The United Kingdom once had some of the world’s best defence industry. They churned out some of the best fighter jets, tanks, amoured vehicles in the world. Akin to the kind of relationship that exists between France and her francophone/ex francophone colonies, Nigeria and Britain had close defence ties. Nigerian benefited immensely from the UK’s thriving defence industry. Army officers were trained at the prestigious Sandhust Defence Academy.
In the 80’s the Nigerian military placed more premium on quality over quantity. Over half the equipments in the Nigerian army and air force was made in the UK. The Brits supplied everything from heavy and light tanks to reconnaissance vehicles, fighter/interceptor jets and blowpipe shoulder launched anti-aircraft missiles.
Thanks to its close military ties with the UK Nigeria, by the mid-eighties had the largest and most sophisticated Air Force in Sub Sahara Africa, second only to Arphatheid South Africa. The Nigerian army was also the biggest user of the British built Vickers Mk.3 Eagle main battle tank outside of the UK, receiving 157 tanks.
The most numerous of British built weapons in the Nigerian army howevrt is the Alvin Scorpion family of light tanks, fire support vehicles and anti-tank missile vehicles. The family of vehicles includes :
FV101 Scorpion light tank.
FV107 Scimitar recoonaisance vehicle.
FV1O2 Striker anti-tank missile vehicle.
FV103 Spartan amoured personnel carrier.
FV104 Samaritan (Ambulance).
FV105 Command Vehicle.
FV101 SCORPION LIGHT TANK
Nigeria procured 157 FV101 Scorpion light tanks in the early eighties.
Features includes :
The scorpion with its Jaguar SK engines can run quite quiet. Thanks to its narrow width and low ground pressure it is able to go where few other tracked vehicle can. The combination of silent running and excellent off road capability makes it extremely good at ambushing and reconnaissance.
The Scorpion is a three man vehicle powered by 8 cylinder jaguar sports car engine, which gives it a top speed of 50 miles per hour.
The Scorpion tank is air mobile.Weighing only eight tons, they can be transported by Hercules C-130 cargo plane.
Although it is originally designated a track reconnaissance vehicle, its powerful 76 mm guns are capable of dealing with some enemy light armour and fortification. It’s main 76 mm gun fires APDS ( armour piercing discarding salvo) munitions, effective at up to 1,600 yards.
FV107 Scimitar reconnaissance vehicle
The Scimar is armed with a quick firing 30 mm cannon which is devastating against lightly amoured vehicles.
FV1O2 Striker anti-tank missile vehicle