South African prototypes, projects, concepts, etc.

kaiserbill

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I thought it might be interesting to start a thread on various South African prototypes, once-off's, concepts and modifications etc. I was thinking more in terms of the unusual, including modifications, as opposed to the usual Ratel, Rooikat, Olifant and the like.

I have a few pictures of various vehicles. Naturally I will explain the little that I know of these, but a lot of the backround information to some of the vehicles or concepts is scant. Anybody out there who can help with information, or add corrections would be most welcome. Informed speculation or observations are also welcomed of course.

Below is what is labelled the Bosbok (Bushbuck) and is at the Armour Museum in Bloemfontein. At first glance it appears to be a standard Panhard M3 APC, but sharper eyes will detect different rear doors, slightly different shaped rear, as well as different hull wheel arches/sponsons. Clearly, after South Africa's production of the AML/Eland armoured car, the M3 was a practical vehicle to start with due to the 90% part commonality between the two vehicles. So it appears the M3 was used as the pattern.

This was part of the process that led to an indigineous MICV that ultimately was filled by the Ratel.
 

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kaiserbill

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Re: South African protoypes, projects, concepts, etc.

The Bulldog.

The Buffel (Buffalo), which was based on the Unimog, was produced from the late 1970's and was a pioneering and extremely important vehicle in the history of mine proof vehicles.

The South Africans replaced their Bedfords from the 1970's onwards with the SAMIL range of trucks. The SADF wanted to standardise their vehicles, and therefor the Bulldog was developed on SAMIL 20 components. Although to the untrained eye it looks similar to the Buffel, there were in fact big differences, the most obvious being that it was right hand drive with drivers cab integral to the troop compartment, unlike the Buffel.

It was not taken into service.
 

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kaiserbill

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Re: South African protoypes, projects, concepts, etc.

The following vehicle is based on the pioneering Casspir. The following description was posted by atk at milphoto's:

Called a SESSPIR (referring to the 6 wheels). Built as a prototype circa 1984/85 by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

The front axle was a "dead" axle, it could steer, but was not connected to the drivetrain. The axel was intended to be sacrificed in the event of landmines. The nose is just a cover of sorts and does not contain a bigger engine of any kind. The idea was cancelled due to the fact that the nose was too long and the CASSPIR did not have sufficient power in sandy conditions to "push along" the front axle efficiently. The axel also created numerous problems when crossing trenches or other obstacles.
 

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kaiserbill

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The next vehicle is called Veldskoen (Fieldshoe - a very tough type of shoe made from untanned leather by the Boers).

It was not economical to productionise and only two were made. This may be due to the amount of Buffels and Casspirs produced, which ran into several thousand. It certainly appears to be a later vehicle than the Casspir, and so is therefor probably a mid-to-late 1980's vehicle. Any help or confirmation on this is appreciated. The two vehicles were called Dawid and Jonathan. Dawid, in the first three pictures, is the vehicle with fewer windows, whilst Jonathan must be the vehicle in the last b/w pic with more windows and a .50 Browning.
 

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kaiserbill

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The Soetdoring (Sweetthorn) was another project or concept that was tested but not put into production. Timeframe was from the early-to-mid 1980's.
 

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kaiserbill

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The next vehicle is an enigma as far as I'm concerned.

It is what has been described as the Mechem Krokodil, and is a 6x6 mineprotected vehicle. I have seen a person describe it as a support vehicle (ammo?observation?command?) for the G6 SP howitzer, but I'm not so sure. It appears too low-roofed for these roles? It obviously is closely related to the 8x8 vehicle next to it in the first picture, called the Mechem Gator, which appears to be an infantry combat vehicle. This Krokodil seems to have space, or an opening in the middle of the vehicle for a turret or mortar, no firing ports, but armoured vision ports at the back of the vehicle .... truly interesting.

Of course, it could also be a proof-of-concept vehicle.

There is an example at Bloemfontein armour museum, in tatty condition. Note the vehicle in the second pic, obviously being tested, appears to have wider tyres than the museum vehicle.
I have no concrete idea of the role or timeframe of this vehicle. Any assistance to solve this mystery would be appreciated.
 

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Apophenia

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Great stuff kaiserbill!

About the Bulldog not going into service: The SADF went with Casspir for APC but the SAAF went for the Bulldog. As Carr, Pers, Armd, 4x4, the SAAF Regt used the Bulldog for airfield defence (and later the SAAF School for Logistical Training).
 

kaiserbill

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Apophenia said:
Great stuff kaiserbill!

