Vickers MBT (VMBT) History

The Vickers Main Battle Tank series was created with export customers in mind. It was soon discovered that foreign operators of the Centurion would find its successor - the Chieftain - too expensive to procure and effectively too expensive to maintain. As such, the Vickers company began work on a cost-effective export design to secure those future orders. As it turned out, India was in the market for a full-service, new main battle tank to add to its armories. This match would secure orders and license production for years to come.

The Vickers series of tanks were highly conventional. They were fielded with the tried and proven L7 105mm rifled main gun with a ranging 12.7mm (.50 caliber) machine gun along with some of the internal components already found in the Chieftain series. The result was a capable tank produced in number locally and abroad.

The Vickers was seen in two Mark series that included the Mk 1 and the upgraded Mk 3. The Mk 2 was never put into production. The Mk 3 series varied from the Mk 1 in that a new Leyland 60 powerplant was fitted along with a welded-turret construction. The production of the Vickers tank produced several variants utilizing a similar chassis that included the VABV bridgelayer counterpart and an armored recovery vehicle. A further interesting variant of note is the 155mm self-propelled howitzer that can be converted from the MBT.

Production in India was handled by the Avadi Company (resulting in the Vijayanta, based on the Mk 1, model of 1965). By the end of its production run in the mid 1980's, over 2,000 had been produced under license. Additional export customers included Kuwait, Kenya and Nigeria. As expected, the general Vickers tank can be fitted with several options to suit the buyer including an air filtration system, night vision equipment and fire extinguisher systems.

Vickers MBT (VMBT) Specification


BAE Systems Land Systems - UK / Avadi Company - India
2,331 Units


- Engineering

- Tank vs Tank

- Main Battle Tank (MBT)

- Frontline



32.09 ft (9.78 m)


10.37 ft (3.16 m)


10.14 ft (3.09 m)


43 tons (38,700 kg; 85,319 lb)


1 x Detroit Diesel 12V-71T turbocharged diesel-fueled engine developing 720 horsepower at 2,500 rpm driving conventional track-and-wheel arrangement.


Maximum Speed:

31 mph (50 kph)

Maximum Range:

304 miles (490 km)


1 x 105mm main gun in turret.

1 x 7.62mm co-axial machine gun in turret.

1 x 7.62mm Anti-Aircraft (AA) machine gun at commander's cupola on turret roof.

1 x 12.7mm Heavy Machine Gun (HMG) for ranging.

12 x Smoke Grenade Dischargers on turret.


50 x 105mm projectiles.

700 x 12.7mm ammunition.

2,400 x 7.62mm ammunition.

12 x Smoke Grenades.


Vickers VMBT Mk 1 - Initial Production Model Series

Vickers VMBT Mk 1 "Vijayanta" - Indian Production Model.

Vickers VMBT Mk 2 - Never produced.

Vickers VMBT Mk 3 - Upgraded Production Model Series; fitted with Leyland L60 powerplant and constructed with a welded turret.

Vickers VABV - Armored Bridgelayer

Vickers ARV - Armored Recovery Vehicle

Vickers MBT 155mm - Self-Propelled Howitzer

"Vijayanta" - Local Indian production of Vickers Mk 1; introduced in 1965.

Related stuff: