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Eland - Бронеавтомобиль (ЮАР), продолжение

Eland (armoured car) - ...ПРОДОЛЖЕНИЕ

Later service
The mediocre performance of improvised tank destroyers at Cuvelai convinced Ep van Lill, commander of 61 Mechanised, that his men could no longer be asked to fight tanks with armoured cars. Van Lill informed General Viljoen that the Eland-90 simply could not stand up to the heavier protection and armament of T-54/55s. "Tank busting" expended too much 90 mm ammunition and fatigued recoil systems. As demonstrated during Askari, crew morale was also affected when ordered to take on T-55s in their vulnerable vehicles. This contradicted South African Armoured Corps (SAAC) doctrine, which was to fight tanks with tanks.
A few weeks later, van Lill was vindicated when a squadron of British Centurions - modified in South Africa as the "Olifant Mk1" - were delivered to the 61 Mechanised base in Omuthiya. As Angola was not seen as a conventional threat to South West Africa itself, the retention of tanks in that territory was not regarded as cost-effective and Olifant crews frequently rotated out. During Operations Moduler, Hooper, and Packer, Ratel-90s were again used in the role of tank destroyers.
Task Force Victor's performance during Askari left much to be desired. At SADF review meetings, the reservists involved were bluntly criticised as "the worst battle group in 82 Mechanised Brigade". More attention was devoted to improving reservist leadership and morale. Also noted was the antiquity of the Eland, which was beginning to hinder operations. It was not deployed in Angola by the SADF again.
South West Africa
Although most Elands were gradually removed from front-line service with the SADF after 1984, being relegated to the role of training vehicles for Ratel-90 crews, a large number continued to be deployed by the SWATF during internal counter-insurgency operations against PLAN. The armoured cars frequently patrolled the roads to deter guerrilla raids and escorted local convoys. South Africa equipped the SWATF with a single regiment of Eland-90s and Eland-60s at its inception in 1980, drawing their crews from local national servicemen. The regiment rarely operated as a cohesive unit. Rather, its squadrons were attached on a rotating basis to a variety of modular infantry battalions. In concert with the supporting infantrymen, Eland crews carried out search and destroy operations, manned road patrols and road checkpoints, and guarded static installations.
In August 1987, the SADF launched Operation Moduler to turn back a major FAPLA offensive in southern Angola, sparking the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale. During Moduler, the SWATF's 201 Battalion was ordered to deploy as far north as Ongiva and prevent Angolan units from re-occupying that settlement. For the purposes of this operation they were provided with an oversized squadron of Eland-90s. Most of the infantrymen were armed with a combination of anti-tank rifle grenades and RPG-7s in the event they needed to support the Elands against FAPLA tanks. Due to a shortage of troop-carrying vehicles, some were transported riding atop the armoured cars. They took up concealed positions on the road between Ongiva and Xangongo, and on October 5 a large FAPLA motorised contingent was sighted approaching the settlement, consisting primarily of truck-mounted infantry and a few BTR-60 and BTR-40 armoured personnel carriers. The advance was being screened by a reconnaissance troop of BRDM-2s, which blundered into the killzone and were engaged by the Eland-90s. While taking evasive action, one of the BRDMs drove off the road and collided with an Eland, causing momentary confusion. Most of the FAPLA column was destroyed in the ensuing firefight. Following this incident, FAPLA began deploying the more heavily armed BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles for convoy support purposes in areas where it was likely to encounter South African armour.
The ambush on October 5 is not mentioned in official Soviet or FAPLA communiques. However, an Angolan state bulletin dated September 13 alludes to an unspecified attack by SADF or SWATF troops specifically involving Eland-90s and Eland-60s. It is unclear whether this is a reference to the same action, as FAPLA claimed the South African unit responsible was 32 Battalion, which was not deployed near Ongiva at the time and only equipped with Ratel-90s. According to the bulletin, four Elands were destroyed during that engagement. Soviet sources reference at least three Eland-90s knocked out during Operation Moduler and Operation Hooper. The first was observed by a road near the Chambinga river crossing on 17 November 1987, and had apparently suffered a catastrophic kill as a result of being impacted by a BM-21 rocket. The other two were reported as destroyed by FAPLA's 59 Brigade on 2 December 1987. These could only have been SWATF vehicles, as the Eland was no longer being actively used by the SADF; nevertheless, they do not appear among the losses acknowledged as a result of Moduler and Hooper.
