Vickers/NORINCO NVH-1 ICV
Vehicle design and history:
The Vickers/NORINCO NVH-1 Infantry Combat Vehicle (ICV), began life as an export attempt from Vickers, in order to market their MCV-80 turret to foreign buyers in an attempt to recoup some of the cost that had come from the project’s drawn-out development which had initially started in 1973, with the actual Warrior not entering British service until 1987. Because of this long gestation, the project had effectively turned into a money pit, and Vickers was eager to make some profits on the turret they had developed, and began looking for suitable chassis to mount it on in the early 1980’s.
Among the countries that they enquired with, China immediately expressed an interest, through its state-controlled arms subsidiary NORINCO. In 1984 the Chinese company proposed mounting the turret on the Type YW531H chassis also known as the Type 85 Tracked Armoured Personnel Carrier, which was an improved version of the Type 63 (YW531) APC. They would provide a chassis to Vickers, which was to have its hull slightly lengthened in order to accommodate the turret, and a new West German Deutz BF8L 413F 320 horsepower air-cooled engine was selected to be installed. This particular engine was selected as Norinco had the license to produce locally in China. Additionally, a turret ring and space for a turret basket were to be added to the chassis, to specifications sent by Vickers in order to allow an easy installation for the MCV-80 turret. With these design changes made to the chassis, with these modifications to the chassis then complete, Vickers then mated the hull with an unmodified MCV-80 turret in early 1986, effectively creating a budget Warrior for possible customers. It can be infered that Vickers recieved a unmodified chassis, as the photos taken for promotional purposes show an unmodifed chassis, whilst their later prototype proof of concept possessed the illustrated details, notably the bulge to accomodate the turret ring in the hull.
This straightforward combination allowed the MCV-80 turret to retain all the capabilities of the warrior, including the RARDEN 30mm cannon, laser range finder, night vision devices, and 8 x 66mm smoke dischargers. The design was of much interest to the Chinese, as they were concerned with a possible war with the Soviet Union, and this vehicle posed a possible counter to the inevitable swarm of BTRs and BMPs along with other Soviet light vehicles that they might encounter if such a border war would go hot, as it was a vast improvement over the Infantry Fighting Vehicles in service with the PLA at the time.
At this point in time Vickers had been rather discrete about the nature of their partnership with NORINCO, and so far had only really revealed that they were simply making another two-man export turret project like the dozen or so they had manufactured and marketed previously. During this time The CIA became aware that Vickers was attempting to export a RARDEN equipt turret, after acquiring a sales brochure for the upcoming BAEE '86. In this brochure, they realized that Vickers intended to sell the unmodified MCV-80 turret to the Chinese, which would give them the capability to destroy even up armoured BMPs at a range of 3,000m in basically all weather and light conditions.
Their intel was proven correct on June 22nd- 26th 1986, when Vickers showed off the prototype they had constructed at BAEE '86. The vehicle attracted quite a bit of attention, as it was effectively mounting a weapons system, that was not currently in service with the British army and was for all intents and purposes top of the line. Understandably this stirred up some concern among members of the home office, and when the time came for Vickers to secure its export license to send the completed test bed back to China it appears to have encountered resistance, and based on what occurred next it can be infered that their request was declined.
The Chinese on the other hand were eager to get their hands on this modern IVF turret system and were already advertising it heavily for their upcoming Asiandex '86, in which the Chinese were keen to show off their military developments. This unexpected delay put a gear in the works for their plans, as they had expected to be able to demonstrate the NVH-1 at the trade show, and with Vickers seemingly unable to provide the prototype they had to make do with what they had at hand. Because of this, a rush job was conducted in October of 1986, in which a new turret was manufactured or acquired devoid of the restricted technology, and mated with a fresh chassis. This vehicle differed from the British design, having a 25mm bushmaster and different optics, and it was demonstrated on November 19th, 1986 at the aforementioned show.
Both designs would prove unsuccessful, with the Vickers Rarden prototype remaining locked behind red tape, preventing its sale, and the Chinese Bushmaster derivative unable to find a possible buyer, marking an end to this cooperative project betwixt British and Chinese companies.
Combat weight, tons 16t
Body length (with gun forward) 6125mm
Primary armament (ammunition, shots): 30 mm L21A1 Rarden cannon
Secondary armament (ammunition, shots): 1x 7.62 mm L94A1 coaxial machine gun (2000)
2 x 4 66mm grenade launchers
Engine Deutz v-8 BF8L 413F diesel engine, 320 hp (235kw)
Specific power, hp/t 20
Transmission mechanical; gears: 5 forward, 1 reverse
Maximum speed: 40 mph (65kph)
Maximum wading speed: 4 mph (6kph)
Cruising range, km 310 miles (500km)
Promotional images are produced to market the potential Rarden version, with these clear pictures it becomes apparent that most of the images of the vehicle circulating around the internet are artistic depictions produced for promotional purposes:
Wheels & Tracks magazine, No. 17 (July 1986) showing the NVH-1 prototype was exhibited at the BAEE 86 show between the 22nd to the 26th of june
Janes military review January 1986 announcing the initial deal between Vickers and NORICO
Review of Current Military Literature - Google Books
CIA:CHINA’S NEW LAND ARMAMENTS: WESTERN ASSISTANCE PAYS OFF (2nd june 1986)
https://kknews.cc/military/yyr9zzk.html (Chinese account of the vehicles development, though it appears to be nearly entirely incorrect, and doesn’t match the western timeline)