Vickers Mk 1(i) improving an already good tank

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The Vickers MK 1i was an attempt by Vickers to improve their Mk 1 MBT which had seen export success with India and Kuwait during the early 1970’s.

The Vickers Mk 1 was in many ways a great tank. It was cheaper, reliable and saw plenty of action which is more than can be said for many British tanks of its time. Vickers were onto a potential winner and plenty of enquiries were made about purchasing or producing the vehicle.

from Venezuela to Egypt, Saudia Arabia to Pakistan, many nations were curious, indeed had it not been for Vickers usual and thoroughly documented record of rank incompetence when it came to tank sales the story of the Mk.1 may have lasted longer than it did.

Nevertheless, and in proper Vickers style, they manage to bungle their given opportunities quite often, and yet true to their nature they couldn’t see themselves as the problem and so began to develop improvements in a vehicle for export, despite no actual orders or requirements being requested for such a machine - something they would keep doing until they were forced to close in the ’90s

The Vickers Mk1i took the regular vanilla MBT and added several improved features, notably a new engine, improved fire control system and ancillaries, and if the brochures are true, improved gun depression.

The Mk1i at Vickers. The original photo was heavily faded into magenta colours by old film and this so far is about as good as I can get in colour correction. Described as ‘Hot Chocolate and Ovaltine’ by one former user.


The primary change was the removal of the Leyalnd L60 engine and replacement with the General Motors Diesel 12V-71T 750hp turbocharged two-stroke liquid-cooled engine powerplant coupled with the original TN-12 epicyclic gearbox and Merritt steering system with 6 forward and 2 reverse ratios. This gave the vehicle a 19.4bhp/ton power-to-weight ratio. Despite the increased power a top road speed of 30mph or 48.3kph or recorded, but their brochures state it can do more than this, but by how much is not listed.

The most noticeable visual change to the tank from the vanilla model is the rear decks. While the GM motor had the same internal radiator layout as the Leyland, the rear decks, however, feature two distinct large armoured louvres just behind the T-bar inspection hatch which are easily identifiable.

Rear decks of the Mk1i - Engine radiators and distinct louvres visible.

On the ranges: rear decks are quite distinctive.

Gun and FCS:

The other most noticeable difference over the stock Vickers Mk.1 is that the improved model had a laser range finder as standard, although no specific make or model is listed in the brochure. The rest of the information is fairly standard although to back up the LRF the Mk1i retains the .50 ranging gun as well as 2 x normal GPMG’s. The main gun remains the L7 105mm firing APDS and HESH with 50 rounds carried, unlike the Mk.1, the improved vehicle also has a thermal sleeve fitted as standard.

The original Vickers tank set the record at its time for the fasted engagement of two separate targets with the 105mm gun at 4.7 seconds including loading and laying, and despite being marginally slower in Wartunder, there should be no reason to particularly alter this feature as it’s a good balancing factor versus the vehicles low armour and average mobility.

The final and big change is the increased gun depression, which is recorded as -10° over the original -7° The rest of the equipment is optional, day-night driving equipment, I.R spotlights and DD wading equipment were all down to the user if they wanted to fork out that little bit extra.

Ultimately despite extensive testing, publicity shots and brochures the vehicle never had any buyers, Vickers (with admittedly a fair amount of help from the British government) had managed to alienate or annoy just about every non-Soviet-aligned nation that might have been in the market for buying tanks including existing users. The same engine upgrade was also tested in a Centurion which also failed to generate sales.

Despite being cheaper than Centurion the Vickers Mk1 was arguably a better firing platform and set records for its time, with a mean accuracy of 0.22 at 1000 yards and able to engage 13 targets in 65 seconds.

So what would we get in the game?

The Mk1 as it is is already very good, but only if piloted well by somebody who understands the game, the vehicle and the maps, its excellent rate of fire, can allow you to quickie double tap an enemy and despite its sluggish top speed its remains quite agile and responsive.

The Mk 1i would be the next bit up, it retains many of the same features, the speed is the same although the agility and handling are increased, and the gun depression will be the most welcome change as the previous -7 can hinder the Vickers in a hill fights, while the laser range finder will allow much more accurate shots. Ideally, it would ideally be placed before the mk.3 but after the mk.1

The final pro is it would be very easy for Gaijin to produce as the only real change is the addition of a copy/paste thermal sleeve and the modified engine decks which they can also apply to a premium centurion or similar later. So two tanks for one, and an afternoons work for the model team at best.

Further range shots, the new louvres are visible.

Stat stick: more than probably needed.



Weight: battle 88.5 tons
Weight: laden 36.3 tons
Weight: unladen 35.8 tons
Ground pressure: 12.4 1b/In2
P/W Ratio: 19.4 bhp/tom
Fuel: 220 gallons
Lubricating oil: 23 gallons
Coolant: 29 gallons
Armour: same as the Mk.1!


