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Rooikat Armoured Car

kaiserbill

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Due to the interest in the Ratel thread, I thought perhaps a similar thread detailing what is known concerning the Rooikat programme might be of interest. Once again, like many South African projects at the time, a lot of the information is hard won, due to tight security, sanctions, and secrecy clause obligations.

I do not claim that what I am about to post is authoritive or definitive, but rather what I have managed to piece together over the years. Any corrections or filling in of blanks would most certainly be very welcome.

The Panhard AML, and in particular the AML90, was produced in great numbers in South Africa from 1962 onwards. In fact, one third of all the AML cars produced were produced by South Africa, who manufactured just under 1500. Known as the Eland, this vehicle was then slowly modified during the various batches until the latest edition featured many improvemnts,including a diesel engine. Some of Irelands AML's have been modified by South Africa to incorporate a diesel and Ratel 20mm turret.

From the late 1970's South Africa instituted a programme for an indigineous heavy armoured car more suited to their philosophy of deep, rapid mechanised strike forces. 6x6 and 8x8 were looked at, with 8x8 preferred. This was called the New Generation Armoured Car, which eventually resulted in the Rooikat.

Development started around 1976, with 3 prototype vehicles called for. These were delivered for testing in 1979. All were 8x8 and were equipped with a turret mounting a 77mm Mk2 gun taken from retired Comet tanks.

Concept 1: An 8x8 with Ratel features
Concept 2: An 8x8 with Eland (AML) features
Concept 3: An 8x8 with Saracen features

After testing, these vehicles were rejected and a second round with developed vehicles and refined objectives called for. The testing for this phase seems to be around 1982 and is a little less clear. I know of at least 4 different vehicles that were tested during this phase, although it is very likely there were more.

4 pre-production vehicles of the winning design were evaluated in 1987, acquiring the name Rooikat. 2 more further modified Rooikats were then evaluated in 1988, when production then commenced in that same year. The Rooikat family was mooted to produce a family of vehicles, of which it is known that Air defence Missile, Air Defence Gun, and Infantry Combat Vehicle versions were built.

The phase between 1982 and 1987 is most interesting, but also the most closed.

I will be posting pictures of all the known vehicles. Any further help or insight would be most appreciated, as would any comments.
 

kaiserbill

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From the first phase, with testing in 1979, we'll start with Concept 1, which had Ratel characteristics.
 

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kaiserbill

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Concept 2 from the early 1979 phase has Eland, or AML characteristics.
 

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kaiserbill

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Concept 3 was a vehicle with Saracen features.
 

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kaiserbill

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Concept 1, with the Ratel heritage, is obviously a large vehicle that could still double as a troop carrier. In fact, over the rear deck there appears to be hatches for this very purpose.

None of these 3 vehicles were accepted, and the next phase followed, with more developed requirements and more developed concepts from the various bidders. This phase is still a little murky in regards to the amount of bids and the types of vehicles. Let us hope time solves this. Certainly from what I've heard by 1982 the fresh tests were being carried out on a variety of vehicles, of which I know of 3 , possibly 4. At this stage there was also the requirement of later upgrading to a 105mm L7 type ordinance, and this led to a particularly heavyweight entry that was to all intents and purposes a wheeled tank.

The vehicles I know of were a 6x6 vehicle which has been described as having a good deal of it's design origin in Germany. This vehicle is still at the armour museum ar Bloemfontein and looks all the world to me like a TH400 or close derivative. This vehicle was rejected during this second phase.

The first picture, unfortunately small, obviously shows it during this phase with turret.
 

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kaiserbill

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A branch-off of the requirement to be able to mount heavier ordinance such as the 105mm L7 led to a particularly interesting vehicle.

This was known as the Bismark.

At this stage, with the future Rooikat 105 still about 10 years in the future, the Bismark basically was a wheeled tank. Some of the specifications provided to me were that it was built in 1982/3 by Sandock Austral and had a crew of 4. It weighed 41 tons, without turret I assume as the gentleman I got this from informed me that most of the pictures he has is without a turret. The images here show it with a 105mm turret from the Olifant Mk1B, which is a tank approaching 60 tons in weight. As the G6 approaches 47 tons, this may have been even heavier in the end, although this is speculation on my part. Certainly it's tyres are huge.
This turret was fitted for weight trials according to him, so a different turret might probably have been invisaged. Bismark was to be armed with a 105mm L7, 2 Mg's, and 8x81mm smoke launchers. It had a turbo charged liquid cooled diesel delivering 588kw at 2400rpm. It had an automatic transmission (4 forward, 1 reverse) with hydro pneumatic suspension delivering a speed of 86km/h and a range of 1000km.