SWATF Elands were mobilised again as part of Operation Hilti to counter a division of Cuban troops massing near the South West African border in mid 1988. The Cuban forces were believed to possess a brigade-sized formation of T-55 and T-62 tanks, which the SWATF would find difficult to deter with its outnumbered and obsolete Eland fleet. On 24 June, the SWATF and SADF retreated south after clashing with the Cuban tanks advancing on Cuamato, just north of the border. The following day, twelve Eland-90s were deployed to Cuamato to help 201 Battalion stop the tanks. However, the anticipated Cuban attack did not materialise, and the armoured cars were subsequently withdrawn without incident. Three were detached to safeguard the hydroelectric dam at Calueque, while the others returned to South West Africa. One was destroyed in an air strike by Cuban Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23s just outside Calueque on 27 June.
Rhodesia waged a long and bitter counter-insurgency campaign against two rival insurgent armies, the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA) and the Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA), from 1965 to 1980. From the beginning of the war, the Rhodesian Air Force was perturbed by the likelihood of insurgent saboteurs disrupting fuel depots, forward airfields, and other installations vital to its operational capabilities. In 1971, the Rhodesian Air Force Security Training Unit (STU) was established for base security duties. The STU was trained and equipped by the South African government, which provided it with radios, small arms and ammunition, and basic weapons instruction. Requests for new equipment were made through a liaison officer attached to the Rhodesian Special Branch, who overheard an airman demand, perhaps in jest, "a dozen armoured cars please" when he asked the STU if there was anything else he could procure for them. This was interpreted and approved as an official request, and by the end of year twelve Eland-60s had been delivered by rail to the STU. The deployment of these armoured cars subsequently became an integral part of the unit's doctrine.
The Elands gave much-needed mobility to STU personnel and allowed them to take part in responding quickly to insurgent raids, particularly one well-planned ZANLA assault on Grand Reef Air Base in 1978. They were dug into fixed revetments while on static guard duty, but also carried out routine patrols before each aircraft landed. At one point, it was standard practice at New Sarum for at least one Eland-60 crew to circle the airfield and check for suspicious activity or any other irregularities before an aircraft landed. During an insurgent raid, the Eland-60s would emerge from their revetments and intercept the attackers, providing much-needed fire support and firing illumination rounds to pinpoint insurgents for the dismounted security personnel.
The first STU Eland crews underwent a twelve-week training programme in Bloemfontein with the South African Armoured Corps, but subsequent intakes were trained locally. The armoured cars were all initially deployed in a single squadron at New Sarum Air Base, where their crews were mockingly referred to as “Desert Rats”, in reference to a popular nickname for British tank crews serving with the 7th Armoured Division in North Africa during World War II. The STU later embraced this mascot and adopted “Desert Mice” as an informal callsign for the Eland-60 squadron. Its motto, “Seek and Squeak”, parodied the “Seek and Strike” maxim of the RhAF's No. 4 Squadron.
The Rhodesian Armoured Car Regiment (RhACR), originally formed as part of the British Empire's war effort in 1941, was reactivated in 1972 and equipped with Ferret scout cars. However, the Ferrets were in delipidated condition, having been inherited by Rhodesia from the British Forces Aden after seeing several years of hard use in the Aden Emergency. The Ferret design also lacked the firepower to be truly effective against hardened ground targets and dug-in insurgents, being armed with just a single general-purpose machine gun. Following a failed project to increase the Ferret's firepower by the addition of a 20 mm autocannon, the Rhodesian government turned to South Africa, which offered to supply RhACR with Eland-90s. The first sixteen Eland-90s were delivered to the regiment in 1975. More Eland-90s were successively donated or loaned to the RhACR until 1979, and the earlier Eland Mk5s replaced by Mk6s. Estimates of the total number of Eland-90s in service with the Rhodesian Army by late 1979 range from 30 to 60. Eventually, four composite Eland-90 and Ferret squadrons were formed: A, B, and C squadrons were strictly reserve formations, while D squadron was a regular unit. The reserve squadrons were attached to the "independent companies" of the Rhodesia Regiment on an ad hoc basis, and were the first to be mobilised for cross-border raids on the insurgents' external base camps in neighbouring Mozambique.
For the most part, the RhACR Eland-90s were utilised in the internal security and convoy escort role. The armoured cars were deployed at army roadblocks and frequently patrolled the borders to deter insurgent infiltrators. In the event of a conventional conflict, the Eland-90s were to be used in their secondary role of conventional reconnaissance vehicles. Their light armour protection was always a concern for the Rhodesian crews, particularly after trials proved that the Eland's hull could be penetrated by armour-piercing 7.62×39 mm rounds. Problems with the clutches were also encountered, which led to all the RhACR's Elands being retrofitted with new clutches adopted from the army's Land Rover utility vehicles.