About the Bulldog not going into service: The SADF went with Casspir for APC but the SAAF went for the Bulldog. As Carr, Pers, Armd, 4x4, the SAAF Regt used the Bulldog for airfield defence (and later the SAAF School for Logistical Training).
Apophenia, I think you mean the Rhino? The Rhino was a similarly sized vehicle also based on Samil components, and was produced in limited numbers for the SAAF. As far as I know, they are from similar timeframe in the early 1980's. See below pictures. Note that the last picture is a different type with 3 windows instead of 2, yet the spacings remain the same, implying a longer body.

If the Bulldog was taken into service, I would be very interested in anything you may know about it.
 

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kaiserbill

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The Ratel Log (Logistic) was an 8x8 version of the 6x6 Ratel ICV. It's purpose was to provide all the stores needed by a mechanised infantry platoon for a week or two.

It was not taken into service.
 

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Apophenia

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kb: sorry, I seem to have dumped my file on the Buffel/Bulldog. The attached drawing came from here:
http://ipmssa.za.org/pdf/Artwork_Buffel.pdf
 

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kaiserbill

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Thanks Apophenia, very interesting.

I was certainly not aware the Bulldog was actually taken into service. I cannot imagine it was in significant numbers though. Any further information you may have in this regard would be greatly appreciated.

On your attached pdf file, one of the artwork side profiles was of the vehicle I know as the Buffel Mk2. This was a late 1980's project to upgrade the original Buffel. I don't think very many were made in relation to the large number of Buffels produced. The obvious difference is the enclosed troop cab. I believe the Mamba APC was selected instead.
 

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kaiserbill

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The name Nyala has been used at least 3 times to my knowledge for different vehicles in the last 25 years, for at least 3 different vehicles. There was a large police armoured internal security vehicle called the Nyala, the RG31 to my knowledge has also been called the Nyala, there was a smaller armoured 4x4 commercial conversion used by the police also called the Nyala, and I've recently found out about the vehicle below, also called the Nyala! To be fair, not all were actually produced in quantity, and not all were used by the same service.

The Nyala below appears to be a large APC and seems to be from the early 1980's timeframe, as I have them labelled as being tested from 1984.

As an educated guess, this looks very much like a project to replace the Buffel. Anybody knowing anything anything more, please feel free to comment.
 

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kaiserbill

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This photo is fascinating.

It shows a Buffel on the far left, a Casspir on the far right. From the previous pictures we can deduce that the vehicle next to the Casspir, second from the right, is the Nyala which I've just posted. That is where the relative certainty ends. I was inclined to believe the vehicle second from the left, next to the Buffel, was an Ingwe, but I'm now no longer sure. There are differences when compared to the few Ingwe photos out there, particularly regarding the windscreen, the cuppola/hatch bodywork behind the front seat positions, and the fact that every Ingwe photo I've seen shows a grill/louvre arrangement on the vehicle nose.

The 2 middle vehicles are a complete mystery to me.

I imagine this to be trials of some sort, probably from around the 1984 timeframe. I'm going to have a go and say the vehicles are:
BUFFEL / INGWE?(or UNKNOWN) / UNKNOWN / UNKNOWN / NYALA / CASSPIR

Maybe the 4th vehicle from left has some Kwevoel influence?

Anybody else want to have a go? Or know any further information?
 

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kaiserbill

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And now for something completely different......

The gun below is a 90mm mounted on a 17pdr anti-tank carriage. The 90mm was of French design and equipped the AML-90. South Africa manufactured this 90mm and used it to equip the Eland 90 armoured car and Ratel 90. The plaque has quick-firing, semi-automatic 90mm GT-3 gun as its label.

This particular hybrid weapon below was used in the proof firing and testing of various locally made 90mm ammunition. It also tested various different muzzle brakes. It is worth having a look at the plaque in the first photo.
 

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kaiserbill

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Engineer's bridging equipment being transferred from an 8x8 bridge vehicle to an Olifant Mk1b hull that could also carry and deploy it.

Perhaps a thread should be started about the South African tank programme?
 

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Abraham Gubler

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kaiserbill said:
Engineer's bridging equipment being transferred from an 8x8 bridge vehicle to an Olifant Mk1b hull that could also carry and deploy it.
Looks like German Leguan bridging gear.

kaiserbill said:
Perhaps a thread should be started about the South African tank programme?
Mos Def.
 

