Ferret armoured car

The Ferret armoured car, also commonly called the Ferret scout car, is a British armoured fighting vehicle designed and built for reconnaissance purposes. The Ferret was produced between 1952 and 1971 by the UK company Daimler. It was widely adopted by regiments in the British Army, as well as the RAF Regiment and Commonwealth countries throughout the period.

Ferret Scout Car
TypeWheeled armoured fighting vehicle
Place of originUnited Kingdom
Service history
In service1952 - 1971 (UK)
WarsMalayan Emergency
Algerian War[1]
Aden Emergency
Biafra War
Black September
The Troubles
Dhofar Rebellion
Rhodesian Bush War
Portuguese Colonial War[2]
Lebanese Civil War
Somali Civil War
South African Border War
First Sudanese Civil War
Second Sudanese Civil War
Suez Crisis
Sri Lankan Civil War
Ugandan Bush War
Internal conflict in Myanmar
Iran–Iraq War
Invasion of Kuwait
Syrian Civil War
Mass3.7 t
Length12 ft 2 in (3.7 m)
Width6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Height6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Crew3 (commander, driver & radio operator)

7.62×51mm NATO GPMG if fitted
.30 M1919 Browning machine gun
EngineRolls Royce B60 Inlet over Exhaust I6 petrol
130 hp (97 kW)
Power/weight35.1 hp/tonne
Suspension4×4 wheel
190 mi (310 km)
Speed58 mph (93 km/h)


The Ferret was developed in 1949 as a result of a British Army requirement issued in 1947. 'Light reconnaissance cars' existed during the Second World War, notably the Daimler Reconnaissance Scout Car.

Given its experience with the successful "Dingo" (6,626 produced and one of two British AFVs produced throughout WWII) Daimler was awarded a development contract in October 1948, and in June 1950 the first prototype of the Car, Scout, 4x4, Liaison (Ferret) Mark 1 was delivered.

Given the designation FV 701(C) it was one of several versions but the one that most closely resembled the original Daimler scout cars, and represented the basic model Ferret. This shared many similar design features with the Dingo, notably the H form drive train in which a central differential eliminates loss of traction due to wheel-slip, and parallel drive shafts considerably reduced the height of the vehicle (roughly equivalent to that of a tracked AFV), considerably reducing the vehicle's visual signature over conventional armoured car designs.[3]

Like the Daimler scout car, the Ferret suspension consisted of pairs of transverse links and single coil springs, the wheels driven by Tracta constant-velocity joints, but the Ferret benefited from epicyclic reduction gears that reduced transmission torque loads, essential given the more powerful six cylinder 4.26 litre water-cooled Rolls Royce B.60 petrol engine. Connected by a fluid coupling to a pre-selector five speed epicyclic gearbox, all gears being available in reverse, in its original form the Ferret this installation produced 116 bhp at 3,300 rpm and 129 bhp at 3,750 in its final form.

This improved power-to-weight ratio, longer wheelbase (2.29 m (7.5 ft) as compared with the Dingo's 1.98 metres (6.5 feet)) and the fitting of larger 9.00 x 16 run flat tyres both increased speed and mobility over broken ground.

When compared with the Daimler Dingo and Canadian Ford Lynx, the Ferret featured a larger fighting compartment, directly mounted to the hull (a feature that made the Ferret much noisier than Dingo, which lacked a fully monocoque body).

Constructed of 6–16 mm (0.24–0.63 in) steel plate protecting the crew from shell splinters at most angles except directly overhead, as the basic vehicle was open-topped and unarmed, with the exception of six forward-firing grenade launchers fitted to the hull over the front wheels (normally carrying smoke grenades), a feature found on all subsequent marks and models.

However, the Ferret normally carried a .303" Bren light machine gun or a pintle-mounted .30" Browning light machine gun[3] for defensive purposes, in addition to the crew's personal weapons.

Ferret Mark 2

In contrast to the lightly armed and protected Mark 1, the Mark 2 was designed from the outset to mount a .30" Browning in a one-man fully traversable turret, at the cost of one crew member. While this offered better crew protection and protected the otherwise dangerously exposed gunner, the turret raised the height of the vehicle and thus made it more conspicuous; in consequence, the choice of fit depended on the nature of the mission.