All the Elands supplied to Rhodesia were fitted with number plates registered to the South African Police, which had a presence on Rhodesia's northern border. This measure was initiated to maintain some form of deniability and keep South Africa's role in arming the Rhodesian Security Forces covert. However, the Rhodesians abandoned the façade after the last South African police officers were recalled from that country in 1976. Another South African condition made unenforceable by the departure of the police was that the Elands were not to be deployed outside Rhodesia; after 1976 this was routinely ignored and the vehicles were used in external operations as needed. During Operation Miracle in 1979, Rhodesian Eland-90s spearheaded an assault on "Monte Cassino", a heavily fortified ZANLA complex at New Chimoio, Mozambique. The Mozambicans responded by counterattacking with a T-54 tank company, supported by mechanised infantry in BTR-152 armoured personnel carriers. The Rhodesian forces managed to disperse the tanks with artillery and air strikes without committing their armoured cars.
As Rhodesian hopes for an eminent victory in the bush war quickly faded in the wake of Operation Miracle, the government acceded to a constitutional conference, mediated by the United Kingdom, with the senior insurgent leadership. The conference concluded after forty-seven plenary sessions with agreements on a phased political transition, a constitutional conference including the insurgent factions, and a ceasefire on 15 December 1979. Recognising that its Rhodesian allies were politically moribund, the South African government began withdrawing its support. It also demanded the return of the Eland armoured cars and hundreds of FN MAG machine guns supplied to Rhodesia on ostensibly permanent loan. A senior general officer in the Rhodesian Army was appointed to make the necessary arrangements. Just prior to the country's 1980 elections, the STU Eland-60s were driven directly across the border. Most of the RhACR Eland-90s were loaded onto tank transporters and trucked back to South Africa as well. However, this process had not yet been completed when the political transition period ended and Rhodesia obtained internationally recognised sovereignty as Zimbabwe, under a new regime dominated by the former insurgent leadership. The repatriation of the armoured cars was abruptly terminated, leaving a handful of Eland-90s in the possession of the fledgling Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA). The number of Elands inherited by the ZNA is disputed, with some sources citing sixteen and others twenty-eight.
The SADF had no desire to leave the Eland-90s in the hands of a potentially hostile regime, and was implicated in a plot to destroy the armoured cars. SADF intelligence operatives sabotaged the fuel tanks of the Eland-90s and a number of other vehicles parked at King George VI Barracks in Harare with timed explosive devices in December 1980. The explosives were discovered when two detonated prematurely after becoming saturated by petrol. ZNA engineers disarmed and removed the remaining devices, albeit with some difficulty, as the Elands' turrets had to be removed to access their fuel tanks.
Zimbabwe was ravaged by inter-factional clashes between ex-ZANLA and ZIPRA militants between 1980 and 1981. Being relatively neutral in the dispute, the former Rhodesian Armoured Car Regiment was seen as a prime candidate for restoring order. In January 1981, a troop of four Eland-90s manned by national serviceman and led by Sergeant "Skippy" Devine was dispatched to keep the peace in Bulawayo, where rival ZANLA and ZIPRA units were encamped pending their integration into the national army's 13th infantry battalion. The following month, the ZIPRA troops across Bulawayo revolted in what became known as the 1981 Entumbane uprising. On February 8, the armoured cars charged the mutineers' camp at Glenville and overran it with little resistance. Three days later, ZIPRA reinforcements in the form of a motorized column led by BTR-152 armoured vehicles and possibly including T-34-85 tanks was spotted approaching Bulawayo. Devine was ordered to intercept and destroy them. The Eland-90s promptly identified and knocked out a BTR at an outlying intersection. Taking up positions on the high ground overlooking Selborne Avenue, they stayed in place until two more BTRs attacked, firing indiscriminately with DShK machine guns. Both were destroyed by 90 mm shells at two hundred metres. Devine's Eland-90s knocked out a fourth BTR mere hours later. The ZIPRA tanks were later found abandoned near the road; none were in fighting condition. Devine was awarded the Bronze Cross of Zimbabwe for his actions at Entumbane.
After 1980, the former Rhodesian Armoured Car Regiment, now part of the Zimbabwe Armoured Corps, was reduced to a single regular squadron of Eland-90s. The Zimbabwean Ministry of Defence wanted to bring the regiment up to its pre-1980 strength of four squadrons, one to complement each of the ZNA's four infantry brigades. From 1984 onwards, the Eland-90 was largely superseded in front-line service by the heavier, six-wheeled EE-9 Cascavel, which was adopted in sufficient numbers to form the three additional armoured car squadrons. A proposal to retrofit the ZNA Elands with upgraded 90 mm guns and turrets was discussed but never reached fruition. In Zimbabwean service, the armoured cars suffered from a dwindling supply of spare parts and erratic maintenance. Some were still in service as late as the Second Congo War, during which most of the remaining Elands were believed to have been destroyed or otherwise lost to attrition.
