×
Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Infantry Arms Warships & Submarines Military Pay Scale Military Ranks
HOME
ARMOR
MODERN ARMIES
COUNTRIES
MANUFACTURERS
COMPARE
BY CONFLICT
BY TYPE
BY DECADE
ANGOLAN BUSH WAR
COLD WAR
MODERN

Denel Olifant (Elephant)


Main Battle Tank (MBT) (1978)


Land Systems / Battlefield

1 / 1
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.

Jump-to: Specifications

The South African Olifant Main Battle Tank is a further development of the original Cold War-era British Centurion MBT.



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 02/04/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.
The South African "Olifant" became a further evolution of the original British Cold War-era Centurion Main Battle Tank (MBT). South Africa was one of the many original purchasers of the excellent British design and took on Centurion Mk.3 models beginning in 1953. These were eventually brought up to the Mk.5 standard and joined by purchases of the vehicle from other nations (including India and Jordan) looking to reduce their own stocks. However, a 1970s arms embargo on the country eventually forced various internal programs to be enacted to make the nation more self-sufficient in its own arms industry capacity. By this time, the Centurion battle force was showing its age and a modernization was in order.

Early work on an evolved Centurion produced the "Skokiaan" project of the early 1970s which introduced an all-new V12 gasoline-fueled engine of 810 horsepower to the design. The "Semel" version of 1974 then followed as Centurion Mk 5A models with the 810hp engine and a three-speed semi-automatic transmission system. It was not until 1976 that the newer "Olifant" models came online and this beginning with the Mk 1 and these were completed with a 750 horsepower engine, vision equipment support, upgraded turret controlling, and the original Centurion 20-pounder main gun. The Olifant Mk 1A then appeared in 1985 and included an image-intensifier system (for the gunner) as well as a laser range-finder (hand-held) among her qualities. In 1991, the Olifant Mk 1B arrived with a switch from the original bogie wheel units to a torsion bar suspension system under a lengthened hull with improved armor protection, a digital Fire Control System (FCS) (for firing on-the-move), laser range-finder, enhanced night-fighting capability, and Continental 950 horsepower diesel engine. Denel then released its pilot Olifant Mk 2 which included a new turret, FCS, and choice of fully-stabilized 105mm rifled or 120mm smoothbore main gun (the latter choice since dropped). As with other MBTs of this type, the chassis of the Olifant has been used in the creation of a mine-clearing vehicle, an Armored Recovery Vehicle (ARV), and Vehicle-Launched Bridge (VLB) tracked carrier.

In 2003, BAe Systems was awarded a contract to upgrade a stock of 26 Olifant Mk 1B production models to the Mk 2 standard. These are powered by a Continental diesel engine unit outputting at 1,040 horsepower. They feature an all-modern appearance complete with overhanging turret bustle at rear and thermal sleeve on the main gun. The side skirts are of a saw-tooth design. The smoke grenade dischargers are mounted in two banks of four launchers at the extreme rear of the turret side panels.

The vehicle has featured a crew of four - driver (in the hull), commander, gunner, and loader - consistent with other Western designs. The system also fields a coaxial 7.62mm machine gun as well as an optional 7.62mm on the turret roof for local air defense. The vehicle carried 68 x 105mm projectiles along with 5,000 x rounds of 7.62mm ammunition and 8 x smoke grenade dischargers.

In its refined, definitive form, the 60-ton Olifant has been considered the most advanced Main Battle Tank on the African continent. It has been stated that the vehicle has seen combat service in actions in Angola though its true battlefield potential remains unrealized. It has not been exported.

Specifications



Service Year
1978

Origin
South Africa national flag graphic
South Africa

Crew
4
CREWMEN
Production
172
UNITS


OMC Engineering Ltd / Vickers Reumech / LIW Denel - South Africa
National flag of South Africa South Africa
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Engineering
Onboard systems provide solutions to accomplish a variety of battlefield engineering tasks.
Main Battle Tank (MBT)
Primary armored ground combat unit of modern armies utilizing speed, protection, and / or firepower to spearhead armored assaults.
Frontline Asset
Frontline unit used to take direct part in forward operating actions against enemy positions / targets.
Tank-vs-Tank
Engage armored vehicles of similar form and function.


Length
28.2 ft
8.61 m
Width
11.2 ft
3.42 m
Height
11.6 ft
3.55 m
Weight
127,868 lb
58,000 kg
Tonnage
63.9 tons
HEAVY
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Denel Olifant Mk 1B production variant. Length typically includes main gun in forward position if applicable to the design)
Powerplant: 1 x V-12 liquid-cooled diesel engine developing 950 horsepower.
Speed
36.0 mph
(58.0 kph)
Range
310.7 mi
(500.0 km)
(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the Denel Olifant Mk 1B production variant. Compare this entry against any other in our database)
1 x 105mm L7 rifled main gun.
1 x 7.62mm co-axial machine gun.
1 x 7.62mm anti-aircraft machine gun on turret roof.
8 x Smoke Grenade Launchers.


Supported Types


Graphical image of a tank cannon armament
Graphical image of a tank medium machine gun
Graphical image of tank /armored vehicle smoke grenade dischargers


(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)
68 x 105mm projectiles.
5,000 x 7.62mm ammunition.
8 x Smoke Grenades.


Olifant - Base Series Designation
Olifant 1 - Fitted with V-12 diesel engine generating 750hp; automatic transmission; 20-pdr main gun.
Olifant 1A - Initial Production Model Designation.
Olifant 1B - Improved Olifant; revised suspension and fuel system; improved fire control system; laser range finder and night vision capable; fitted with V-12 of 950hp.
Olifant ARV - Armored Recovery Vehicle
Olifant 2 - Upgraded Olifant; fitting either the 105mm or 120mm main gun; uprated engine and thermal-imaging implementation.


Military lapel ribbon for the American Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of the Bulge
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Kursk
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental military vehicles


Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns / operations.

Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies


2021 Military Pay Scale Army Ranks Navy Ranks Air Force Ranks Alphabet Code DoD Dictionary American War Deaths French Military Victories Vietnam War Casualties

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org, the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft, and SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane.


Facebook Logo YouTube Logo

www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-