In 1976, the South African Armoured Corps issued a new project for a "New Generation Armoured Car", intended to replace the 4x4 Eland 90 in service as they were struggling to provide adequate support for the heavier Ratel IFVs in tank warfare. Three 8x8 prototypes were designed, based on the Ratel (Concept 1), Eland (Concept 2), and Alvis Saracen APC ('Concept 3), each fitted with a 77 mm high-velocity gun from retired South African Comet Is. However, after mobility trials in 1979, none of the prototypes were considered suitable and the project stalled. New requirements were issued in 1980, and further prototypes were developed, based roughly on the Concept 2, which eventually formed the basis of the Rooikat.
Introduced in Update "Red Skies", the Concept 3 is a well-rounded light tank with an excellent gun, a decent reload speed, and adequate ammunition. Though larger and heavier than the preceding SARCs, the Concept 3 is by no means a slouch, offering good mobility and adequate acceleration on paved surfaces, though it may struggle more when operating off road. Make good use of terrain to keep the lightly armoured hull protected, and use the vehicle's excellent reverse speed to reposition or retreat at a moment's notice. While the gun is powerful for the rank, the turret traverses slowly in both planes; combined with the extreme rocking of the hull when firing or moving, it can be difficult to achieve a suitable firing solution quickly.
Survivability and armour
Like the American M18 Hellcat, the Concept 3 only has 12.7 mm (0.5 in) of armour in most areas, with some areas being only 6.5 mm. As a result, anything at this BR can penetrate this vehicle's armour. Compounding issues, the Concept 3 has ammunition scattered all throughout its body. Shots hitting the front part of the hull are prone to cause ammunition explosion: any shell hitting the front hull of the Concept 3 will almost certainly be fatal. The crew members are generally spread out, avoiding knock-outs by a single shot. While incoming fire from the sides is somewhat prone to overpenetration, this cannot be depended upon. Try to avoid being shot at in the first place. While the armour can protect the crew from heavy machine gun fire from the front and some aircraft strafing with MGs, anything larger in calibre (20 mm and above) will easily destroy this light tank.
However it is worth noting the geometry of the Concept 3 when presented from the front. While thin, the armour can ricochet rounds with far more consistency than one might expect, offering angles of around 65-80 degrees across the frontal profile. While a light armour is certainly a disadvantage against armoured vehicles, it is also a potential advantage as some APHE shells may not detonate when they penetrate the light tank. Artillery strikes can easily damage or destroy the vehicle; always move when your area is highlighted for artillery strikes by the enemy. The Concept 3 lacks a smoke grenade launcher, which would increase its survivability.
- Rolled homogeneous armour (hull, turret, cupola)
- Wheel (tires)
|Armour||Front (Slope angle)||Sides||Rear||Roof|
|Hull|| 12.7 mm (70°) Upper glacis
25.4 mm (31°) Lower glacis
| 12.7 mm (25°) Top
12.7 mm Bottom
| 12.7 mm Rear armour
5 mm Engine grille
|Turret|| 12.7 mm (19°) Turret front
25.4 mm (7-69°) Gun mantlet
|12.7 mm (18-19°)||12.7 mm (21°)|| 12.7 mm (10°) Front |
6.35 mm Rear
|Cupola||25.4 mm||25.4 mm||25.4 mm||12.7 mm|
- Wheels and torsion bars are 10 mm thick.
- Belly armour is 6.35 mm thick.
The Concept 3 represents the crystallization of the set of traits that define the South African tech line. It is able to comfortable reach 70+ km/h when stock on paved roads and a respectable 40-50 km/h across rough terrain with the common exceptions of boggy, sandy, or snow-covered ground. It will get the player where they wish to go swiftly; however, owing to its 8 wheel design, it does offer a much more sluggish turning radius than its predecessors in the SARC family, or its contemporary in the SPAA line, the Ystervark. Take care to begin turning earlier than than previous vehicles to avoid crashing into a street corner or odd boulder. Mobility is poor in soft terrain (sand, mud, snow), and top speeds are difficult to achieve; it is recommended to use roads or hard terrain as much as possible during matches.
It is very fast in both forward and reverse, allowing players to take advantage of strategic spots early in the game while also making quick retreats if things do not go their way. The suspension is superb even stock, allowing the Concept 3 to maintain good speed across rough ground and steady the chassis swiftly upon halting; crucial to bringing its armament to bear upon its target or a surprise encounter.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
Modifications and economy
At its battle rating, the threat of coming up against such formidable tanks such as the Tiger H1, IS-1, and the M4A3E2 Jumbo means that after the necessary acquiring of the parts and FPE kits, players are advised to prioritise the unlocking of the Shot Mk.8. While the stock Mk.6 can be sufficient in examples such as engaging the frontal plate of a Tiger H1, the extra penetration is more reliable insurance, particularly when engaging Soviet tanks.
Further on it is advised to acquire the Horizontal turret drive as stock the traversal of the turret is poor, from there it is entirely up to player's choice if they wish to improve the turret's elevation and accuracy or focus on the mobility aspect of the Concept 3 first.
Due to highly mobile playstyle, one might try to fight on the move or to attack by driving uphill to suddenly shoot enemies. Unfortunately, the gun is not stabilized and the gun elevation speed is extremely slow, which leads to significant uncontrollable "rocking" of the gun, inevitably pushing it down into the ground. This makes fighting on the move in RB/SB very difficult to the point of impossible. Thus, one should always wait until the gun has settled, or drive over completely flat terrain and slow down before firing to try one's luck.
In AB, the rocking can be countered by maxing out "targeting" and "leadership", gaining at least "expert" crew qualification and getting all of the tank modifications. The gun will still shake a bit and fail when the car is moving over hills, but the gunner will try his best to stop this.
The excellent gun depression of -10 degrees allows players to utilise mountainous terrain at their advantage. The gun also has a very powerful recoil, which slows the car down and can throw it around if fired broadside. It's generally not fatal, but it can be extremely annoying when firing to the side off slopes, because it will move the car and ruin the aim by pushing the car above the gun depression threshold. When firing with the turrets turned to the sides, the gun sights shake horribly; it can take a long time for the guns to stabilise again.
Due to the low weight of the car, any enemy can ram the Concept 3 to prevent it from firing. Melee combat with tanks is possible, but going literally into their face is not recommended.
|77 mm OQF Mk.II||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
While lacking the APDS rounds of the Comet I, the Concept 3's rounds are pretty impressive for its BR, capable of penetrating the thickest of armour, including the dreaded KV-1 (ZiS-5). The post penetration damage won't be as good as an APHE round, but it is quite acceptable.
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)|
|10 m||100 m||500 m||1,000 m||1,500 m||2,000 m|
|Ammunition|| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
|60||41 (+19)||37 (+23)||33 (+27)||28 (+32)||21 (+39)||1 (+59)||No|
- Shells are modeled individually and disappear after having been shot or loaded.
- If you pack 21 (+39) shells, it will keep the turret empty of ammo.
|7.62 mm Browning MG4|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
Usage in battles
The Concept 3 will be the first iteration of the iconic 8 wheeled light vehicles that return often along the South African tech line. This vehicle is extremely large for a scout vehicle, eclipsing the Panzer IV in height and length. Concealing the Concept 3 will prove to be a difficult challenge for the player, usually finding themselves relying heavily upon its mobility to compete.
As with most if not all of the South African vehicles, the Concept 3 boasts an excellent level of mobility. A viable tactic for the Concept 3 can be to advance swiftly to a good position and provide scouting support, taking shots of opportunity when they present themselves. The player is advised to prioritize positions that allow an easy avenue of escape to ensure the potent mobility of the Concept 3 is not rendered useless, especially the superb reverse speed of this vehicle.
The Concept 3 has little in the way of armour to rely upon, only being able to resist rifle calibre rounds where a flat strike is concerned. The vast majority of munitions fired at the Concept 3 will penetrate its armour, with some parts of the armour still thick enough to activate the fuse of an APHE round. Avoiding being struck is always the most favourable scenario for any vehicle. However the Concept 3 can in some instances show surprising resilience in the harshly angled geometry of its frontal profile which boasts the aforementioned extreme angles of around 65-80 degrees. Many rounds such as the BR-350SP round utilised by the T-34 family have a ricochet chance of 100% at 71 degrees of angle. Meaning that a savvy Concept 3 player can use the respectable gun depression of 10 degrees to increase these angles and be a more tricky contender for an inexperienced opponent.
