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Ratel

Infantry fighting vehicle

Ratel IFV

The Ratel IFV was developed in South Africa, when sanctions were at their height

 
 
Entered service 1979
Crew 2 men
Personnel 9 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 18.5 t
Length 7.21 m
Width 2.51 m
Height 2.1 m
Armament
Main gun 20-mm cannon
Machine guns 3 x 7.62-mm
Mobility
Engine Bussing D 3256 BTXF diesel
Engine power 282 hp
Maximum road speed 105 km/h
Range 860 km
Maneuverability
Gradient 60%
Side slope 30%
Vertical step 0.6 m
Trench 1.15 m
Fording 1.2 m

 

   The Ratel wheeled IFV is named after the honey badger, noted for its toughness when fighting. Many would consider the Ratel IFV to be well named. It first appeared in 1974, when sanctions were at their height, having been totally developed within South Africa. This armored vehicle was manufactured by Sandock-Austral. Production commenced in 1978 and final deliveries were made during 1987. A number of Ratels were exported. It is estimated that a total of 1 500 of these wheeled IFVs were produced.

   All models of the Ratel have a 6x6 drive configuration with the long armored steel hull being specially contoured underneath to minimize land mine damage, if necessary the Ratel can travel with two wheels missing. In the SANDF the use of wheeled armored vehicles has always been an advantage. For decades South Africa was involved in conflicts where their forces had to travel great distances with a little logistical support. The Ratel's wheeled configuration was perfect for prolonged journeys.

   The main variant is the Ratel 20, armed with a French GIAT 20-mm cannon in a two-man turret, plus three 7.62-mm MGs, one coaxial one over the turret and one on a pintle mounting over a hatch in the rear hull roof. The 20-mm cannon has an effective range of 1 500 m and can engage light armored vehicles.

   This baseline version is used as a troop transport. Firing ports and vision devices are provided for most occupants of the crew compartment which is entered through side doors or another at the rear.

   Front armor of the Ratel provides protection against 12.7-mm rounds. All-round protection is against 7.62-mm ammunition.

   Vehicle is powered by a turbocharged diesel engine, developing 282 hp. Engine is located at the rear. Vehicle has a cross-country performance similar to that of the tracked vehicles. This infantry fighting vehicle is not amphibious. Almost any Ratel can be rapidly converted into a light ARV by adding a small jib crane to the hull rear.

   A fire support variant, the Ratel 90, is virtually identical to the Ratel 20 apart from the turret mounting a 90-mm gun and one passenger less to make room for the bulkier ammunition. It is fitted with a complete turret of the Eland armored car. There is also a Ratel 60 with a 60-mm breech-loading mortar in the turret.

   An anti-tank Ratel ZT3 has a special turret with a bank of three Ingwe ATGWs over the roof. These is a special command version with a turret with a 12.7-mm MG in a mantlet while an 81-mm mortar carrier does not have a turret at all; the traversable mortar fires through open roof hatches.

   There was also an 8x8 Ratel Logistics Vehicle, intended to be used to ferry supplies to and from units operating Ratels in the field. Only two prototypes of this armored cargo vehicle were built.

   One of the latest variants in the so called Enhanced Artillery Observation System (EAOS) on which a raised superstructure behind the drivers position and a special lifting mast carrying a multi-sensor head for target detection and data transmission to a central control post.

   The iKlwa prototype armored personnel carrier is a further development of Ratel.

   Most Ratels used by South African armed forces are now more than 30 years old. In 2005 a Hoefyster project was launched to acquire a new 8x8 infantry carrier that would become a mainstay of South African mechanized infantry forces. Eventually a Badger was selected. In 2013 a total of 238 new vehicles were ordered. Deliveries are planned to begin in 2015-2016. These new armored vehicles will partially replace the ageing Ratels.

 

Video of the Ratel infantry fighting vehicle

 
Ratel IFV

Ratel IFV

Ratel IFV

Ratel IFV

Ratel IFV

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