Chieftain 800

Chieftain 800

Chieftain 800

Chieftain 800

The Tank Museum information board reads as follows:

One of the problems that bedevilled Chieftain and in particular handicapped its success as an export winner was its engine. Chieftain had been sold abroad but, although admired for its firepower and protection its mobility was compromised by the temperamental Leyland multi-fuel engine. This was one of a number of projects intended to improve the situation. Underneath the artificial armour is a conventional Chieftain Mark 5/P, a special version developed for the Iranian Army but it was now modified to accept the Rolls-Royce Condor CV12 engine rated at 800hp, hence the name. This, it was thought, would improve the tank’s performance and restore its reputation. Chieftain 800 was displayed at the 1980 British Army Equipment Exhibition but attracted no customers.

In the meantime new developments
had taken place in armour protection; notably the revolutionary Chobham armour which not only provided better protection but altered the shape of.the modern Main Battle Tank for ever. The trouble was that it was difficult to adapt existing tanks to take the new armour so it meant building new tanks. The Royal Ordnance Factory at Leeds introduced such a design in 1981 under the name Chieftain 900 because it had the 900hp version of the Condor V-12 engine, It was not equipped with real Chobham armour but was mocked up to look the part. As part of this programme Chieftain 800 was covered over with tinwork to a similar pattern and the two tanks were displayed at the 1982 British Army Equipment Exhibition but again attracted no orders so the entire project was dropped.

According to rumour Chieftain 900, minus its turret, was sacrificed as a hard target on the Lulworth Gunnery ranges but Chieftain 800, still looking like Chieftain 900, was donated
to the Tank Museum in 1988 and for a while went on display, masquerading as a modified Challenger 1 as used in the First Gulf War. Then, early in 1991, it was used by Marconi to test their new Centaur target acquisition system before being restored to its original condition and returned to the Tank Museum.


 - 1925
(pre-GS 'A' number designations)

1925 - 1945 non-a numbered (named only) vehicles

General Staff 
 A-Number List 1925-1945 

Post 1945 FV Numbers

Post WW2 vehicle with no FV number

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