Western Sahara War
Prior to the outbreak of the Western Sahara War, the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces (FAR) received relatively little modern armament, particularly from non-Francophone states. Meanwhile, the Polisario Front, intent on waging an armed struggle for Sahrawi independence, had stockpiled weapons from Algeria and seized additional equipment during raids on Moroccan forces. The hardware attrition rate spiralled upwards after the Madrid Accords and it quickly became apparent that new suppliers were needed to fill the bulk of FAR's needs. A gradual arms buildup in the Sahara began in 1976. Financial assistance from Saudi Arabia allowed Rabat to tap a broad supply network: weaponry was obtained as far abroad as Iran, West Germany, and Belgium. Orders for Panhard AML-90s were placed with France; although some did arrive in second-hand condition, Panhard had long closed its production line and referred Morocco to South Africa. The first Eland Mk6s were imported in 1976. Others appeared with Ratels in the FAR after 1978. They were accompanied by eight South African instructors for training Moroccan crews, though other personnel were expressly forbidden to approach them.
Morocco grew more concerned with each successive FAR setback, and in September 1979 General Ahmed Dlimi adopted a new strategy of consolidating the forces spread out across Western Sahara. Individual garrisons were mustered into tactical groups for massed search and destroy operations against Polisario guerrillas menacing Dakhla, Zag, and Tarfaya. FAR's Elands were first sighted during Operation Imam, one such attempt to break the encirclement of Zag. The Moroccan crews proceeded through a narrow valley against the counsel of their South African instructors, who correctly suspected a Polisario ambush. A large guerrilla force was able to trap and cut off the column of armoured cars in the valley. Over 30 Elands were captured during the failed offensive and some were destroyed. Domestic markings had been censored prior to export, but the vehicles were identified by an Afrikaans inscription on their intact fill caps. Eland-90s remained a notable feature in El Aaiún's anniversary parades for several years to come.
Other conflicts
South Africa supplied 40 Elands of unknown designation to the Ugandan People's Defence Force in the mid-1990s, along with Buffel mine-protected troop carriers. The armoured cars likely entered service during the Second Congo War, and may have seen action with Ugandan armour at Kisangani. They were later deployed against the Lord's Resistance Army. Local media also published reports that Nelson Mandela's administration offered Elands to Pascal Lissouba before his loyalists were defeated by Angolan invaders in the Republic of the Congo Civil War. These claims could not be independently verified. Another source maintains that the original Congo order was placed in 1994 and only one was delivered.
At least 100 Eland-90s and 20 Eland-60s were emptied from SANDF surplus in 1999 and handed to a Belgian defence contractor (Sabiex) for resale. In September 2006, it emerged that President Idriss Déby of Chad was negotiating their purchase. The first 40 were delivered via France on March 3, 2007, and soon blooded in the fighting against a rebel faction encroaching on Adré. While Belgium reported the 1999 deal to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, it neglected to offer any details regarding Chad. Sabiex could neither confirm nor deny the sale to Amnesty International. The Wallonia Directorate for Arms Licences merely recalled authorising export to a buyer in France, without any restrictions as to further sales or transfers. Chad has since used its Elands on routine patrols near the Sudanese border, and against Islamic radicals in northern Mali.
Because the Eland is regarded as a cheap alternative to improvised technicals in areas where climate, terrain, and lack of support infrastructure or technical skill forestall the operation of large heavy armour forces, it has remained popular with sub-Saharan armies and insurgent groups.
Eland hulls are constructed of a welded homogenous steel that provides moderate protection against grenade fragments, antipersonnel mines, and light weapons. The driver is seated at the front of the vehicle and is provided with a one-piece hatch cover that swings to the right. He has a total of three integral periscopes, which may be replaced by passive infrared or night vision equipment for driving in darkness. The turret is in the centre of the hull, where two other crew members are alternatively seated by variant. The rear power plant is completely enclosed in the hull with air intake and exhaust openings safeguarded through a ballistic grille conceding unrestricted air passage.
An Eland's gearbox has one reverse and six forward gears. It is crosswise, coupled to both sides of the bevel pinion. Drive is transmitted from the gearbox to two lateral transfer boxes via pinions to the rear wheels and drive shafts that follow the hull to the front wheels. The shafts have extra universal joints beneath the turret. Each shaft drives a second cam type differential which bar either of the two wheel pairs from exerting a speed radically different from the other. In this respect Elands are less likely to experience transmission fouls and tyre wear than other armoured cars with a single central differential. The Panhard electric clutch, a major stumbling block for inexperienced drivers, has been replaced by a more concurrent hydraulic system for easier maintenance and reduced crew training time.
