FV107 Scimitar

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FV107 Scimitar
Type Reconnaissance vehicle
Place of origin United Kingdom
Service history
Wars Falklands War, Gulf War, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq War, Afghanistan
Production history
Manufacturer Alvis
Weight 7.8 tonnes
Length 4.9 m
Width 2.2 m
Height 2.1 m
Crew 3

Armour aluminium armour
30 mm L21 RARDEN cannon
sabot, HE, and armor-piercing special effects (APSE) rounds
Coaxial 7.62 mm L37A1 MG
Engine Cummins BTA 5.9 diesel
190 hp (142 kW)
Suspension Torsion bar
450 km
Speed 50 mph (80.5 km/h)

The FV107 Scimitar is an armoured reconnaissance vehicle (sometimes classed as a light tank) used by the British Army. It was manufactured by Alvis in Coventry. It is very similar to the FV101 Scorpion, but mounts a high velocity 30 mm L21 RARDEN cannon instead of a 76 mm gun. It was issued to Royal Armoured Corps armoured regiments in the reconnaissance role. Each regiment originally had a close reconnaissance squadron of five troops, each containing eight FV107 Scimitars.


The FV107 Scimitar is one of the CVR(T) series of vehicles. It entered service in 1971.

Initially, the engine was the Jaguar J60 4.2-litre 6-cylinder petrol engine, the same as used by several Jaguar cars. This has now been replaced by a Cummins BTA 5.9 diesel engine in British Army Scimitars, under the CVR(T) Life Extension Program (LEP).

The Scimitar lifespan has once again (as of middle 2009) been extended to accommodate the shift in timeframe with the Future Rapid Effect System program which would have seen new armoured vehicles introduced to replace the ageing CVR(T) range of vehicles. With new modifications, air filtration units and gearbox upgrades (late 2009) as well as hull alterations (late 2009) and the creation of a CVR(T) Spartan & CVR(T) Scimitar hybrid[1] the CVR(T) range (early 2010) is expected to continue well beyond 2017.[citation needed]

Additional specifications

  • Ground clearance: 0.35 m
  • Main armament: 30 mm L21 RARDEN cannon. (Fires at up to 90 rounds per minute)
  • Ammunition types:
  • Additional defence: 2 × 4-barrel smoke launchers.
  • Ammunition stores:
    • 30 mm – 165 rounds
    • 7.62 mm – 2,000 rounds
    • As with all UK armoured vehicles, Scimitar is equipped with a forced air system, so the crew can lock down in a CBRN environment. For this reason, the vehicle is equipped with a boiling vessel (or "BV"), to cook and make hot drinks.[2]


File:FV107 operators.png
Map of FV107 operators in blue with former operators in red

Current operators

File:FV107 CVR(T) Scimitar.png
FV107 Scimitar in desert camouflage (apart from the large Union Flag)

The Scimitar is used by the five formation reconnaissance regiments of the British Army. Four of the regiments are organised with three squadrons, each of 12 Scimitars; the fifth (the Household Cavalry Regiment) has an extra squadron to support 16 Air Assault Brigade. It is also used by some support groups within infantry battalions, like the Irish Guards recce platoon.[citation needed]

After the Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2010, some regiments are seeing their Challenger 2 tanks replaced with CVR(T) Scimitars.[4]

Former operators

  • Belgium Belgium – 141 units,[5] withdrawn from active service in 2004.[6]

Combat use

Two troops from B Squadron, Blues and Royals served in the Falklands War. One troop was equipped with four Scorpions, the other with four Scimitars. These CVR(T)s were the only armoured vehicles used in action by the British Army during the conflict.[7] At least one Scimitar was seriously damaged by an Argentinian landmine, but the crew were unscathed, and the vehicle was salvaged by a Chinook HC.1 helicopter[8] and soon brought back into service by the attached REME section.

In the First Gulf War, 16th/5th The Queen's Royal Lancers, with attached reinforcements, fought as a regiment during this war and was equipped with Scimitar. A troop of Scimitars engaged and knocked out Iraqi T-62s, penetrating their frontal armour with sabot rounds. One Scimitar was engaged and hit by an Iraqi T-55 and the penetrating round passed through the thin aluminium armour without injuring the crew.

Scimitars of C Squadron, Queen's Dragoon Guards were used in the Battle of Al Faw in the opening days of the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. Plans for an amphibious landing by Scimitars were abandoned due to extensive mining of the beaches; instead, they crossed into Iraq by land.

In Afghanistan, during Operation Herrick, Scimitars were deployed either in standard troop organisations or as part of Jackal composite troops, in which role they provided additional firepower to complement the Jackal's high mobility.[citation needed]

See also

  • CVR(T) (combat vehicle reconnaissance – tracked) family of vehicles.


  1. "Up-armoured vehicles begin Afghanistan operations".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Doug's 'HEAVY METAL' GALLERY".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "UK Defence: British Army estimated operational armoured vehicle fleet". european-defence.co.uk. January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  4. http://www.army.mod.uk/documents/general/20130703-A2020_Update.pdf the two regiments "reduced" from armoured regiments to armoured cavalry are the Royal Dragoon Guards and the Royal Scot Dragoon Guards
  5. Ondrejka, Jan; Stojar, Richard (8.3.2004). "Belgian armed forces: trends in development" (PDF). Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic. Retrieved 2008-01-09. Check date values in: |date= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "La Défense au rapport". page 55 (in French). Belgian Ministry of Defence. January 2006. Retrieved 2008-01-09. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Foss & Sarson, p. 21
  8. Andrew Jones, "British Armor in the Falklands", ARMOR, March 1983 pp. 26–27

Further reading