OLIFANT MK1B “Optimum” suggestion.
In the late 1990’s the SANDF looked for ways to upgrade its current Olifant MK1B fleet. Denel was tasked at the upgrade, LEW a division of Denel had designed a brand-new turret and upgraded an existing MK1B hull. This prototype was known as the “Optimum” or “Optimal” and tested in 2003. However, because of budget constraints the Optimum was cancelled and they went on to design the Olifant MK2 as we see in-game.
The optimum turret was known as the Olifant 2 turret but because of budget cuts they fell back on the Olifant MK1B turret and decided to digitize the internals based on the technology developed for the Optimum turret. Which would lead to the Olifant MK2 turret. The Optimum prototype featured a brand-new turret with arrowheads made of advanced ceramics and featured blow out panels protecting the crew in case of the ammunition being ignited. The turret also had a ready rack that allowed for 10 rounds to be fired per minute. T he gunner has access to day and night thermal sight. The commander has an independent passive night sight as mentioned in the attached Pamphlet of LEW or LIW a division of DENEL.
The Hull itself also received rubber side plates protecting it from HEAT rounds. Given that the Hull was based on the MK1B hull, it is feasible it will have the same engine performance as the Olifant MK1B which had at a minimum a Continental 29 litre turbo-charged air-cooled V12 diesel engine that produced 850 hp at 2400rpm with 14.4 hp/t. Considering the Optimum would have been the “Olifant 2” if budget reductions were not introduced, it is possible the Optimum would have had similar engine upgrades featured on the Olifant MK2.
The main armament consists of a GT-8 1 05mm main gun and would allow for the same ammunition choices found on the Olifant MK2. The coax machine-gun would be a MG-4 Browning machine gun chambered in 7.62x51.
Olifant MK1B optimum on display at DEXSA, 2000.
Olifant MK1B Optimum current on display at the South African Armour museum
Olifant MK1B Optimum during field trails
Sources consulted :
- LIW(Denel) “Olifant 2 Combat Turret” pamphlet.
- South African Armoured Fighting Vehicles: A History of Innovation and Excellence, 1960-2020 written by Dr Dewald Venter page 61 under the Olifant MK1B Optimum heading.