The ammunition performance is noticeably inferior to that of the Ordnance QF 17-pounder found on the Sherman Firefly; some shots may not penetrate the enemy as intended, necessitating extra caution when fighting Panthers and Tigers at full uptier.
The turret does not turn quickly enough, and this, combined with the bouncy suspension, slow gun elevation speed, and lack of a primary stabiliser found in the American 76 mm gun M1, makes street brawling relatively dangerous; paying attention to potential enemy engine sounds is highly recommended.
In conclusion, the Concept 3 can be reliably played the same way as the previous SARC vehicles albeit with a punchy gun and a little trickery in the armour department with ricochet.
Pros and cons
- Excellent gun for its tier, good penetration and decent reload
- Fast with good acceleration when spaded
- Reverse speed is as good as forward speed, allowing for quick getaways
- Above average muzzle velocity
- Solid shot ammunition only, accurate fire is needed to disable vehicles
- Suspension is quite bouncy and the gun elevation speed is slow, making shots difficult
- Turning is slow when stock
- Suffers in soft terrain, sometimes speed will drop massively upon the slightest obstacle
- Negligible armour, vulnerable to artillery overpressure
- Subpar accuracy at range when stock
- Lacks a smoke grenade launcher
The Concept 3 was based on the British FV603 Alvis Saracen Armoured Personnel Carrier. It was designed to fulfil a new South African requirement for a "New Generation Armoured Car". The project started in 1976 and ended in 1979. 3 testbed vehicles were made, Concept 3 being one of them. The Concept 3 differed from the Alvis Saracen APCs - it had an 8-wheel configuration, giving it superior off-road characteristics and superior performance. The Concept 3 was fitted with a 77mm OQF Mk.II, identical to the one found on the A34 Comet I which, while underwhelming for the time was merely a placeholder and was later swapped for a 105 mm Royal Ordnance L7 which was a licence built version of the same gun found on the British Centurion Mk 10. The L7 variant was known as the "Bismarck". The vehicle was built by South African company Sandock-Austral (later merged into BAE Systems), the same company credited with creating and producing the Ratel family (Ratel 20 / 90) and the Eland 90 Mk.7. Several tests were conducted over the years at Potchefstroom, South Africa. The Concept 3 series was nicknamed the "Cheetah" and the vehicle was officially designated "Concept 3, Class 2B" and was built to slightly different medium specifications, raising the original weight of the vehicle from a modest 17 tonnes to a rather considerable weight of up to 23 tonnes.
When all is said and done, the Concept series deviated from the original vision of the Armoured Personnel Carrier, morphing into a light Armoured Fighting Vehicle or reconnaissance car. The original intended role of Armoured Personnel Carrier was ultimately fulfilled by the excellent Ratel family which doubled as an effective Infantry Fighting Vehicle. Therefore the South African National Defence Force ultimately cancelled the order for the Concepts, and immediate further development of the Concept programme was promptly terminated.
However, the legacy of the Concept cannot be asserted enough: the basic design of the Concept and in particular its chassis would later become that of the Rooikat family (Rooikat 105 / MTTD / Mk.1D / ZA-35) which are still used to this day. The Concept, while often forgotten, disregarded and dishonoured is perhaps one of the most - if not the most - influential military vehicle design in South African history.
- Related developement
Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:
- topic on the official game forum;
- other literature.
|Britain light tanks|
|A13||A13 Mk I · A13 Mk I (3rd R.T.R.) · A13 Mk II · A13 Mk II 1939|
|A15||Crusader II · Crusader "The Saint" · Crusader III|
|Wheeled||Daimler Mk II · AEC Mk II · Vickers Mk.11|
|SARC||SARC MkIVa · SARC MkVI (2pdr) · SARC MkVI (6pdr)|
|Ratel||Ratel 90 · Ratel 20|
|Rooikat||Rooikat Mk.1D · Rooikat 105 · Rooikat MTTD|
|Other||Concept 3 · Eland 90 Mk.7|
|USA||Stuart I · Stuart III|