Milkor is the diamond sponsor for the 2020 edition of the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) exhibition to be held at Waterkloof Air Force Base. This is part of the company’s strategy of expansion across the air, land, sea and cyber domains.
AAD is Africa’s largest defence show. In 2018 it attracted nearly 33 000 trade visitors, 55 000 air show visitors and 415 exhibitors. 128 aircraft were either on static display or took part in the air show. For the first time, AAD was opened by South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa.
Milkor had an impressive presence at the September 2018 edition of AAD, launching multiple new products, and plans to increase its product range in the future. Milkor is aiming at becoming a major global supplier by offering a wide range of hardware and services. As part of its global marketing drive, Milkor is exhibiting at some of the world’s biggest and most important global defence trade shows, including shows in Australia, the United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, Ghana, Brazil, Peru, Bahrain and the United Kingdom to meet specific end-user requirements in these regions.
The company will contribute to the keynote addresses at the conferences in Ghana (IMDEC) and Nigeria (CAMSA), which will focus on maritime security and the importance of protecting the exclusive economic zones in the regions against illegal activities. At both the CAMSA (Coastal and Maritime Surveillance Conference Africa) and IMDEC (International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference) events, Milkor will address the issue of persistent maritime surveillance to combat piracy, illegal fishing and a range of maritime problems. This can be achieved through a network of long-range patrol craft and unmanned aerial vehicles. Milkor will also talk about the potential of new high-speed, long-range patrol and interception craft to secure the Gulf of Guinea and a review of its modern high-speed patrol craft.
The Middle East is a key market for Milkor, which has received numerous requests for information on their products from this region and the business development team have been traveling extensively to this region to in order to asses and satisfy these requests. Milkor is currently in talks with a Middle Eastern country regarding its upcoming 8×8 armoured vehicle.
The new 8×8 is expected to take around 14-18 months to mature. The new vehicle will primarily be a combat vehicle armed with a turret that can fit a 20 mm or 30 mm cannon, machinegun, automatic grenade launcher or even small missile launchers, although it can be tailored to customer requirements. The main focus will be on an infantry combat vehicle, although there will be a personnel carrier option available as well.
The 8×8 vehicle is part of Milkor’s decision to diversify on a grand scale, going into armoured vehicle production, developing unmanned aerial vehicles, sniper rifles, patrol boats and cyber security solutions. The company is looking to create the same reputation for its other products as it has built up over the years for its grenade launchers, which was for decades its core focus (it has sold some 70 000 launchers around the world).
Milkor’s first armoured vehicle, a 4×4, debuted in 2018 and already has launch customers. This APC is based on a commercial driveline, making maintenance simpler. A V-shaped hull provides mine protection and the Milkor 4×4 has either B6 or B7 level ballistic protection. The vehicle can take eight passengers with two people up front. Various weapons systems will be offered for the vehicle, including a remote controlled weapon station with automatic grenade launcher, or manned turrets, being completely customer dependent. What distinguishes the Milkor 4×4 from other vehicles is that it is slightly wider than most competitors. It is highly customisable – it can be built in command, ambulance, police and riot versions.
Expanding into the small arms domain, Milkor is developing a range of sniper rifles in response to customer requests. There will be two product lines for both civilian and military customers. The first series will be large calibre (12.7 mm) for anti-material operations while the second series will be for anti-personnel sniping and will be up to .338 calibre.
Milkor Marine is well progressed in the development of its MN Centurion patrol boat, which is conducting validation trials. This 12 metre long-range patrol craft is a key element of the Milkor naval system which comprises of multiple manned or unmanned patrol craft integrated with Milkor’s long-range unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to achieve persistent surveillance patrol over large areas, together with an interception capability.
The current version is 12 metres long, but the design can be shrunk down to 7 metres or expanded to 30 metres. This fast patrol vessel uses hydrofoils to give a top speed approaching 54 knots (100 km/h), and improved range compared to conventional vessels. Various weapon options will be available for the stealthy vessel.
On the aviation front, Milkor Aerospace has developed three UAVs. This includes the hand-launched 1.8 metre wingspan MA18, the 6 metre wingspan MA80 and the 12 metre wingspan MA380. The UAVs can be fitted with a variety of mission equipment, including electro-optical/infrared sensors including Epsilon and Hensoldt Argos optronics, synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and communications/signals/electronic intelligence payloads.
Milkor is now focussing on developing a small missile system for its UAVs. The company has partnered with various suppliers on the weaponisation of its aircraft, and the MA380 can be fitted with four guided missiles. Further UAV developments are focussing on improving engine performance for enhanced speed and range. This should make Milkor’s UAVs more attractive to defence and security customers who want either armed or unarmed aircraft.
In the cyber domain, Milkor offers a wide range of solutions, from cyber intelligence to asset/data protection and cyber security capabilities that allow hackers/intruders to be tracked and intrusions reacted on. Part of Milkor’s value proposition is the security operations centre (SOC), which runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, constantly monitoring the security environment and systems.