The Ratel


OTT Solutions, a company in the South African Defence Industry and member of Aerospace Maritime and Defence (AMD) – with the collaboration of the OTT Group’s ADG Mobility – embarked on the Ratel service life extension programme (SLEP) in 2022. The programme is aimed at local and foreign operators of this successful vehicle, of which 1,300 were built. The upgrade entails significantly improved mobility, protection and firepower.

OTT Solutions is majority owned by the South African National Military Veterans Association (SANMVA), with OTT Technologies a minority shareholder. Military veterans and their dependents stand to benefit from this venture through job creation and downstream involvement of SANMVA members.

The Ratel SLEP initiative makes use of the in-house design, manufacturing and assembly capabilities of OTT Technologies in Pretoria.

With a smaller and much lighter modern engine, compliant with Euro 3 emissions, the vehicle offers significant fuel cost and range advantages. OTT fitted a commercially available automatic gearbox and single-speed transfer case, as well as a more efficient radiator. The driveline components are commercially supported over more than the next 10 years.

Besides a central tyre inflation system (CTIS), the Ratel now boasts a commercial pneumatic system, new suspension and steering dampers, as well as a thermal camera with screen for the driver to enhance night driving.

Improved ballistic protection and fire suppression are part of the upgrade. A stabilised commander’s sight and slaved gunner’s sight now permit a hunter-killer role. Modern navigation and battlefield management systems enable a new level of interoperability and battle space awareness.

This private initiative underscores the South African defence industry’s ability to work together, to provide practical, cost-effective solutions, ultimately benefitting the local client – the South African National Defence Force and the South African Police Service.