Apophenia

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A bit more detail on the Casspir-S. The 'S' for Short refers to the crew compartment which is shortened Buffalo-style. The wheelbase remains the standard length. (BTW, a reman Tapir is also on offer with an even more reduced crew cab.)

http://www.mechemdemining.com/pdf/vehicles_casspir_s.pdf
http://www.mechemdemining.com/images/pics/gallery/20.html

Mechem says that it developed the Casspir-S "for the US forces in Afghanistan" (presumably refering to US private contractors rather than the DOD). The Casspir-S Protected Log Carrier is one of four variants of the remanufactured Casspir Mk. 3 (the base vehicle is the Casspir-Protected Personnel Carrier).

- Casspir-S (Short) Protected Log Carrier
- Casspir-Recovery (15-tonne ARV) http://www.mechemdemining.com/images/pics/vehicles/03.html
- Casspir-Ambulance
- Casspir-Command Post

There is also the Casspir LP, a Low Profile, C-130 air-transportable type.
http://www.mechemdemining.com/images/pics/vehicles/11.html
http://www.mechemdemining.com/images/pics/vehicles/13.html
 

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Kaiserbill,

Great stuff!

I remember seeing a picture of that Mechem Gator posted on Force Protection, Inc's website several years ago (circa 2004-5) when Garth Barrett was involved with the company.

The MBD Mantis MPWAVS looks very interesting. Was it one of the Project Hoefyster South African developed prototype programs?

With the US binning FCS and starting on the 'Ground Combat Vehicle' program, I'm betting alot of these South African 6x6/8x8 APC/IFV inspired concepts start turning up with BAE, General Dynamics and others bids.
 

kaiserbill

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Not too sure about the Mantis.
Part of the reason for this thread is that perhaps some gaps can be filled in what is a very interesting, innovative, but still relatively secretive South African military vehicles industry.

The Mantis certainly looks to be an ICV, perhaps a later Ratel replacement candidate? (Hoefyster?)

I must have a look and see what else I have.
 

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A lot armored vehicles in use today have been influenced in one way or another by South African AFV designs. For example, the RG-31/33 series of vehicles in use with US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan were actually designed in SA by BAe Systems/OMC and one of the leading technical designers for Force Protection, Dr Vernon Joynt, is from SA and had done some work on early examples of mine-resistant vehicles.
 

kaiserbill

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For those interested in some of the early development of mine protected vehicles in Southern Africa, Taming The Landmine by Peter Stiff is an interesting read, although it is now about 20 years old and is thus a little dated.
 

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kaiserbill said:
The Okapi was a large 6x6 armoured mine protected vehicle. I'm unsure of the timeframe of it's development, or of its purpose or role, although I've seen it described as a mobile command post.
I dont know about anyone else but to me it looks like the Okapi was a very close relative of the Veldskoen...? The quality of the photographs suggests to me that they are also from roughly similar timeframes, probably the early to mid 90s rather than the 80s...?
 

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kaiserbill said:
The gun below is a 90mm mounted on a 17pdr anti-tank carriage. The 90mm was of French design and equipped the AML-90. South Africa manufactured this 90mm and used it to equip the Eland 90 armoured car and Ratel 90. The plaque has quick-firing, semi-automatic 90mm GT-3 gun as its label.
Interestingly a similar hybrid was built in Israel sometime in the 1960s. What the Israelis used was however a carriage of the British 6-pdr anti-tank gun. Usually the gun was mounted on a back of the Halftrack (as seen below) and the carriage was to be towed behind it. As a tactical situation would demand it, the gun could be dismounted and put on the carriage. Usually however the carriages were left behind and the vehicles became pure self-propelled. They were withdrawn from use after the Yom Kippur war in 1973.



Piotr
 

JFC Fuller

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I know what the plaque says but without a loading mechanism and magazine that gun is definitely not semi-automatic.
 
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I guess semi-automatic refers to the breech operation, with the spent case being ejected automatically.
Also, something about the israeli halftracks mentioned earlier: A number were fitted with 6-pdr guns (minus wheels) during the 1948 war, but the one illustrated in this thread mounts a 90mm MECAR gun of Belgian origin, that was modeled on the 6-pdr.
 

Abraham Gubler

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HeavyG said:
A lot armored vehicles in use today have been influenced in one way or another by South African AFV designs. For example, the RG-31/33 series of vehicles in use with US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan were actually designed in SA by BAe Systems/OMC and one of the leading technical designers for Force Protection, Dr Vernon Joynt, is from SA and had done some work on early examples of mine-resistant vehicles.
Which were of course heavily influenced by the Rhodesian mine and ambush protection (MAP) programs of the mid-early 1970s.
 

