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
- Another three Chinese fishing trawlers escorted into a SA port
- Shoke slams Tempe’s sleeping sentries
- Navy plays major role in impounding 600 tons of squid and other fish as well as foreign trawlers
- UK defence companies seeking partnerships in South Africa
- Landward forces will be well represented at this year’s AAD
- Red Cross donates demining equipment to Zimbabwe
- Seychelles Coast Guard commissions new coastal radar
- U.S. Works with Senegalese military, on demining
- US approves small arms sales to Morocco, Egypt
- Civilians killed, peacekeepers wounded by mines in Mali
- CSIR aims to make radar and electronic warfare a transformed defence industry sector
- Defence well represented at this week’s CSIR conference
- Mozambique to be declared free of landmines - NGO
- United States hands over ERW disposal equipment to Namibia
- Saab offering Giraffe radars to meet SAAF’s Project CHUTNEY requirements
Thales to build "Cyber Range", cyber security training, testing facility for Dutch Defence Cyber Command
by Thales, 23 May 2016
The cyber security training and testing facility for the Dutch Defence Cyber Command will be used to train its personnel.
Saab unveils first Gripen E
by Saab, 16 May 2016
The launch of the Gripen E test aircraft will take place at Saab's facilities in Linköping.
Paramount Group expands innovative industrial partnerships throughout Middle East
by Paramount Group, 12 May 2016
The African defence company and Jordanian partners have started the production of armoured fighting vehicles in Jordan.