THE AIRFORCE - AIRCRAFT - ROOIVALK
The Rooivalk was conceived in the 1980s as tankbuster operating in a high-threat, high-intensity environment. While the true cost of the Rooivalk may never be known, some estimates go up to R2 billion since the project started in March 1984.
The type is essentially a gunship version of the Oryx, itself a customised Eurocopter Cougar. Although South Africa may not be keen to admit this for reasons of pride and the French may be equally reluctant - as their involvement up to 1994 was in violation of a UN arms embargo, it is known that Eurocopter and Turbomeca engineers did extensive development work on the design.
Production of drop tanks restarted in 2014, with Denel Aerostructures manufacturing around 20.
The Rooivalk drop tank is 3.45 metres long, 0.64 metres in diameter, and has a fuel capacity of 550 litres. It weighs 51.5 kg empty and 496 kg full. The centre section is made of metal while the nose and tail section and being made from composite materials. Lightening protection was designed into the tank for all weather operation.
- Rooivalk brochure.pdf (174kb)