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AT 105 Saxon

With the ageing FV 432, the British army found itself in need of a stop-gap vehicle before finding a replacement (eventually in the form of the FV 510 Warrior). Much like the Pig before it, the decision was made to use an existing 4x4 truck chassis (the Bedford Mk 4) to develop a relatively inexpensive wheeled armoured troop transport. With the existing commercial truck chassis and engine parts were not a problem. Likewise, track wear is not a consideration with tyres.

 

GKN Sankey were given the contract for this vehicle with the prototype ready in 1974. 1976 saw the first vehicles being produced for foreign export with some 30 vehicles being purchased for internal security. It wasn`t until 1983 that the Ministry of Defence with some 497 vehicles being ordered. The new vehicle was christened the Saxon by the MOD. A further 500 were considered for the Territorial Army serving on the BAOR but this order was withdrawn on cost grounds. Command, Ambulance and Recovery versions were produced.

 

The Saxon has a crew of 2 (Driver, Commander/Gunner) and carries 8 men, although 10 may be carried. Two firing ports on each side were provided in the original design but these are usually covered over with stowage boxes. A single GPMG is provided in a small observation turret for self defence.

 

Armour is proof against small arms and shrapnel. The vehicle has protection from mines, the mud guards are designed to blow off with an explosion. The wheels have `run flat` tyres. 6 smoke dischargers are provided in two banks. The 6 cylinder engine provides a top road speed of 60 MPH (96kmh) and a range of 316 miles (510km).

 

The vehicle has been criticized for its lack of speed and off road capability needed in modern armoured warfare, a common complaint with wheeled APC designs.

 

Saxons equipped for Northern Ireland (called Saxon IS or Saxon Patrol) have their stowage boxes removed and have barricade removal devises (similar to the bull bars on the `Pig`). Some are additionally equipped with protection screens and the ARWEN 37V riot gun.

 

The vehicle was in service Bahrain, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Hong Kong, Brunei and the British army. It is still in service with the British armies, mainly for Territorial Army units with the introduction of the Warrior APC.