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Author Topic: Chieftain Tank Development  (Read 18317 times)

Offline JFC Fuller

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Re: Chieftain Tank Development
« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2011, 03:05:32 am »
Interesting side note at the other end of the Chieftains history regarding its engine, it was originally planned to fit the type with a V8 engine that was intended to be produced by Rolls Royce (but was seemingly being developed by FVRDE) but was abandoned following the decision to go multi-fuel which in turn lead to the decision to pursue the opposed piston Leyland L60. Apparently an auxiliary engine would have been mounted in the Vee (between the cylinder banks).

Offline Abraham Gubler

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Re: Chieftain Tank Development
« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2011, 11:59:39 pm »
One of the concepts explored for the tank that became the Chieftan was an external gun mounted in a cleft turret. The crew roles and positions in the turret were conventional but the gun was mounted outside the turret. The loader placed rounds into a tray which was then automatically moved outside the turret, aligned and rammed into the breech.

The reason for the cleft turret was that with the gun removed from the turret the later could be much smaller for the size of the gun. I.e. tank guns would no longer be limited by the size of the turret ring as had bedevilled British tank development in WWII. Also the gun could be mounted further to the rear of the tank reducing barrel overhang and improving centre of gravity balance. Also with the gun mounted outside the turret the crew were no longer confronted by noise, smoke and spent brass cases after firing.

However despite these advantages the external gun made the turret higher to enable breech clearance when elevated (conversely made depression much easier). Also the complex turret shape made for a much heavier turret. Since the objective of the design efforts leading up to Chieftan were to find weight savings the concept was abandoned.
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Offline Herman

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Re: Chieftain Tank Development
« Reply #17 on: May 11, 2011, 01:03:48 pm »
Reply to post # 15
Interesting side note at the other end of the Chieftains history regarding its engine, it was originally planned to fit the type with a V8 engine that was intended to be produced by Rolls Royce (but was seemingly being developed by FVRDE) but was abandoned following the decision to go multi-fuel which in turn lead to the decision to pursue the opposed piston Leyland L60. Apparently an auxiliary engine would have been mounted in the Vee (between the cylinder banks).

This decision turned out to be a disaster. The L60 was a dismal engine and haunted the Chieftain to the end of its days. With a good, simple diesel such as the US AVDS 1790 or presumably the planned RR V-8 unit, it would have been a much better vehicle although the fire-control systems were also not great and the seperate-loading ammunition remained controversial.

Offline Andrei_bt

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Re: Chieftain Tank Development
« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2011, 09:15:03 am »

However despite these advantages the external gun made the turret higher to enable breech clearance when elevated (conversely made depression much easier). Also the complex turret shape made for a much heavier turret. Since the objective of the design efforts leading up to Chieftan were to find weight savings the concept was abandoned.


intresting, what is this picture from?

Offline Abraham Gubler

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Re: Chieftain Tank Development
« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2011, 04:50:51 pm »
intresting, what is this picture from?

A book about the history of UK tank development. The name escapes me at the moment and I'm away from my 'files' but from memory it was 'The Quest for the Universal Tank' or something like that, though that could be a chapter name.
 
The picture is from the book "Chieftan" by George Forty as part of its eight page introduction to UK tank concept thinking between Centurion and Chieftan.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2011, 05:09:55 pm by Abraham Gubler »
"There is a tendency in our planning to confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable." Thomas Schelling

Offline Grey Havoc

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Re: Chieftain Tank Development
« Reply #20 on: December 02, 2018, 09:07:24 am »
With regards as to the 'Chieftain 1000', also known as the MTU Chieftain:
Reply to post # 14.
Robin, this is a really, really interesting piece of information. It would be very interesting to know when this prototype was built and by whom. It would also be interesting to know which MTU engine is fitted in the vehicle. The Leopard I, which corresponded with the Chieftain chronologically, was fitted with a 10 cylinder, 830hp unit but it used a ZF gearbox. The Leopard 2 had a V12, 1500hp MTU engine and that was indeed coupled to a Renk gearbox. The Leopard 2 is however a later tank than the Chieftain, corresponding more to the Challenger. Why would anybody stick a Leopard 2 powerpack into a Chieftain? It will also not be simple, technically; the Leopard powerpack is considerably larger than that of the Chieftain.

Here we go...

"The development of the Chieftain with a 1000hp engine and enhanced transmission was a project by Vickers Defence Industries, in partnership with the German companies RENK, MTU and Krupp-MAK, to offer a significant performance and reliability upgrade for existing Chieftain tanks. The first customer was to be Kuwait immediately before the first Gulf War. The MoD expressed an interest in upgrading their engineer vehicles and the BARV (Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicle) of the Royal Marines. Subsequently most of Kuwait’s Chieftain fleet was scrapped. The improved design was not developed further, however, leaving this unique prototype as the most powerful Chieftain Tank ever built.

The prototype was donated by Vickers Defence Industries to the Museum and delivered on 15th January 2002. The German engine and transmissions include features which are still regarded as industrial secrets and there are strict conditions relating to access attached to the donation. The tank, which still functions, has been partially restored with support from RENK, Vickers and 150 Regiment, Royal Logistics Corp."

Source :-

 http://yorkshireairmuseum.org/exhibits/historic-military-vehicles/vickers-chieftain-battle-tank/

Also, another image from the magazine article quoted in post #14; caption reads

"The strange contraption on the pack (sic) of the MTU Chieftain is actually a lifting frame to help lift one piece engine deck which is not on a torsion bar unlike a similar system in Challenger. The frame is stowed when not in use so as not to hinder traverse."


cheers,
             Robin.


As already mentioned by Sea Skimmer earlier in the thread, it was also intended as a low cost way to boost British tank numbers in general.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2018, 09:12:29 am by Grey Havoc »
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Offline Foo Fighter

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Re: Chieftain Tank Development
« Reply #21 on: December 03, 2018, 03:09:22 pm »
At the end of the day, Chieftain was a deeply flawed tool, the engine by no means as bad as its reputation suggests was a backward step compared with the Meteor in the Conqueror.  The gun and systems for gun laying were comparable for the time and the match for the opposition for quiet some time after introduction.  Frontal armour was good, for the time but side armour less than a late model Panther medium tank.  Disorganisation and terribly flawed so called fixes did nothing to improve it so the later suggestions of our adopting a better engine/transmission were too little too late.  A pity that the current so called fixes for Challenger 2 are equally short of those needed.