South African prototypes, projects, concepts, etc.

Dinges

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It was the MNU vehicle in District 9 as mentioned. IIRC it was made by a father and son team (both farmers) in the Northern Transvaal , Potgietersrus I believe. It was made by using two Saracens. The underpinnings are all Saracen. I have some pics I took of it years ago.

Pardon the quality , it was with the phone's camera.
 

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Herman

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I must say, this MNU vehicle, movie prop, is really attractive looking! Whoever built it, put in a lot of effort and work, i.e. lengthening the hull to allow side doors between the second and third axles, ading an additional axle at the back and changing the nose profile. The Saracen was never a success in SA. Over-heating was a perennial problem with vehicles frequently coming to a stop due to vapour-locking of the fuel lines and the insides of the cars becoming unearably hot as a result of hot air from the engine exit louvres on the top being blown into the vehicle through the open driver hatch and the ventilation "mushrooms" on the side of the troop compartment. The exhaust pipe also passed under the feet of the driver with the floor of the vehicle becoming so hot in summer time in the Free State, that he could frequently not continue driving the car. In British service they had similar problems, in the middle-East. In response to this, a reverse-flow cooling system was develope, typified by louvred "beehive" type air intakes in front of the driver compartment. In the eighties, diesel powered versions of the Saracen, Saladin and Ferrit were developed in the UK but these were only supplied in small numbers to some export customes. I don't believe dieselisation of the Saracen was ever seriously considered in SA.
 

JFC Fuller

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http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49428:dod-wants-to-put-africa-truck-into-production&catid=50:Land&Itemid=105
 

Herman

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Recently visited the School oArmour museum in Bloemfontein, where I took this picture of the original Buffel prototype, the progenitor of the Ratel. This vehicle was, I believe, built in Germany by Büssing. The vehicle was also offered to various other governments and prototypes of derivatives of this vehicle were also produced elsewehere. In Belgium, BN Constructions Ferroviarines et Metalliques built a vehicle in 1976. This vehicle, the SIBMAS was very similar to the Büffel, inclusing the 282hp Büssing engine and presumably the Renk gearbox used in the Ratel. In 1979, an improved prototype was built of the SIBMAS, with a more powerful engine (MAN D 2566 MK) of 320hp and a ZF HP 500 automatic transmission. In 1981 Malaysia ordered 186 of these vehicles, with delivery starting in 1983.

OAF and Graf and Stift in Austria also built a vehicle, virtually identical to the Büffel but fitted with a two-man turret mounting a two-man Oerlikon GDD-BOE turret with a 35mm Oerlikon automatic cannon. Aside from the crew of three, it could carry two infantrymen at the back and it was intended as a reconnaissance vehicle. Power was provided by a MAN 320hp V8 diesel. The prototype was built of mild steel and engineering vehicles and armoured personnel carrier variants were envisaged but no further vehicles were built due to lack of interest. It would be interesting to know whether the Ratel prototype above is built of armoured or mild steel.

In 1965, a Joint Project Office (JPO) was formed in Germany to develop a new range of wheeled armoured vehicles. Companies in the JPO included Büssing, Klöckner-Humbolt-Deutz, Krupp, MAN and Rheinstahl-Henchel. Mercedes stayed outside of the JPO and developed their own range of vehicles and in the end, the competition was won by Mercedes who went on the produce the Späpanzer Luchs 8 x 8 reconnaissance vehicle. With their experience in the JPO, Büssing built the Büffel prototypes. The initial vehicles were powered by their own 6-cilinder engines (282hp) but Büssing was taken over by MAN in 1971 and later vehicles had MAN powerplants.
 

Herman

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Notice the handrail on top of the vehicle. This particular vehicle was used, in the eighties, for transporting high level political figures (minister of defence, prime minister, etc.) on sightseeing tours during military maneuvres. The minister would then stand in the turret-opening and hold on the handrail.
 

Herman

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This is the second prototype, or one of the second series of 4 prototypes of the Ratel. It is currently also serving as a "gate guard" at 1 SAI, with the previously shown prototype. One can clearly recognise the final Ratel but their are differences, notably the sloping lower part of the side door. This is still similar to that of the original Büffel prototypes, and the various European prototypes.
 

