SAXON Armoured Personnel Carrier
(click images for large view)
Developed as the AT105 by GKN Defense the first prototype was built in 1975 with first production
in 1976. The Saxon is somewhat similar in concept to the Humber Pig as far as using commercially
available components. Where as the Pig was an amalgamation built with existing pieces and parts
in a time of urgent need, the Saxon was a totally engineered APC from the ground up.
the Saxon is a 10 man APC made to carry a rifle squad into a non-permissive environment. These
4X4 20,000 + pound armoured carriers are powered by a Bedford 500 6 cylinder diesel and four
speed Allison transmission. The fact that it uses many similar components as other British Army
vehicles is a testament to the ingenuity of the designers with an eye toward military
standardization and economy of spares and repair operations.
UK MODís first order of 47 APC units, by then named Saxon, was in 1984. Another 250 units were
delivered in 1989 for a total of 524 in military hands. In 1990 the Saxon was upgraded to use a
Cummins 6BT 5.91 turbo diesel 6 cylinder engine rated at 160bhp again with an automatic
Allison. 1991 saw the delivery of another 100 units both of the Ambulance and Patrol versions
all with the Cummins engine. The Patrol is used for Internal Security (IS) operations in
Northern Ireland (NI), and has many of the same type features as seen on the earlier Pigs.
The Saxon comes in a number of varieties: APC, Ambulance, Recovery, Command, Mortar Fire
Control, Light Turret, Patrol, Forward Observer and a special Air Defense Command vehicle with
a generator attached to the rear to power the AD Cmnd Info System (ADCIS). Many versions are
fitted with surplus L37 turrets from excess FV432. This development arose from the Bosnia
campaign where the option to return fire buttoned-up became necessary! All variants have the
same basic drive train, four wheel drive and 2 speed transfer case while some have optional 4X2
drive. Most of the automotive components are housed inside the V-shaped mine resistant hull and
under armour plate able to with stand 7.62 at point blank range and 155mm shell splinters.
Wheel stations are expendable during a blast as are the fenders (wings).
Crew: APC = 2+ 10
Engine: Bedford 500 diesel 164 bhp
Transmission: Allison automatic 4F/1R
Transfer: 2 speed
Speed: 60 mph
Weight: 21,868 lbs
Height: 9 ft 41/2 in
Length: 17 ft
Width: 8 ft 2 in
Ground Clearance: 1 ft 4 in
Electrical System: 24 volt (2X12 volt batteries)
Fuel Capacity: 39.7 US gallons
Fording: 3ft 8 in
Tires: 13.00X20 or 14.00X20
Saxons are a tall vehicle with substantial ground clearance, good fording and excellent
cross country capability. The driver position is roomy and well organized, with spacious
capacity for troops, patients or weapons firing. The vehicle has standard military 24 volt
electrics, 14.00 X 20 tyres, and pintle both front and rear. Most units have been retrofitted
with smoke dischargers. In all this is a very modern, well engineered APC, currently on active
duty with British forces in many Theaters of Operations from NI to Iraq.
Janes: Armour and Artillery 1996-97, Edited by Christopher F. Foss, Pgs; 497-498
British Combat Vehicles Today by Simon Dunstan, Pgs 12-16
Military Machines International, November 2002, Saxon in British Army Use by Tim Neate, Pgs 24-30