Also noteworthy is the independent suspension consisting of coil springs and hydropneumatic shock absorbers on trailing arms in the wheel mechanism; South Africa later adopted this design for the Rooikat. All four wheels are of the split rim type and fitted with Dunlop 12.00x20 tyres. There are two hydraulic braking systems, one for the front and one for the rear.
A squat, four wheeled, vehicle, the Eland slopes downwards at the front and less prominently at the rear. There are large semicircular wheel arches, which are obscured by storage bins adjacent to each rear wheel. Sand channels are stowed across the front of the hull, with headlamps located on either side of the towing shackle, beneath the channels. There are three periscopes over the driver's position. Turrets are shallow and rounded, with sloping sides and a prominent sighting periscope to the right. There is a domed cupola over the commander's hatch.


Modelled after Panhard's AML HE-60-7, the Eland-60 was the first Eland variant to enter service. It is armed with twin 7.62 mm machine guns on the left and a single 60 mm mortar on the right. Unlike its French predecessor, only one machine gun is mounted coaxially in the turret. A second was typically carried on a pintle for anti-aircraft use. The mortar has an elevation of +75° and a depression of -11°. A single type of mortar is available: the Hotckiss-Brandt CM60A1, produced under licence as the Model K1. It can be fired on a flat trajectory and is effective up to 300 metres in the direct role, or 1,700 metres in the indirect role. No more than 56 rounds of 60 mm and 3,800 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition are carried. South African crews usually stored 44 mortar bombs per vehicle.
Eland-60s have a rounded turret with a large, dual-piece, hatch cover opening front and rear.
Modelled after Panhard's AML H-90, the Eland-90 functioned as a fire support platform and assault gun. In this role it was easy to underestimate. During combat against tanks, its biggest edge was superior mobility, although this was diminished somewhat by the lack of a stabilised cannon. The armoured cars were often decisively outranged by the Angolan tanks, and their inability to fire on the move resulted in a poor rate of engagement. Eland-90s are equipped with a Denel GT-2 90 mm gun; a coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun is also mounted to the left of the main armament. The GT-2 has an elevation of +15° and a depression of -8°. Turret rotation is manual and takes approximately twenty seconds. A gunner is seated on the right and has a one-piece hatch cover. The loader or commander is on the left of the gun and a single hatch cover provided for the commander. Total ammunition capacity is 29 rounds of 90 mm and 2,400 rounds of 7.62 mm.
When needed, Eland-90s could accommodate two ENTAC or SS.11 missiles, both of which slide out of external rails to be launched.
The Eland-20 was a base Ratel's turret atop the Eland chassis. It is fitted with a 7.62 mm machine gun and 20 mm GI-2 (M963 F2) autocannon offering an elevation of +38° and a depression of -8°. The 20 mm cannon has a cyclic rate of fire of 750 rounds per minute. If required, another 7.62 mm machine gun can be mounted on the turret roof.
Destined for export, Eland-20s were marketed primarily to Morocco. At least 18 of Ireland's AMLs were also upgraded to this standard by South Africa and redesignated "AML H-20".
Other variants
In 1994, an Eland was showcased with a turbocharged diesel four-cylinder powerpack developing 103 hp at 4,000 rpm. This was mounted on a sliding frame to facilitate easier engine removal and maintenance. Apart from the new engine, other changes were made to enhance performance in tropical climates. These included modified air conditioning and cooling systems. Reumech OMC - then a subsidiary of Vickers - marketed the design as Eland Mk7 Diesel Turbocharged, or simply "Eland Mk7 DT". An estimated 200 Mk7s were haggled from the SANDF for diesel conversion.
Mechanology Design Bureau, another South African firm, has proposed removing the Eland-90's turret altogether and replacing it with a giant cupola. This relieves ground pressure considerably, allowing for the installation of a specialised electronic reconnaissance suite. A similar upgrade was proposed for the Eland-60, although the latter retains its original turret.
Several foreign companies currently offer extensive rebuild or overhaul programmes for the Eland, particularly with regards to improving engine performance and reliability. Saymar, an Israeli firm, has proposed a modified Eland with a two-litre Toyota diesel engine developing 76 kW (102 hp). Another upgrade programme is being marketed by Belgium's Sabiex International, which includes the complete refurbishment of the vehicle's transmission, electrical system, and drive train.
Various demonstrators have been built at the SANDF School of Armour utilising an Eland drive train, suspension, or chassis. Examples include an armoured personnel carrier resembling the Panhard M3 and an 8X8 Rooikat prototype.
Armament and ammunition
The modular design of Eland weapon systems allowed Sandock-Austral to update or downgrade armament with ease according to prospective clients' wishes. Ranging is manual and Eland-90s assisted by a non-stabilised optical fire control system.
