The Stridsvagn 103 (Strv 103), also known as the Alternative S and S-tank, is a Swedish post-World War II main battle tank, designed and manufactured in Sweden. “Strv” is the Swedish military abbreviation of stridsvagn, Swedish for chariot and tank (literally combat wagon), while the 103 comes from being the third tank in Swedish service to be equipped with a 10 cm gun.

Developed in the 1950s, it was the first main battle tank to use a gas turbine engine and the only mass-produced tank since World War II to not use a turret besides the German Kanonenjagdpanzer. It has an unconventional design with a unique gun laying process: it is turretless with a fixed gun traversed by engaging the tracks (like the 75 mm gun on the 1930s French Char B1) and elevated by adjusting the hull suspension. The result was a very low-profile design with an emphasis on survivability and heightened crew protection level. Strv 103s formed a major portion of the Swedish armoured forces from the 1960s to the 1990s, when, along with the Centurions, it was replaced by the Leopard 2 variants Stridsvagn 121 and Stridsvagn 122.

While most turretless armoured fighting vehicles are classified as assault guns or tank destroyers, the Strv 103 is considered a tank since its designated combat role matched those of other tanks within contemporary Swedish doctrine.

Mass 42.5 t (46.8 short tons; 41.8 long tons)
Length 9 m (29 ft 6 in) incl. gun
Width 3.80 m (12 ft 6 in)
Height With topmounted MG: 2.43 m (8 ft 0 in)
To cupola: 2.14 m (7 ft 0 in)
To vehicle roof: 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)
To barrel centre when horizontal: 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
Crew 3 (Commander, gunner/driver, rear driver)

Armor LOS: ≈192–337 mm
Actual: 40–70 mm

Main armament

Bofors L74 10.5 cm L/62 rifled gun with autoloader and 50 rounds

Secondary armament

two fixed 7.62 mm KSP 58 machine guns, one anti-aircraft 7.62 mm KSP 58 machine gun, two 71 mm Lyran mortars

Engine: Detroit diesel 6V53T, 216 kW (290 hp) and Caterpillar 553 gas turbine, 365 kW (489 hp)

Power/weight 13.6 kW/t (18.3 hp/t)

Transmission: 2 forward and 2 reverse speeds

Suspension: Gas-hydraulic hydropneumatic suspension

Operational range: 390 km (240 mi)

Maximum speed: 60 km/h (37 mph) maximum road speed forwards or reverse.

Manufacturer: AB Bofors

AB Bofors is a former Swedish arms manufacturer which today is part of the British arms manufacturer BAE Systems. The name has been associated with the iron industry and artillery manufacturing for more than 350 years.

Read more: Tanks and fighting vehicles with Andrew Pantele ...