Ratel ZT-3

Crew 3 + 6 infantry
Main Armament ZT-3 ATGW 3 Tube Launcher mounted on top of the turret
Secondary Armament 1 × 7.62mm co-axial MG
1 × 7.62mm GPMG on commander’s cupola
1 × 7.62mm GPMG in AA mount on the rear of the vehicle
4 × 81mm smoke grenade launchers
Ammunition 12 Missiles stored in the hull + 3 in the launcher
1200 rounds 7.62mm
Combat Mass 18.5ton
Hull length 7.21m
Width 2.7m
Height 3.11m
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


This is one of the newest variants of the Ratel first being deployed in the late 1980s. This version is a standard Ratel modified to carry a turret designed to carry three ZT- Ingwer missiles and spare missiles for the launcher. It replaced one Ratel 90 in each troop of the Armoured Car Squadrons to give the units an added long-range Anti Tank capability. As with the Ratel 81, the modifications have reduced the number of passengers from 9 to 6.

The Ratel ZT-3 is a dedicated anti-armor, support and reconnaissance vehicle equipped with a state of the art 127mm anti-tank missile system. Due to international sanctions, the SADF had no anti-tank missile which could effectively deal with modern main battle tanks. South Africa produced the Ingwe missile and launch system, which was developed to breach said gap. The Ratel ZT-3 was the end result of the marriage of the Ratel chassis and the Ingwe missile system. This was the first truly modern anti-tank missile system in the South African military inventory which could engage and destroy modern main battle tanks. The Ingwe mounts a tandem warhead to counter explosive reactive armor and has a 5000 m standoff range making use of laser beam riding. 

A disadvantage is that the launcher has to be loaded from the outside exposing the crew to possible enemy fire.

Length: 1.75m
Diameter: 0.127m
Missile weight: 28.5kg
Min Range: 250m
Max Range: 5 000m
Warhead: HEAT
Armour Penetration: 1000mm
Control: Semi-Active Laser Homing

The variant first saw combat during Operation Modular in 1987 when four pre-production variants were deployed with 32 Bn. Despite initial technical problems with the missiles, the variant proved itself capable of taking on Soviet armor at long ranges as the designers intended. During one notable engagement, one of the pre-production vehicles destroyed three tanks at ranges over 2000m within 10 minutes. The missile has been extensively updated and in its present configuration is capable of handling reactive armor.

Image Gallery

  • Ratel ZT-3 Preview 0
  • Ratel ZT-3 Preview 1

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