Mbombe 6 vehicles delivered to Ecuador

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Ecuador has become the latest country to take delivery of Paramount’s Mbombe 6 infantry combat vehicle.

Info Defensa last week reported the first vehicles, painted in an olive green scheme, had been delivered to the Ecuadorian Army, and shared a screengrab of a Mbombe 6 wrapped in protective plastic on the back of a truck.

The publication added that Ecuador will deploy its Mbombe 6s on its northern border, in areas affected by the presence of Colombian armed groups, including FARC-EP rebels.

In November 2022, Info Defensa reported that Ecuador had awarded Elbit Systems a $65 million contract for the purchase of 137 Israeli MDT Armor Tiger MKII 4×4 armoured vehicles, and Paramount Mbombe 6 vehicles from South Africa. Ecuador previously acquired 5 700 Arad assault rifles from Israel Weapon Industries.

“Elbit Systems will supply the first fully networked mechanised brigade solution to Ecuador, as part of its modernisation programme for the entire military. The armoured vehicles will be equipped with an E-LynX software-defined radio mobile network solution, a suite of battle management applications, and the Magni vertical take-off and landing mini UAS,” the publication reported.

The Tiger Mk II is a 4×4 armoured vehicle developed from a Dodge RAM 5500 or Ford F550 chassis, with capacities for between eight to 12 crew members, depending on configuration. Combat weight is between 8 and 12 tons. The vehicle can be equipped with a turret for mounting machine guns or grenade launchers or a remotely controlled combat module. The Tiger Mk II is also used by the Mexican police.

The Mbombe 6 was chosen for its mine resistant capabilities, which is a concern on Ecuador’s northern border. 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 6×6 weighs 17.3 tonnes empty and has a payload of 5.2 tonnes. The vehicle can carry three crew and eight soldiers.

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.

Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering (KPE) is building the Mbombe 6 and 8 as the Barys 6 and 8 vehicles for the Kazakh Ministry of Defence, and Paramount has also produced Mbombe 6s for the Jordanian Armed Forces – some of which were transferred to Libya.