FV703 Car, Scout, Reconnaissance (E1987.58)
In theory it was an ideal combination; a fast, inconspicuous and manoeuvrable vehicle which was perfect for reconnaissance missions but with the ability to destroy a main battle tank. In practice this can lead to a confusion of roles - should the crew report what they have seen and remain hidden, or attempt to destroy the enemy and risk losing the advantage of surprise?
Vigilant could be fired from the vehicle or dismounted and launched from the ground. The operator guided it by wire, using a hand-held sight and the heavy warhead was capable of penetrating the thickest armour up to a maximum range of 1,500 yards.
Ferret 2/6 served with the British Army and was purchased by Libya and the United Arab Emirates.
This vehicle was in service 17th August 1965 - 18th April 1977. Vehicle Record Card available in Archive & Library
Precise Name: FV703 Car Scout, Reconnaissance, Guided Weapon, Ferret Mark 2/6
The Ferret Scout Car was developed after World War II as a replacement for the wartime Daimler Dingo and Humber Scout Cars. The development contract was awarded to Daimler in 1947 and the first prototypes were delivered to the Fighting Vehicles Proving Establishment in 1950. After successful trials the Ferret entered production in 1951 and Daimler delivered the first production vehicles in 1952. Eventually over 4,400 Ferrets were produced in eight major versions between 1951 and 1967. Approximately 1,700 Ferrets were exported to 29 countries. Ferrets continued to serve with the British Army until the mid-1990s.
The Ferret Mark 2/6 was a guided missile tank destroyer, based on the hull and turret of the Mark 2/3 Scout Car. It was designed to be air-portable and replaced the earlier FV1620 Hornet (see E1970.445 FV1620 Hornet Phase 1), entering service in 1966. The principle armament of the Ferret Mark 2/6 was the Vigilant wire guided anti-tank missile. Two ready use Vigilant missiles were mounted in container/launchers on each side of a modified Mark 2/3 turret; in addition two reloads were carried in storage bins on the hull. After launch the Vigilant was controlled by signals fed down a very fine wire; the operator could remain in the Ferret or dismount and use a remote hand held sight. Vigilant had a range of 1,375 metres and the shaped charge warhead could penetrate the armour of all contemporary main battle tanks.
One hundred and twenty five Ferrets Mark 2/6 were produced by converting earlier models, mostly Mark 2/3, starting in 1963. Seen by the British as an interim solution the Ferret Mark 2/6 served until the late 1960s when it was replaced by the FV712 Ferret Mark 5 which was armed with the more effective BAC Swingfire missile, (see E 1971.97 FV712 Car Scout Reconnaissance, Guided Weapon, Ferret Mark 5). A small number of Ferrets Mark 2/6 were exported to Libya and United Arab Emirates.
Ware, Pat; Ferret, The FV700 Series in British Army service; Warehouse Military Vehicle Datafiles: WD1; ISBN 0-9525563-4-0; Warehouse Publications, Croydon, UK; 1997
Summary text by Mike Garth V1.0