This vehicle was tested just as the final developmental type of Rooikat was selected, so also was not selected.

This vehicle is currently at the armour museum in Bloemfontein.
 

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Firefly 2

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rickshaw said:
Mmmm, they do like to build BIG vehicles down there in South Africa, don't they?

It is my belief that this has something to do with the long distance missions these vehicles were built for. The size makes it possible to incorporate a lot of space for fuel and ammunition, both needed in the long distance patrol / raid missions.
 

Firefly 2

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I agree to a certain point, however the Rooikat was developed based on lessons learned from the long range operations South Africans conducted in the Bush. French magazine DSI stated that the Rooikat was built around the smallest gun that could be used for dissabling opposing armour, and then put the emphasis on range, comfort and speeds. The Rooikat has tremendous range ( 1000 km), fairly adequate armouring and high speed ( and in some circles speed is considered a form of armour). I think it was developed as a very specialized vehicle adapted to Bush conditions, rather than a generic armoured car.
As such, I could imagine that " bridge crossing" capabilities weren't a primary design concern.
 

Abraham Gubler

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Firefly 2 said:
I cannot detect a flaw in your logic based on my limited knowledge. Agreed.

Ahh what about events? And the combined experience of the SADF after 20 odd years of war who specified the Rooikat to be what it is. Don’t they have a say in this matter? Please let me explain the subtle yet important differences between the Rooikat and a low slung recce and surveillance vehicle like the Fennek.

Firstly on size and height for visual signature this is of course directly related but in South Africa it’s a different type of battlespace than in Europe. A moving vehicle in the dusty environment is going to generate a significant visual plume no matter how small it is. Since the Rooikat was most definitely an armoured cavalry vehicle - advancing to contact all the time – and not a surveillance vehicle – only moving to get to an observation post and then being stationary to observe – in its operational environment and role more height is not such a problem because it can’t realistically stay hidden thanks to its dust signature.

So in this environment it can only avoid the enemy’s responses to its visual signature by staying on the move and displacing generating the greater need for driving endurance. Which is why it needs more volume to carry more fuel so it can cover a distance operationally at a much higher speed than smaller vehicles with first line logistic support. What this means is the Rooikat troop/squadron can carry out a patrol without the need to stop and refuel and so on which adds a lot of time. The enemy would be able to exploit this time to fix their position and attack. The speed of manoeuvre also adds to their own lethality being a product of mass and velocity.

While all this extra fuel, ammo, etc added volume the vehicle designers compensated by adding additional weight. So more weight was available for armour and so on. Which is why the Rooikat weighs in at about twice as much as a comparable vehicle (LAV 2) for role and payload.

Now as to the effect this has on its mobility due to being very big for roads and gap crossing (which don’t just have to be wet) again it is the South African environment that is important. African roads are not constrained by being built in like European roads – they are basically tracks in the bush – and the width of the Rooikat is not going to face problems trying to fit through and corner in tight road verges. It has a wider wheel track than most trucks but that probably is a good thing as it won’t add to dirt road degradation for the following force.

Again when it comes to gap crossing the nature of the South African water cycle is not favourable to any kind of partial amphibious vehicle capability. Your typical partial amphibious armoured car can only handle slowly moving water and in Southern Africa its either drought or flood. To cross these kinds of rivers you need a lot more power going to your water propulsion than most military river crossing vehicles. Also considering the propensity for swamp formation as well during the wet season you are going to need a lot more than just a propeller on the back of the vehicle to traverse this kind of gap. During the dry season a long, four axle vehicle is better suited to traversing dry river beds than something smaller. Much better. As to bridges… what bridges?

The key issue is there are two main roles that are commonly grouped together under the reconnaissance banner (because many units carry out both roles). They are cavalry and mounted surveillance. You can carry out the later mission with a Hummer if you want but not the former. For that you need something like the Rooikat.
 

kaiserbill

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Excellent points Abraham. Note also that a reduced logistics train over those distances means less signature and less vulnerability in itself.

Back on topic, the next 3 pictures seem to show the design from the second phase that was selected for further development. Note that it shares some features from Concept 2 of the first stage, albeit obviously more developed. Note the wide tyres, and how it shows the beginnings of looking like a type of Rooikat, particularly in the last pic.

It seems that from this vehicle, the next development stage was instituted, resulting in the first Rooikat prototype, which I'll post next.
 

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kaiserbill

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The next phase I have is the vehicle that appears to have been developed from the vehicle in the 3 black & white photo's in my previous post. It is generally labelled as the Rooikat prototype. If anybody has a closeup of that plaque on the vehicle front, it should clear up when this vehicle was manufactured.

