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Rooikat 105
Type Armoured fighting vehicle
Place of origin South Africa
Service history
In service 1990 – present
Wars Operation Boleas[1]
Production history
Designed 1976
Produced 1989 – present
Weight 28 t
Length 7.1 m (23 ft 4 in)
8.2 m (26 ft 11 in) with gun forward
Width 2.9 m (9 ft 6 in)
Height 2.6 m (8 ft 6 in) turret roof
Crew 4

1 x Denel GT4 76mm 62-calibre rifled gun, firing an APFSDS round
Muzzle velocity: > 1600m/s.[2][3]
2 x MG4 7.62 mm machine guns; 8 x 81 mm smoke grenade dischargers[3]
Engine 10-cylinder water-cooled diesel
414 KW (563 hp)
Power/weight 14.89kW/t
Suspension 8×8 wheeled, Fully independent active trailing arm
1000 km (621 mi)
Speed Road: 120 km/h (75 mph)
Off-road: 50 km/h (31 mph)

The Rooikat (Afrikaans for "Caracal"; literally "Red cat") is a wheeled armoured fighting vehicle built in South Africa for the South African Army. It was designed for combat reconnaissance and seek and destroy operations. Its secondary roles include combat support, anti-armour and anti-guerrilla operations. The Rooikat is intended for deep penetration missions, so the wheeled design was needed for speed and to counter sandy desert conditions that might slow tracked vehicles.


  • Production history 1
    • Rooikat Armoured Fighting Vehicles 1.1
    • Rooikat ZA35 Self Propelled Anti-aircraft Gun 1.2
    • Rooikat SAM 1.3
    • Rooikat Antitank 1.4
    • Technology Demonstrators 1.5
  • Combat history 2
  • Capability 3
  • Variants 4
  • Operators 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Production history

Rooikat Armoured Fighting Vehicles

Plinthed Rooikat at the entrance to 1 Special Service Battalion, Bloemfontein.

Designed to replace the Eland, the Rooikat came too late for the war in Angola. It was designed to incorporate lessons learned from the bush war.

Two versions exist and are designated according to their main guns:

  • Rooikat 76: 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.[4]
  • Rooikat 105: 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.[5]

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 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-caliber 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 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.[6][7]

Rooikat ZA35 Self Propelled Anti-aircraft Gun

This Rooikat version was developed by ARMSCOR in the early 90s. The ZA-35 SPAAG is armed with two Lyttleton Engineering M-35 guns. These guns have a combined rate of fire at 1 100 rounds per minute and fires HE-FRAG rounds against air targets and AP-I against light armored vehicles. The ZA-35 is fitted with an EDR 110 surveillance and tracking radar, which can track up to 100 air targets simultaneously. The antenna can be raised to a height of about 5 meters for increased visibility, when the vehicle is stationary. It can provide targeting data to other nearby SPAAGs and air defense systems, which do not have radars. It is also fitted with a computerized fire control system, fully stabilized gunner's sight and a laser rangefinder.[8]

Rooikat SAM

The Rooikat SAM was intended to be used together with the Rooikat SPAAG, this ZA-HVM short-range SAM, would also have been based on the same chassis.[9]:398

Rooikat Antitank

A prototype Rooikat 35/ZT-3 antitank was also developed with a new turret to incorporate antitank missiles.[9]:399

Technology Demonstrators

One Rooikat was turned into a conventional vehicle electric drive technology demonstrator (CVED) and displayed at AAD2006 in Cape Town in September of that year. The CVED project involved LMT, HIT, IAD, Nezrotek, Hotchinson (France), Kessler Magnet Motor (Germany) and MTU (Germany). VEG Magazine reported in 2006 the vehicle was fitted with a power supply control system feeding eight wheel-hub mounted M67/0 electric units and a two-phase pneumatic gearbox.

Combat history

Prior to South Africa's 1994 elections, the South African Defence Force (SADF) deployed the Rooikat largely as an internal security vehicle. [10] It saw action in Lesotho during Operation Boleas.[1]


  • Can climb a 1 m earth vertical step.
  • Can cross a 2-metre-wide trench at a crawl 1 m @ 60 km/h.
  • Can ford water 1.5 m deep.
  • Can climb a gradient of 70 degrees.
  • Can traverse a gradient of 30 degrees.


Variant Description Comment Image
Rooikat 76 Original version Denel GT4 76mm main gun
Rooikat 105 Upgraded version Denel GT7 105mm main gun Rooikat Armoured Car 105mm
Rooikat ZA 35 Anti aircraft gun platform SPAAG twin 35mm anti aircraft auto cannons Rooikat ZA 35
Rooikat SAM Turret with Surface to Air Missile platform Prototype only Rooikat SAM
Rooikat anti-tank Turret with four antitank missiles Prototype only Rooikat antitank


 South Africa - South African National Defence Force: 240 units.[11][12]

See also


  1. ^ a b History and Insignia - SA Armour Association
  2. ^ "Rooikat".  
  3. ^ a b "Rooikat armoured car". DefenceWeb. Retrieved 2009-06-26. 
  4. ^ ARG. "Rooikat Tank Destroyer". Retrieved 2015-04-15. 
  5. ^ "South African Army preparing immediate response force - IHS Jane's 360". 2014-08-13. Retrieved 2015-04-15. 
  6. ^ "Rooikat 105 Armoured Fighting Vehicle". Army Technology. 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2015-04-15. 
  7. ^ "Fact file: Rooikat armoured car". defenceWeb. Retrieved 2015-04-15. 
  8. ^ ARG. "ZA-35 Prototype Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun". Retrieved 2015-04-15. 
  9. ^ a b Foss, Christopher F. (1996). Jane's Tank Recognition Guide. Glasgow: HarperCollins.  
  10. ^ "The O'Malley Archives". Retrieved 5 November 2014. 
  11. ^ "home". Retrieved 5 November 2014. 
  12. ^ Africa: Salvation or Despair

External links

  • Manufacturer's website (Accessed 28 July 2008)
  • Factfile on Vehicle (Accessed 25 February 2009)
  • Rooikat 76 Armoured Fighting Vehicle
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