Raketenjagdpanzer 3 (RakJPz 3) / Jaguar 1
Self-Propelled Tracked ATGM Missile Carrier / Tank Destroyer
The Jaguar 1 tracked tank destroyer was born from the existing stock of Raketenjagdpanzer 2 vehicles serving the West German Army during the Cold War period.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
The West German Army of the Cold War period (1947-1991) invested considerable efforts into anti-armor capabilities to meet the potential threat of Soviet tanks head-on should the "Cold" War ever have gone "hot". One of the key developments of the latter phase of the conflict became the "Jaguar 1", or Raketenjadgpanzer (RakJPz 3), a compact tracked armored vehicle outfitted with an Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) launcher as its primary weapon. The Jaguar 1 was formed from the existing stock of Raketenjagdpanzer 2 (SS-11) vehicles (detailed elsewhere on this site) available to the West German Army and these served in the same tank destroyer role though utilizing the older SS.11 ATGM missile launcher series. Once made obsolete by changing battlefield requirements and dangers, 316 of the SS-11 vehicles were converted to the Jaguar 1 standard from 1978 to 1982.
Key changes to the vehicle included installation of a single Euromissile HOT ATGM launcher with eight missile capability and twelve reloads being carried. Armor protection was also better balanced over the original SS-11, maximized to about 50mm at critical facings. Secondary armament comprised 2 x 7.62mm medium machine guns for local anti-infantry defense and 8 x Smoke grenade dischargers gave the tank a self-screening capability.
Drive power was provided for by a single MTU MB837 Aa V8 water-cooled multi-fueled diesel engine offering 500 horsepower output. Road speeds reached 70 kmh and range was out to 380 kilometers. The chassis was suspended by a torsion bar system offering capable offroad qualities.
Structurally the vehicle weighed 25.7 tons and had an overall length of 6.6 meters, a width of 3.12 meters, and a height of 2.55 meters. Its crew numbered four, made up of a driver, commander, gunner, and loader.
Beginning in 1993, the series saw its optics set upgraded for the better and additional work saw the introduction of a thermal imager to improve the vehicle's night-fighting / low-light-level capabilities. This modernization, in turn, produced the Jaguar 1A3 standard model.
The Cold War never materialized to another war in Europe but such vehicles like the Jaguar 1 would have become instrumental in the defense of West German soil. The Jaguar 1 line was eventually succeeded by more capable tank destroying systems and weapons in due time.