HL Deb 19 July 1979 vol 401 cc1612-3WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

If they will make a Statement on the progress of the project definition stage of the Army's new main battle tank.


The Government attach the greatest importance to the timely introduction of the Army's new main battle tank MBT 80, which remains its first priority equipment, and good progress is being made with project definition. After detailed evaluation of both engine options it has been decided to select a version of the Rolls Royce Motors CV 12 diesel engine in preference to the American AGT 1500 gas turbine. The CV 12 is the latest in a family of diesel engines manufactured by Rolls Royce and is based on an existing design developed for the main battle tank produced for Iran. Through various changes, such as turbocharging, Rolls Royce have increased the power of this engine to 1500 bhp and it has further development potential. The operational performance of the Rolls Royce and US engines would have been broadly comparable but the AGT 1500 is designed for the XM1 tank and, together with its associated transmission, would have required substantial modification for MBT 80; its fuel consumption is also expected to be higher. The CV 12 will be manufactured at the Shrewsbury plant of Rolls Royce Motors, which has long experience in the production of military engines.