Saxon (vehicle)

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A Saxon Armoured Personnel vehicle from the Cheshire Regiment, British Army, 2003
TypeArmoured personnel carrier
Place of originUnited Kingdom
Service history
In service1976-present
Used byOperators
Production history
DesignerGKN Sankey
Mass10.6 tonnes
Length5.17 m (17 ft 0 in)
Width2.49 m (8 ft 2 in)
Height2.63 m (8 ft 8 in)

7.62 mm MG
EngineBedford 500 6-cyl diesel
164 hp (122 kW)
Payload capacity10 passengers
SuspensionWheel 4x4
510 km (320 mi)
Maximum speed 96 km/h (60 mph)

The Saxon is an armoured personnel carrier used by the British Army and supplied in small numbers to various overseas organisations. It was developed by GKN Sankey from earlier projects, AT 100 IS and AT104, and was due to be replaced by the Future Rapid Effect System.


The first operational Saxons were deployed in Germany in 1983, to equip mechanised infantry battalions. The Saxon has now been withdrawn from service in HM Armed Forces, but 147 are kept in storage.[citation needed] The Saxon has been deployed to places such as Bahrain, Brunei, Bosnia, Malaysia, Northern Ireland, Oman, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Seven Saxons were ordered by the Royal Hong Kong Police from GKN Sankey in 1987 and delivered in 1988 where they replaced 15 Saracens. They were assigned to the Police Tactical Unit[2] and remained there until withdrawn in 2009. In the Balkans, Saxons were outfitted with turrets taken from FV432s to serve as improvised anti-sniper turret.[3]

75 Saxons were sold to Ukraine reportedly under a contract made in 2013, i.e. predating the start of the Russo-Ukrainian War.[4] The Ukrainian military announced the deal on 5 December 2014.[5] The former chief commander of British land forces, Richard Dannatt, said that supplying the vehicles to Ukraine was "immoral" as they were "useless" in high intensity warfare.[6] Before September 2015 another 200 were bought from one of europe's largest army surplus company.

In Ukrainian service, the type has seen combat against Russian forces during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. As of September 2022, available video and photographic evidence indicates Ukraine has lost at least 11 Saxons during the invasion, with 9 being captured by Russian forces and two being destroyed.[7]


The Saxon was intended to act as a cheap but efficient "battle-taxi" for units that would have to make long journeys from the UK to reinforce the British Army of the Rhine. It was made as a relatively low cost armoured personnel carrier based on a revised Bedford M series 4x4 truck chassis and other commercially available components.[8]

As a lightly armoured wheeled vehicle, it is much faster - especially on roads - and easier to maintain than a tracked vehicle. It shares many parts with commercial trucks, reducing the operating cost. It is armoured against small-arms fire and shell splinters, but is not intended to stand up to any anti-vehicle weaponry. The vehicle has a single machine gun for local air defence.

The Saxon's hull is welded steel with a V-shaped under-chassis plate to deflect mine detonations. Seating is provided in the rear for up to ten troops, although eight is a more comfortable load if all their equipment is included.[8] There is an equipment stowage area on the hull roof.[8]

Some Saxon IS, or Saxon Patrol, vehicles were acquired for service in Northern Ireland, serving as ambulances or troop carriers, which had extendible wings that could be used as protective shields during a riot. Compared to the standard model, these have various minor modifications intended for internal security operations, such as searchlights and wire cutters.


A British Army Saxon ARV on display at the REME Museum painted in UN colours.

The Saxon can be fitted out as:

  • APC[9]
  • Command Vehicle[9]
  • Incident Control vehicle[9]
  • ARV[9]
  • Saxon Patrol[9]
  • LHD converted Saxons by KADDB in Jordan[10]


A map of Saxon operators in blue with former operators in red
AT-105 Saxon vehicles in the Ukrainian Armed Forces

Current operators[edit]

Former Operators[edit]


  1. ^ "Saxon AT-105 AT105 Description identification pictures picture photo image british wheeled armoured armored vehicle véhicule blindé à roues britannique anglais". Archived from the original on 19 April 2008. Retrieved 6 June 2022.
  2. ^ "Hong Kong's Saracen armoured police cars on patrol in small-town England". 23 January 2016. Archived from the original on 26 January 2016.
  3. ^ "The Not So Secret Life of the Saxon - Think Defence". 14 February 2015.
  4. ^ "Ukraine receives British troop carriers". the guardian. 14 February 2015. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  5. ^ "Міноборони закупило 75 бронемашин Saxon".
  6. ^ Dassanayake, Dion (25 March 2015). "VIDEO: Embarrassing moment tank sent to Ukraine by UK struggles to climb TINY hill".
  7. ^ "Attack on Europe: Documenting Ukrainian Equipment Losses During the 2022 Russian Invasion of Ukraine".
  8. ^ a b c d e f g "Saxon". Military Today. Archived from the original on 18 January 2007.
  9. ^ a b c d e "AT105 Saxon 4x4 armoured vehicle personnel carrier technical data sheet specifications description U | United Kingdom British Army wheeled vehicle UK | British Army United Kingdom military equipment UK".
  10. ^ a b Administrator. "Saxon KADDB armoured vehicle personnel carrier technical data sheet specifications information UK - Jordan Jordanian army wheeled armoured vehicles UK - Jordan Jordanian army military equipment vehicles".
  11. ^ a b "Trade Registers". Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  12. ^ International Institute for Strategic Studies (2021). The Military Balance. p. 462. ISBN 9781032012278.
  13. ^ "Trade Registers". Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  14. ^ "United Nations Official Document".
  15. ^ "Attack on Europe: Documenting Ukrainian Equipment Losses During the 2022 Russian Invasion of Ukraine".
  16. ^ "International Army Games". National Review. 17 August 2022. Retrieved 18 November 2022.
  17. ^[bare URL PDF]
  18. ^ "British Saxon armored cars to be delivered to Ukrainian army after conversion and testing". UNIAN (13 February 2015). Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  19. ^ a b Marcin Gawęda. ""Useless" Saxon Vehicles Surprisingly Useful In Ukraine. Kiev Benefits From The "Cost-Effect" Ratio". Defence 24. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  20. ^ a b "New Armoured Personnel Carrier on the way". Hong Kong Police Force. Archived from the original on 1 October 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2013.


  • Armed Forces of the United Kingdom, Charles Heyman. Leo Cooper, 2003.