Military Trucks Archive 04 Scammell Commander, Britain's Fourth-Generation Tank Transporter
The latest in Kelsey’s exciting tank-transporter series covers the Scammell Commander, a mighty 65-tonne Rolls-Royce powered tractor that was designed to replace the ageing Thornycroft Antar in West Germany… but which went on to acquit itself superbly in both Gulf Wars, as well as in the former Yugoslavia.
Originally described as the Antar Mk 4, and later as the Contractor Mk 2, the Commander was typical of the massive heavy-duty trucks for which Scammell had become known worldwide. And yet, the story of the Commander’s development is shamefully protracted, and, at one time included the cancellation of the entire project. It wasn’t until the 24 February 1984 – almost 16 years since the project was initiated – that the first Commander entered service, with the last following in early 1985.
A mid-life rebuild was necessary after the first Gulf War, which provided a new lease of life, but the sheer size of the Commander, coupled with the fact that the load was carried on just five axles, meant that its days were numbered.
In 2003, the Commander started to be replaced by the Oshkosh M1070F, and a total of 100 surplus Commanders were sold to Jordan. Today, it is believed that just three Commanders remain in Britain
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