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The mainstay of the British Army of the 1960s and 1970s, the Chieftain mounts a long barreled 120mm cannon as well as 2 7.62mm machine guns, one coaxial and one anti-aircraft. The Chieftain solved the problem of ranging the main gun by using a ranging machine gun with similar ballistic characteristics as the cannon. When the machine gun rounds hit the target, the gunner could be reasonably assured that his cannon round will hit. The Chieftain succeeded the Centurion and was in turn replaced by the Challenger. Early Chieftains and some later modified tanks mount the 50. Cal M2HB machinegun over the main gun as a ranging gun. Iran and Kuwait retained the .50 Cal MG. The HESH round is used for antitank chemical-energy (CE) antiarmor missions, and for HE effects against personnel and materiel. The Iranians claim to employ a snorkel system on Chieftain, for fording to 5 meters depth. A variety of fire control systems and thermal sights are available for Chieftain. At 324 Chieftains have been upgraded with the Barr and Stroud TOGS thermal sight system. The 1R26 thermal camera can be used with the 1R18 thermal night sight. It has wide (13.6) and narrow (4.75) fields of view, and is compatible with TOGS format. GEC Sensors offers a long list of sights including: Multisensors Platform, Tank Thermal Sensor, and SS100/110 thermal night sight. Marconi, Nanoquest, and Pilkington offer day and night sights for the Chieftain. Charm Armament upgrade program, with the 120-mm L30 gun incorporated in Challenger 1, is available for Chieftain modification programs.



Alternative DesignationsChieftain Mk 5 - FV 4201
Date of Introduction 1967 Original Chieftain
Proliferation At least 6 countries
Crew 4
Combat Weight (mt) 55.00
Chassis Length Overall (m) 7.48
Height Overall (m) 2.90
Width Overall (m) 3.51
Ground Pressure (kg/cm 2 ) 0.90
Automotive Performance
Engine Type 750-hp Diesel
Cruising Range (km) 400-500
Speed (km/h)
Max Road 48
Max Off-Road INA
Average Cross-Country 30
Max Swim N/A
Fording Depths (m) 1.1 Unprepared
Radio C42/Larkspur VHF
Armor, Turret Front (mm) 300 (RHA)
Applique Armor (mm) ROMOR applique on turret, side skirts
Explosive Reactive Armor (mm) N/A
Active Protective System N/A
Mineclearing Equipment Plow variant, and AVLB/engineer variant
Self-Entrenching Blade No
NBC Protection System Yes
Smoke Equipment Smoke grenade launchers (6 each side of turret)
Main Armaments
Caliber, Type, Name 120-mm rifled gun, L11A5
Rate of Fire (rd/min) 8-10 first minute/6 sustained
Loader Type Separate-loading manual
Ready/Stowed Rounds INA
Elevation () -10 to +20
Fire on Move Yes
Auxiliary Weapon
Caliber, Type, Name 7.62-mm (7.62x 51) Machine gun L8A1
Mount Type Turret Coax
Maximum Aimed Range (m) INA
Max Effective Range (m)
Day 800
Night INA
Fire on Move Yes
Rate of Fire INA
Mount Type Cupola
Maximum Aimed Range (m) INA
Max Effective Range (m)
Day 800
Night INA
Fire on Move Yes
Rate of Fire (rd/min) INA
ATGM Launcher N/A
FCS Name Improved Fire Control System (IFCS)
Main Gun Stabilization 2-plane
Rangefinder Laser, Nd-Yag
Infrared Searchlight Yes
Sights w/Magnification
Day Barr and Stroud Tank Laser Sight (TLS), 8x
Field of View () 10
Acquisition Range (m) 5,000
Night 1R18 Thermal sight, 3x
Field of View () INA
Acquisition Range (m) INA
Commander Fire Main Gun INA
Caliber, Type, Name
120-mm APFSDS-T, L23A1
Maximum Aimed Range (m) 5,000
Max Effective Range (m)
Day 3,000
Night INA
Armor Penetration (mm) INA

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Maintained by Robert Sherman
Originally created by John Pike
Updated Friday, June 18, 1999 8:19:18 AM