Ratel ZT3-A2 - The Sharpshooting Honey Badger
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The Ratel ZT3-A2 represents the ATGM carrier modification of the Ratel family of wheeled fighting vehicles and represents the last major variant of the popular ICV series. Soon, this formidable bush predator will join the fight in War Thunder as it arrives to the top ranks of the British ground forces tree as part of the brand new upcoming South African subtree in update “Ixwa Strike!

Briefly: A South African ATGM launcher system constructed on the basis of the highly nimble Ratel wheeled ICV.

Ratel ZT3-A2, ATGM carrier, Britain, rank VI

Pros

  • Powerful laser-guided missiles
  • Good mobility

Cons

  • Limited protection
  • High profile
History

In the early 1960s, the South African military already identified the need for anti-tank missile capabilities. Subsequently, this led to South Africa procuring the MILAN ATGM in the early to mid 1970s. However, early use experience with the MILAN highlighted the weapon’s unsuitability for the African tropical conditions.

Being a wire-guided missile, the MILAN’s control wire had a tendency to get caught up in the thick African bush and get severed, causing the missile to go off target and making engaging moving targets even more challenging. As a result, the decision was made to procure a laser-guided missile. However, as international arms embargoes were imposed on South Africa, simply acquiring an existing weapon off the export market wasn’t possible. Therefore, South African engineers at the Kentron company went about designing their own laser-guided ATGM in the late 1970s.

The result of this undertaking was the creation of the ZT3 missile system. By the time the ZT3 system had been ready for production in 1986, plans were being drawn up for a modified Ratel 20 housing the newly developed ZT3 missile launcher in a modified  Ratel 60 turret. The modified Ratel with the ZT3 missile system was developed in order to supplement the Ratel 90s in anti-tank operations as the latter often struggled to engage heavy armor in direct combat.

The Ratel ZT3-A1 entered production in 1987 and around 90vehicles of the type had been built by 1993. The ZT3-A2 was introduced in 2008 and continues its successful operation with SANDF units till the present day.

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In War Thunder, the Ratel ZT3-A2 will be a new ATGM carrier arriving to the top ranks of the British ground forces tree as part of the new South African subtree, coming to the game with the release of the next major update. Combining powerful tandem shaped charge ATGMs with very good mobility, the Ratel ZT3-A2 will soon become a deadly force to be reckoned with at high tier ground battles while at the same time giving seasoned British tankers access to one of the fastest new missile carriers in the game!

Being based on the chassis of the nimble Ratel ICV, the Ratel ZT3-A2’s arguable biggest strength lies within its great mobility. Powered by a 282 horsepower diesel engine, the Ratel ZT3-A2, much like its differently armed siblings, can reach a top speed of 105 km/h on paved roads, while the overall mobility drops noticeably in more inhospitable terrain due to the Ratel’s rather mediocre power-to-weight ratio.

While possessing good mobility certainly is a more than welcome characteristic of any combat vehicle, mobility alone rarely brings destruction to your enemies. Thankfully, the Ratel ZT3-A2 is equipped with a three-tube missile launcher firing either the ZT3A1 Swift or ZT3A2 Ingwe ATGMs.

The Ingwe missiles, aside from possessing impressive penetrating power, also feature a tandem shaped-charge warhead meaning the missile is able to bypass the additional protection offered by ERA type armor, thus increasing the Ratel ZT3-A2’s effectiveness against many of the more advanced vehicles found at its rank. However, it’s worth noting that the Ratel ZT3-A2 can only carry a total of 12 missiles; three pre-loaded in the launcher with another nine stowed inside the vehicle. As a result, aspiring commanders of this vehicle ought to carefully aim their missiles as otherwise, they may run out of ammo much sooner than they think!

However, as with the other variants of the Ratel, the ZT3-A2 modification also fights with the same issue of lackluster protection. Namely, being only shielded by up to 20 mm of steel plating, the Ratel ZT3-A2 is just about protected enough to withstand machine gun fire and shrapnel. Furthermore, the vehicle’s rather large profile also makes it much more susceptible to detection by the enemy compared to other, similar vehicles. Subsequently, the Ratel ZT3-A2 will have to rely on its mobility for protection just as much as it does in the offensive.


The War Thunder Team

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