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AAD 2010: Mbombe brings a bang to AAD

20th September 2010 - 15:30 by Darren Lake in Cape Town

South Africa's Paramount Group has unveiled its new Mbombe armoured fighting vehicle the day before the official opening of African Aerospace and Defence 2010.

The Mbombe is a 6x6 capable of carrying troops and three crew, including a gunner.

Speaking at the unveiling, Ivor Ichikowitz, executive chairman of the company, said that the vehicle had been named after a famed African warrior.

'We believe that with Mbombe, Paramount Group has developed a groundbreaking new vehicle that will take the international market by storm.'

He added that the vehicle 'can carry considerable loads without loss of mobility. The three axles give it outstanding cross-country performance and make it an excellent platform for military operations over all types of terrain anywhere in the world'.

The AFV offers STANAG Level 4 KE protection and STANAG Level IV mine blast protection. According to the company, the vehicle is the first clean-sheet design for protection against both IEDs and mines.

Mbombe's design is capable of defeating 50kg of TNT at 5m. The design includes a mine-resistant honeycomb flat hull, rather than the traditional V-shape, that gives it a lower profile than traditional MRAP-type designs.

The AFV can withstand the explosion of 10kg of TNT anywhere under its hull or under any wheel station without rupture. It incorporates anti-blast seats to prevent injury to the crew from the extreme acceleration following an explosion beside or under the vehicle.

The company says that further modular protection can also be added if necessary to give additional defence against specific threats in any particular area of operations.

The vehicle on display at AAD has been fitted with a dual fed 30mm cannon and integrated machine gun overhead weapon station. Also visible on Mbombe is part of a laser detection system to defeat advanced anti-armour solutions. An integrated rear view camera is also integral to the design on display.

Paramount Group intends the new design to kickstart the beginning of a family of vehicles and variants are expected to include armoured personnel carrier, armoured combat vehicle mounting a heavy machine gun or autocannon, command vehicle, and ambulance as well as a number of other options.

Ichikowitz stated that Mbombe showed that the African defence industry was capable of developing some of the most advanced solutions in the market. He added that the new vehicle was well suited for use in both conventional and non-conventional war, peackeeping and counter-insurgency operations.

‘Our configuration and variant options have been developed to provide maximum commonality, which means reduced overall cost of buying, owning and using Mbombe.’

The company has identified a number of countries that may become a launch customer for Mbombe. However, at AAD it was Gabon that took centre stage as a possible initial client.

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