A brief perusal shows this vehicle still has a considerable amount of differences to the production Rooikat.

Please note that this is what I have surmised so far, and I may very well have missed out various vehicles and development stages. This vehicle is at the armour museum at Bloemfontein.
 

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Firefly 2

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Abraham Gubler said:
Firefly 2 said:
I cannot detect a flaw in your logic based on my limited knowledge. Agreed.

Ahh what about events? And the combined experience of the SADF after 20 odd years of war who specified the Rooikat to be what it is. Don’t they have a say in this matter? Please let me explain the subtle yet important differences between the Rooikat and a low slung recce and surveillance vehicle like the Fennek.

As I said in my previous post, my knowledge is limited ( which shouldn't detriment to my willingness to be a meaningfull contributor to the forum). Thank you for your points, they raise interresting questions I will research over the next few days ( instead of rellying on gut feeling as I usually have).
Some net surfing revealed the next document, explaining in a very simple way the rationale behind Rooikat development.

http://www.iss.co.za/Pubs/Monographs/No2/Dippenaar.html
 

kaiserbill

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Rickshaw, anybody who has commanded armoured vehicles in rural Southern Africa will attest to the beating they take.
I am very interested in these "comparisons between the Rooikat and similar tracked units replacing broken tracks when engaged in similar long-range operations in similar terrain elsewhere around the globe" It would be much appreciated if you would point me toward where I may find this info.

As a previous poster has stated, the Rooikat was a well thought out programme that took consideration of the practical requirements first from years of experience of warfare in the conditions and terrain experienced. I doubt very much if anybody can accuse the South Africans of designing the wrong vehicles for their own requirements. Their entire military vehicle history directly points to an ultimately practical bent, with some highly unusual and orginal vehicles. A brief perusal of this history in fact will show the unsuitability of many of the European designs they previously used in comparison to later local developments.

Sizewise, the 6x6 G6 is a larger vehicle that self deployed to the Southern Angolan theatre. It is 3,5 meters wide and weighs over 45 tons. It was the widest combat vehicle in the SADF at the time. Of the 3 vehicles deployed, only 1 puncture was suffered in over 3000km of bundu bashing through the bush in Southern Angola. Granted, the Rooikat will generally travel at faster speeds, but the point stands.
The German Luchs, which is a comparable vehicle albeit 10 years earlier, is actually wider and higher than the Rooikat, even if it is 10 tons lighter. The Rooikat is faster, longer legged, and can fight for information if need be.

An interesting point was made to me in that several Rooikats were ticketed going in excess of 140km/h (almost 90mph) on the National highway outside Bloemfontein. As most military vehicles in South Africa have a governor limiting their speed, these must have had theirs removed or disabled. The general road speed of the Rooikat is given as 120km/h (75mph).

Firefly, that was an interesting link you posted. Thanks.

I'd like to post some of the production Rooikats next. Does anyone know if there was more than one production variant or model? I seem to recall there being some changes made to the turret top or cuppola, but I may be mistaken.
 

kaiserbill

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The next photos are of production Rooikats (early ones I think).
Comparison of this vehicle with the prototype I posted earlier reveals how the vehicle continued to evolve between the prototype and production vehicles. Turret and hull still shows some considerable evolution.


It appears that there were 2 production variants or modifications, as a brief study of the turret and seems to reveal some subtle differences. My following post will show what I mean.
 

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kaiserbill

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These ones appear to to have subtle differences, particularly concerning the turret. Was this the major later production variant?

Certainly some of the fire control instruments and sensors appear different.
 

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kaiserbill

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rickshaw said:
Overall, the maintenance/repair needs of wheeled versus tracked vehicles appears to be very similar, despite their supposed advantages/disadvantages during deployment over extended distances.


I did not suggest that the SADF were fools. As in any such AFV there are many compromises which must be addressed. They made compromises which were, on the face of it, from my experience, different to the ones which I would have been willing to accept. They have traded strategic mobility and a small logistics tail for disadvantages because of the relative size of the vehicle. As I said, I would have preferred to have a smaller, better armoured vehicle and accepted a larger logistic tail for units equipped with it, to provide it with the tactical advantages which such an AFV enjoys. Its a case of, as they say, what you win on the roundabout, you lose on the swings. A bigger vehicle offers certain advantages that a smaller one does not. A smaller one offers different advantages which a bigger one does not. The Rooikat is not a bad vehicle, merely different to what I'd have chosen.

