Raketenjagdpanzer 1 (RakJPz 1)
Anti-Tank Guided Missile Carrier / Tank Destroyer
The West German Cold War-era Raketenjagdpanzer 1 mated the Spanish HS-30 chassis with a French missile launcher.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
Due to the vast quantities of Soviet Armor across their border during the height of the Cold War, West Germany adopted a simple self-propelled, anti-tank vehicle as the "Raketenjagdpanzer 1". Classified formally as a "tank destroyer", the compact tracked vehicle held a twin missile launcher over its hull-center with the missiles specifically developed to defeat armor at range. The West German Army held a stock of 95 of these vehicles and they made up a portion of the much larger Western coalition defensive network against a possible Soviet invasion of Western Europe. The vehicle was adopted in 1961.
The Raketenjagdpanzer 1 was developed by rather simple and logical means - the joining of the French Nord Aviation SS.11 wire-guided missile launcher to the chassis and hull of the existing West German Army Schutzenpanzer Lang HS.30 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV). As such, the end-product was nothing more than the design lines of the HS.30 with the launcher fitted atop its roof. The hull retained the angled faces of the HS.30 as well as its powerpack and track running gear. The crew numbered four to include the driver, commander, weapons operator, and ammunition handler. The SS.11 launcher fielded two "ready-to-fire" missiles with a further ten0 missile reloads held in the hull. Of the two missiles available, only one was exposed for the other sat below the hull roof line until brought up into place as the now-empty raised launcher was retracted downwards for reloading. As a wire-guided weapon, the SS.11 required the operator to hone in on the target for the missile's full flight for total accuracy.
The crew was protected from some battlefield dangers and the environment by the fully-enclosed hull. Armor protection reached 30mm thick along certain faces. Power was served through a British Rolls-Royce B81 Mk 80F 8-cylinder gasoline engine developing 235 horsepower and fitted to a rear compartment. The track system included a rear-mounted drive sprocket, front-mounted track idler, and three track return rollers to a hull side. Five double-tired road wheels were featured to each side as well. Smoke grenade dischargers mounted along the glacis plate allowed the crew to provide their own smoke screen to cover actions as needed. Local defense was through a single 7.62mm MG3 General Purpose Machine Gun afforded 2,000 rounds of ammunition.
Never used in combat, the vehicle was eventually given up in favor of more modern solutions and the once-divided German nation was eventually reunified during 1990.