Like the AML, the Eland is equipped with a two-person turret. The original Eland-60 had an unusual combination of the 60 mm K1 mortar and two medium, or one heavy, machine guns - a combination inspired by French experiences in the Algerian War. The mortar weighs 75 kg and is 1.8 metres long. Maximum effective range of the K1 as produced by Denel Land Systems is stated to be 1,700 metres. An Eland-60 was always present in every South African support troop due to the effectiveness of its illumination bombs during night operations.
It was the SAAC which first recommended an AML with heavier armament: they were then looking for a fire support platform to complement the Alvis Saracen. Due to parts compatibility the Alvis Saladin was an obvious initial choice. Nevertheless, the AML licence had already been purchased, so there were obvious advantages in filling the same role with an existing vehicle. Panhard's response was the AML H-90.
The 90 mm Denel GT-2 gun, which fires fin-stabilised high-explosive (HE) and high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) projectiles, is heavier than that mounted in the Saladin and provides the Eland with a very potent form of armament, considering its small size and speed. It weighs 380 kg and has a double baffle muzzle brake. With the muzzle brake, it measures 4.1 metres in length. Low-angled rifling is used in the barrel. The breech of the gun is semi-automatic and fitted with a vertical sliding wedge breech block. The firing mechanism utilises a mechanical firing pin which was prone to sticking and malfunction in dusty climates. There is also a recoil control mechanism consisting of a single cylinder with a constant stress spring and a hydropneumatic recuperator designed to return the GT-2 to its original firing position. This process entailed releasing oil into a nitrogen reservoir as the gun recoiled upon firing. Oil levels and the nitrogen pressure had to be monitored frequently; if neither was sufficient turret crews were forced to physically manhandle their gun back into position. During the 1970s, the recoil systems in all the Eland-90s were modified to allow the gun to be fired in all directions from the fully traversing turret without the risk of knocking the extremely lightweight armoured car over. In theory, these modifications also permitted the gun to be fired while the vehicle was in forward motion, although crews were prohibited from doing so due to the likelihood of transmission damage.
South Africa began producing its own 90 mm ammunition in large quantities after French high-explosive rounds were blamed for causing stoppages in Eland-90s during Operation Reindeer.

Eland-90 ammunition
Type - Model - Weight, kg (cartridge/projectile) - Filler - Muzzle velocity, m/s
HEAT-T - OCC F1 - 7.077 / 3.65 - RDX/TNT, 670g - 760
HEAT-TP - TP-T BSCC 90 F1 - 7.077 / 3.65 - Aluminum, tracer - 760
HE - OE F1 - 8.662 / 5.27 - RDX/TNT, 945g - 650
WP-SMK - OFUM F1 - 9.07 / 5.4 - White phosphorus, 800g - 650
Canister - Canister GT-2 - _ - 1100 lead spheres, 4 kg - 450
Blank - Blank cartridge, 90 mm F1 with shortened primer - 3.4 / - _ - _

Maximum effective range of the Denel GT-2 is stated to be 2,200 metres (HE). The HEAT-T round will penetrate 320 mm of armour at a zero angle of incidence or 150 mm of armour at a 60° angle of incidence. A locally manufactured fin-stabilised, shaped charged, projectile was also under development in 1976. The complete round weighs 7 kg of which the projectile itself weighs 3.65 kg. The complete round is 654 mm in length with the projectile being 500 mm in length. This round has an m/v of 750 m/s and a maximum velocity of 760 m/s, and effective range is given as 1,200 metres.
The Eland's first combat deployment to the Caprivi Strip revealed major flaws in South African armour doctrine. Firstly, the SAAC learned that significant swathes of Namibian (and Angolan) terrain were not ideal conditions for military vehicles. Caprivi had thick bush which restricted movement, turret traverse, and visibility. It also confounded textbook formations. Second, Eland crews were trained on the arid flats of Bloemfontein and Walvis Bay. The conditions they encountered were quite unlike anything the SADF had prepared them for.
Much was learned from Elands' performance in Operation Savannah. Their ability to move so swiftly over tar and packed gravel surprised FAPLA on multiple occasions. They were also rather silent; a quiet petrol engine enabled stealth during ambush or evasive manoeuvres. Furthermore, the Eland-90 proved that it was powerful enough to defeat the heaviest armour ranged against it, the Soviet T-34. Savannah was the SAAC's first experience of mobile warfare in the Angolan bush, creating a laboratory where new tactics could be tested.
