Developed in the mid-1960s, the Austrian SK-105 Kurassier is known as a tank destroyer, however it can be considered a light tank.
The SK-105 Kurassier was developed to provide the Austrian Army with an independent anti-tank weapon for difficult terrain. The first prototype was ready in 1967 and first production vehicles were delivered in 1971. A total of 600 vehicles were produced. Austrian Army ordered 234 vehicles, while remaining were sold for export customers. Foreign operators include Argentina, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Morocco and Tunisia.
SK-105 has a weight of about 17.7 tons, a length of 5.58 m, a width of 2.5 m, and a height of 2.88 m. Crew of 3, including commander, gunner and driver. The tank is equipped with a semi-automatic revolving magazine type autoloader, so no loader is required.
The SK-105 is based on a heavily modified Saurer APC. The hull of the SK-105 is welded steel and is divided into three compartments: driver’s at the front, fighting in the centre and the engine at the rear. The SK 105 is immune to 20 mm armour-piercing rounds over its frontal arc. Due to its low weight, the SK-105 can be transported by C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.
The turret was closely based on the French design and was initally armed with a local 105 mm G1 which was able to penetrate 360 mm of armor. It was oscillating, meaning the base was traversing while the entire upper part could elevate or depress, solidary with the gun.
The SK-105 Kurassier has a maximum rate of fire in 12 rounds per minute. Unfortunately gun is non-stabilized and vehicle can’t fire accurately on the move. A total of 43 rounds for the main gun are carried. The 105 mm gun enables APFSDS rounds to be fired, giving a greater armour-piercing capability than the HEAT projectile. Secondary armament consists of two 7.62 mm machine guns. One of them is mounted coaxially with the main gun, while the other is positioned on top of the roof.
For mobility the SK-105 counted on its lightweight hull and a Steyr 7FA/6-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine giving 320 hp. Top speed of 70 km/h on flat, and an operational range of 500 to 550 km. The torsion bar suspension consists of five dual rubber-tyred roadwheels with the drive sprocket at the rear and the idler at the front. There are three track-return rollers and the first and last roadwheel stations have hydraulic shock-absorbers. This vehicle is specifically designed for mountainous terrain and has an improved climbing capability compared to heavier main battle tanks. The Kürassier entered in servce in 1971 the Austrian army, and remained so with until the 1990s. The rest were were exported, and most are still in service today. Argentina is the most prolific customer with 118 vehicles.