FV4201 Chieftain Main Battle Tank
Gary's Combat Vehicle Reference Guide

Chieftain Mk 5
 Chieftain Mk 5
Country of OriginUK
RoleMain battle tank
Date Of Introduction1967, original Chieftain
Crew4 (commander, gunner, loader, driver)
Combat Weight60.6 tons (55 mt)
Ground Pressure12.8 psi (0.9 kg/cm²)
Length, Overall 35.4 ft (10.795 m)
Length, Hull 24.67 ft (7.52 m)
Width, Overall 11.48 ft (3.5 m)
Height, Overall 9.51 ft (2.9 m)
Ground Clearance20 in (508 mm)
 Chieftain Mk 5
Engine750 hp (559 kw) diesel
Range249-311 miles (400-500 km)
Road Speed30 mph (48 km/h)
Cross Country Speed?
Swim SpeedN/A
Fording Depth3.6 ft (1.1 m) unprepared
 Chieftain Mk 5
ArmorTurret front: 11.8 in (300 mm)
Applique ArmorROMOR applique on turret.  Track skirts
Explosive Reactive ArmorN/A
Active Protective SystemN/A
NBC Protection SystemYes
Smoke EquipmentSix smoke grenade launchers on each side of turret
Chieftain Mk 5
Type Mount Typical Ammo Load
120mm L11A5 rifled gun Turret; manual loading 64.
7.62mm L8A1 machine gun Coaxial to main gun 6,000
7.62mm L37A1 machine gun Turret cupola 200
 Chieftain Mk 5
Fire Control SystemImproved Fire Control System (IFCS)
Main Gun Stabilization2-plane
RangefinderLaser, Nd-Yag
Infrared SearchlightYes


Early Chieftains and some later modified tanks mount the .50 Cal M2HB machine gun over the main gun as a ranging gun. Iran and Kuwait retained the .50 Cal MG.

A HESH round is available for the main gun. The round is used for anti-tank chemical-energy (CE) antiarmor missions, and for HE effects against personnel and materiel.

The Iranians claim to employ a snorkel system on Chieftain, for fording to 5 meters depth.

A variety of fire control systems and thermal sights are available for Chieftain. 324 Chieftains have been upgraded with the Barr and Stroud TOGS thermal sight system. The 1R26 thermal camera can be used with the 1R18 thermal night sight. It has wide (13.6") and narrow (4.75") fields of view, and is compatible with TOGS format. GEC Sensors offers a long list of sights including: Multisensors Platform, Tank Thermal Sensor, and SS100/110 thermal night sight. Marconi, Nanoquest, and Pilkington offer day and night sights for the Chieftain.

Charm Armament upgrade program, with the 120-mm L30 gun incorporated in Challenger 1, is available for Chieftain modification programs.
Chieftain Mk 5


Chieftain Mk 5
Final production variant, with a new engine and NBC system, modified auxiliary weapons and sights. Mk 6-11 are upgrades to earlier models, with addition of IFCS. Mk 12 added ROMOR (aka: Stillbrew) spaced armor boxes. Mk 11 and Mk 12 have Thermal Observation and Gunnery Sight (TOGS).
GTA 17-2-8: Chieftain Mk 5
Khalid/Shir 1
Jordanian variant which has chassis, turret and weaponry of the Chieftain, but which incorporates engine and running gear upgrades of Challenger I. The fire control has seen a number of improvements, including a new ballistic computer.
FV4204 ARV
Armored Recovery Vehicle derivative.
Armored Vehicle-Launched Bridge derivative.
Other support vehicles developed from the tank include dozer, mineclearer, air defense and 155-mm SP artillery systems.