According to the South African Military College at Voortrekkerhoogte, which clearly recognised the Eland's weakness in attrition warfare, SADF doctrine was to be "based on not to hold ground but to create the design of battle in such a way that you would lure the enemy into killing ground and then [with] the superiority of fire and movement, you would kill him completely." Factors such as rapid movement, striking from the flank, surprise and confusing the enemy with continuous manoeuvring thus became integral components in the new SAAC. That Voortrekkerhoogte was worried about the Eland's light construction was apparent. It subsequently issued a requirement for a "heavy armoured car" and grafted support infantry into the existing squadrons to deal with the threat posed by RPGs. Due to lack of space in an Eland to accommodate support troops, infantry mobility vehicles were called for. The SADF experimented with Land Rovers, Bedford RLs, and Unimog trucks before United Nations Security Council Resolution 418 further limited their choices. There were logistical incentives for adopting the Panhard M3, which shared many interchangeable parts with the Elands, but this notion was rejected: Pretoria wanted a true MRAP. After dozens of trials and modifications the Buffel was finally born.
Eland squadrons operated on the troop (platoon) level in operational areas: one was assigned to virtually every major settlement (i.e. Rucana, Ondangwa, Eenhana, Katima Mulilo, etc.). There were four Elands in a troop - Bravo Car, Alpha Car, Charlie Car, and Delta Car. Alpha and Charlie were the troop sergeant and leader respectively. Bravo was always an Eland-60. Delta was the additional option: either a second Eland-60 or a support infantry Buffel. This provided an excellent mix of direct and indirect fire to troop commanders. Bravo could release illumination bombs for night attacks or create a smokescreen. Charlie and Alpha laid down suppressive fire. If present Delta infantry debussed and attacked on foot from the nine o'clock position. Communication in the troop was essential, as fire had to be lifted once Delta moved to target.
The armoured car troop was expected to operate independently. Its own crews carried out repair and recovery with limited resources. Operations were dictated by the amount of fuel, ammunition, water and ration that could be carried per vehicle. The Eland's easy maintenance allowed them to operate on makeshift repairs in the field for up to seven days, hunting SWAPO cadres by day and forming open laagers by night.
One of the first major breakthroughs of the late 1970s was the development of the Ratel. Three years after Springfield-Bussing built the first prototype in 1974, Magnus Malan reported to Parliament that the Ratel was "successfully industrialised". Ratels replaced Buffels in support troops and by 1982 all armoured car regiments had been retrained to depend on mechanised infantry during conventional operations. A second watershed came when twelve junior officers and senior noncoms underwent training as tank commanders in the Israeli Defense Forces, which had amassed considerable experience with mobile mechanised warfare. Officers who attended courses at the IDF combat school included the later commanders of 61 Mechanised, including Gert van Zyl and Ep van Lill. The acquired expertise in armour tactics was implemented in SAAC curricula and manuals, replacing the archaic British doctrine of World War II. Commands became more concise, emphasis shifted to reaction speed, and evaluation methods improved substantially. Nevertheless, the SAAC defeated the purpose of Israeli tank drills by applying them directly to armoured cars, setting a trend that continued throughout the border war.
Throughout the 1980s, Elands played a supporting role for the Ratel-mounted mechanised combat groups. Specific infantry battalions such as 61 Mechanised also held generic platoons of Eland-90s or Ratel-90s as an antitank reserve. The latter was preferred, as Elands experienced difficulty observing other forces in thick bush. Spotting tanks was a particular problem. Their crews had an even chance of noticing FAPLA T-54/55s, which also had low profiles. This poor visibility in vegetation also complicated command and control, frustrating both driver and troop leader to no end.
For decades, Elands were widely deployed in lieu of tanks in the SAAC. The main danger with this policy was that crews and commanders were often forced to use them against Angolan or Cuban tanks. Whenever T-55s appeared on the battlefield, they caused anxious moments for the Eland-90. The tanks carried stabilised cannon, so they could fire on the move, whereas the Eland-90 needed to come to a stop before discharging its main gun. Firing the 90 mm GT-2 while in forward motion was theoretically possible but disrupted the recoil procedure and risked catastrophic damage to the vehicle's transmission. Their inferior armament and optics meant that Elands had to close in on a tank to eliminate it, which demanded considerable skill. Where possible gunners aimed for the rear, flank, or a vulnerable margin beneath the turret front. Naturally the tank would also turn to avoid exposing its thinner armour, so expert manoeuvring was required before they could get behind a T-55 and destroy it from there.
Eland-90 troops always identified one tank as a priority target. Then, when the chance came, the Elands fired simultaneously - knocking out the tank. To avoid being hit between volleys, they had to keep moving. This protocol was derived from SADF experience fighting T-34s and later applied to T-55s. Armoured car commanders believed it wouldn't have fared well against T-62s. Eland-90s struggled in big, dense, bushes while attempting to carry out their usual tactic during Operation Askari and were hereafter deemed unfit for high intensity campaigns.
