12 March 2020

Radkampfwagen 90: A leopard on wheels

The Radkampfwagen 90 is a German experimental wheeled tank, developed during the 1980’s to equip the Bundeswehr with a highly mobile and well armed combat vehicle. Despite never making it past prototype stage, tankers will soon have the chance to field test the Radkampfwagen 90 on the virtual battlefields of War Thunder in update 1.97 ‘Viking Fury’!

Briefly: An experimental German wheeled tank, featuring superb mobility and firepower at the expense of protection.

Radkampfwagen 90, light tank, Germany, VI rank.

Pros

  • Familiar 105mm cannon
  • Excellent mobility
  • Powerful ammunition options

Cons

  • Light protection
  • High profile
History

In the early 1980’s, the West German Ministry of Defense sought to procure a wheeled tank themselves, after observing the success of similar designs of other nations such as the French AMX-10RC. The mostly positive experiences made with the introduction of the wheeled Luchs in the years prior, further convinced the German military of this idea.

As a result, the Ministry of Defense tasked the Daimler-Benz company, who had also been involved in the development of the successful Spähpanzer Luchs before, with developing this new wheeled tank. By late 1983, the first mock-up was created and the project received its official name - Radkampfwagen 90, or alternatively, Radpanzer 90.

The first, and what would end up being the only prototype was constructed in 1986, subsequently undergoing various trials. Despite proving itself as a highly capable vehicle and producing favorable test results, the dissolution of the Eastern Bloc and its Warsaw Pact alliance, caused not only the need for a vehicle such as the Radkampfwagen 90 to disappear, but also for a valid justification of accepting its high production costs. As the direct result of a combination of all these factors, further development of the project was suspended in the late ‘80’s - early ‘90’s, with the Radkampfwagen 90 project being ultimately abandoned.

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In War Thunder, the Radkampfwagen 90 will be a new wheeled vehicle, making its way to Rank VI of the German ground forces tree with the release of update 1.97 ‘Viking Fury’. Similar in design and purpose to the already familiar Rooikat, Type 16 or Centauro wheeled tanks in the game, the Radkampfwagen 90 gives German tankers access to a highly mobile and very well armed light vehicle, perfectly suited for the dynamic combat conditions found in high rank battles!

Contrary to what its name might suggest, the Radkampfwagen 90 is primarily armed with a 105mm L7A3 cannon - a staple of many Western tanks found at higher ranks and one with which German tankers should be plenty familiar with from the Leopard 1 series of tanks as well as some others. Additionally, players can also utilize the coaxially mounted 7.62mm MG3 machine gun for purposes of combating unprotected targets, spotting or even rangefinding.

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In addition to offering the usual and most familiar range of sub-calibre, HEAT-FS and HESH rounds, the Radkampfwagen 90 is also the first 105mm armed tank in the German tree to have access to the more powerful DM33 APFSDS round. 

As far as the Radkampfwagen 90’s own protection is concerned, it’s very similar in effectiveness to the aforementioned counterparts of other nations. Being equipped with up to 35mm of high hardness steel, coupled with spaced armor elements at the turret sides and mantlet as well as lower glacis of the hull, the Radkampfwagen 90 is sufficiently shielded against threats posed by small calibre autocannons as well as shrapnel, whilst high-calibre MBT rounds won’t find it all too difficult to simply overmatch the vehicle’s armor and cause significant damage.

However, thanks to its powerful 830 horsepower diesel engine, the Radkampfwagen 90 can claim excellent mobility for itself, being able to reach a top speed of 100 km/h on roads. Because of the high power output of the engine, the vehicle possesses an excellent 27 hp/t power to weight ratio, promising excellent mobility even in off road conditions and helping to more than offset the vehicle’s rather high mass of 30,76 tons.

The Radkampfwagen 90 will soon become available for research to all tankers as a new German Rank VI light tank, coming to the game as part of the upcoming update 1.97 ‘Viking Fury’. In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned to the news as the release of the update draws ever closer. Until then, tankers!


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