Herman

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In the above pictures one can see the left and right side respectively of the second prototype. Clearly, there was still experimentation with the design. Note that various types of vision blocks are installed and that simple firing ports are installed on the one side while the rotating ports seen on the final vehicles are fitted on the other side.
 

Herman

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This thing is now also mounted at the gates to 1SAI and has been put there since the end of last year. It is a 8 x 8 hull made up mild steel sections, spot-welded together. It was not intended to be a running vehicle but seems to have been built examine things like crew placement, powerpack position, etc. It is fitted with seats, various storage boxes and an engine compartment. The vehicle would have carried 7 dismounts who could enter and leave the vehicle through doors at the back. The power pack was to be fitted at the right front of the vehicle with the driver sitting at the front on the left and another man seated behind the driver, also to the left of the engine, both with periscopes above their positions. The 1.5 meter diameter turret ring (same as in the Ratel) is in the centre of the vehicle, behind the engine compartment and the 2 men at the front. The crew of this ICV was therefore intended to be 11 men: the 2 at the front, 2 men in the turret and 7 men at the back.

The spacing of the axles and the presence of a box to house a transfer case in the centre of the vehicle indicates that the vehicle was not intended for the Panhard type "in arm drive" suspension units of the Rooikat but either live axles or possibly conventional independent suspension units. No suspension attachment points are fitted to this prototype, so it is unclear if the intention was to fit live axles, such as those seen on the Ratel, or possibly double wish-bones or McPherson strut suspension units.

I have never seen this thing before, or heard of it. It would be interesting to know when it was constructed. I suspect it was an early, initial prototype for an eventual Ratel replacement, probably constructed around 1985-1990.
 

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This is the view through the rear doors of the above hull.
 

Herman

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This is the 24 ton, 6x6 prototype that was built in the development program which resulted in the Rooikat. What is quite interesting is that the information plate mentioned that the armament consisted of a 76mm HV gun and coaxial machine gun, but a 60mm breech-loading mortar is also mentioned. This is obviously the licence built DTAT mortar also found in the Eland 60. The Israëli Merkava tank as a 60mm breech-loading mortar in the turret roof and it seems that a similar setup was possibly planned for the Rooikat.
 

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A view through the back of the a Saracen 88. This is the Saracen modified and rebuilt in 1988, in SA. On the identification plate inside the vehicle, it is identified as a Mk. 3. This is quite interesting as it was never clear to me what marks Saracens South Africa received from Britain. The initial 10 trials vehicles were supposedly mark 1's. In Bill Munro's book on the Alvis Saracen, there is a photo of a South African Saracen training in typical South African terrain and the caption states that it is a Mark 1. Munro mentionesw that people from Alvis visited SA (when is not clear: probably late fifties) and that the South Africans were unhappy with the performance of the Saracen and that they wanted "upgraded vehicles". It seems that SA did later receive at least some Mk 3 cars.
 

Herman

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This is the identification plate of the Saracen-based prototype vehicle which built during the development of the Rooikat. The eight-wheeler was fitted with Saracen suspension units and was supposedly powered by a Cummins diesel engine. I read somewehere that this vehicle had the best ride quality of all the tested prototypes. The prototype, according to the ID plate, was built in 1979, at the South African Railways automotive workshops, at Langlaagte.
 

Herman

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Two photo's of the Ratel-based (top) and the Eland-based prototypes during the development of the Rooikat. These prototypes, as well as the previously mentioned Saracen prototype, were built mainly to test various kinds of suspension. The Ratel-based vehicle is very high due to its live axles while the Panhard-based hull is exceptionally low due to the H-type drive used. Interestingly, the Panhard-based car had a crew of two men in the hull: a driver and co-driver, next to one another.
 

Herman

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Two of the vehicles stored inside the shed. These have been discussed previously on this thread.

