Refurbished Mambas en route to light modern brigade


A shining example of the inherent abilities and capabilities of particularly the SA Army Technical Service Corps (TSC) applying the by-now standard injunction of “making do with what you have” in a cash-strapped national defence force is ongoing repair and refurbishment of 100 Mamba armoured personnel carriers.

The first batch of 60 are good to go and earlier today (Friday, 15 July) departed De Brug bound for the identified light modern brigade headquarters at Wallmannsthal, north of Pretoria.

The four-wheeled vehicle, initially based on a commercial Toyota truck chassis and subsequently the Mercedes-Benz Unimog chassis, was developed as a replacement for the Buffel armoured personnel carrier in the late eighties. The Mamba has gone through various improvements and upgrades with the last to Mark 5 and still in service.

Changes to force structure in the SA Army saw specialist brigades created. One of these is a light modern brigade with a requirement for personnel carriers able to move 10 man sections. This is what the Mamba was designed for and the new need saw a national search by an Army recovery team to find whatever repairable Mambas were deteriorating in military vehicle parks.

The search identified 100 repairable vehicles and all were moved to the SA Army’s De Brug facility housing, among others a mobilisation centre and training area.

The first 60 Mambas are good to go after  combined efforts of Army Support Base, Bloemfontein, the local Project Thusano Cuban-staffed workshop and TSC specialists. Vehicles were refurbished under what Army Corporate Communication calls Project Clean-up in an established for purpose forward detachment workshop. The remaining 40 will make the road journey to Wallmannsthal once refurbishment is complete to provide the new brigade with 100 serviceable armoured personnel carriers.

Army Corporate Communication has it the Mambas are prime mission equipment (PME) now forming part of future taskings for the modern brigade.

SSO Army Corporate Communication Colonel Sammy Mosiane asked all vehicles using the N1 between Bloemfontein and Pretoria to “exercise caution and avoid unnecessary interference with the convoy”.