The Saxon was manufactured
by GKN Defence and the first units
for the British Army were delivered in late 1983.
The vehicle, which can be best described as a battlefield taxi, is
designed around truck parts and does not require the same level of maintenance
of track and running gear normally associated with APC/AIFVs.
As a vehicle capable of protecting infantry from shell splinters and
machine-gun fire in Europe during the Cold War years, Saxon was a
useful addition for the formerly larger Army. It does not, however,
have the speed and agility which the lessons of recent mobile combat
suggest will be necessary for infantry to survive in the assault in
the future. The
vehicle is fitted with a 7.62mm machine-gun for LLAD.
Each vehicle cost over £100,000
at 1984 prices and they are on issue to Mechanised Infantry
assigned to 3 (UK) Division.
Essentially a mine-proof lorry, rather than an armoured
personnel carrier, the vehicle has been used very successfully by British
Mechanised Battalions serving with the UN in Bosnia.
The Army holds a number
of Saxon IS (Patrol) vehicle for service in counter insurgency
operations. The IS (Internal Security) equipped vehicle has a Cummins BT 5.1 engine, instead of the
Bedford 6-cylinder installed on the APC version and other enhancements,
such as roof-mounted searchlights, improved armour, a barricade removal
device and an anti-wire device.
Saxon Patrol comes in two versions, troop-carrier and
ambulance. The troop-carrier carries ten men and the ambulance, two stretcher
cases. Industry sources suggest that this latest contract was for 137
vehicles, at a cost of some £20 million, resulting in a unit cost per
vehicle of approximately £145,000.
Some vehicles in the Saxon
Battalion are likely to be replaced by the future Multi-Role Armoured
Vehicle (MRAV) or FRES programme vehicles.
Saxon is in service with the following overseas customers:
Bahrain - 10, Brunei - 24, Hong Kong - 6, Malaysia - 40, Oman - 15.
Saxon is in operational service with British forces in both Iraq and
105 Saxon Specifications
available of which 482 are baseline vehicles
Ground Clearance (axles)
Max Road Speed
Max Road Range
Bedford 600 6-cylinder diesel developing 164bhp at 2,800rpm
|| Armour proof
against 7.62 rounds fired at point-blank range