This tracked armored vehicle – the British Warrior – was produced in the United Kingdom by GKN Sankey/BAe Systems and is considered by some to be one of the top ten military vehicles of all time. The project on the Warrior started during the 1970s and by 1980, GKN had won the contract.
A number of features were incorporated in the Warrior’s design in response to the battlefield needs of the UKs military. The design specifically eliminated any firing port in the Warrior’s hull as the British believed the vehicle’s main purpose was to carry the infantry to the battlefield and then provide them with firepower support after they disembarked. The elimination of the ports also allows the design to incorporate extra protection with the application of additional armor on the sides of the vehicle.
The Warrior holds a crew of three, which includes the driver, commander and gunner. In addition, the rear hull compartment can carry up to seven, fully-equipped infantry soldiers along with 48 hours of additional supplies and weapons (which include several anti-tank weapons). Access into this tracked armored vehicle is provided by one electric ram powered door located in the rear.
The Warrior has a two-man turret fitted with a 30mm RARDEN cannon, which can effectively destroy most of the modern armored personnel carriers as far out as 1,600 yards. In addition to this armament, the turret is fitted with a 7.62mm coaxial chain gun and two clusters of four defensive grenade launchers.
The vehicles are also equipped with updated radios for effective communications, command and control and also thermal imaging sights which extends its fighting capabilities. Several variants of the Warrior have emerged throughout its production history, expanding on its initial purpose for transporting troops. These variants have been modified to provide recovery and repair to combat vehicles, to be used as artillery observation vehicles and command vehicles. Another modification, known as the Desert Warrior, was produced specifically for the Kuwaiti Army.
Though deaths have been reported in each area of operations, the Warrior has proven the effectiveness of its protection against small arms and other weapons such as anti-tank mines. This vehicle has been involved in operations in the Gulf War, the 2003 invasion of Iraq and in Afghanistan with ISAF during Operation Herrick. It has also provided duties to the UN in Bosnia with UNPROFOR.
Specifications for the Warrior
- Type: IFV – Light Tank
- Total Built: 789 for the British Army, 254 for the Kuwaiti Army
- Engine: 550 horse power, Perkins V8 Condor Diesel
- Range of Operation: 410 miles
- Speed: 46 miles per hour
Current plans include continual upgrades for the British Warrior with intentions to extend the military service of this armored tracked vehicle into 2025.