Armor: September 26, 2000


Austria's Steyr-Daimler-Puch has resumed production of the SK105 tank destroyer (which had stopped several years ago) after receiving orders from Botswana and the Brazilian Marine Corps. The Brazilians are buying their first SK105s, and these will be the heaviest vehicles owned by their Marines. The order for 17 SK105s also includes an armored recovery vehicle. The Brazilian Marine tank destroyers will be the most advanced versions of the SK105 ever built. These will have a stabilized 105mm cannon with day/night sights for the commander and gunner and a laser range finder for the gunner. The vehicle will also have a computerized fire control system produced by Elbit of Israel. This will be able to engage moving targets in day or night with a high probability of a first-round hit. Botswana bought 30 SK105s last year and another 20 this year. The first order included two recovery vehicles on SK105 chassis and the second order included the first two SK105 command post vehicles every built. The SK105 uses a French-made 105mm rifled cannon. The gun, sights, thermal sleeve, muzzle brake, and fume extractor are all mounted in the top half of the turret, which rocks up and down on the bottom half in order to handle elevation. The gun is fed by an autoloader mounted in the turret bustle, which has two six-round revolving magazines. Empty cartridge cases are ejected through a trap door at the rear of the turret bustle. Later versions of the SK105 include a 320hp diesel engine with a ZF6HP600 transmission with six forward and one reverse gears. The later units have advanced night vision gear compared to the original vehicles. The Austrian Army has 286 of these tank destroyers, all of which were recently upgraded. Austria also has 39 recovery vehicles and 19 engineer vehicles, all on SK105 chassis. Other customers include 112 for Argentina (plus six recovery vehicles), Bolivia with 34 tank destroyers and two recovery vehicles, Morocco with 111 tank destroyers and 10 recovery vehicles, and Tunisia with 42 tank destroyers, three recovery vehicles, and two engineer vehicles.--Stephen V Cole


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