I'm afraid your opinions differ very much from mine on some of these points, unless I've misread them. Are you saying the advantages enjoyed by wheeled vehicles over extended distances, in the Southern African context, are only supposed?

What advantages have South Africa sacrificed due to the Rooikats size? Bear in mind that the little Eland 90 was the predecessor of the Rooikat, and in fact was used concurrently with it. Even after a complete modernisation was offered of this visually small but powerfully armed vehicle, the SADF still preferred the Rooikat.

And a smaller, better armoured vehicle? What smaller, better armoured vehicle in the late 1980's are you referring to?
One that was designed to withstand 23mm over the frontal arc?
Like the Rooikat was.

On other points I agree that every vehicle is a fine balance of compromises.

But a larger logistics trail just increases your signature in the fluid African situation.
 

Firefly 2

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Kaiserbill, I don't know how much help this is to you, but I found this:

The project was subject to considerable infighting in the armour community. Three prototypes were ordered after 1976, the first based on the Ratel ICV, the second, by Sandock Austral on the Eland armoured car and the third on the British Saracen APC then in use. Trials were held in 1979 but none of the vehicles were deemed satisfactory. A new vehicle, in three prototypes, the "Cheetah", was commissioned in 1982, the various designs having a rear and a front-mounted engine and the third being a "heavy" variant. Model 2B, the rear-engined variant, won and two pre-production models were tested in 1984/5. But the selection of Model 2B meant a hoped-for infantry carrier variant became impractical. To date no actual variants of the Rooikat, as the vehicle was renamed in 1987, have emerged. The next year, two more pre-production models were tested and a year later production started and deliveries got underway. By then the Namibian conflict was over.

From: http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=496&catid=50:Land&Itemid=105

On a personal note, I must say that the performance of the Denel GT4 is most impressive.
I guess the latest batch of pictures you posted concern the aforementioned pre-production models. I'm, however, unable to find more details at this point
 

kaiserbill

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Thanks firefly. The last pictures I posted are of the last production model equipped with a 76mm as far as I can tell.

On the quote in your post, some interesting points emerge. The TH400, Bismark, and winning vehicle are all rear engined vehicles, yet the report talks of front engined vehicles as well. I wonder if they are referring to the vehicle I have posted in the Ratel thread.

A correction to the quote is that there were indeed Rooikat variants that emerged in prototype form, but none have been manufactured serially. I will post some of these next.
 

kaiserbill

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The standard Rooikat is also known as the Rooikat76. This is due to it being equipped with a 76mm Denel GT4 gun. Interestingly, this calibre was preferred to a heavier 105mm gun due to the fact that much more ammunition can be carried, thereby tying up neatly with what was discussed earlier in this thread about the combat sustainability and low logistical footprint of the Rooikat over longer distances. The GT4 is capable of easily penetrating the front hull and turret of the T-62 at over 2000m. A range of advanced ammunition is produced, including APFSDS with mv "in excess" of 1600m/s.

There was always interest, from early in the programme, in being able to mount a 105mm if need be.

The later Rooikat105 is equipped with a Denel GT7 105mm high pressure, low recoil rifled gun that is based on the British L7. It is 52 calibres long and can fire all the standard NATO ammo. This can be replaced by an advanced Denel GT8 105mm rifled gun.
 

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kaiserbill

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There are some other variants that I will post on as well. There was an air defence variant with twin 35mm guns and radar and optical fire control called the ZA35 SPAAG, as well as a missile variant mounting SAHV-3 missiles that were developed into the naval Umkhonto currently oh the SA Navy's Valour class.

Also a single 35mm cannon vehicle with ZT-3 laser guided anti tank missiles, and what appears to be a later multi weapons adaptable platform.
 

JFC Fuller

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Kaiser,

Do you know if the Denel GT12 120mm low recoil gun was ever installed on a Rooikat, I have seen a Jane's article stating that it was to happen in 2004 but I dont know if it ever did?

Apparently this was also to have a 12-13 round bustle mounted autoloader?
 

Abraham Gubler

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Firefly 2 said:
On a personal note, I must say that the performance of the Denel GT4 is most impressive.

Its a great gun. Here is some data I collected a few years ago from a source I unfortunately didn't record (probably Denel):

The GT4 76mm/62 calibre gun weighs 1,575kg and has HE-T and APFSDS-T rounds. The tungsten alloy APFSDS-T has a muzzle velocity of 1610m/s (5,281fps) and an effective range of 2000-3000m, being capable of penetrating the T54/55 and T62 at all angles of attack. The HE-T has a velocity of 915m/s (3,000fps), a direct fire range of 3000m and a indirect fire range of 12km when fired from the Rooikat turret. A Canister round was planned for the weapon, and may be available by now. The rounds used by the GT4 are the same as the Italian OTO Melara Naval gun but uses electronic rather than mechanical priming. Ammo for the OTO Melara includes Proxinity Fused Fragment (PFF) and Multirole with VT, PD andTime delay fusing, both of 6.3kg weight with a 0.75kg HE content. There is also a APFSDS-T of 2.175kg.
 

kaiserbill

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Interesting info Abraham, thanks.

