Africa is one of the growth areas Oshkosh Defence is looking at, as it already has a strong presence in the Middle East region, and is eyeing new markets in places like Libya and Algeria.
“The Middle East and North Africa region is our focus area for growth,” Serge D Buchakjian, Senior Vice President and General Manager International at Oshkosh Defence, told defenceWeb. Algeria and Libya are new markets that Oshkosh is exploring. The company is currently active in Egypt, and has a local assembly line there that puts together Medium Tactical Trucks and trailers for the Egyptian Army. Thousands of vehicles have already been fielded, Buchakjian said.
The company has several thousand vehicles in operation in the Middle East and North Africa region, as Oshkosh has been present there for three decades. Oshkosh Defence manufactures light to heavy military vehicles and recently rolled out its 100 000th vehicle.
“The pipeline is quite active,” Buchakjian said. He added that it was the company’s overall strategy for global growth to become involved in customer countries’ domestic industries. This also ensures sufficient maintenance and support.
One of the biggest recent orders in the region came on February 18, when the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces announced it was buying 750 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicles (M-ATVs) from Oshkosh Defence, for 1.4 billion Dirhams ($380 million).
John Urias, President of Oshkosh Defence, told Gulf News that Oshkosh will deliver M-ATVs to the UAE between January and August 2013. “No vehicle has been more effective in supporting ground operations from urban security patrols to combat in harsh desert and mountainous terrain. As we produce and deliver this exceptional vehicle to the UAE Armed Forces, we are equally committed to providing long-term service and to supporting those who rely on our M-ATVs to achieve their missions,” he said.
“We built 8 800 of them in a very short period of time for US forces and now we are on contract in the UAE for vehicles and very shortly there will be other announcements within the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] region,” Urias told Arabian Business magazine.
Oshkosh had a strong presence at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) held in Abu Dhabi last month. Buchakjian said that IDEX was “fantastic” and that it had far surpassed all expectations.
Oshkosh debuted its TerraMax unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) technology in the Middle East and North Africa for the first time at IDEX. Designed as a scalable kit that can be used on any fielded tactical wheeled vehicle, the Oshkosh TerraMax UGV technology enables vehicles to complete planned missions in full autonomous mode or by “shadowing” a leader vehicle.
Vehicles equipped with the TerraMax UGV technology retain their original payload and performance capabilities and can operate for extended periods of time – day or night, through dust and adverse weather – without enduring the fatigue that can afflict human operators, Oshkosh said.
Oshkosh pointed out that the TerraMax UGV technology reduces the threat from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by increasing a driver’s situational awareness or removing a driver from the vehicle entirely. It also serves as a force multiplier by allowing one operator to supervise three to five UGVs from a safe distance.
Countries throughout the Middle East region, including the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and Oman, use Oshkosh vehicles for tactical and logistical operations. The company has been supporting militaries in the region for nearly 30 years and has permanent offices in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.