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The aim of this book is twofold:firstly, to act as a convenient handbook for the reader to identify quickly and accurately almost any modern armoured fighting vehicle (AFV) in service today; secondly, to provide key information on the vehicle.
Some entries are more highly illustrated because there are so many local variants; indeed for some vehicles space limitations have prevented inclusion of every possible variation.A typical example is the M48.This was built with a 90mm gun, but many countries hav refitted it with a 105mm gun which has a distinctive bore evacuator mid-way along the barrel; some countries have also added a thermal sleeve.US M48s have never been fitted with skirts, but the South Korean vehicles have skirts.
Recognition features can be further complicated by additional stowage bins and baskets, while the introduction of reactive armour, for example on the Israeli M48, M60 and Centurion tanks and Russian T-64, T-72 and T-80 MBTs, alters their appearance completely.
Complications can arise from placing a vehicle in one particular section.For example, the Alvis Scimitar is used by the British Army as a reconnaissance vehicle, other countries use it as a light tank.As it is one of the few tracked reconnaissance vehicles, we have included it under tanks.4x4, 6x6 and 8x8 vehicles have all been grouped, as they have in the wheeled armoured personnel carriers section, but some vehicles have been developed for use in a wid range of roles.For example, the Cadillac Gage LAV-150 and the Swiss MOWAG Piranha range of 4x4, 6x6 and 8x8 vehicles can be fitted with weapons ranging from a 7.62 mm machine gun to a 105mm gun in the caseof the 8x8 version.
Although space limitations have prevented all possible versions being included, many of these are mentioned in the text.Each entry has full technical specifications, ky recognition features, development notess, list of variants, current status and list of users, manufacturer and, for most entries, a side view drawing and three photographs.
The fourth edition of this book, which has become the standard work of its type in its class, was compiled in the mid-1999.this edition has over 380 new photographs and drawings and virtually every entry has been updated.In addition there are 16 new entries covering new armoured vehicles that have entered production or service or are expected to do so in the near future.
Comments and new photographs for future editions should be sent to the author as soon as possible.The author would like to thank the many companies, governments and individuals who hae provided information and photographs for the book.Special thanks are due to my wife Sheila for her help and encouragement while the book was being compiled.