Class: Fire Support Vehicle
Vehicles Built: 240
Operators: South Africa
The Rooikat ("Caracal" in Afrikkans) heavy armored car family came from the 1960s-1970s African bush warfare experience It is sometimes referred to as "wheeled tanks" but this is essentially incorrect. It was never designed to fulfill the role of a main battle tank and going up against one with such thin armor would be suicidal. On the other hand, the vehicle was supposed to cover large areas so a large operational radius was one of the main requirements (even at the cost of increasing the vehicle size to house additional fuel tanks). Size itself was not really an issue – the vehicle did not need to be stealthy because, on the dry plains of Africa, the biggest unmasking factor was the dust raised by vehicle movement, often visible for miles. On the other hand, the large size of the vehicle could actually be helpful in overcoming various obstacles.
Contrary to the western trend of the era, the South-African military did not insist on its new vehicle being amphibious as there was no point in that: the rivers in Africa were either completely dry or (during the rainy season) so wild that they could not be traversed anyway. One thing that was, however, very important to the South Africans was speed. The vehicle had to be able to pursue fleeing gun trucks and technicals and was therefore required to move with at least a speed of 100 km/h – this effectively meant that anything tracked was out of the question. Another advantage to the wheeled design was linked to the mines the potential enemies were using. A detracked vehicle is immediately immobilized, while an armored car with more than two wheels per side can keep on moving. As for the armament, the new vehicle was to be equipped with a 76mm to 105mm gun with powerful enough shells to knock out older armor and also to devastate various structures with high explosive shell fire.
The development process started in 1976 with three different vehicles (all using the 8x8 wheel configuration) and lasted for almost a decade. The first mass-produced Rooikats were built in 1989 and officially entered service in the South African army in 1990. Despite its age, the Rooikat remains an effective fighting vehicle practically to this day. It was offered for export in the early 1990s, but without success (the market was flooded at the time by cheap Soviet surplus). The Rooikat was therefore produced in significant numbers only for the South African military and its only combat use to this day is the 1998 South African intervention in Lesotho.
- Marksman: This vehicle can fire advanced ammunition from its accurate weapon, allowing it to destroy enemy armor at long distances.
- Neutral Steering: This vehicle can turn on the spot much like a tracked vehicle would.
|76mm AP||APFSDS||Stock||240||550[note 1] mm||1500 m/s||2.80 s|
|76mm HE rounds||HE||Stock||360[note 2]||55 mm||960 m/s||2.80 s|
|7.62mm AP||AP||Stock||8||18[note 3] mm||855 m/s||5.00 s|
|XP Cost||Credit Cost||Hull
|Stock||Stock||45 mm (vs AP)
50 mm (vs HEAT)
|Steel||115 mm (vs AP)
125 mm (vs HEAT)
|Steel||N/A||N/A vs AP|
N/A vs HEAT
|This vehicle's light armor offers basic protection from autocannons and machineguns.|
|Name||XP Cost||Credit Cost||Aim Time||Reload Time||More Info|
|76mm Denel GT-4 Rifled Cannon||Stock||Stock||2.10 s||2.80 s|
76mm HE rounds
|Name||XP Cost||Credit Cost||Max Speed||Reverse Speed||Forward
|Hull Traverse||Fire Chance|
|BAE Systems M67/0 856 hp Hybrid Engine||Stock||Stock||120 km/h||40 km/h||2.40 s (0 to 32 km/h)
33.30 s (0 to Max Speed)
- 550 mm at 150m;
468 mm at 700m
- 101 for Partial Penetration;
26 for Non-Penetrating Hits
- 18 mm at 100m;
9 mm at 1000m