Sealord, I personally am not aware of fitting a 120mm low recoil to the Rooikat, although this would not surprise me as it has been done to the Centauro already. I am interested in Denels 120mm range, which I believe was based on Rheinmetall's benchmark 120mm, although here I am purely assuming this. The Denel 120mm was developed for the next generation South African tank to follow the Olifant, and in which the suitable technologies were demonstrated by the TTD.

I would actually be interested in finding out more about the South African 120mm if you have any further info Sealord.
 

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kaiserbill said:
rickshaw said:
Overall, the maintenance/repair needs of wheeled versus tracked vehicles appears to be very similar, despite their supposed advantages/disadvantages during deployment over extended distances.


I did not suggest that the SADF were fools. As in any such AFV there are many compromises which must be addressed. They made compromises which were, on the face of it, from my experience, different to the ones which I would have been willing to accept. They have traded strategic mobility and a small logistics tail for disadvantages because of the relative size of the vehicle. As I said, I would have preferred to have a smaller, better armoured vehicle and accepted a larger logistic tail for units equipped with it, to provide it with the tactical advantages which such an AFV enjoys. Its a case of, as they say, what you win on the roundabout, you lose on the swings. A bigger vehicle offers certain advantages that a smaller one does not. A smaller one offers different advantages which a bigger one does not. The Rooikat is not a bad vehicle, merely different to what I'd have chosen.

I'm afraid your opinions differ very much from mine on some of these points, unless I've misread them. Are you saying the advantages enjoyed by wheeled vehicles over extended distances, in the Southern African context, are only supposed?

What advantages have South Africa sacrificed due to the Rooikats size?

No. What I am saying is that in choosing a large, wheeled vehicle, the South Africans have chosen one which has the following advantages:

  • Wheels instead of tracks which allow greater strategic mobility
  • Wheels which are generally cheaper to run than tracks
  • Long range
  • Carries more ammunition

the last two of which confers upon units operating this vehicle, a smaller "logistics tail".

However, the choice of a larger vehicle confers disadvantages such as:

  • Lightly armoured (because of a larger armoured volume which must be contained for a given weight)
  • Vulnerable tyres
  • Lower tactical mobility because of the choice of wheels over tracks
  • Larger silhouette, hence a larger target
  • Higher weight which brings with it decreased mobility

Now, if we bear in mind a more lightly armoured vehicle is more vulnerable and much more likely when hit to be penetrated and hence produce more casualties than a smaller, more heavily armoured vehicle, it is obvious that the protection of the crews is being traded for strategic mobility. Is that a bad choice? I think that depends upon your outlook and how you perceive the vehicle being used.

Bear in mind that the little Eland 90 was the predecessor of the Rooikat, and in fact was used concurrently with it. Even after a complete modernisation was offered of this visually small but powerfully armed vehicle, the SADF still preferred the Rooikat.

And a smaller, better armoured vehicle? What smaller, better armoured vehicle in the late 1980's are you referring to?

Perhaps one which could have been developed instead of it?

On other points I agree that every vehicle is a fine balance of compromises.

Then we are obviously largely in agreement.

But a larger logistics trail just increases your signature in the fluid African situation.

You could claim that a more heavily armoured AFV means that your crews will have better protection and hence be better able to survive an encounter with the enemy. The Israelis took this view to heart and produced the Merkava MBT, specifically to ensure that crew survival came first. Trading crew survival for a smaller logistics tail would be questionable from that viewpoint.

Your "signature" will be quite large, no matter how big your logistics tail is. Something even Abraham correctly pointed out. Long-range operations have been successfully conducted by units with significantly larger logistic tails than it appears the SADF was willing to accept with the Rooikat. Perhaps their real problem was manpower, not whether their armoured cavalry units needed to be self-supporting over long distances?
 

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kaiserbill said:
Interesting info Abraham, thanks.

Sealord, I personally am not aware of fitting a 120mm low recoil to the Rooikat, although this would not surprise me as it has been done to the Centauro already. I am interested in Denels 120mm range, which I believe was based on Rheinmetall's benchmark 120mm, although here I am purely assuming this. The Denel 120mm was developed for the next generation South African tank to follow the Olifant, and in which the suitable technologies were demonstrated by the TTD.