Very interesting is that the "mystery" 8x8 wreck which stood outside the big shed for many years, has disappeared. This is the prototype 8x8 ICV which we have tentatively identified as the "Sprinkaan", possibly built by the tiffies somewhere and using axles from a Magirus Jupiter truck or gun tractor. It was powered by a Detroit Diesel engine. Very little is known about this thing. A few years ago, while visiting the museum, I ran into a warrant officer who mentioned that this vehicle was pet project of Major ??, who wanted to rebuild it. I do hope that the vehicle has indeed been taken away to be rebuilt and that it will return, with some information about its heritage, and that it has not been taken away to be scrapped/dumped.
 

kaiserbill

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Excellent Herman.
That 8x8 hull in reply 1690, that you surmise to be part of a study into a Ratel replacement...a couple of years back earlier in the thread, a pdf was posted about a few 6x6 and 8x8 hulls and mock-ups. It was indeed to do with a Ratel replacement, earlier than the Hoefyster/Patria/Badger.
I'm sure that hull was featured in that pdf, although i might be wrong. No further info was forthcoming at the time.
I will try to see if I can find it when I am in front of my computer.
 

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It is interesting to see how the switch from Deutz air-cooled engines to Atlantis (Mercedes) water-cooled engines changed the nose profiles of South African armoured vehicles. If one looks at the various armoured SAMIL Kwêvoël models, the noses are low and the air intake at the front relatively small. After the switch to ADE engines, the attendent radiators required larger noses and air intakes, for instance the Velskoen, Casspir, etc. It is especially noticeable on vehicles like the Mfesi, pictured above, Okapi, Tapir, etc. The 8x8 gun travtor prototype was fitted with a MAN diesel and one can see how different the nose profile is compared to the Kwêvoël trucks.

The mk 1 version of the SAMIL 20 was powered by a 6.1 liter Deutz straight six air-cooled engine developing about 125 gross horsepower. This was replaced in the mk 2 by the ADE version of the Mercedes OM 352 engine of about 5.6 liter which developed about 120hp. This engine was also used, in a turbocharged version (170hp), in the CASSPIR. The SAMIL 50 mk 1 was powered by a V6 Deutz diesel of 9.6 liter capacity, developing 192 gross hp. On the mk. 2 this engine was replaced by the ADE 409N engine, an inline (straight) 5 cilinder unit of 9.5 liter developing about the same horsepower. The air-cooled engine was however shorter and lower, and did not require a radiator, of course. The SAMIL 100 always retained the V10 Deutz engine of 16 liters and 320 gross horsepower. This engine was also used in the last variant of the Kwêvoël to be introduced, the Bateleur (1989).

Air-cooled engines have practically disappeared from the commercial truck scene, with only Tatra still offering a 12.7 liter V8 with ratings up to about 420hp and Euro-5 compliant. The problem is that it becomes increasingly difficult to effectively cool the cilinder heads with just air cooling as the power of modern engines increase with turbocharging. I suspect air-cooled engines may also be more expensive to produce than equivalent water-cooled ones.
 

curious george

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The promo vid is as cheesy as they got in the early 90's BUT have a look at seconds 47-48 in the initial intro.

I assume that is a 35mm eGlas that is truck mounted,any more info or pics?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0yOMPgdgVc
 

Graugrun

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Curious George,

I have placed scans of the EGlaS-35's official brochure in the "South African small to medium calibre weapon prototypes, concepts, projects etc." thread (post #63) - you should take a look there.


Graugrun said:
eGLaS-35 - it's gun was the newly developed EMAK 35mm cam driven cannon, I have posted EMAK's brochure elsewhere but will move it to this thread where it belongs.

I did not think much of eGLaS until I saw the promotional video, seems like we could have used them to good effect in our anti-aircraft batteries (like at Calueque dam).
 

Herman

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A question: The SA Defence Force used Bedfords trucks in the fifties, sixties and early seventies. The earlier ones were RL models but in the late sixties, early seventies, SA also received later models of the Bedford. These were initially known (factory nomenclature) as the TK models, the military versions known as MK models. Does anybody know when the MK's were introduced in SA? Approximately how many were acquired and were the SA versions petrol or diesel powered. Most earlier army trucks in SA were petrol powered but that changed in the seventies with the introduction of the Unimogs and then the Samil series in the early eighties (when exactly did the Samils make their appearance?).
 

kaiserbill

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Herman, I am unsure of a lot of those questions, but I had a quick look in Romer-Heitman large South African Armed Forces.
In a nutshell, he states that from about 1964 already, with the voluntary arms embargo pointing to the future, studies were started, which led to a rationalisation of the types of vehicles purchased, and kept in the inventory. That was the first step.
The next step was a study of the types of vehicles needed for the future, and the testing of those vehicles. The need for standardised and repeatable scientific testing led eventually to the gerotek (?) test range, one of the foremost in the world.
He basically says the SAMIL entered service from 1980 onwards.
Remember though, that this book was published around 1991, when secrecy and disinformation was still taken very seriously.

