Rooikat Armoured Car

Graugrun

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Just borrowing this pic from Kaiserbill's post #235 - I meant to write about this sooner.. I've circled some of the strange bumps seen on this experimental vehicle - they are in fact part of an experimental self protection system (they were shown to me while I climbed over it by one of the current School of Armour members). They pop out spinning water sprayers that instantly cover the vehicle in a fine mist of water (and some sort of special additive), that instantly blanks out most of it's thermal/infra-red signature and to a large degree also it's visual signature. This was to work in conjunction with the Avitronics LED self protection system, as part of it's 'Soft Kill' protection layer.

It apparently worked pretty well in tests, however the carrying of extra (special) water tanks for the spray, the complex piping system, as well as the concern that the 'proud' spray nozzles would get damaged in the harsh African bush, put paid to the project as a feasible one. I cannot remember now what they system was called - but will try to find it out again.

You can pull out the extension (pop out) piece, with the actual water sprayer now extended and visible - which I took a photo of to display with this explanation, as soon as I can find it again, I will add it to this thread...
 

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Graugrun

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A couple of pics I got off of FB a while ago showing the "Cheetah" concept vehicle being put through some of it's tests..
 

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Basil

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A couple of pics I got off of FB a while ago showing the "Cheetah" concept vehicle being put through some of it's tests..

Sorry if I missed it in an earlier post somewhere - what kind of concept vehicle was the Cheetah? A precursor of the Rooikat?
 

BaronTibere

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Cheetah was part of the second round of vehicles that would lead to the rooikat, and I think it is the concept that moved forward to become the rooikat. If you read the beginning of this thread it covers the timeline.
 

Wavertree

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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.
The above comments were born out by the limited use of tanks - the long logistical trail was a major problem for them as well as reliability over long distances. There was a squadron of Oliphants based at Ruacana, but were seldom used. The Ratel 90 could and did take on the Angolan/Cuban tanks, but really only under enfiladed situations.
 

Graugrun

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