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panzerknoef
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Do you want the Piranha IIIC DF90 in game?  

23 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you want the Piranha IIIC DF90 in game?

    • Yes, don't care how.
      9
    • Yes, as a researchable vehicle.
      12
    • Yes, as a premium/event/squadron vehicle
      1
    • No.
      1
  2. 2. Where would you like to see the vehicle?

    • BeNeLux tree.
      14
    • Belgian tree.
      0
    • French tree.
      8
    • Other.
      0
    • I said no.
      1


Hello everyone, in this suggestion we'll be having a look at the vehicle that is currently Belgium's main direct-fire vehicle: the Piranha IIIC DF90.

 

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The Piranha IIIC DF90 was the result of a program run in the 2000s to replace Belgium's fleet of Leopard 1 vehicles. These tanks at the time had not only been in service for a long time but they were also deemed too expensive for the nation's military budget. A rather controversial selection process eventually selected the Swiss-made Piranha IIIC chassis combined with an LCTS 90MP turret. This turret is made by the Belgian company Cockerill and contains a medium-pressure 90mm cannon as its main armament. The resulting vehicle was named DF90, DF being an abbreviation for "Direct Fire" and 90 being a reference to its caliber. Most other nations which field similar vehicles have instead chosen to equip them with 105mm or above caliber guns, but the Piranha chassis was supposedly not capable of dealing with the recoil of such a weapon. An initial order of 40 vehicles of this type was made and the type officially entered service in 2008, but supposedly only 18 are left in active service. While on paper a rather capable vehicle, the type has been plagued with issues in its service life. It has also been criticized for lacking cross-operability with other NATO members thanks to its unusual 90mm gun. As a result, it is soon to be replaced by the French ERBC jaguar, less than 20 years after its introduction. 

 

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As mentioned before, the vehicle's main armament consists of a 90mm cannon capable of firing APFSDS-T and HESH-T rounds (although it has experienced issues firing APFSDS rounds irl, that should not be a problem in War Thunder). It can carry up to 50 rounds, 20 of which are in the turret, the rest of the rounds are in the hull. The cannon is manually loaded, with the commander doubling as the loader. This brings the crew of the vehicle down to 3. Additionally, the turret comes equipped with a coaxial 7.62mm FN machine gun, another machine gun is also often seen on the commander's hatch. The two-man turret comes integrated with a laser rangefinder, gunner and commander thermals, a ballistics computer, and a 2-plane stabilizer. Total weight of the vehicle is fairly normal for a vehicle of this type at around 19.5 tons, with a maximum weight of 22.6 tons. The 8-wheeled vehicle is powered by a Caterpillar C-9 engine which puts out around 395 horsepower, giving the vehicle a power-to-weight ratio of around 17hp/ton, and a maximum speed of 105km/h. However, good mobility comes at a cost, and that cost is armor. The DF90 is very lightly armored, by default offering protection only against small-arms fire (up to 7.62mm guns). It is also a rather large vehicle, at 7.77m long, 2.93m high and 2.72m wide. This large size combined with light armor makes it a rather fragile vehicle that's well suited for fire support and flanking operations. 

 

General characteristics:

  • Crew: 3 (driver, gunner, commander)
  • Weight: 19.43t - 22.6t
  • Length: 7.77m
  • Width: 2.72m
  • Height: 2.93m
  • Engine: 1x Caterpillar C-9, producing 395hp
  • Power-to-weight: +/-17.48hp/t
  • Maximum speed: 105 km/h
  • Range: 600-800km

 

Armament: 

  • 1x Mk.8 Cockerill 90mm cannon.
    • APFSDS-T rounds (150mm RHA at 2000m & 60°, 300mm RHA at 2000m & 0°)
    • HESH-T
  • 1x coaxial 7.62mm FN machine gun 
  • 1x roof-mounted 7.62mm FN machine gun

 

Systems:

  • Stabilizer: yes, 2-plane
  • Laser-rangefinder: yes
  • commander-sight: yes
  • commander override: yes
  • thermals: yes, gunner & commander

 

In-game:

This vehicle is comparable to other vehicles of its class such as the Centauro, WMA-301, .... It is a highly mobile vehicle that is best used to outflank and outmaneuver the enemy, after which you can use your smaller caliber gun to pummel them from the sides and rear. A vehicle like this is useful and enjoyable no matter which nation it is placed in. The DF90 could be an important vehicle for a potential BeNeLux tree, or it can serve as a premium or gap-filler in an already existing tree such as France. 

 

Sources:

 

Additional images:

Spoiler

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Edited by panzerknoef
  • Upvote 2
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2 hours ago, mr_boo said:

+1 for BeNeLux

do we know what the reload rate is like with the autoloader?

Good question actually, and one that led me down a path of research. Looks like I already need to correct my suggestion as, while the official sales page of the turret mentions the autoloader, the ones on the DF90 do not actually have such a system. The commander doubles as the loader as can be seen in the following video: 

 

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