MLS scores in China
Written by Leon Engelbrecht, Friday, 05 November 2010
MLS CE Dewald Hattingh says indications are that China may need as many as 10 000 MRAP vehicles to cover their internal needs and equip peacekeeping missions. The PLA is the largest military in the world mustering some three million soldiers, sailors and airmen, of whom some 2.5 million are in full-time service. It is said to operate over 8500 main battle tanks but just over 1000 infantry combat vehicles and 3500 armoured personnel carrier of various designs – and none mine protected.
Hattingh says he was invited by Poly Technologies to talks on the fringes of the DSEi defence exhibition in London in September last year. “After negotiations and a formulated RfP [request for proposal], we drafted a MoU [Memorandum of Understanding] on the 14th of September 2009 in London. I changed the design to accommodate the special requests for China and after a few visits to Beijing and the Chinese industry, the design was signed off,” Hattingh says.
Poly Technologies decided on Changan Industries, a major manufacturer of vehicles and ammunition in China, as MLS' Chinese manufacturing partner. Eight engineers visited South Africa in the first quarter of the year and some changes were made to the design and finally signed off. During this visit of three weeks, two hulls were build and the process demonstrated to the visiting engineers.
MLS next sent a prototype hull and component parts to Changan's Chong Qing facility and a team consisting of three South African engineers led by Tos Visser followed to assemble and transfer skills to their Chinese counterparts. The South Africans stayed for six weeks. Andre van Eeden chief designer at MLS partner Laser Sprint also visited China for a week to oversee aspects of the the process. “The first prototype vehicle was a huge success and a major achievement if one takes the distances and language barriers into consideration,” Hattingh says.
Hattingh notes Poly Technologies will be sending more engineers to be trained in the MRAP manufacturing process. Nine more vehicles will be part-manufactured in South Africa under the contract and exported to China in kit form for assembly there. Changan will take over manufacture at that point and is licenced to build 289 more vehicles. “We are committed to give close support and quality control assistance to secure our royalties,” Hattingh says. After that intellectual property will be handed over to Changan against a fee. “Our commitment is to assist with transfering of skills, providing parts and constant support for the project.”
Top stories this week
Dual safety: new generation of mortar fuses
by Atlantis Corporation, 1 September 2014
The wind wheel fuses DM183 and DM111S are available from Atlantis Manufacturing Management Services, the official Junghans South African representative.
Here's how chairman of Africa's largest private defence company sees the continent's future
by Paramount Group, 1 September 2014
Africa is no longer a charity case and can solve more problems on its own, says Ivor Ichikowitz, executive chairman of Paramount.
US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) signs five-year framework contract for Carl-Gustaf weapon system
by Saab, 1 September 2014
Saab signed a new framework contract with the US Special Operations Command for the company's Carl-Gustaf man-portable weapon system.
Saab Grintek Defence partners with Specialist Maritime Services
by Atlantis Corporation, 28 August 2014
New MD 530G Scout Attack Helicopter
by Safomar Aviation, 27 August 2014
MD Helicopters successfully completed the Live Fire Qualification Exercises for its new MD 530G Scout Attack Helicopter.
Kelvin Hughes to co-exhibit with ECM Technologies at AAD 2014
by ECM Technologies, 26 August 2014
The international company will join its exclusive land-based security systems representative in SA, at Africa, Aerospace and Defence 2014.