The Scorpion tank is one of the fastest and most agile military vehicles in service today. Designed by and for the British Army, its main function was to scout ahead of the main British tank units consisting basically the Chieftain and Challenger Main Battle Tanks (MBT)- strictly reconnaissance. They act as the eyes and ears of tank commanders which relies on the scorpion to gather up-to-date pictures of enemy strengths and intentions. If detected, a smart British scorpion commander will usually order a withdrawal rather than stand and fight. Tangling with enemy MBT's is suicide.
However, in the absence of main battle tanks, the Philippine Army, like the armies of Malaysia, Thailand and Iran utilizes their scorpions as light tanks using its weapons in direct support to the infantry.
The Scorpion is lightly armoured, however, its all-welded aluminum armour in front is resistant to machine gun bullets up to 14.5 calibre and the side and rear to 7.62mm rounds. It has a crew of three, the driver, the gunner and the commander who also acts as the loader, all wearing helmets for 2 reasons; To protect crew from head injuries against the sharp inside corners of the vehicle and for cmmunication using its intercom. Its armament includes a 76mm L23 gun that fires a (HESH) High Explosive Squash Head against enemy armor for up to 3,000 meters and (HE) high explosives against enemy infantry for up to 5,000 meters, a total of 40 rounds carried at one time. A 7.62mm machine gun is also mounted co-axial with the main armament with 3,000 rounds carried with it. Because of the advent of newer main battle tanks, the HESH has lost much of its effectiveness but still is effective on the sides of tanks, light armoured vehicles and field fortifications.There are also 4 electrically-operated smoke dischargers mounted on the side of the turret and fired to enable the vehicle to withdraw under the cover of smoke. It can also employ illuminating and training rounds.
One of the Scorpions versatility is its lightweight and powerful engines. It's ground pressure is less than that of a walking man which allows it to operate in boggy ground that otherwise would be impassable. Its engine, the Jaguar 4.2 litre is designed to live long life and can accelerate the tank from 0-30 mph (48 kph) in 16 seconds. With a maximum speed of 80 kph it can outrun anything it cannot outfight. It has 5 aluminum road wheels of each sides with rubber tyres; the first and the last have hydraulic shock absorbers and has an average life of 3,000 miles. The Scorpion's gear is semi-automatic, 7-speed in all directions. Its also designed to operated in temperatures from 30-50 degress celsius like those serving in european armies. Today the Philippine Army Scorpions serves under the banner of the Philippine Army Light Armoured Regiment (PALAR).Thanks to Antonio Faustino for the Photo
It has a fully stabilized electrically-operated gun and turret drive system that provides the AIFV a shoot-on-the-move capability. It has an incorporated day and night thermal imaging for advance visibility. The vehicle, like the Scorpion light tank also serves under the Philippine Army Light Armoured Regiment with 85 examples in active service today and takes part in combat operations supporting Philippine infantrymen in the field nationwide.
It was designed in 1962 by Cadillac-Cage and soon saw service in the Vietnam War. Its function are multiple; an 11-man APC, a reconnaissance vehicle, convoy escort, command, patrol and riot control platform. It carries a crew of 2, the driver and the commander who doubles as a gunner. It is powered by a V-8 engine oa a 5-speed transmission giving the vehicle a maximum cruising speed of 60 mph. It has a 1/4 inch thick armor which will protect its passengers and crew from up to .30 calibre bullets at point blank range. An optional 3/8 inch thick armor gives protection from .50 calibre rounds. Its mobility depends on 4 14x20 tires which can ran flat for up to 30 mph and can travel for 100 miles with it after being punctured. The vehicle is amphibious and does not need any special preparation. It can enter the water for up to 45 mph and can cruise in the water for up to 3.5 mph solely on the propeller action of its tires alone. The V-150 though does not have any NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) protection for its crew and passengers. Armament can include 2 .30 calibre machine guns, grenade launchers and can be fitted with water cannons for riot control. The vehicle has a range of 643 km on its 303 liter fuel capacity. Over 3,000 were built and is in service to foreign armies today.
Photo compliments of 1lt Dale Aguirre, PA
Because of its proven reliability, the M-113 has found other roles within the needs of the army. It can function as an ambulance, a command center, a self-propelled anti-aircraft, a missile carrier such as the chaparral and more. It can be fitted with a variety of kits such as ambulance, NBC, heater, dozer-blade, various shields for machine guns, electronic warfare shelter carrier so on. It's engine is the detriot diesel 6V-53 turbo charred and can give a road speed of 42 mph (67.6 kph); a water speed of 3.6 mph (5.8 kph) and a range of 300 miles. The M-113 though is vulnerable to high-caliber weapons and survivability can be increased by adding armor like a bolt-on aluminum armor panels for the outside and a kevlar liners in the inside to protect crew and passengers. It can carry a squad of 11 men that can also fight from the inside to increase their survivability.
At least 100 of these examples are in proud service today in the battle order of the Philippine Armoured fleet.
The SIMBA light combat vehicle is the newest in the inventory of the Philippine Armoured Units. It was designed as a private venture by GKN Defense specifically for foreign exports. After trials, the vehicle was selected by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and placed an order of 150 units.
Most of the vehicles were assembled in the Philippines at a facility owned by the joint venture company Asian Armoured Vehicle Technologies Corporation and Alvis Group, a British firm known in the production of light and medium armoured vehicles to which the Scorpion Tank is also manufactured. Based at the old US Navy facility in Subic Bay in Olongapo City only eight were delivered complete, another 2 came with koncked down kit form. The remaining 138 were assembled in the Philippines. It is the only country today that utilizes this armoured vehicle. Upon debut of it's service to the Philippine Army Light Armoured Regiment (PALAR), the SIMBA was a assigned to the combat field most of which saw action in the Mindanao areas of combat operations along with other armoured vehicles such as V-150, M-113 and the AIFV's especially during offensive operations against Abu Sayaf Rebel group in Jolo Province. It form the backbone of armor supporting missions within the area.
The SIMBA meaning the "Lion" has a complement of 3 crewmembers. A driver is seated in the front left and the powerpack to its right. It can accomodate a troop capacity of 8-10 seated on seats provided on either side of the vehicle and can exit from the rear similar ro the M-113's or at the door found on the left side of the hull. Most of those delivered to the AFP have a one man turret with a .50 caliber M2 machine gun mounted on it. Its armor (with a estimated maximum thickness of 8mm of steel) though vulnerable from RPG (B-40) rockets ,a standard issue to MILF rebels, the vehicle can still continue to run giving time to regroup or leave the ambush zone. This won't be possible though when the engine is hit. Extra armor and explosive plates though can be fitted and has been considered by the AFP to give extra protection to its troops and crew. The vehicle has an engine of diesel power, the Perkins 210Ti turbocharged intercooled developing 210 BHP at 2500 rpm. It has a maximum road speed of 100 kph and a range of 660 kilometers and a combat weight of 11,200 kg. As a 4x4 wheeled APC, It can also be used in internal security and urban duties. It can be fitted with a turreted riot gun and associated security equipment. More of this examples are still in production and there are other probable orders to come in the future.Info compliments of Mr. Guy Navarro