• Drive an ex Army FV432 AFV (Armoured Fighting Vehicle)
• When not driving, you'll experience the ride of a soldier in the crew compartment
• Introductory talk, learning about the history of the vehicle and how it works
• Familiarisation session lasting around 15 minutes, your instructor will explain the use and function of the steering levers and controls
• Master gentle turns and a reverse before driving cross country to the woods
• You will form part of a small group 3 participants for this experience
• Opportunity to tour the centres vehicle collection which include a Saracen 6x6 APC, M2 Bridging Ferry, Stalwart and Chieftain Main Battle Tank (housed at a separate location)
• A guided tour of the military vehicles
Tank Driving Experience
• 45 minute session with at least 15 minutes personal drive time
• 30 minutes riding as a passenger
• Allow approximately one and a half hours on site for this experience
Extended Tank Driving Experience
• Extended sessions provide at least 25 minutes driving the tank
• Opportunity to try yout hand at a ford crossing in the tank, subject to water conditions
• Up to 40 minutes riding as a passenger when not at the controls
• Allow around 2 hours on site for this experience
What Can I Expect
Fun, laughter. mud and dirt - what more could you want when you go tank driving near Newcastle? A great bunch of people is behind this friendly firm. They love anything military (and preferably turbocharged) and seem to actually enjoy taking engines out of tanks in their workshop almost as much as they do taking guests out to drive them!
We are offering a taster and an extended tank drive for you, hosted by this Newcastle team. Locations are rotated (as trundling around in tanks does take it's toll on the ground), but all are within 30-minutes of Newcastle city centre and very easy to get to. The tank you’ll be driving is a FV432 AFV (that’s Armoured Fighting Vehicle, don’t you know) and it is, relatively speaking, a light tank, weighing in at…15 tonnes!
Unique to this Newcastle tank experience is the fact that your pre-drive briefing is done in another FV432. So whilst one tank is engaged in operations on the terrain, a second is parked up so you can explore all the controls in a static setting. This is also the perfect moment for you to ask all those tank questions you have, before it’s time to go live at the controls.
You’ll need your wits about you when it comes to driving the FV432. Just getting in the driver’s hatch is a bit of an obstacle course, as you climb over the roof of the tank from the crew cabin and down into the driving position. And don’t forget, it’s all levers and brakes here - and there’s no power assistance either. So, it’s a combination of brute strength and control needed to guide your fully-tracked tank across the Northumbrian terrain.
Your instructor will be taking up the vehicle commander position, overseeing you lot, the infantry, as you take it turns to drive. On the drive you will share the hot seat with two others over 40 minutes, whilst those on the extended drive get extra time to tackle a very steep bank with a 40ft drop on the other side, culminating in a ford crossing. It’s subject to weather conditions and the instructor giving you the go-ahead, but if you do it, it’s amazing. On both experiences there’s time for you to ride as passenger in the FV432’s crew compartment.
Back at base, those on the longer tank driving experience here in Newcastle will be invited for a little look around the workshop, which houses an eclectic collection of military vehicles. There are some rarities in there too, including an M2 Bridging Ferry capable of carrying your FV432 on its back - and it’s the only one of its kind in the North East. Then there’s a handy RAF 6x6 fire and rescue truck, an crazy amphibious combat engineer tractor and even a five-man Hovercraft that starred in a James Bond! Now there’s a story…
• Selected weekdays and weekends throughout the year
• Dates and session times are subject to availability and weather conditions
• Minimum age 15
• Unders 18s must be accompanied by a participating or spectating adult
• Good upper body strength is required to operate the (non power assisted) steering levers
• Participants with a chest size larger than 56" may have difficulty accessing these vehicles
• Not suitable if you have back, neck or heart problems or during pregnancy
• Experiences require a minimum of 2 participants to take place, if minimum numbers are not being reached your date will be rescheduled
• Spectators are welcome to join the introductory talk and ride as a passenger for an additional charge of £25 per person (£15 for ages 8-15)
Anything Else I Need To Know?
• Tank driving takes place at several different sites all located within a 30 minute drive from Newcastle city centre
• Full details of the specific site for your experience will be provided when booking your date