John Riley’s FV180 Combat Engineer Tractor was an eyecatcher at the Tanks, Trucks and Firepower show, writes Phil Loder

John Riley’s FV180 CET was built by the Royal Ordnance Factory in Nottingham in the late 1970s

Everyone loves an excavator, but John Riley’s FV180 Combat Engineer Tractor (CET) is something special. Having full amphibious capability and a rocketpropelled anchor, the ‘Frog’ – as it was affectionately known in British Army service – certainly outplays your average building site digger.

The origins of the CET date back to the early 1960s, when the UK, France and West Germany agreed to collaborate on the development of a vehicle that would essentially be an armoured, amphibious earth mover. The plan was to make a unique and specialist vehicle rather than simply a modified tank, and the Military Engineering Experimental Establishment (MEXE) at Christchurch near Bournemouth prepared a design. By 1968, the Royal Ordnance Factory at Leeds had built two initial prototypes.

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