Mbombe 6 inspected by Ukraine Armed Forces

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A single Paramount Mbombe 6 infantry combat vehicle that was exported to Ukraine prior to the Russian invasion as a demonstration model has been inspected by the Ukrainian military’s Commander-in-Chief after being fitted with a locally made turret.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine this week released video of Colonel General Oleksandr Stanislavovych Syrskyi inspecting ‘weapons and military equipment created by Ukrainians.’

Syrskyi and his team reportedly had the opportunity on 18 April to get acquainted with the Minister of Defence, Rustem Umyerov, and to evaluate new anti-tank weapons and the possibilities of their deployment on the battlefield.

Shown in the video was a modified BMP-1TS infantry fighting vehicle with a Spys-Syntez (BM-5) turret, an Oncilla 4×4 armoured vehicle, a 4×4 utility vehicle, and infantry equipment.

The Mbombe 6 was seen fitted with a Spys-Syntez turret equipped with a 30 mm cannon. This turret is offered by Ukraine’s TechImpex, which specialises in the overhaul and modernisation of armoured vehicles, artillery systems, engines, sights, and the development and production of remotely operated weapons stations.

According to the company, the Spys-Syntez turret weighs 1.2 tons without ammunition and 1.6 tons with ammunition. It can be armed with a 30 mm ZTM-1 (2A72) cannon with 300 rounds ready to fire; a 7.62 mm PKT machinegun with 2 100 rounds; a 30 mm KBA-117 (AGS-17) automatic grenade launcher with 116 rounds; or a twin anti-tank guided missile launcher. Protection is to NATO STANAG 4569 Level 3.

Some sources suggest the Mbombe 6 is being licensed produced in Ukraine, but Paramount told defenceWeb that the Mbombe 6 seen in the video is a demonstration vehicle that was exported before the Russian invasion in February 2022.

The vehicle was sent to Ukraine with all the necessary National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC) permits from the South African government but could not return due to the conflict. Paramount said permit validity had been extended to next year as a result.

Ukraine is manufacturing various foreign armoured vehicles for its war effort, including the M113 (Lys – Fox), MaxxPro (Sikach – Boar), and HMMWV (Kharakternyk Warlock).

Paramount’s Mbombe 6 was launched in 2010 and since then has been ordered by Ecuador and Jordan. Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering (KPE) is building the Mbombe 6 and 8 as the Barys 6 and 8 vehicles for the Kazakh Ministry of Defence.

The Mbombe 6 weighs 17.3 tonnes empty and has a payload of 5.2 tonnes. The vehicle can carry three crew and eight soldiers. Its hull meets STANAG 4569 Level 4, which means the vehicle can withstand a 10 kg TNT blast under its hull or any wheel station. Ballistic protection is to Level 3.

The Mbombe family (4×4 Mbombe 4, 6×6 Mbombe 6, and 8×8 Mbombe 8) features a flat mine-protected floor, giving a lower and better stability than V-shaped armoured hulls. All three models share 80% common components to reduce through life costs and make training and logistics easier. A six-cylinder diesel gives a top speed of more than 110km/h.

At the DSEI show last year, Paramount said that its Mbombe 6 has been ordered by national defence forces in Latin America and in the Southern African Development Community (SADEC). More than 20 of its next-generation infantry combat vehicles were then in production, with deliveries underway, the company said at the time.