Engine: 12V-71T 12 cylinders V formation 2 stroke diesel
Piston displacement: 852 in3 (14 litres)
Horsepower: 750 (SAE rating) @ 2500 Rev/min
Torque: 1830 lb-ft
Ignition: compression
Compression ratio: 17:1
Air Cleaners: 2-stage Cyclone/panel type.
Lubrication system: Wet sump
Gearbox: TM12
Clutch: Centrifugal
Steering: Merritt regenerative
Brakes: Disc hydraulically applied
Final drive: single spur reduction type
Final drive ratio: 3.93:1
Maximum road speed: 30.m mph - 48.2 kph nominal
Vertical obstacle: 3ft
Maximum gradient: 30°
Trench crossing: 8ft hard
Estimated range: 300 miles @ 20mph.

Running gear

Suspension: torsion bar - 12 primary transverse, 6 secondary. 6 shock absorbers 3/side.
Road wheels: 12 pairs - 6 per side 20 inch dia x 4 3/8th inch wide
Wheel deflection: bump @ 8.0 to normal - rebound at 4.6 to normal.
Track: dry pin rubber padded 20.5 inches wide.
Number of links: 96
Track pitch: 6 inches
Track centres: 8ft 3.75 inches
Track on ground: 14ft 0.5 inch
Sprockets: 13 teeth (25.625 PCD)
Water crossing: shallow fording without preparation 3ft 9inches


Main armament - 105mm gun
Gun mounting type: Self-aligning needle roller-mounted trunnions
Elevation: + 20°
Depression: - 10° - except at the rear.
Secondary: coaxial 7.62mm GPMG
Secondary: Cupola mounted GPMG 7.62mm
Secondary: coaxial .50 browning - rated to HESH
Smoke dischargers 2 sets (6 barrels each)
Ammunition APDS/HESH 50 pieces

Sighting and vision

1 - sight periscope
1 - sight binocular
Magnification 1 x 10
6 periscopes x 1 fixed.
1-Tank laser sight with ballistic graticule
Magnification 1 x 8
1-periscope (r.m.f type)
Magnification x 1 - 360 rotating
1-periscope - wide angle

Sources: Vickers Mk1i Brochure Vickers
Vickers correspondence
Vickers press release on engines
Vickers firing trails No.TR64



1 Like

very nice vehicle (i didn’t even know it existed!), should be at 8.3, foldered with the Vickers Mk. 1


Sounds like an excellent candidate especially with the LRF and improved depression.

1 Like

Great suggestion, would love to see this in game



Looks like an intermediary between the Vickers 1 and 3, or the proof of concept for what would become the mk.3, seeing as all the changes you have described are the changes that differ the 1 from the 3. I would not be surprised if this is just the mk 3 prototype, and after-sales were secured to nigeria it was rebranded as the 3 to further differentiate it from the mk 1

Only issue with this theory is that the Mk. 3 has a completely redesigned turret, and still has a different engine deck/engine than the Mk. 1i – Mk. 1i has a 750hp one with the distinctive deck as shown in the pictures and the Mk. 3 has a 720hp one with a different engine deck.


They have the same engine, both have a GM Detroit Diesel 12V-71T
720 hp (540 kW) at 2,500 rpm after transfer, which is why its listed as 750hp for this, as british documentation tends to favour actual output over engine output. Its why stuff like the grant engine switch was significant irl but in game its not as the radial engine has more initial oomf from the engine.

regarding the engine deck its quite clearly that it has just been more refined on the actual production tanks (reduced and lightened), as its more or less identical in terms of layout from the proof of concept. Same for the turret, it has the same shape and features, it was just further refined from the POC.

Vickers are well known for their proof of concept vehicles, and just a cursory glance of this, is it is cleary the WIP for the Vickers 3 they would use for demonstrations, I have dabbled in enough of these at this point to know one when i see one ;)

My bad then, you clearly know more than me! cheers for the info :)

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I would be glad to be corrected by @edfrancis001 if I am wrong, but i would be incredibly surprised if this didn’t gestate directly into the MK 3. It’s not like i am complaining against the suggestion, as i love my Vickers tanks and an excuse to have another one is all good in my books.


Alas this is not a direct link to the MK3 and is a stand alone tank. The MK3 follows on from the canceled MK2 including the cast turret. The early Mk3 brochures even show the mk2 profile drawings - hope that helps, ed


why do we not have Vickers MBTs?

We do?

Vickers Mk 1
Vickers Mk 3
VFM 5 (Vickers Mk 5)
Vickers Mk 7
Vickers Mk 11

Oh I did not know never really hang out in Britain

Still missing some of the VMBTs though.

Another pic of this, this is from Jane’s World Armoured Fighting Vehicles 1976 if anybody happens to know of a colour copy.