I would actually be interested in finding out more about the South African 120mm if you have any further info Sealord.

Kaiser,

As I understand it the weapon developed for the TTD programme was the GT6, this was a dual 120mm/140mm weapon (fitting the trend at the time to prepare for the jump to 140mm) and development started in 1988. From this was developed the GT9 for generic MBT applications (possibly an Olifant upgrade?) and from this the GT12 was developed for lighter weight applications but does not appear to have made it on to a Rooikat.

Interestingly, both the TTD and the proposed 120mm Rooikat turret used a loading system similar to that in the Merkava IV, there is an autoloader but it passes the rounds to the gun loader through a port in the magazine who then loads them manually.
 

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sealordlawrence said:
Kaiser,

As I understand it the weapon developed for the TTD programme was the GT6, this was a dual 120mm/140mm weapon (fitting the trend at the time to prepare for the jump to 140mm) and development started in 1988. From this was developed the GT9 for generic MBT applications (possibly an Olifant upgrade?) and from this the GT12 was developed for lighter weight applications but does not appear to have made it on to a Rooikat.

Interestingly, both the TTD and the proposed 120mm Rooikat turret used a loading system similar to that in the Merkava IV, there is an autoloader but it passes the rounds to the gun loader through a port in the magazine who then loads them manually.

Fascinating stuff Sealord. I was aware of the looking toward 140mm, as was the trend at the time. The TTD was always stated as being able to field a 140mm if needed. I assume prototype guns were manufactured and tested and wonder if any images were ever released or are existanr in the public domain.

Perhaps a topic for an Olifant/TTD/ SA tank thread? ;D
 

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The first pic below is of an earlier variant that was equipped with a single 35mm cannon and what appears to be the same launcher as fitted to the Ratel ZT-3 anti tank missile vehicle. This mounts 3 ready to use ZT-3 laser guided anti tank missiles.

The second pic is of a Rooikat vehicle, albeit with an interesting upgrade of an Eland 4x4 car in front, with what looks to be elevator mounted optics as well as additional armour.

The 3rd and 4th pictures are of another variant that mounts what looks to be a multipurpose turret. 4 missiles, an SS-77mg and what appears to be a 20mm cannon?
 

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The Za-35 was an air defence version bases on an extended Rooikat chassis. More info can be found in this thread:
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,8696.0.html
 

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I'm not too sure what this vehicle was used for. Perhaps driver training, cross country trials or some form of training vehicle? A non standard colour scheme in green.
 

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The other interesting variant of the Rooikat that has been displayed recently is the electric Rooikat. I have some pictures of this vehicle and will try and post some info on it.
 

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The Rooikat fitted with electric drive is part of a project that has been going on for over 15 years. Below is part of an article posted in 2006. Unfortunately the article is abreviated, but there is a PDF online of the full article stating that with an electric drive system, 2 tons in weight and 1,5 cubic meters in volume is saved, savings which obviously may be used in a variety of ways, including additional armour.

South Africa’s defence acqui-sition, disposals and research and development (R&D) agency, Armscor, will next year start a combat vehicle electric-drive technology test programme for the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), using a modified Rooikat armoured fighting vehicle, as the demonstrating vehicle for this technology.

Electric drive, once perfected, will revolutionise the design and significantly improve the capabilities of especially, but not exclusively, armoured vehicles, and is a technology being actively pursued in a number of major countries.

“Electric-drive vehicles have electrical motors in each wheel hub; they consequently have no axles, drive shafts, transmissions, or gearboxes,” explains Armscor e-drive technology manager Wynand Avenant.

“This gives design flexibility that mechanical drives don’t have – gearboxes and transmissions must be in certain places, but with electric drive you just have cables that can be routed anywhere,” he highlights.

The elimination of mechancial drives will also reduce the combat vulnerability of armoured vehicles.

“This is a technology develop- ment and evaluation tool – the SANDF needs answers on electric drive: what is its reliability? Fuel consumption? Life cycle costs? Maintainability? This project will answer these questions,” he affirms.

The Rooikat is the latest stage in a project that started 12 years ago.

“Conversion of this Rooikat was completed a couple of weeks before Africa Aerospace and Defence 2006, in September, and it was shown there,” he states. “Optimisation of the vehicle is now under way, and the test programme will start next year,” he adds.

The Rooikat is the South African Army’s standard armoured fighting vehicle – to the uninitiated, it looks like a wheeled tank – and in its standard production form is a well-armoured, 28-t, 8 5 8, diesel-powered vehicle.

