Mechem sells CASSPIR 2000s to Benin and the UN
Written by Guy Martin, Tuesday, 05 February 2013
Mechem is expecting new orders for the CASSPIR 2000 in the next financial year (starting April 1), according to Stephan Burger, CEO of Denel Land Systems (which merged with Mechem last year). “At this moment we are negotiating a number of substantial contracts,” he told DefenceWeb.
The Casspir 2000 is the latest variant of the world renowned armoured vehicle. Burger said the CASSPIR 2000 emerged from the shortage of old CASSPIR Mk 1 and 2’s available for refurbishment. Denel saw a niche as there were no more second hand CASSPIRS to rebuild, yet there is demand for the vehicles. “We decided to build with new technology, more armour, modern instrumentation etc.”
Burger said that now Mechem has merged with Denel, Mechem can spend the majority of its time focusing on getting orders. “We recognised the importance of the Mechem identity, brand and nimbleness. For that reason we’ve kept Mechem as a separate business unit that must get its own orders.”
The Denel Land Systems-Mechem merger was approved by the Board of Denel in June 2012. “We said the best time to make such a change is when things are going well. We decided from a financial perspective that this make sense. The financial gain was impressive,” Burger said of the merger. “Not only did we cut costs but we provide a better service at a lesser price…and we have a better marketing footprint.”
Burger pointed out that in 2006 when Vektor was merged with Lyttleton Engineering Works (LIW) to form Denel Land Systems, the entities were making a R600 million loss. ‘Traumatic’ restructuring saw the staff cut by a third but overheads were halved and the company soon became profitable. “We’re doing tremendously well on the traditional Mechem side with the clearance of explosive remnants of war and selling CASSPIRS as well.”
Mechem specialises in mine clearing, removing the explosive remnants of war (ERW), manufacturing mine protected vehicles (notably the CASSPIR Mk II, Mk IV and New Generation CASSPIR 2000) and mine clearing equipment, and providing canine training and services (for explosives and drug detection). Through its Afrifoot programme, it manufactures and supplies low-cost leg prosthesis to landmine survivors.
The company has recently completed various demining or mine clearing projects in Afghanistan, Republic of Sudan, Republic of South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Mozambique. Mechem is active in eleven African countries, including the DRC, where it has supported UN peacekeeping activities since 2003, Western Sahara and Somalia, where it works with the African Union.
Mechem is the only African-based company accredited by the UN for landmine clearance, as the rest are based abroad. Since it started African operations in 1992, the company has not lost a single employee to a landmine incident.
According to United Nations estimates, there are at least 110 million active landmine mines scattered across the world, of which about 44 million have been planted on the African continent. In 2010 there were 4 200 victims of landmine’s effects - 11 people a day. However besides landmines unexploded ordnance today poses the greatest risk to the populations in post conflict environments.
Apart from demining work, Mechem is also involved in drug detection through its Mechem Explosives and Drug Detection System (MEDDS). Mechem detection dogs have also been used to combat rhino poaching.
Top stories this week
- Parliamentary Defence Committee fact-finding visit to SANDF facilities and bases
- Mali leader warns UN: Qaeda, Islamic State gaining ground in country
- Progress on Caravan order for Cameroon and Chad
- Angola, Mali, Nigeria and Sudan receiving Russian attack, transport helicopters
- Denel and Thales reveal new armoured vehicle sight
Saab extends third-party maintenance support for peacekeeping initiatives in Africa
by Saab, 26 September 2016
Saab Kenya has extended a contract to provide third-party maintenance services to peacekeeping initiatives in Somalia.
Saab receives order for RBS 70 NG
by Saab, 22 September 2016
System deliveries will take place between 2018 and 2020, followed by long-term maintenance and support of the systems.
Inkunzi PAW - the bull - redefining the idea of 'fighting light'
by Denel Corporate, 21 September 2016
Denel PMP introduced the Inkunzi PAW, a semi-automatic weapon that can destroy high-value targets up to a range of 1 000 metres.