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The FV4005 project came about in the late 1940s as a British attempt to build the longest range and most powerful gun possible to defeat a new generation of Soviet heavy tanks.

The 183mm calibre L4A1 is the biggest gun ever fitted to a tank. A completely new vehicle, called FV215, was being designed to take it, but it was also mounted to a Centurion hull like this so that it could be built more quickly if necessary.

The gun was very effective when it hit the target, but FV4005 could only carry 12 rounds, and needed two loaders for the 97kg, 144cm long ammunition. It also suffered from poor accuracy at its maximum range of 2000m. The project was cancelled in 1957 in favour of using missiles.

The Tank Museum’s FV4005

The Tank Museum has one of the two FV4005 Stage 2 turrets. These were representative of the tank that would have entered production. The single Stage 1 turret was a test-bed. The turret came to the Museum in 1970, without the Centurion Mark 3 hull it had been fitted to in service. In 2007 it was mounted on a Centurion Mark 12 hull and placed on display at the Museum exit. The vehicle recently underwent a restoration, supported by World of Tanks and undertaken by AW Hewes, and is now in running order. During the restoration, it was reunited with a Centurion Mark 3 hull, and the additional elements it would originally have had (for example, the support for the gun barrel) were fabricated.

Tank facts

Country of use
Full Name
Heavy Gun Tank Number 1
31.6km/h, 21.5mph
50.8 tonnes
Secondary Weapon
1 x .50 M2 machine-gun
Main Weapon
1 x 183mm L4A1 gun
Number produced
Produced by
Cold War


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