South Africa formally retired its Eland fleet in 1994. However, at least one reserve armoured unit continued to operate Elands as late as 1996. Of the 1,268 still accounted for in 1991, only 235 remained in reserve storage by 1998. A statistic released by the Department of Defence in 1997 confirmed that Elands valued in excess of 41.3 million rand had been scrapped. In October 2005, all the SANDF's remaining Elands were offered for sale. Tenders for Eland-90s were still available in 2009.
In January 2005, two Elands at the South African National Museum of Military History were repossessed and impounded by the SANDF. The seizure of the vehicles was justified on the grounds that they had been marked off for disposal from the army's inventory some time prior, but SANDF officials had no record of their transfer to the museum. Why both Elands were being exhibited at the museum without the SANDF's apparent knowledge remains a mystery. The disputed Elands were eventually acquired by Denel, which had them overhauled at its own expense and returned to the museum in July 2015.
Both the South African Armour Museum in Bloemfontein and Sandstone Estates in Ficksburg have preserved at least one Eland-90 and Eland-60 apiece. Others survive on SANDF bases as gate guardians. Four armoured units are known to have retained individual Eland-90s for ceremonial purposes: 1 Special Service Battalion, the Umvoti Mounted Rifles, Regiment Mooirivier, and Regiment Oranjerivier. These vehicles participate in parades, public exhibitions, and fire gun salutes during special occasions, such as the anniversary of the South African Armoured Corps. Turretless Elands modified with ring-mounted handrails are still used for transporting SANDF dignitaries on parade grounds during official inspections.
An Eland-90 was sold at a private auction in Portola Valley, United States, on July 11-12, 2014. Another Eland-60 was sold to the Jordanian government by an unidentified supplier in the United Kingdom the following year, for exhibition at the Royal Tank Museum in Aqaba. Other foreign museums known to possess Elands in their collections include the Gweru Military Museum in Zimbabwe and the Sahrawi People's Liberation Army Museum in Algeria.
For several decades, an Eland-90 captured by FAPLA during Operation Savannah was publicly displayed in a square near the centre of Luanda. This vehicle has undergone at least one restoration and now resides at the Angolan Museum of the Armed Forces.
 Benin - Beninese Army: 3 Eland-90s, supplied from unidentified source in 2010. Beninese crews trained by 1er RHP, France.
 Burkina Faso - Burkinabe Army: 4 Eland-90s, supplied from unidentified source in 2006.
 Chad - Chadian Ground Forces: 82 refurbished Eland-90s purchased from a Belgian firm in 2007.
 Gabon - Gabonese Army: 4 Eland-90s and 4 Eland-60s in service with the presidential guard.
 Ivory Coast - Ivorian Gendarmerie.
 Malawi - Malawian Army: 13 Eland-90s purchased from the SANDF in 1994.
 Morocco - Moroccan Army: 60 Eland-90s and Eland-20s delivered in 1981; provided with instructors for training the Moroccan crews.
 Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic - Polisario Front: Presumably captured from Morocco.
 Senegal - Senegalese Army: 47 Eland-90s purchased from the SANDF in 2005.
 Uganda - Ugandan Land Forces: 40 Eland-90s purchased prior to the Second Congo War.
 Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe National Army: 16 to 28 Eland-90s inherited from the Rhodesian Army in 1980.
Former operators
 South Africa - South African Army: 1,268 Eland-60s and Eland-90s in active service in 1989.
 South Africa South West Africa - South West African Territorial Force: At least 40 Elands provided by the SADF; deployed exclusively with 91 Brigade.
 Rhodesia - Rhodesian Army and Rhodesian Air Force: Up to 60 Eland-90s and 12 Eland-60s donated by South Africa on semi-permanent loan.
 Portugal - Portuguese Army: at least 32 Eland-60 loaned by South Africa for use in Angola and Mozambique.
In popular culture
Eland-90s painted with UNITA markings make an appearance in Call of Duty: Black Ops II, during a fictitious engagement of Operation Alpha Centauri. A number of the armoured cars are knocked out by FAPLA T-62 tanks outside Jamba in the protagonist's first mission, "Pyrrhic Victory".
Eland armoured cars feature prominently in the Larry Bond novel Vortex, which depicts a hypothetical SADF invasion of newly independent Namibia during the early 1990s. The Elands are pressed into front-line service to complement the Rooikat in the reconnaissance and fire support role, as the SADF was equipped with relatively few of the newer armoured cars during the novel's time frame.
A mercenary unit surreptitiously acquires several mothballed Eland-90s from the SANDF's reserve stores with the connivance of two corrupt South African armour officers in The Liberators, by Tom Kratman. The armoured cars are subsequently used to destroy several T-55 tanks in a coup d'état attempt.

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