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Swedes at the
RAAC Tank Museum


The S tank loads onto a transporter at the wharf. The bar armour is clearly visible. The two stowage boxes from the hull rear are lashed to the front right glacis plate.

by Paul D. Handel



On Monday 13 January 2003, and unusual cargo rolled off the Wallenius Wilhelmsen Line ship, the MV Tourcoing, and onto the wharf in Melbourne. The RAAC Memorial and Army Tank Museum at Puckapunyal became the custodians of two significant pieces of armoured vehicle technology – an Strv103C Main Battle Tank and an Ikv 91 Tank Destroyer.

The acquisition of these vehicles by the Museum was the result of work done by Captain Stefan Karlsson of the Swedish Army to preserve some of his country’s unique AFVs. After meeting the Museum’s Manager, Major Paul Handel, at the Beltring 2000 military vehicle show in the United Kingdom, and with the assistance of Mr Bob Fleming, Stefan suggested that an approach to Swedish Armed Forces Headquarters may save some of the vehicles from being scrapped. In March 2002, the Museum Manager received an offer from Swedish Army Headquarters for the long term permanent loan of an Strv 103 C Tank, more commonly known as the S Tank, and an Ikv 91 Tank Destroyer. These vehicles were the last to be made available by the Swedish Government to outside Museums.

The Museum funding is such that the costs of transport to Australia of the two vehicles was not possible in house and so Army History Unit, the parent unit of all Army Museums submitted a brief to Army Headquarters based on the acquisition of these vehicles as being of great significance in AFV development, and their value for teaching and training purposes. The approval by Army for the transport costs shows the level of support now given to Army Museums by Army when there are training benefits in the acquisition of certain equipment.


The Ikv91 in the RAAC Tank Museum

Included in the Swedish offer was a one week training package, and WO2 Joe Linford, the Museum’s Curator, travelled to Sweden to undertake the course. This ensured that the Museum has a trained operator who can demonstrate the equipment on appropriate occasions, and more importantly, direct any regular maintenance work needed.

Both vehicles were fully operational and were complete except for the machine guns. WO2 Linford drove the vehicles from the ship, and both started without problem after their six week trip from Sweden. The S Tank is a turretless MBT which uses its hydro-pneumatically adjustable suspension to elevate and depress the fixed 105mm gun and is the latest upgraded version, with a GM Diesel and Boeing Turbine Power Pack, Bofors Automatic Transmission and special “bar armour’ designed to defeat HEAT rounds. The 16 tonne Ikv91 is a fully amphibious vehicle with a 90mm low-pressure cannon in a fully rotating turret.

All details of shipping and training on the Swedish side was organised by Commander Clas Oquist, and he played a major role in ensuring the RAAC Tank Museum received two startling exhibits.

The School of Armour assisted the Museum by providing a work party to undertake cleaning at the wharf to ensure Australian Quarantine regulations were met, and 26 Transport Squadron and 85 Transport Troop used their vehicles to transport the tanks to Puckapunyal.

The two vehicles are now located in the Museum, and on completion of some reorganisation of exhibits, will be housed in the Technology Hall.



Swedes at the RAAC Tank Museum PHOTO ALBUM


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The Ikv 91 (left) and the Strv103C being inspected by WO2 Joe Linford on Deck 1 of the MV Tourcoing.
The S Tank lands in Australia.
With the side fuel canisters removed, the suspension and track of the S Tank receive the attention of the Curator during the cleaning process.
A rear view as the S Tank climbs onto the transporter. The arrangement of the 105mm magazine hatches can be seen.
The Ikv 91 on the wash point. The turret is traversed to the rear.
A rear view of the Ikv 91. The bulky hull provides the buoyancy when the vehicle swims.
A front view of the Ikv91 showing the trim vane laying flat on the glacis plate.
The S tank in the RAAC Tank Museum


Article Text and Photographs Copyright © 2003 by Paul D. Handel
Page Created 15 March, 2003
Last Updated 14 March, 2003

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