The Scimitar is one development in the FV 100 series of light armoured vehicles. These were the first fully tracked vehicles after the British Army moved away from wheeled reconnaissance and personnel carriers.
The first in service was the Scorpion with a medium velocity 76mm gun (as used in the Saladin armoured car before). The Scimitar has a 30mm Rarden cannon instead. This substitution recognises the improbability that the Scorpion would have intentionally engaged enemy battle tanks and gives it a more than adequate weapon to take on infantry and APCs in its role as a close reconnaissance vehicle.
As a dedicated reconnaissance vehicle, the Scimitar is, unsurprisingly, light and mobile. It was designed to be airportable. The original engine was a development of the Jaguar 4.2 litre sports car engine, although this has been replaced now by a more efficient diesel. To keep the weight down, extensive use was made of alloys in its construction.
With the withdrawal of the Scorpion in 1994, a number were fitted with turrets from the redundant Fox armoured car (also with the Rarden cannon) to create a hybrid, Scimitar-like vehicle, the Sabre. This was not entirely successful and has been subsequently withdrawn.
Within the FV100 family there was also an APC, an ambulance, an engineer vehicle and a command vehicle. Not all remain in service.
Scimitars have seen active service in The Falklands and the Gulf wars, but have enjoyed less export success than the earlier Scorpion. With current and planned upgrades it is set to remain in service until around 2020.