Grenade launcher specialist Milkor is greatly expanding its product range, and is working on high speed boats, unmanned aerial vehicles and armoured systems, with many of these new products to be displayed for the first time at Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) in September 2018.
Milkor opened a new 7 000 square metre state-of-the-art factory in Centurion in August 2016, which is four times the size of the old factory. This has new computer numerical control (CNC) machines and replaces manual machines, allowing Milkor to do all its manufacturing in-house. Together with tools like 3D printers, it can also do its own rapid prototyping.
Phuti Jackson Mampa, Milkor South Africa CEO, told defenceWeb that the company has recently designed and is busy building the prototype Milkor 4×4 armoured personnel carrier, which will be displayed at AAD. The company will then work on a 6×6 version.
Explaining the diversification of Milkor, Mampa told defenceWeb that when he joined Milkor he was surprised to find the company was only focussed on six products. “We said we should introduce new products,” he said, and after conducting market research, Milkor decided to design a new clean-sheet vehicle called the Milkor 4X4.
The Milkor 4×4 has a V-shaped hull for improved mine protection and a B7 level of ballistic protection. This level allows it to protect the crew against armour piercing rifle rounds. Milkor says it also plans to fit additional forms of protection against Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). The Milkor 4×4 has been designed to take eight passengers and two people up front. Various weapons systems will be offered with the vehicle, including a remote-controlled weapon station with automatic grenade launchers.
Milkor is also working on UAVs– these are fixed wing aircraft with six and twelve metre wingspans. The company is offering a complete system that also includes a ground control station. The UAVs are designed for surveillance/reconnaissance and will be showcased at AAD.
The third new product range offering from Milkor is high performance patrol and interception boats – the company has two models which have been tested by the South African National Defence Force. These will be displayed at AAD where they will be positioned for the global market. They are rigid-hulled and can carry 12 people.
Mampa said Milkor is also offering cyber security solutions as the need for cyber security is growing rapidly. Milkor is also capable of building up cyber infrastructure as a complete cyber solution in cases where it is needed, increasing the supply of cyber needs to all the different customers out there.
Grenade launcher production is Milkor’s bread and butter – it has supplied over 60 000 launchers to more than 60 countries over nearly 40 years. Milkor aims to launch new grenade launcher products this year, including a non-lethal launcher as there are huge requirements for crowd control. Later this year Milkor plans to demonstrate a 40mm AGL (Automatic Grenade Launcher) to the South African National Defence Force in conjunction with an international company.
Milkor South Africa has undergone some management changes over the last year, with the appointment of Phuti Mampa as CEO.