“We originally started by develop- ing an electric-drive truck, to use as a demonstrator for the SANDF – trucks are very easy to convert to electric drive as they have very simple chassis and bodies – and the conversion was completed in 1996; we then ran lots of tests from then until 2001: we tested it in the mountains of Mpumalanga; we tested it in the desert; we tested it in the snow in Germany; we tested it towing Ratel infantry fighting vehicles; we proved its practicality, so the SANDF approved the fitting of a Rooikat chassis with electric drive,” he reports.

This has been done, and various initial tests executed.

“We adapted a standard Mercedes- Benz diesel engine, which was upgraded by MTU, increasing the power output from 315 kW to 450 kW, but reduced the torque – as required by the electric alternator – and changed the fuel management system so that the best consumption is not at maximum torque but at the optimal operation point for the electrical drive system,” he recounts.

An electric motor is fitted in each wheel, each motor having a diameter of less than 50 cm. These are permanent magnet motors, and the Armscor edrive team has also developed the electronics to drive the motors – each electronic unit can handle up to 1 MW.

“In braking mode, each electric motor can deliver up to 400 kW; in traction mode, each can provide a constant power of up to 80 kW; each can deliver 2 200 N/m torque at zero speed."

http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/new-propulsion-system-under-test-for-armys-fighting-vehicles-2006-11-03
 

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Apophenia

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Cheers kaiserbill! Always wanted to know what the CVED looked like.
 

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sealordlawrence said:
Kaiser,

Do you know if the Denel GT12 120mm low recoil gun was ever installed on a Rooikat, I have seen a Jane's article stating that it was to happen in 2004 but I dont know if it ever did?

Apparently this was also to have a 12-13 round bustle mounted autoloader?

Sealord, after a little research, apparently the LIW 120mm smoothbore was tested fitted on a LMT-105 turret as used in the Rooikat 105. The Rooikat was apparently designed with a future potential 120mm upgrade in mind.

I have not been able to find out exactly when yet, nor the results.
 

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Reply 9 on the first page of this thread, I posted some black and white photos of one of the developmemt vehicles. This seems to be phase 2 of the programme, and shares features with the original Concept 2.

Reply 10 then shows what looks to be the beginnings of a recognisable Rooikat, albeit with considerable differences.

I recently found the image below, which looks like a further part of the development between the 2 vehicles above. There are still small hull differences, a little more turret differences from the earlier vehicle. The following description and photo is from the SA Armour museum.


PROTOTYPE, CLASS 2B, NEW GENERATION ARMOURED CAR PROJECT (RSA)
Crew: 4

Combat Mass: 26, 259 mt

Armament: 76 mm GT-4 Gun; 2 x 7,62 mm Browning Machine-gun; 60mm Breech Loading Mortar; 6 x 81 mm Smoke Generator Launchers;

76 mm Ammunition: 76mm GUN: APFSD/T; HE 60mm Mortar: HE; Smoke, Canister Illuminating

Engine: ADE; 90 V; 10 Cyl; Turbo Charged; Liquid Cooled; Inter-cooled Diesel; 416 kW (558 hp) at 2 100 r/min

Transmission: HSV 106; Fully automatic; 6 Fwd 1 Rev; Manual Selection 1-6 and Rev; Configuration - 4x4 or 8x8; High and Low Range Transverse and Longitudinal Differential Locks

Speed: Road 120 km/h - Cross Country 50 km/h

Operating Range: Road 750 km - Cross Country 300 km/h

Unique Feature: Selectable Skid Turn; Both Directions at 10 km/h Turret Mounted 60mm Mortar


In 1982/83 three Proto vehicles were built featuring different drive trains and suspensions. These Prototypes were evaluated and after extensive trials ‘Proto 2B’ was accepted as the criteria for the new generation armoured car. This vehicle on display was built by Sandock Austral (Pty) Ltd Two modified class two models were built by Sandock-Austral Ltd for further trials which started in 1984 and continued into 1985. During 1987 the Research and Development section of the School of Armour evaluated the first four production model Rooikat Armoured cars. ‘Operation Musketeer’.
 

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In Reply 5, we also covered the massive vehicle known as the Bismark. this appears to be an entry into phase 2 or later, and was not developed further in regards to the New Generation Armoured Car project. the pictures I posted on page 1 show it equipped with an Olifant Mk1B turret, as is obvious and can be confirmed by the spare tank treads mounted on this turret. The info I received at the time stated that this was not the turret intended for this vehicle, and may have been added as part of weight trials.

