Thursday, February 22, 2018

Jordan: Restructures its armoured formations

(Amman) The Royal Jordanian Army (RJA) is restructuring its armoured forces. Currently the RJA fields eight battalions of Main Battle Tanks, four of which are equipped with a total of 182 M60A3s. The other four battalions are equipped with Challenger 1 tanks, which are known locally as Al Hussein MBTs.  Around 400 of these had been delivered by 2004, although it is unlikely that many are still in service.

 Al Hussein in British service as the Challenger 1
The new line up sees the Al Hussein MBT phased out of service, pushing the M60 tanks into the premier Jordanian MBT position 

and the inclusion of ex-Italian Army Centauros, which is a wheeled armoured fighting vehicle fitted with the same gun as the M60 (105mm) both will be backed up by Marder 1A3 infantry fighting vehicles.

It seems that with a peace treaty in place with Israel, Jordan has moved away from heavy armour which requires transport to be moved any considerable distance for vehicles which have greater strategic mobility. Which in today climate of pop up rebellions and insurgencies across the region, means that troops can be rapidly deployed not only across the country, but to the neighbours as well, if the need is there. (Iraq/Syria/Saudi Arabia) 

The strange thing is a few years back, the Jordanians developed 2 very interesting vehicles using the Challenger 1 body and the Centurion tank
1)The Jordanian Falcon , a unmanned streamline turret fitted with a 120mm smooth-bore gun. Remote operation of the turret enables full under amour protection for the crew members. Overall protection level is improved by reduced vehicle profile. Front of the turret is reinforced with composite armour.

2) The al-Dawsar heavy armoured personnel carrier (APC) is a heavy armoured personnel carrier which is a conversion of the Centurion main battle tank it has a crew of two and provides accommodation for 7 troops.

Whilst I fully understand the concept of rapid reaction forces, sometimes, you require a little something bigger and heavier hitting than a 105mm gun, which can also take a punch or two or even three.