T A N K S C A R R I E R S A R M O U R E D   C A R S


CVR(T) family identification.
Ver 1

The CVR(T) Series - A Spotter's Guide.

By Chris McMillan

The 'Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle (Tracked)' family of vehicles was introduced in the 1970's, there are 7 major variants all based on the same chassis and running gear. Many people struggle to tell the difference between the variants, and this is not helped by the naming system, all the vehicles begin with an S! I have grouped together the variants that are most easily confused, and highlighted the features which differentiate them.

FV101 Scorpion - Light Tank, Fire Support
FV102 Striker - ATGW (Anti-tank guided weapon) launcher
FV103 Spartan - Armoured Personel Carrier
FV104 Samaritan - Armoured Ambulance
FV105 Sultan - Armoured Command Post
FV106 Samson - Armoured Recovery Vehicle
FV107 Scimitar - Light Tank, Anti-APC

Scorpion, Scimitar and Sabre.
These three vehicles form the turreted variants of CVR(T) and are all built on identical chassis. Scorpion and Scimitar share the same turret, however Scorpion has a short barrel 76mm gun and Scimitar has the 30mm Rarden. The Rarden has a long, thin barrel which extends beyond the front of the hull whereas the 76mm is short and stubby.

Privately owned Scorpion at Beltring 2004.



Scimitar with provison for IR ID plate.

Scimitar - With turret stowage bin missing and IR ID plate fitted (louvred thing).

This is not a bush, Sabre or Scimitar? (It is a Scimitar!)

The night vision equipment in these variants is also different, but both are mounted in an armoured shroud to the side of the main armament.
On a Scorpion the door for the shroud opens upwards, and is round:

Scorpion armoured shroud at Beltring 2004.

Whereas on a Scimitar it is square and opens to the side.
Sabre is the latest variant, and is based on the Scorpion hull. When Scorpion and Fox were withdrawn from service, the vehicles were all in excellent condition, so it was decided to combine elements from both vehicles to produce a new variant.

The turret from the Fox was fitted to the Scorpion hull. Several modifications were also made at this time. The turret rings of Scorpion and Fox are different, therefore an adaptor ring (extension collar) is fitted (compare above pics of Scorpion/Scimitar with that of Sabre). This makes Sabre a few inches higher than Scorpion and Scimitar. The gun and night sight are the same as Scimitar, however the turret is actually a different shape. Fox, and therefore Sabre, have a square shaped turret, whereas Scorpion and Scimitar have an octagonal turret. Due to the large number of stowage boxes fitted to both turrets it is almost impossible to see the difference in shape.

Sabre is also equipped with a 7.62mm chain gun in the mantlet, fitted in the same location as the coaxial GMPG on the Scimitar. One other minor detail difference is that a Sabre turret has a pair of domed hatches, instead of the usual flat hatch for the gunner.

Striker, Spartan and Samson.
Just as before, these variants are based on a similar hull, in this case slightly stretched with a raised roof line. A gap can be seen on either side of the centre pair of road wheels, which is not present on the turreted variants. The easiest of these variants to identify is the Samson. This is the armoured recovery vehicle, and is fitted with a large winch inside, and a spade on the rear of the hull, along with a small rear door. The commanders' cupola is in the centre of the vehicle and is of low profile.

Samson in profile.

Samson, the large anchor can be lowered to aid winching.

Samson tows a disabled Sultan, note both are diesel from the air
intake located on the side of the hull.

Spartan and Striker.
Have a much larger cupola, with a GPMG mount, fitted to one side of the vehicle. Next to this on a Spartan is another hatch for the section commander, in this location on a Striker is the aiming sight for the missiles. These are housed in an armoured box, with a door on the front. At the rear of the striker is the missile launching system, a large box which is elevated when in the launching position. The Striker also has a small rear door, whereas the Spartan has a much larger door to allow easier entry and exit for the troops.

Externally from a distance Spartan and Striker look very similar, and it can be difficult to tell the difference.

