Twiga to showcase rugged military patrol boat range at ASEC 2024

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Twiga will be showcasing its range of virtually indestructible Rugged Military Patrol Boats at the eleventh edition of the Africa Security Symposium (ASEC 2024) in Ethiopia this month, with its latest product, the 900 Multi-purpose Harbour Patrol Boat, taking centre stage.

The company said the growing threat of piracy and the need for militaries to extend influence across inland waters has created an increased demand for Twiga’s wide range of military boats. ASEC 2024, which runs from 22 to 23 May at the Skylight hotel in Addis Ababa, “not only serves as a platform for Twiga to showcase its latest innovations but also as an opportunity to forge strategic partnerships and collaborations with like-minded entities across the global defence industry,” the company said.

“By fostering relationships built on trust, integrity, and mutual respect, Twiga aims to strengthen its position as a leading provider of military solutions while contributing to collective efforts aimed at promoting global security and stability.”

According to chief executive Damian de Lange, its military patrol boat range is virtually indestructible. “The hull of our Rugged Military Patrol Boats is made from High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) that can endure extremely harsh working conditions,” De Lange explained. “If damaged, these boats are easily and cheaply repaired.”

The Rugged Military Patrol Boats (MPB) have been designed for riverine or lake operations, and close-to-shore missions, and are suited for high-speed interdiction and counter-piracy. The MPB also serves as an indirect fire platform, logistic support for maritime operations and for transportation of personnel and cargo for humanitarian aid activities.

The hulls have been subjected to ballistic tests with different calibre weapons, which showed minimal damage that is unlikely to cause the boat to sink. De Lange said the boat can usually continue operating to complete its mission before the necessary repairs are done at base.

Twiga’s most popular MPB is the battle-proven 850 Gun Boat with a 20 mm cannon on a Bow Deck weapon station and a pair of 12.7 mm weapons to aid anti-piracy interdiction operations.

De Lange was at pains to explain that the Bow Deck weapon station with the 20 mm weapon was extensively tested for the recoil associated with firing live ammunition and for the strains imposed by wave action at high speed. For this reason, the test bed vessel, equipped with extensive measuring equipment, was put through its paces at sea.

By way of example, he highlighted the success of an 850 Gun Boat loaned to South Africa’s Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries.

“This gun boat has been very successful against poachers during the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown period, when these illegal poaching activities along our coastline continued, despite the lockdown,” said De Lange.

He stressed that the new Border Management Agency (BMA) is responsible not only for land borders, but also for South Africa’s lengthy sea borders. It is in this role that the 850 Gun Boat and the 900 Multi-Purpose Harbour Patrol Boat could be a game changer in the South African marine enforcement.

Twiga has seen export success in Central and East Africa, where the 850 Gun Boat is making a big difference in counter-piracy operations. It has been demonstrated in Southeast Asia and several nations in Latin America are showing interest, primarily those with extensive river systems and lakes.

A Twiga boat undergoing a demonstration off Simons Town.

Among Twiga’s other offerings is the 1000 Low Draught Boat (LDB) for transport of personnel and cargo where water depth is shallow, and the 1050 Command Boat powered by three 300 HP outboard engines and boasting a ballistic protected cabin from which maritime operations in the fighting area are commanded. Fighting echelons can also rely on the 1140 Combat Support Boat with 3 600 kg payload and an autonomy of 250 nautical miles at a maximum speed of 35 knots.

Other models in Twiga’s boat range include the following:

580 Utility boat, with a total payload of 1 000 kg and suitable for general work and rescue support operations;

720 Centre point Lift boat;

650 Centre point Lift boat;

920 Gun Boat designed for Infantry marine offensive  operations;

850 narrow beam patrol boat range, available in Gun and Logistics forms;

1050 wide beam range, designed to meet a number of requirements such as support for water operations, troop carrier, command boat and general rescue boat.

These boats have been exported – for example, in June 2018 the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) took into service four 850 Military Patrol Boats under a contract by Impala Services and Logistics Limited of Uganda. The UPDF subsequently took into service the 1050 Command boat, with an air-conditioned and ballistically protected cabin, and additional 850 Gun boats.