The picture below shows what appears to be the original turret intended for this vehicle. I have never seen this picture until now. Both picture and description are from the SA Armour museum.


PROTOTYPE, CLASS 3 NEW GENERATION ARMOURED CAR PROJECT (RSA)
Crew: 4

Combat Mass: 41, 049 mt

Armament: 105 mm (L7) GT-3 Gun; 2 x 7,62 mm Browning Machine-gun; 60 mm Breech Loading Mortar; 8 x 81 mm Smoke Generator Launchers; 105mm - APDS/T L52; APFSDS/T; HEAT/T; HESH/T WP/T

Engine: MTU-V6-6396; V-6 Cyl; Turbo Charged; Liquid Cooled Diesel; 588 kW (786 hp) at 2 400 r/min

Transmission: ZF4HP 2000; Fully automatic; 4 Fwd 1 Rev; Manual Selection; 1-4 and Rev; Configuration - 8x8; Transverse and Longitudinal Differential Locks

Speed: Road 86 km/h

Operating Range: Road 1 000 km

Unique Feature: Hydro-Neumatic suspension system; Turret mounted 60mm breech-loading mortar


This vehicle manufactured, circa 1982/83, was the heaviest of the three different classes built for evaluation. The suspension was hydro-pneumatic with a turret designed to accommodate a 105 mm L7 tank gun. The vehicle was built in South Africa by Sandock Austral (Pty) Ltd who was technically assisted by an West German firm. The project was shelved in favour of the Class 2B.
 

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Post No 26 on Page 2 of this thread showed a small picture of a Rooikat armed with a 35mm gun and a bank of 3 ZT-3 anti tank guided missiles. It was the only picture of this setup I've seen, but today this picture below cropped up in a related search.

It shows what appears to be the same 35mm setup, but without the ATGW launcher.
 

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kaiserbill said:
It shows what appears to be the same 35mm setup, but without the ATGW launcher.

I remember this image from a HRH article in MILTECH circa 1990. This was the 'command' variant of the Rooikat modified to make the anti tank version.
 

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I have just joined this forum and would like to make a few comments on the development of the Rooikat. These facts are probably all known to you. The initial 3 prototypes, i.e. based on the Ratel, the AML and the Saracen were primarily intended to evaluate various suspension systems. The Ratel variant had MAN solid axles on coils. The Sandock Austral AML variant used the powered trailing arms pioneered by Panhard and used in vehicles like the AML, ERC and the AMX-10RC. The suspension was on coils as in the case of the AML. The Saracen variant had unequal length wishbones sprung on torion bars. Apparently the best ride quality was ontained with the Saracen suspension while, as expected, the Ratel derivative was worst. It is not clear why the AML suspension was fianlly chosen as it is both heavier and more expensive than a wishbone setup such as used in the Bismarck vehicle. The biggest advantage of the powered trailing arm setup is probably that all mechanical components are completely enclosed and protected against mechanical damage, dust, etc.

As far as the main armament of the Rooikat is concerned, I don't think the 105mm NATO type gun was ever considered during the design stages of the vehicle. The practice of putting this type of weapon in light vehicles only really started with the development of the various low recoil versions of the gun by Rheinmetall in the early eighties, as far as I know. In the late seventies, early eighties, the standard L7 gun had a maximum recoil distance of less than 30cm and produced about 500 kN of trunnion pull. One needed a vehicle of not much less than 50 tons to be able to absorb this kind of recoil. The projected weight of the Rooikat was initially around 20-22 tons, as far as I know. Putting a NATO type gun into a 22 ton vehicle was unthinkable in the late seventies, early eighties. This is illustrated by the huge Bismarck which resulted from the South African's desire to mount an L7 type gun on a wheeled chassis.

South Africa was producing ammunition for the 76/62 Oto Melara gun at that time. The Rooikat gun was closely based on the Italian weapon, including the same 62 calibre barrel length and the same cartridge case. Instead of percussion primed, the Rooikat ammuntion was electrically primed however. All that really had to be developed was the APFSDS round. This was almost certainly done with the cooperation of IMI (Israel) and/or Oto Melara. At the time the South African gun was developed, IMI and Oto Melara were also cooperating on another gun based on the 76/62 Oto round, in this case necked down to 60mm.
 

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Great to see you here at secretprojects Herman. L7 105mm guns have beem mounted on medium tanks down to 30 tonnes (original Leopard 1, TAM). However being full tracked they would be much better at absorbing the recoil than a same sized wheeled vehicle which would put a lot of strain on the suspension when firing. Thanks for the info on the Israeli connection with the 76mm and 60mm.
 

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