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Tank Technology Demonstrator [TTD]

The Olifant is due for replacement by a new generation main battle tank system from the year 2009. The 1998 Defence Review indicated the replacement of the present inventory of 224 Olifant Mk1A/1B tanks by 154 new-generation tanks from 2009. But this number has already been reduced to 108 (94 tanks, eight armoured recovery vehicles and four bridge laying tanks).

South Africa has a requirement for between 95 and 108 MBTs, and as of 1998 had short listed Vickers and the French GIAT concern as final bidders. Vickers Defence Systems campaign proposedr the Challenger 2E MBT in the later phase of South Africa's Defence spending program. This order would represent new business worth approximately 600 million for the company GIAT is offering its Leclerc MBT, is the first Western MBT to be deployed with an automatic loader, and a crew of only three.

The Tank Technology Demonstrator, developed by Reumech OMC [South Africa's major military vehicle manufacturer], is basically a tank awaiting funds. Reunert is the largest South African arms manufacturer after Denel. Most of the design work has been completed, but SANDF simply doesn't have the money to produce or acquire any new tanks. This program has been shelved indefinitely.

Reumech's lightly-armoured 58.3 ton Tank Technology Demonstrator (TTD) comes with a V-8 twin turbo charged inter-cooled diesel, delivering 920 kW @ 2100 rpm. Its armour gives frontal protection against unspecified MBT rounds and can withstand 23mm fire or 155mm air bursts elsewhere. The tank's subsystems include Avitronics' laser warning systems for combat vehicles, AMS's meteorological sensors and mechanical actuators, and Reutech's own series of fire control systems, and gun control systems.

The Olifant tank turret is a state-of-the-art main battle tank turret, featuring Hunter-killer, Fire-on-the-move and Thermal-imaging capabilities. Main armament can be either the LIW GT-7 105mm, or a LIW proprietary 120mm smooth-bore tank gun. The Olifant Mk1B turret utilises technologies developed on the Tank Technology Demonstrator program. The turret basket and ring-gear are fully compatible with application on the Centurion or Chieftan main battle tank platforms, making this turret suitable for upgrading these tanks.

The Gunner is equipped with a periscopic stabilised day/thermal sight incorporating laser-rangefinder, while the commander has an independant panoramic stabilised day/night sight. A full solution fire control system with automatic sensors for meteorological parameters and dynamic tilt, together with a precision gun drive system, result in devastating accuracy even on the move.

Protection for the 3-man crew is offered by means of the modular add-on-armour packages. A turret bustle mounted ammunition carousel is suitable for the storage of kinetic ammunition. Crew protection from ammunition ignition is by virtue of blow-off panels on the turret deck. Ready rounds are located along the turret-basket side permitting a comfortable rate of fire of 10 rounds per minute. The turret is controlled by the Turret Management System, which coordinates the operation of the turret sub-systems, providing simple interfacing for future sub-systems (such as an automatic defensive-aides-suite).

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 13:10:23 ZULU