The Raketenjagdpaner 2 (RakJPz 2) (also known as the "Raketenjagdpanzer SS-11") was a West German Cold War-era (1947-1991) tracked combat vehicle development intended for the tank destroyer role. The enemy of the day remained the vaunted formations of Soviet tanks positioned in East Germany and in territories across the region. The RakJPz 2 was developed during the 1960s and introduced aroudn 1967, serving with West German armored formations until 1982 before some of its stock was converted to the improved "Jaguar 1" model and its Euromissile HOT Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) weapon.
The vehicle weighed 23 tons and was of compact dimensions with a length of 8.75 meters, a width measuring 2.98 meters, and a height to the hull roof line of 2.1 meters. A crew of four - driver, commander, gunner, and loader - resided within under protection from armor that ranged from 8mm to 50mm along the various facings. The hull surfaces were angled inwards for some basic ballistics protection but no side skirts were afforded to the track-and-wheel units along the hull sides. The chassis of the RakJPz 2 was the same as used in the Marder tracked Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) and the Kanonenjagdpanzer/Jagdpanzer Kanone 90mm heavy tank destroyer (both detailed elsewhere on this site).
The RakJPz 2 carried 8 x Smoke grenade dischargers to screen its efforts as well as 2 x 7.62mm MG3 medium machine guns to protect against infantry assaults (one installed in the bow and the other along the hull roof). However, its primary weapon was a single SS.11 missile launcher and fourteen reloads were carried for it.
the SS.11 was a Nord Aviation development of 1953 with production of some 180,000 missiles spanning from 1956 until the middle part of the 1980s. This 30 kilogram, 165mm weapon gave good ranged firepower and armor-defeating capabilities for the time, ranging out to 3,000 meters. The warhead comprised a Type 140C anti-armor fit and weighed 6.8 kilograms, capable of defeating up to 600mm. Guidance was Manual Command to Line-of-Sight (MCLOS) meaning the operator was manually involved in the tracking/aiming process for the duration of the missile's flight. The SS.11 essentially made up the bread-and-butter weapon for the RakJPz 2 vehicle.
RakJPz 2 pilot vehicles were trialed from 1963 until 1965 to which construction of the fleet then began in 1967 by Henschel and Hanomag resulting in 318 units being completed. The fleet operated in force until 1978 at which point more armor was added and a switch was made to the HOT ATGM system - resulting in the new "Jaguar 1" series being taken into service (detailed elsewhere on this site).
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