E M I L

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E M I L was a secret tank development project in Sweden during the early 1950s, better known under its cover-name KRV (short for KRANVAGN, meaning mobile crane). The intention was to replace the disparate tank-fleet with a heavy tank, that could be upgraded continuously. The project was discontinued during development and only two chassis were built, and those chassis were later rebuilt and served as testing platforms for the Artillerikanonvagn 151 and Stridsvagn 103 projects.

Project[edit]

At the end of World War II, it was clear that the mix of tanks in service in the Swedish Armed Forces was not just obsolete but also presented a large logistical problem. Kungliga Arméförvaltningens Tygavdelning (KAFT) conducted a study that concluded that the most cost-effective alternative would be to purchase the newly developed Centurion Mk 3, which while quite modern was judged to have upgrade potential for future requirements. A request of purchase was sent to the United Kingdom, but the reply was that no deliveries could be made before the needs of the British Army had been meet which was deemed to take between five and fifteen years. Thus, in 1951, the vehicle bureau of KAFT set about to develop an indigenously manufactured alternative, which they did in great secrecy under the guise of constructing a mobile crane. Parallel with this, negotiations were entered with France about buying the AMX-13 light tank. All this came to an abrupt halt when the British in early December 1952 under pressure of their poor economy offered to sell the desired Centurions immediately. The Swedish Minister for Defence, Torsten Nilsson, ended the debate about the future tank purchase by (on his own initiative) signing a deal with the British at the beginning of 1953 with the first Centurion deliveries taking place in April 1953. The delegation in France was forced to depart under heavy apologies while the E M I L-project was terminated.

A consortium of Landsverk, Bofors and Volvo suggested to revive it for the Försvarsbeslut 1958 (white paper of Swedish defence policies 1958) where the replacement for the now ageing Centurions were to be decided upon. E M I L was however regarded as too costly and instead the S-tank proposal was put forward for the final draft which it won and it subsequently became the Stridsvagn 103.

Construction[edit]

The project was split into two parts; hull and armament. For the first studies and trials a chassis which resembled a low IS-7 was built. Three main options were considered for armament:

  • 105 mm calibre rifled gun ~L/67
  • 120 mm calibre rifled gun ~L/40
  • 150 mm calibre smoothbore gun~L/40

The ammunition feed regardless of gun was planned to be a dual-drum autoloader allowing for quick selection of ordnance (armor-piercing or high explosive).

Sources[edit]