Today we have produced the parts for the turret front. The inner and outer mantlet parts are shown here, fitted together. The pockets in the front of the mantlet are for the gun barrel surround insert and the co-axial machine gun mount.
In a perfect world we would want to machine this turret on a large 5-axis machining centre. This would allow access to all
the different faces of the casting that require machined details. We do not, however, have such a machine. Instead, the turret has to be produced in a number of manually loaded separate operations. In the photograph the underside has been machined and the top surface is in progress. These ops are followed by smaller operations on the front and the angled sides and rear.
The front face of the turret is a separate section bolted to a machined recess in the turret casting. This piece carries the gun elevation pivots, upon which the gun mount swivels. The mantlet is bolted to the front of this mount, and carries the barrel in its recoil bush. These parts will be the next to be produced over the coming days.
The centurion uses a sprocket drive at the rear of the tank and an idler, or return wheel, at the front. The sprocket is a multi piece design with a main body machined from solid aluminium bar, and two bolt on sprocket rings produced by laser cutting. The sprocket is fixed to the gear shaft using our standard taper lock bush arrangement. The Idler wheel is very similar, although not identical, to the one fitted to the Comet. This features a one piece wheel bolted to a central hub that houses the bearings.