Striker, front one with missile bins in the firing position. Note the raised radiator louvers, making this a diesel vehicle and rar one with them lowered.

Striker, showing small rear door and missile bins.

Freshly painted Spartan, they do not stay clean for long on
Salisbury Plain!

Spartan with crew of 3.

Spartan, with Infra-red identification plates.

Another variant of Spartan is the Milan Compact Turret (MCT). MCT Spartans are fitted with a large structure on the roof of the hull, in the space where roof hatches are normally fitted. On top of this structure is the launching mechanism for a pair of Milan anti-tank missiles. These were used during the 1991 Gulf War and are fairly easy to identify.

Samaritan and Sultan.
These 2 variants are based on the extended chassis of the Spartan, but are much taller, to allow personnel to stand comfortably inside. Samaritan and Sultan are very similar in appearance, with very few external differences. The main difference being that Samaritan is air conditioned, the NBC pack is therefore on the back door instead of the usual place inside the hull as in Sultan. This is housed in a very large box, which sticks out in an L shape on the back door.

Samaritan, note cupola is in the centre of the hull.

Samaritan is of course marked with the Red Cross, but covers are provided to hide them when required. Both variants have the same cupola as the Samson, in the middle of the hull on Samaritan, and to one side on Sultan. On Samaritan this is accompanied by a large low level stowage bin, however similar, but larger, bins are now often fitted to Sultan due to the restricted space inside.

Disabled Samaritan, note the markings on the side are covered by the Velcro blind.
Photo shows how entire engine deck hinges to allow better access.

Note small stowage basket between driver and commander, whose cupola is directly
behind the driver, on this vehicle there is also a large additional stowage
has been added on hull deck (roof).

Sultan also has a small stowage box on the front of the hull, above the drivers hatch, as well as the penthouse canvas and poles at the rear of the vehicle.

Most of the British Army CVR(T) fleet have now been converted to diesel engines. Part of this conversion involves modifications to the hull, which make it easy to tell if a diesel is fitted or not. The most obvious of these modifications is the air intake, which is mounted on the side of the hull. The engine decking is also modified, with raised intakes for the radiators and an additional louvered panel inserted between the driver and the engine bay decking. Sabre and Scorpion were never converted to diesel.

Diesel air intake.


Detail of multi-barrel smoke dischargers fitted to all variants.

Light unit and tow ropes, this is a Samson.

Exhaust detail on Samson.

The Rest.
There are a few other vehicles, based on the standard CVR(T) range which can sometimes be seen, such as Stormer. Stormer is essentially a stretched Spartan, in both length, where an additional road wheel is fitted, and in width. This vehicle is the platform for the Starstreak High Velocity Missile (HVM) in the British army, and has been built in both launcher and resupply variants.

Stormer, the missile system raises the profile significantly!
A similar vehicle, called Shielder, is also in service, and uses the Stormer chassis. This vehicle has a cut down hull, the rear end resembling a flat bed truck, on which the anti-tank mine dispensing system is mounted. Mines can be fired in all directions, and have a programmable life. After a set time they self-destruct reducing the time taken to clear mine fields.

Shielder, note extra wheelstation.

A version of the Scorpion was also built with a 90mm Cockerill gun. This variant, known as Scorpion 90, has the same turret as the standard Scorpion. The 90mm gun is huge, extends some way forward of the vehicle and a large muzzle break is fitted. This variant was mostly built for export, and was not adopted by the British Army.

Plain Military.
The photos used in this article are taken from Tony Hoare's Plain Military website. All pictures are taken on the SPTA (Salisbury Plain Training Area) over the last 3 years, and provide an excellent pictorial representation of the modern British Army, and the equipment which it uses. The website is updated regularly and is the only place to see current pictures of current vehicles in action.

For information written with regard to collecting CVRTs (especially the Scorpion) see the following article:
Scorpion specifics and CVR(T) family.

Chris McMillan provided most of this article (copyright rests with him in the 1st instance, Tony Hoare in the 2nd instance (photos) and lastly with this site. Please ask before copying or reproducing in any way.

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