Edit: Perhaps Surviving the Ride would have more up to date "open" info. A brief google shows the Kwevoel entry has some info on the history of the SAMIL series. My laptop gave up the ghost, and I still need to retrieve its data, so I rely on my phone till its replacent arrives and data is transferred..less than ideal.
 

kaiserbill

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A bit of backround info on the LZN as used in the fire service.
The one pic shows how massive this vehicle really is, compared to the adjacent fire pump/turntable ladder.
http://www.fireandrescue.co/news-dec-9-oldie.html

I've sort of got curious about this vehicle again due to the recent images of the North Korean missile transporter vehicle.
Still no real or new information has come to light about the South African TEL vehicle.
 

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kaiserbill

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Nice Levan!
Thanks.
So now we have a bit more context with the Rooikat towing picture.
Previously, we knew there seemed to be 2 types from the few pictures available.
This one which was obviously a field repair/combat maintenance vehicle for the "tiffies", and the other one with the large l loadbed that looks like it was probably a field/combat supply vehicle.

It's a big beast.
It would be great to know more details of this vehicle.
 

Herman

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Reply to post #1706:
Who has the LZN fire truck in use? Which department or municipality is SA?
 

Herman

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Reply to post #1707
What is this thing!? It is enormous! Be very interesting to hear when and where it was built, and the technical details.
 

kaiserbill

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Brilliant. Nice pic.
I've been wondering about this vehicle and the project backround since those small pics were first posted earlier in the thread.
 

Herman

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In 2007, a 35mm anti-aircraft gun "ran away" at Lohatla and killed 9 SA soldiers. Did it ever become clear exactly what went wrong with the piece? Technical hitch or human error?
 

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Technical failure, but human error were not totally "ruled out". Official statement is pin that broke, the Swiss company did investigate and nothing further happened
 

compton_effect

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Bad design and human error (Lots of it)
The anti-aircraft cannon had been upgraded to a new electro-mechanical system during the 80's. Against Oerlikon's recommendations. One main problem was that the autocannon recoil caused the gun to push to the right, a issue they never quite resolved. The control system was upgraded to compensate for that.

They were busy running live fire manual operation training when it happened. The plan was to give each of the gun crew a few target flares to shoot at, while the system was in manual mode. The training officer could have actually ran it in a semi-automatic mode, where the operator could steer the gun into the target, but had limits on the horizontal and vertical movement. The officer neglected to do that.

The first of the crew to get a turn, was a young black lady. He ran her through the firing procedure again, how a target flare would be fired in front to her, and how she could then aim with the steering handles, before firing by stepping on the pedals. Then he moved on to the next gun emplacement, which was to the right.

The flare was fired by the range crew, she steered the gun into the target, then stepped on the pedals. And promptly panicked, and let go of the handles. In the time it took her to step off the pedals, the gun dropped to horizontal, and the recoil swung it to the right, firing into the next gun crew at point blank range.

(I know a recently retired officer, who assisted in the investigation)
 

Kadija_Man

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Didn't they have an instructor on each gun? Overseeing the student's actions? Downunder, that would be SOP. I've instructed, mainly on small arms at the range and we always have for recruits an instructor with them, to make sure they don't make many stuff-ups and follow the procedure properly. I've been instructed on RCLs and Mortars in the same way.
 

Foo Fighter

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Sounds like a proper fubar situation. If there was an instructor per gun, they must have been doing something else at the time. Is there in instructor cut out on these weapons? Perhaps there should be. A student panicking on a gun firing would seem to be unfit.
 

kaiserbill

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Recently uploaded BBC report from 1994.
I'm posting it because it has a lot more footage of the 35mm SPAAG on the Rooikat than has previously been available out there.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YAcnYYxKro
 
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