SVI Engineering expands into Saudi Arabian market


Special Vehicle Innovation (SVI) Engineering, which manufactures a range of commercial and military armoured vehicles, has expanded into Saudi Arabia, where it plans to develop and manufacture a variety of armoured vehicles and military solutions.

“Identified by its Saudi partners – Shamal Commercial Investments and Hala Auto – as a world leader in the vehicle-armouring industry, the South African firm forms an integral part of the newly established SVI Saudi Industries company, which is fully registered in the region and already in the process of setting up a factory,” SVI said a day after the World Defence Show opened in Saudi Arabia. The exhibition runs from 6 to 9 March.

“Benefiting from SVI’s extensive experience in perfecting products designed to combat crime and ultimately save lives in South Africa, the newly created company will focus its efforts on the growing military, security and civilian sectors in Saudi Arabia,” SVI said.

SVI Saudi Industries marks its official launch at the inaugural World Defense Show 2022 in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, where it is displaying the MAX 3 light armoured vehicle, the MAX 9 armoured personnel carrier (APC) and the popular semi-discreet Stopgun V2.0 armouring package.

The MAX 3 was developed to provide security forces with the required equipment to deal with crime, terrorism, violent demonstrations and regional conflicts. Based on the Toyota Land Cruiser 79 chassis (and inheriting its powertrain), the MAX 3 is available in various body configurations, including an eight-seater called the Troopy. The light and low cost armoured vehicle is fitted with an armoured cab with B6 ballistic protection, but this can be upgraded to B7. It can be fitted with a Reutech Rogue LITE 12.7mm remotely operated weapon station, amongst others. The vehicle has been in production for a number of years and was recently revised with a more aggressive body style, increased internal space and other changes.

The latest version of the MAX 9, meanwhile, is a military solution yet likewise adaptable to a multitude of roles. It can be used to transport personnel, serve as a weapons platform, be employed in law enforcement or peacekeeping and even configured into a battlefield ambulance. Power comes courtesy of a Cummins 6.7-litre turbodiesel engine, which drives a five-speed Allison automatic gearbox. The MAX 9, development of which was completed in 2017, has unique features such as a digital dashboard and single-piece curved armoured windscreen. The 7 500 kg vehicle features Stanag 4569 AEP 55 Level 3A/3D landmine protection using a V-shaped hull. It seats seven in addition to the driver.

In addition to the discreet armouring of civilian vehicles, SVI’s semi-discreet Stopgun V2.0 kit will be offered in Saudi Arabia. A popular choice in South Africa’s mining, security and valuables-in-transit industries, this package delivers B6 armouring solution offering protection against assault rifles (including the AK-47 and R1).

“SVI’s expansion into Saudi Arabia is the latest evidence of the company’s global standing in the industry and ultimately allows it to broaden its overarching mission of saving lives to even further beyond South Africa’s borders,” the company concluded.

SVI was formed in 2004 and specialises in mechanical engineering, product development and manufacturing, and protected vehicles, including armoured civilian vehicles, armoured luxury vehicles, remanufactured military and police vehicles, asset protection vehicles, guard houses and towers.

In 2018 SVI launched a new systems integration division called SVI Systems and Solutions, specialising in Level 5 system integration with qualified products. It is aimed largely at new and vehicle upgrade programmes. Systems and solutions on offer include ambulance, jammer, communications, protection and smoke launcher systems. SVI also offers the Pathfinder seismic/acoustic sensor and a thermal radar for surveillance – this has proven popular with mining companies.

On the weapons side, SVI can supply its vehicles like the Max 3 with Thales Scorpion 60/81 mm automated mortar, 12.7 mm pintle mounted machinegun or 12.7 mm Rogue Lite remotely operated weapon station. Other options are fire extinguishing systems, long range acoustic devices (such as the Genasys LRAD 450XL) for crowd control, and less lethal solutions.

In 2019 SVI launched SVI Secure, an armoured vehicle rental division that offers modified commercial vehicles like saloons and SUVs as well as armoured personnel carriers. The rental business is so successful that all rental vehicles are currently in use by customers and SVI wants to expand the rental vehicle fleet as there is big demand for such a service.

Since being established in 2004, SVI has put more than 2 500 vehicles and products in the field, with customers in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. The company also has offices in three countries.