Saladin 90 - The British FV601 Saladin up-gunned with a 90mm cannon

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History

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?

Spoiler

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.

Specifications

Spoiler

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

Length 4.93m

Width 2.54m

Height 2.39m

Crew 3

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.

Armament

Spoiler

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.

Saladin 90 f

The KEnerga Mark 8 is capable of firing APFSDS, HESH, and smoke rounds (see below).

Saladin 90 g

Images

Saladin 90 c

Saladin 90 b

Saladin 90 h

Sources

Spoiler

International Defense Review, 10/1988

https://web.archive.org/web/20040609030502/http://www.gklgroup.com/saladin90specification_1702.html

https://web.archive.org/web/20030825161018/www.gklgroup.com/saracen88specification_1703.html

https://docplayer.net/52934253-Archived-report-90-28-and-90-46-90-mm-cannon-archived-7-2001.html

http://www.army-guide.com/eng/product586.html

https://tank-afv.com/coldwar/UK/Alvis_Saladin.php

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alvis_Saladin

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My War Thunder diet has a distinct lack of Saladins in it, unfortunately. I hope this can change that.
And a 90mm that has access to a KE penetrator? Yes, please!

That is an absurdly huge gun for such a small turret and vehicle. I love it! Please Gaijin give us more British wheely bois! +1

Well time to suggest the rest of the saladin brood ;)

I wish we knew more about this vehicle. Optics, stabilizer, etc. +1 regardless

I agree, although I think we can make some solid conclusions from the evidence we have.

With the small turret and large, long barreled 90mm cannon it seems very unlikely that a stabilizer would or could be fitted. There is also no evidence of a stabilizer in the archived report of the cannon (below)

image

As well as this, all the external optics have remained the same as the 76mm Saladin, meaning there is no evidence that the fire control system has been changed or updated (meaning the same optics as the base model Saladin and no rangefinder).

These conclusions are also fairest for gameplay, as there is no risk of the tank overperforming with potentially fictional capabilities like a stabilizer or rangefinder.

But if anyone can dig up something more definitive it would be greatly appreciated.

Well stabilization has nothing to do with the gun itself, rather the fire control system and turret drives.

I know, what I meant by this is two-plane stabilization requires several motors, gyroscopes and power sources, and is no small thing, so it may not have been feasible to fit the stabilization equipment in the small turret alongside the large breech for the 90mm and two crew members. But that is just conjecture on my part.

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the saladin 90 is basically the thing that goes in the tree before the Scorpion 90, as it was complete repeat of what happened with the Saladin occurring with the Scorpion when it started to become obsolete.

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So I did some more digging and found the following:

Screenshot_7

This article from International Defense Review 10/1988 goes into detail about the vehicle and changes in ammunition stowage, but nothing regarding upgrades to the FCS or an additional stabiliser.

https://web.archive.org/web/20040609030502/http://www.gklgroup.com/saladin90specification_1702.html

This is the archived marketing webpage from GKL group regarding the vehicle, detailing that it has been upgraded in the same manner as the Saracen 88

https://web.archive.org/web/20030825161018/www.gklgroup.com/saracen88specification_1703.html

And this is the marketing webpage for the Saracen 88, detailing the upgrades. Again, all these upgrades are ergonomic/mechanical. Obviously the Saracen 88 is basically an unarmed APC, but you think GKL would mention upgrade to the FCS on their marketing page for the Saladin 90.

As before, non of this is concrete proof, but I think the continuing lack of mention of any upgrades to the FCS or gun handling is a relatively convincing argument of the absence of those upgrades.

Off topic, but finally, here is an additional photo I found that (as far as I’m aware) wasn’t really in the public eye when it came to the Saladin 90:

Saladin 90, British Army Equipment Exhibition, Aldershot 1988

Photo by Adrian Arbib
https://arbib.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Arms-Exhibit1988/G00008I4sPBwelWU/I0000pFcfxvKGHMk

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