The Rooikat 76 armoured fighting vehicle, with a 76mm gun, was developed by Reemit for the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and has been in operational use with the SANDF since 1980. 240 vehicles were built and about 30 vehicles are in service with the SANDF. In 1990 an upgrade and redesign programme was started by Reumech OMC to customise the Rooikat for the international market, and by 1994 the development of the Rooikat 105 variant with a 105mm rifled gun was completed.
Reumech later became Vickers OMC and in September 2002 was renamed Alvis OMC, following the acquisition of Vickers Defence by Alvis. Alvis OMC is now part of BAE Systems Land Systems.
The Rooikat 105 is designed for high mobility day and night combat operations. Passive image intensifiers and thermal imaging equipment for night driving, navigation and weapon deployment permit round-the-clock combat operations. The vehicle has a combat mass of 28t.
The main role of the Rooikat 105 is combat reconnaissance with seek and destroy missions. The Rooikat has the fire power and survivability to engage in battle against selected targets. The secondary role of the Rooikat 105 is in combat support operations. In anti-armour operations the Rooikat performs a valuable role in protection against enemy armoured threats.
The Rooikat carries a crew of four: commander, gunner, ammunition loader and driver.
The Rooikat 105 is equipped with a GT7 105mm anti-tank gun. The gun fires the full range of Nato full-pressure 105mm ammunition including generation I, II and III rounds. The gun, fitted with a 51-calibre thermal sleeve encased barrel, fires six rounds a minute.
There are two 7.62mm machine guns, one co-axial to the main armament and one at the commander’s position, for general purpose ground and air defence.
The vehicle is equipped with two banks of 81mm smoke grenade launchers, mounted in a forward firing position on each side of the turret. The system is electrically operated. The smoke grenades form a dense protective smoke screen, which can be sustained using an exhaust smoke generator. The Rooikat 105 can also carry other turret and weapon systems.
The Rooikat can withstand the blast of a TM46 anti-tank mine and provide full protection to the four-man crew. Ballistic protection against 24mm ammunition is provided over the frontal arc. The Rooikat eight wheel configuration allows the vehicle to maintain mobility even after the loss of any wheel caused for example by a land mine detonation. Also the vehicle is equipped with run-flat inserts which allow mobility after the loss of pressure in all eight wheels. Collective overpressure and air filter systems protect the crew against chemical and biological attack. An automatic fire explosion suppression system is available.
The digital fire control system takes data from a suite of sensors and provides an automatic fire control solution. Automatic data input includes target range from a laser rangefinder, target speed and direction derived from tracking the target, crosswind speed, weapon tilt and the characteristics of the weapon. Manual data input includes ammunition type and environmental data.
The fire control system allows the Rooikat to engage enemy targets while on the move across rough terrain. The time between laser ranging the target and firing is approximately two seconds.
Three variations of fire directing systems are offered. The most complex system incorporates a primary stabilised gunner’s sight, automatic computation and implementation of ballistic offset of the weapon, electro-mechanical gun control, stabilised main weapon, gunner’s sight with day / night channel slaved to the main weapon and an independent panoramic commander’s sight.
The Rooikat 105 is designed for high-mobility combat operations. It can travel 1,000km under its own power and be battle-ready within 24 hours of departure from the home base. The maximum road speed is 120km/h and the average cross country speed is 50km/h. The Rooikat accelerates from 0km/h to 30km/h in less than eight seconds.
The suspension system on the Rooikat includes internally driven trailing arms, coil springs and shock absorbers.
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