|Manufacturer:||Vickers Defence Systems Ltd.|
|Product type:||Armoured Vehicles|
|Name:||Main battle tank|
The Malaysian Army has a future requirement for a new MBT and Vickers Defence Systems is offering a new version of its proven Mark 3 MBT (covered in a separate entry) to meet this requirement.
The standard Mk 3 was evaluated by the Malaysian Army late in 1995; it travelled over 2,000 km and fired 80 rounds of 105 mm ammunition.
Because of range limitations only HESH (High Explosive Squash Head) and SH/P (Squash Head Practice) types of ammunition were fired, with almost 100 per cent accuracy at ranges of up to 1,500 m being achieved.
In 1996, a decision was taken to rebuild an existing Mk 3 to the Mk 3(M) standard. This was completed late in 1996 and subsequently underwent extensive firepower and mobility trials in the UK which were completed early in 1997.
According to Vickers Defence Systems, the success of this phase prompted a number of further design enhancements which are now being evaluated.
The basic hull and turret of the Mk 3 are retained but over the frontal arc an Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) package has been fitted to provide a higher degree of protection against High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) projectiles such as the Russian RPG-7. The side skirts are also provided with ERA.
Main armament comprises a now BAE Systems, RO Defence 105 mm L7A1 rifled tank gun, 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun, a 12.7 mm ranging machine gun and a 12.7 mm machine gun at the loaders station.
The Mk 3(M) is fitted with a Vickers Defence Systems designed and developed fire-control computer with the gunner having a now Thales Optronics (previously Pilkington Optronics) Falcon day/thermal sight with laser range-finder. The tank commander has a Galileo independent panoramic day/image intensification sight.
The weapon control system is all electric, solid state and is provided by the now Curtiss-Wright Antriebstechnik (previously SIG) of Switzerland.
In addition, the commander has a monitor so he can see the same thermal image as the gunner. Both commander and gunner can aim and fire the main 105 mm L7A1 armament.
Standard equipment on Mk 3(M) includes full air conditioning system, dismountable Global Positioning System and AVIMO LIRD-2 laser warning system coupled to a bank of eight 76 mm grenade launchers either side of the turret. The latter can fire either anti-personnel or smoke grenades.
Fresh air is drawn through filters by pannier-mounted fans and fed into the crew compartment. This air is then cooled by passing it through the bustle-mounted air conditioning system before distributing it throughout the turret by a series of ducts. Conditioned air for the driver is extracted from the turret by a separate hull mounted duct and fan arrangement.
The Mk 3(M) can be fitted with various type of mineclearing systems as well as the Pearson Engineering Combat Dozer Blade (UDK1) and the loader can be provided with a roof mounted 12.7 mm M2 machine gun.
As well as the Mk 3(M) MBT, a complete family of vehicles on the same chassis has been designed including:
1. Air defence system fitted with the now BAE Systems, RO Defence, Marksman twin 35 mm anti-aircraft turret
2. Armoured repair and recovery vehicle fitted with winch, crane and front-mounted dozer/stabiliser blade
3. Armoured vehicle-launched bridge which can launch the No 11 (maximum span of 14.5 m) or No 12 (maximum span of 12 m) bridges which are currently in production by Vickers for the British Army's BR90 combat bridging programme.