Class -1 (RSA)

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Introduction:

During 1980 requirements was put forward for a new generation armoured car, to replace the aging Eland fleet of vehicles. South African defence firm Sandock Austral was placed in charge of this project and would construct three prototypes, divided into a light, medium and heavy class, with trials of Class 1, Class 2 and Class 3 taking place between 1982 and 1983 during project Circa, with the Class 2 being chosen for further development and ultimately becoming the Rooikat. For This forum post we will focus on the Class 1 Prototype (Light class), the Class 1 made use of a 6x6 configuration and features a 76mm high-pressure cannon as its primary weapon placed in a three-man turret, consisting of the commander, gunner, and loader. The Class 1 is similar to the German TH400 but have a few notable visual differences such as the main gun caliber being different, the Class 1 having a 76mm and the TH400 a 105mm, the Class 1’s turret sits lower and features a protruding engine deck compared to the TH400, and the headlight covers are also different between the Class 1 and TH400. The hull of the Class 1 is currently on display at the South African Armoured Museum in Bloemfontein.

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Specifications

Main Armament: 76mm

Ammunition types: APFSDS, HE

Secondary armament: two 7.62mm Browning MG4’s, one 60mm breach loading mortar

Engine: Mercedes Benz OM402A V8

Horsepower: 320hp (239kW)

Top Speed: 104km/h

Transmission: ZF-6-hp-600, fully automatic (6 forward 1 reverse)

Weight: 24t

Crew: 4 (commander, gunner, loader, driver)

Smoke grenades: eight 81mm smoke grenades

Spoiler

Primary Sources
South African Armoured Vehicles “A History of Innovation and Excellence” written by Dr Dewald Venter (page 73-74)

Surviving The Ride written by Steve Camp and Helmoed-Romer Heitman (page 181-184)

South Africa Armour Museum Class 1 information board

Secondary Sources

Tank encyclopaedia (Rooikat): https://tanks-encyclopedia.com/coldwar/south_africa/rooikat.php

7 Likes

Definitely +1 for UK!! Been waiting for this for ages.

Side note, do you know if it has a LRF? I’ve found very little on the Rooikat prototypes and whether they had the same/similar FCS as the production versions. If it does, then 8.3 foldered with the Rooikat, otherwise 8.0 without the LRF.

2 Likes

+1 Very nice