Angola has ordered 45 Casspir mine-resistant armoured vehicles from Denel, the company has revealed.
The order, disclosed by Denel Land Systems (DLS) CEO Stephan Burger this week, was placed some six months ago. He told defenceWeb that the vehicles will be delivered over the course of 18 months. No vehicles have yet been shipped to the country.
The order for Casspir NG 2000B vehicles comprises 30 armoured personnel carriers, four fire support vehicles (able to carry two 23 mm cannons or a recoilless rifle), two command vehicles, two recovery vehicles, two ambulances, three logistics vehicles, a water tanker and a diesel tanker.
Angola remains awash with unexploded ordnance which includes landmines, grenades, anti-tank and anti-personnel mines which were left-over from the 1975-2002 civil war, which pitted the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) against the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). Despite the end of the war, the country remains riddled with unexploded ordnance which the government and international partners are slowly clearing. Tens of thousands of devices are discovered and destroyed every year.
Burger said that Denel is selling quite a number of new build Casspirs, especially with Chinese drivelines (the Casspir is also offered with a German driveline).
In February it was revealed that Denel Mechem, which manufactures the vehicles, had sold ten Casspir 2000s to Benin and 15 to the United Nations.
The Casspir 2000 is the latest variant of the world renowned armoured vehicle. Burger said the Casspir 2000 emerged from the shortage of old Casspir Mk 1 and 2’s available for refurbishment. Denel saw a niche as there were no more second hand Casspirs to rebuild, yet there is demand for the vehicles. “We decided to build with new technology, more armour, modern instrumentation etc.”
Burger told defenceWeb that there are opportunities to sell armoured vehicles to the United Nations, African Union and other peacekeeping operations in Africa. He said there was also a big opportunity to repair and maintain the South African Army’s fleet of B-vehicles. This would help position Denel for projects Sapula and Vistula, which seek to acquire new armoured and transport vehicles. Burger said it was common knowledge that the South African Army’s vehicles are lacking maintenance. Burger said he envisions Denel overseeing the complete maintenance process for SANDF vehicles.
The poor state of SA Army vehicles has been acknowledged by Army Chief Lieutenant General Vusumuzi Masondo. “It’s a known fact that our vehicles are old,” he said during Exercise Seboka last week. However, he welcomed the contribution that the Denel Badger infantry combat vehicle will make in renewing the landward defence capability.
“Once we get these vehicles we will be able to fulfil our roles on the continent. We’re getting more and more involved in peace enforcement on the continent,” he said.
Mechem specialises in mine clearing, removing the explosive remnants of war (ERW), manufacturing mine protected vehicles (notably the Casspir Mk II, Mk IV and Casspir 2000) and mine clearing equipment, and providing canine training and services (for explosives and drug detection). Through its Afrifoot programme, it manufactures and supplies low-cost leg prosthesis to landmine survivors.