Ratel 90

Crew 3 + 6 infantry (fewer if used in fire support role
Main Armament 1 × 90mm low pressure gun
Secondary Armament 1 × 7.62mm co-axial MG
1 × 7.62mm GPMG in AA mount on rear of vehicle
1 × 7.62mm GPMG on commander’s cupola
4 × 81mm smoke grenade launchers
Ammunition 72 90mm bombs stored in the turret and hull
6000 rounds 7.62mm
Combat Mass 19ton
Hull length 7.21m
Width 2.7m
Height 2.915m
Engine 12 litre six cylinder in line turbo diesel
Power output 230kW
Fuel 480 litres
Road Speed 105km/h
Off Road Speed 30km/h
Road Range 1000km
Off Road Range 600km
Gradient 27º
Step 0.6m
Trench 1.15m
Ford 1.2m


The Ratel 90 is the fire support version of the basic Ratel. It has been adapted to fit a standard Eland 90 turret to the vehicle. It was designed in response to the need for a vehicle capable of keeping up with the highly mobile Ratels which the smaller Elands sometimes found difficult to do. In its intended role it supplanted the Elands in the Mechanized Infantry formations of the South African Army.

It was first employed in the early 1980s during the period of the great cross border operations. In these operations it served as a “Bunker Buster” and engaged the tanks deployed by SWAPO and Fapla to counter these South African incursions. Its swan song came during the Operations Modular and Hooper in the late 1980s when the vehicle was employed to counter large amounts of Soviet supplied T55s deployed with the Angolan Brigades encountered during the operations. These operations however showed that the 90mm gun was insufficient to deal with modern armour and it was only the excellent training and tactics of the South African forces that allowed them to engage the tanks with success.

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