With the introduction into service of the first FV432 in 1963, the British Army received its first purpose built, fully tracked armoured personnel carrier. It was designed to replace the Saracen 6x6 wheeled APC, and by extension the Humber ‘Pig’ 4x4 wheeled APC. These two vehicles, however, remained in service in the internal security role. Around 3000 of this type were built and many remain in service to date (2006), although more in supporting roles with the advent of more up to date designs such as the Warrior and CVR (T) series.

Unlike its direct contemporary the American M113, the FV432 is of steel construction, which would arguably give better protection against small arms fire. The basic version comes with a single machine gun mounted on the commander’s cupola, but turreted variants with machine gun and 30mm Rarden cannon armament have appeared together with many variants. These include ambulance, mortar carrier and command variants. A maintenance variant, crane equipped, is designated FV434.

This fully enclosed vehicle usually carries a crew of two, driver and commander/gunner, and ten troops, who sit at the rear of the vehicle on seats which tip back against the hull sides to give a large (3670 kg) load carrying capability when required.

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