The British Army has always been in the first group, but the current APC, the Warrior, represents something of a middle way. It has a turret mounting a 30mm cannon but the infantry sit with their backs to the outside walls of the hull, and there is no provision for firing from the vehicle.
Such armed APCs were already current in NATO armies when the idea of the Warrior was first discussed in the 1970s as a replacement for the FV430 series. Production started in 1980 and nearly 800 have been produced for the British Army. The Warrior has a crew of three – two in the turret and a driver – and can carry up to 7 fully equipped soldiers with supplies to last them through a couple of day’s battle. The L2A1 cannon is capable of destroying most other APCs out to ranges of 1,500 metres.
In common with current tanks, great emphasis has been laid on extending the service life of the Warrior by modifying various systems as improvements become available; sighting systems, communications. Further upgrades involving a new engine, turret, fire control systems and armament are intended to keep the Warrior in service until 2040. A number of variants including engineer, artillery and command vehicles have also been developed.
The only export customer so far has been the Kuwaiti Army, which has modifications to make it suitable for prolonged high temperature operations, a different turret with a 25mm chain gun and missile launchers.
Since armoured infantry carriers were first invented, there has been a philosophical split among the military users. One side saw them simply as ‘battle taxis', intended to carry the infantry safely to the battle before they disembarked to fight. The other side saw them as combat vehicles, fully capable of providing support fire to their soldiers and also offering those soldiers the chance to shoot from inside the vehicle.