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Fact file: SF: Hornet Rapid Deployment Reconnaissance Vehicle

The Hornet Rapid Deployment Reconnaissance Vehicles (RDRV) is the standard reconnaissance vehicle of the South African Special Forces.

Pic: The author test driving a pre-poduction Wasp (Hornet in SF service) in 2004.


Special Forces rapid deployment fighting vehicle.


25, all delivered by August 2006.

Associated project names:

Ambition 1A


R32.4 million.


BAE Land Systems OMC.


  • Overall length:

  • Overall width:

  • Maximum height:

  • Angle of approach:

  • Angle of departure:

  • Ground clearance:

  • Wheel base:

  • Wheel track:

  • Hump radius:

  • General:



  • 3.150m

  • 1.864m

  • 2.165m

  • 63 degrees

  • 90 degrees

  • 0.243m

  • 2.2m

  • 1.620m

  • 1.7m

  • One, without trailer, can be slung under an Oryx

  • Four (without trailers) fit in a C130

  • One vehicle with trailer fits on a Spoornet DZ carriage

  • One vehicle with trailer fits inside standard 6m container


  • Basic vehicle:

  • Combat mass:

  • Gross Combination Mass:


  • 2100kg

  • 3600kg

  • 4600kg


  • Engine make:

  • Cylinders:

  • Displacement:

  • Power:

  • Maximum torque:


  • -

  • 2.8 litres

  • -

  • -

Carrying capacity

  • Vehicle:

  • Trailer:

  • Maximum seats (troop carrier variant):


  • 1500kg

  • 1300kg

  • 8


  • Maximum speed:

  • Gradability:

  • Turning circle:

  • Vertical step:

  • Fuel tank:

  • Water tank:


  • 120 km/h

  • 60%

  • 11m

  • 0.3m

  • 60 litres

  • 60 litres



  • Reconnaissance

  • Troop carrier

  • Fire support

  • Light strike

  • Light and medium weapons carrier

  • Casevac

  • Logistics vehicle


The Hornet Rapid Deployment Reconnaissance Vehicles (RDRV) replaced the Denel Mechem BAT with the Special Forces. BAE Systems Land Systems OMC received an order worth R32.4 million (then approximately US$4.4 million) under Project Ambition 1A in 2003 for the supply of 25 of the vehicles, as well 25 weapon mounts, 50 demountable rear platforms, support documentation and training.


The Hornet, developed by BAE Systems Land Systems OMC as the Wasp, underwent competitive evaluation between November 2001 and June 2002, including rigorous user, technical and durability tests. A prototype was delivered in March 2004 and underwent further user evaluation.


Delivery of all the vehicles and platforms was to be complete by May 2005, and the support package a month later. Production vehicles incorporate enhancements to the original Wasp such as the integration of a more powerful 2.8 litre diesel engine and a 5-speed transmission, extension of the chassis by 230mm and an enlarged fuel tank.


The Hornet’s standard configuration comprises three front seats for driver, gunner and commander. Depending on the specific application, different rear platforms can be fitted, enabling the same vehicle to be used for a variety of tasks. The order includes the development of six different types of rear platform.


These allow the user to reconfigure the Hornet for various roles such as reconnaissance, fire support, troop carrier, light strike actions, weapons deployment and casualty evacuation. The nippy little vehicle, which the author test-drove in early 2004, is rapidly deployable. Four can be transported simultaneously by C-130 Hercules.


It can be slung beneath any helicopter with a 2.5 ton sling capacity and the platform is deliverable by parachute. The Hornet protects its occupants against hand grenades and anti-personnel mines from the front and from beneath. Frontal protection against small arms fire is provided for the crew, and frontal and side protection for the driveline.




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