maximum speed 72 km/h
Mass 11.6 t
Armour Up to 32 mm
Main armament 76 mm L5A1 gun with 42 rounds - replaced with 90mm 90/46 KEnerga Mark 8
Secondary armament 2 × M1919A4 machine guns with up to 3,500 rounds
The above specifications, other the the main armament, are for the 76mm Saladin. The performance of the Saladin 90mm will be very similar to this, when accounting for the change in weight following the removal of the 76mm cannon and the addition of the 90mm cannon. The 90mm KEnerga Mark 8 has a weight of 610kg.
The Saladin 90mm is armed with the 90mm 90/46 KEnerga Mark 8. ‘’90mm KENERGA’’ can be seen written on the side of the barrel on the export model, and it is specifically the 90/46 model as this is the only model fitted with a muzzle brake (see below). The gun is unstabilised, with no thermals or laser rangefinder fitted.
The KEnerga Mark 8 is capable of firing APFSDS, HESH, and smoke rounds (see below).
International Defense Review, 10/1988