The path not taken.
- Oct 9, 2009
- Reaction score
The Sabre SPAAG system was a project between RO and Thompson CSF in the 1980’s to convert Chieftain and Centurion MBT’s into a 3 man Self Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun offering low level air defence at an operational level. Primary targets were helicopters and low flying fast attack jets, although the weapons were able to tackle ground units if needed.
Chieftain and Centurion Sabre was equipped with twin 30mm Oerlikon or 27mm Mauser cannons with an effective range of 3000 meters and a ROF of 1300 to 1700 rounds per minute. The 30mm cannons had a either a semi-automatic to fully automatic modes with optimum burst settings of 5 to 15 rounds with a MV of 1080m/s in a 750 round magazine containing either SAPI or HE self-destructing rounds.
The reaction to target destruction time was 6 seconds and primary tracking was via the Thompson CSF Electronics system and built in “Œil Vert” radar that had Omnidirectional Doppler tracking ranges between 7km and 15km. Once detected the enemy would be tracked by the commander while the IFF kit informed him of target identification. The data was relayed via the Sabres Fire Director Equipment which provided an image to an automatic TV tracking coupled with an early digital FCS that would adjust the shot fall while the LRF gave an acute target distance to the gunner.
The Sabre turret was designed to fit both Centurion and Chieftain with no structural changes however due to Chieftain’s poor sales record and Centurion approaching obsolescence in many nations; the Sabre did not get put into production.
(Image below is from tanks-encyclopedia.com, original credit jedsite [now JED])