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Buffel - Бронеавтомобиль (ЮАР)


Type - MPAV
Place of origin - South Africa
Production history
Designer - Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
Mass - 6.14 t
Length - 5.1 m (16.73 ft)
Width - 2.05 m (6.73 ft)
Height - 2.95 m (9.68 ft)
Crew - 1+10
Main armament - Optional M1919A4 / FN MAG 7.62 mm MG
Suspension - 4×4 wheeled
Operational range - 1000 km (620 mi)
Maximum speed - Road 96 km/h (60 mph) / Off-road 30 km/h (19 mph)

The Buffel (English: Buffalo) is an infantry mobility vehicle used by the South African Defence Force during the South African Border War. The Buffel was also used as an armoured fighting vehicle and proved itself in this role. It replaced the older Bedford RL-based Hippo APC and itself was replaced by the Mamba from 1995 in South Africa, but remains in use elsewhere, notably Sri Lanka.
Production history
The Buffel was the first truly effective landmine-protected armored personnel carrier to enter service anywhere. The South African Army began deploying it in the operational area from 1978. The Buffel was an improvement over the Bosvark which offered little protection to the driver. In 1974, 54 Mercedes-Benz Unimog 416-162 chassis had been hastily converted into Bosvarks by 61 Base Workshops in Pretoria. The Bosvark offered limited landmine protection to the crew, but compensated for this with good off-road mobility. It is estimated that around 2,400 Buffels were delivered before production stopped. Sri Lanka purchased Buffels in the 1980s, and in the early 1990s the vehicle was exported to Uganda.
The Buffel (Afrikaans for Buffalo) was not a wholly South African built vehicle, but made use of the chassis, engine and some other components of the Mercedes-Benz U416-162 Unimog, which were fitted with a domestically designed armoured driver's cab and separate armoured troop compartment. The cab was situated on the left with the engine compartment on the right. Later models replaced the original Mercedes-Benz OM352 engine with copies built under license by Atlantis Diesel Engines factory near Cape Town.
Land mine protection was provided by the V-shaped hull underneath these compartments, which quite effectively deflected the blast. The troop compartment contained two plastic tanks in the vee beneath the floor: a 200-litre fuel tank and a 100-litre water tank. The water tank provided drinking water to the occupants by means of a tap at the rear of the vehicle.
In order to help dissipate the energy from hitting a mine, the large tyres were sometimes filled with water, adding about 500 kg per wheel to the vehicle weight.


SAA variants
Buffel - original.
Buffel Mk 1 - Improved engine and bushguard/bumper.
Buffel Mk 1B - Disc brakes replaced drum brakes.
Log Buffel - Logistic/Cargo version, a standard Buffel with the seat assembly removed from the troop compartment.
Buffel Mk IIA - Essentially a rebuild of earlier Mk 1s with an enclosed troop compartment, a rear exit door and large bulletproof windows on the sides and rear. Referred to as Moffel.
Buffel Mk IIB - Cargo carrier. The SA Army ordered 57 of these in the early 1980s. Payload capacity stated as 2.637 tons.
SAAF variants
Bulldog - based on SAMIL 20 truck with the driver's cab on the right. The Bulldog was utilized by the SAAF for patrolling airfields. A variant called the Ystervark was produced and used in the anti-aircraft role.
Rhino - A further development of the Bulldog but with the driver seated inside a fully enclosed troop compartment. 20 were produced for the SAAF.
Sri Lankan variants
Unicorn - Sri Lanka Army produced version of the Buffel original.
Unibuffel - Sri Lanka Army produced version of the Mk I and Mk II with Tata and Leyland engine and an enclosed troop compartment.


Current operators
 Malawi: 1; Rhino variant.
 Sri Lanka: 47; other variants produced as the Unicorn and Unibuffel.
 Uganda: 55; 20 in service with the army and 35 in service with the national police.
United Nations United Nations Mission in South Sudan: 3.
 Zambia: 1; Rhino variant.
United Nations United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali; nine Unibuffels were deployed to Mail under urgent operational requirements for peacekeeping operations in Mali.
Former operators
 South Africa (formerly around 2,400 in service; all retired and replaced by the Mamba)
 United Nations United Nations Transition Assistance Group: 1
 Zimbabwe (possibly inherited from Rhodesia)

Combat history
 - Rhodesian Bush War
 - Angolan Civil War
 - South African Border War
 - Second Congo War
 - Sri Lankan Civil War

Vehicles of comparable role, performance, and era
Unicorn APC
Gazelle FRV
Hippo APC

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