After the Second World War, a requirement was issued for a new armoured car to replace a multiplicity of wartime designs. Initial plans to arm the vehicle with a 2 pounder (40mm) gun were shelved as unsatisfactory and a new 76mm main armament was developed. The vehicle series developed by Alvis was based on a 6X6 layout with drive to all wheels and steering on the front four.

Production of the design was delayed, as with the worsening situation in Malaya the second vehicle in this series the Saracen APC was needed urgently. Deliveries of the Saladin to the British Army commenced in 1959 and production continued until 1972, by which time the role of a well armed reconnaissance vehicle had been taken over by Scorpion. Some 1177 Saladin vehicles were built. In common with other vehicles in the series the Saladin was not only successful in the British army service in Borneo, Malaya, Aden, Jordon and North Africa but was also an export success as well.

Possibly the main drawback of the design was the high silhouette caused by the complicated but efficient drive train under the vehicle. By modern standards the engine in use was a trifle thirsty as well, but this was not such a consideration at the time. However, the engine and drive train on this vehicle are very quiet and a virtually noiseless approach is possible, a real advantage for a reconnaissance vehicle.

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