Abraham Gubler

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A very different time frame to these Bush War vehicles is the South African Armoured Reconniassance Car Mk VI of 1941-42. While to the casual observer it may look like a copy of the German eight wheelers (acht rad) and this was where the inspiration came from it was actually two sets of Marmon-Herrington 4x4 drive trains (including two engines) with a new armoured monocoque hull (like the Mk IV). Frontal armour was as high as 30mm and two types of turrets were mounted (see pictures). 750 were ordered for the UDF and 250 for the UK but delays in getting components to Africa and the wind down of the North Africa campaign saw production cancelled.
 

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Lauge

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kaiserbill said:
A vehicle that was prototyped for the SADF to be used on rails in front of trains. I don't know much else unfortunately...
A return to the good old "armored train" concept of yesteryear? I like it, somehow. Ought to work OK, provided the opposition has no aircraft (and are gentmen enough not to blow up the tracks ::) ).

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg
 

Abraham Gubler

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Lauge said:
A return to the good old "armored train" concept of yesteryear? I like it, somehow. Ought to work OK, provided the opposition has no aircraft (and are gentmen enough not to blow up the tracks ::) ).
Not really. The Rhodesians had something similar on a less grand scale that's role was to clear rail tracks of demolition charges and the like before the goods and passenger trains would come through. A very important role in a domestic counter insurgency operation if you want to keep the rails and your economy in operation.
 

kaiserbill

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I wonder if the new Mbombe 6x6 ICV unveiled at AAD 2010 has any ancestory in the Mechem Krokodil in Post 5?
 

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kaiserbill said:
I wonder if the new Mbombe 6x6 ICV unveiled at AAD 2010 has any ancestory in the Mechem Krokodil in Post 5?
You took the words right out of my mouth! This thing screams Krokodil/Gator/Rhino! Looks like they warmed the basic design over with a fancy new weapons station and some new design language.
 

kaiserbill

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The Mbombe is armed with a dual feed 30mm gun as described in it's released data. Looking at the pics released, does anyone know what gun this is? The barrel looks very long to me.......
 

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kaiserbill said:
The Mbombe is armed with a dual feed 30mm gun as described in it's released data. Looking at the pics released, does anyone know what gun this is? The barrel looks very long to me.......
That is an excellent question and one which I am looking to answer as well. The turret itself was designed by a South African consultancy, the gun looks Russian in origin to me...??? 2A42 or 2A72 perhaps? They are both dual feed and have IFV applications.
 

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Its a Shipunov 2A42 gas operated 30x165mm cannon. Cheap and easy but the round has quite a bit less lethality than western 30x173mm.
 

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kaiserbill

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Nice one Sealord and AG.

Denel has two turrets available. The Modular Combat Turret which houses its 30mm EMAK-30 linkless cam gun, as fitted to the local Patria AMV version, the Badger.
The other one is the LCT 30 turret, which houses the 30mm Mk44 Bushmaster.
Both are 30mmx173mm.
Although listed as seperate turrets, aren't these two turrets the same product with slight differences? As in the turret originally mooted for Hoefyster with the 35mmx225mm gun?

I assume the two turrets would be mountable on the Mbombe? The basic vehicle appears to be as large and heavy as the Patria, from the stats released so far. Who manufactures the turret as shown on the Mbombe at it's unveiling?
 

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kaiserbill said:
Nice one Sealord and AG.

Denel has two turrets available. The Modular Combat Turret which houses its 30mm EMAK-30 linkless cam gun, as fitted to the local Patria AMV version, the Badger.
The other one is the LCT 30 turret, which houses the 30mm Mk44 Bushmaster.
Both are 30mmx173mm.
Although listed as seperate turrets, aren't these two turrets the same product with slight differences? As in the turret originally mooted for Hoefyster with the 35mmx225mm gun?

I assume the two turrets would be mountable on the Mbombe? The basic vehicle appears to be as large and heavy as the Patria, from the stats released so far. Who manufactures the turret as shown on the Mbombe at it's unveiling?
With the correct engineering I see no reason why the Denel turret could not be fitted. At the very least, the two Denel turrets share a lot of common design features, I would imagine that there is little between them. The turret on the Mbombe at the unveiling is built by Comenius Consultants, as far as I can tell they are Swedish owned with an office in South Africa.

The interesting thing abut the EMAK-35 gun is that, just like the South African GT-6 MBT gun design, it was designed to be upgraded to a larger calibre relatively easily- 50mm in the case of the EMAK 35 (apparently it would only have required the replacement of the barrel) and 140mm, up from 120mm, for the GT-6 gun.
 
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