Fact file: Rooikat armoured car


 The standard armoured car of the SA Armoured Corps.


Armoured car.


About 30 in service, 242 manufactured, 80 upgraded under Project Arum Lily.


Not known.

Associated project names:

Arum Lily.


BAE Systems Land Systems OMC.


  • Length:

  • Width:

  • Height:

  • Wheel base:

  • Track width:

  • Track:

  • Wheelbase:

  • Ground clearance:

  • 7.1m (hull), 8.8m (gun forward).

  • 2.9m.

  • 2.6m (turret roof).

  • nn.

  • 2.415m

  • 2.5m.

  • 1.55m + 2.032m + 1.625m

  • 0.43m.


  • Tare:

  • Payload:

  • GVM:

  • Not known.

  • Not known.

  • 28mt.


Driver in hull, commander, gunner and loader in turret.


500 litres.

Water for crew:

None integral.

Protection levels

  • Ballistic:

  • Mine: .

  • Biological/Chemical:

  • 23mm AP over frontal 60 degree arc; 7.62x51mm AP all round. .

  • TM46 or equivalent under wheel.

  • Collective over pressure with BC filters. Vehicle fully air conditioned.


  • Top speed:

  • Range on single refuelling:

  • Acceleration:

  • Turning circle:

  • Ground pressure:

  • Power/mass ratio:

  • Capability:

  • 120km/h.

  • 1000km.

  • 0-30km/h in under eight seconds.

  • 25m.

  • Not known.

  • 14.89kW/t.

  • Can climb a 1m earth vertical step.

  • Can cross a 2m wide trench at a crawl, 1m @ 60km/h.

  • Can ford water 1.5m deep.

  • Can climb a gradient of 70 degrees.

  • Can traverse a gradient of 30 degrees.

Drive train

  • Engine:

  • Transmission:

  • Transfer Box:

  • Drive:

  • Steering:

  • Suspension:

  • 10-cylinder water-cooled diesel with twin turbo chargers, giving 417kW at 2100rpm.

  • Automatic: Six forward, one reverse gear.

  • Selectable high/low ratio.

  • 8×8, 8×4. Remains mobile even with loss of any two wheels.

  • Front 4 wheels power steered.

  • Fully independent active trailing arm.




  • Primary:

  • Secondary:

  • Vectronics:

1 x Denel GT4 high pressure 76mm 62-calibre rifled gun, firing an APFSDS round at a muzzle velocity in excess of 1600m/s. Capable of penetrating the front hull (275mm RHA) and turret (230mm RHA) of a T62 MBT at 2000m. The GT4 fires a range of HE, APFSDS-T, smoke, canister and practice ammunition.

2 x MG4: coaxial and AA mount on commander’s cupola; 8 x 81mm smoke projectors.

“State of the art” night vision equipment with stabilised day/night gunner’s sight with integral laser rangefinder. Auxiliary rangefinder, thermal imaging optional. Stabilised independent panoramic commander’s sight.


The Rooikat was developed to replace the “obsolete”1 Eland 60 and 90 series of armoured cars. Intended missions include combat reconnaissance, aggressive search-and-destroy, anti-armour operations, combat patrols, raids and hot pursuit operations as well as peacekeeping presence patrols. The gun barrel is fitted with a thermal anti-distortion sleeve and a reinforced fibreglass fume extractor.

The project was subject to considerable infighting in the armour community. Three prototypes were ordered after 1976, the first based on the Ratel ICV, the second, by Sandock Austral on the Eland armoured car and the third on the British Saracen APC then in use. Trials were held in 1979 but none of the vehicles were deemed satisfactory. A new vehicle, in three prototypes, the “Cheetah”, was commissioned in 1982, the various designs having a rear and a front-mounted engine and the third being a “heavy” variant. Model 2B, the rear-engined variant, won and two pre-production models were tested in 1984/5. But the selection of Model 2B meant a hoped-for infantry carrier variant became impractical. To date no actual variants of the Rooikat, as the vehicle was renamed in 1987, have emerged. The next year, two more pre-production models were tested and a year later production started and deliveries got underway. By then the Namibian conflict was over.

Redundant platforms are currently being disposed of. One 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 Magazine2 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.

803 of the vehicles were given a “reliability upgrade” under Project Arum Lily in 2006. Four of the upgraded vehicles participated “extremely successfully” in exercises at De Brug and Lohatlha in October-November 2005.

1 This is a relative term. In 2007 several companies were doing a roaring trade upgrading redundant Eland and Panhard AML60/90s and selling them elsewhere in Africa. There the vehicle is seen as sufficient to support or defeat “technicals”, used by government forces and insurgents interchangeably. The vehicle is easily transportable by train, plane and truck and is arguably better suited to Africa than the Rooikat. This message was confirmed by the 2008 Armour Symposium where it emerged the SA Army now has a requirement for a light armoured/reconnaissance vehicle as the Rooikat is to heavy for some tasks, notably rapid deployment by air into Africa.

2 Rooikat Technological-Demonstration Project, VEG, 7th Issue, Birchleigh, Johannesburg, 2006.

3 DoD Annual Report 2005/6, p201.