In general terms, the most successful wheeled armoured vehicles have been purpose-designed and the lightest, commensurate with their mission, being at the least disadvantage in relation to tracked vehicles in terms of ground pressure, which largely governs off-road performance.[3]

Small and fast enough to be useful in an urban environment, but sufficiently strong and agile to negotiate rugged terrain off-road, the Ferret, while no longer in service in the British Army, is still operated by several Commonwealth countries and has proven popular with private collectors due to the compact size and affordable price, e.g. around $20,000 to $30,000 in the United States, $40,000 to $60,000 in Australia and New Zealand and around $9,000 in the Czech Republic.[4]

Mark 1 and Mark 2 Ferrets were used by Australian Military forces from 1953 to 1970, at which time Australian military forces disposed of them at public auction.

According to the US Military, 20 national armies were operating the Ferret in 1996.[5]


A total of 4,409 Ferrets, including 16 sub-models under various Mark numbers, were manufactured between 1952 and 1962, when production ceased. It is possible to upgrade the engine using the more powerful FB60 version from the Austin Princess 4-Litre-R; this upgrade providing a 55bhp gain over the standard B60 engine.


Current operators

Former operators


There are several Marks of Ferret, including those with varying equipment, turret or no turret and armed with Swingfire anti-tank missiles. Including all the marks and experimental variants, there have probably been over 60 different vehicles.

Mk 1
  • FV701C
  • Liaison duties
  • No turret
  • Armament .30" Browning MG
MK 1/1
  • Fitted with thicker side and rear hull plates during manufacture
  • Sealed hull for fording
  • Armament .30" Browning MG
Mk 1/2
  • As Mk 1/1 but fitted with fixed turret with hinged roof door
  • Crew of three
  • Armament Bren LMG, later GPMG
Mk 1/2
  • As Mk 1/1 but fitted with flotation screen
  • Armament .30" Browning MG
Mk 2
  • Original reconnaissance vehicle with 2-door turret from Alvis Saracen APC
  • Armament .30" Browning MG
Mk 2/1
  • Original Mk 1 with 2-door turret from Alvis Saracen APC
  • Armament .30" Browning MG with Bren LMG stowage
Mk 2/2
  • Original Mk 1 with extension collar and 3-door turret
  • Armament .30" Browning MG
Mk 2/3
  • As original Mk 2 but fitted with thicker side and rear hull plates during manufacture
  • Armament .30" Browning MG
Mk 2/4
  • Original Mk 2 but fitted with welded-on appliqué on side and rear of hull and turret
  • Armament .30" Browning MG
Mk 2/5
  • As Mk 1 fitted with appliqué plates as the Mk 2/4
  • Armament .30" Browning MG with Bren LMG stowage
MK 2/6
  • FV703
  • As Mk 2/3 converted as carrier for *Vigilant antitank missile
  • Armament .30" Browning MG and four missiles mounted in boxes, two on each side of turret
  • Used by British Army and Abu Dhabi
Mk 2/7
  • FV701
  • As Mk 2/6 stripped of anti-tank missiles after Vigilant withdrawn from service
Mk 3
  • Basic hull for Mk 4 and 5
  • Larger wheels
  • Heavier armour
  • Stronger suspension
  • Flotation screen
Mk 4
  • FV711
  • Reconnaissance vehicle with 2-door turret from Alvis Saracen APC
  • Also Mk 2/3 rebuilt to new specification
  • Armament .30" Browning MG
Mk 5
  • FV712
  • Mk 3 hull with unusual wide flat turret for Swingfire anti-tank missiles and L7 GPMG
Ferret 80


  1. http://tenes.info/nostalgie/BLINDES/Auto_Mitrailleuse_AM_20_dans_le_Constantinois
  2. Abbott, Peter; Rodrigues, Manuel (1998). Modern African Wars 2: Angola and Mozambique 1961-74. Osprey Publishing. p. 11.
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  12. https://captainstevens.com/military/mv/ferret-scout-car/canadian-ferrets-all-124-by-car/
  13. Defence Update (International). Defence Update G.m.b.H., 1984, 1984–85 Volume Collected Issues 48–58.
  14. Christopher F. Foss. Jane's Armour and Artillery (2002 ed.). Macdonald and Jane's Publishers Ltd. p. 260. ISBN 978-0710623096.
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