Deputy Defence Minister test drives Twiga’s Nyati at Defence Demo Day


Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Thabang Makwetla was one of Twiga’s guests at the recent Defence Demo Day who test drove its Nyati 4×4 mine and ballistically protected vehicle.

The demonstration took place at the Gerotek facility East of Pretoria on 20 September, giving Twiga the chance to showcase its vehicle on the various testing tracks, ranging from the concrete suspension testing area to dirt rough track testing stages.

Twiga said Makwetla’s firsthand experience with the Nyati underscores the importance of continued innovation and collaboration in the defence sector, as well as the contributions made by Twiga in enhancing the security and mobility of military forces.

Thabang Makwetla inside Twiga’s Nyati.

Twiga CEO, retired Brigadier General Damian de Lange, said the company is committed to delivering solutions for the modern African battlefield. He also announced that Twiga is gearing up to launch another infantry and border control product in early 2024, “further solidifying their dedication to advancing defence capabilities across the continent.”

Twiga began development of the Nyati at the end of 2018, partly as an in-house project to meet the requirements of a modern 4×4 infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) using South African battle experience, and partly for a potential export customer. Vehicle trials began in early 2019 and testing and evaluation was completed in early 2021, with production from mid-year.

de Lange said the Nyati stands out as a modern, powerful 4×4 Infantry Fighting vehicle that is standard STANAG Level 2 protected. The main components provide reliability, maintainability and support into the future which is key and the pricing of the Nyati is very competitive. An added advantage is that the Nyati has been designed and developed to enable the Transfer of Technology.

Transfer of Technology has taken place in Uganda, which manufactures the Nyati as the Chui, and variants include a mortar platform, recoilless gun platform and battlefield ambulance. Chui vehicles have been produced in Uganda since 2021, by the Armoured Vehicle Manufacturing and Assembly Facility in Maga Maga, which has also manufactured Twiga’s Nyoka armoured personnel carrier and Nyoka weapons platform.

Twiga said the Nyati is a well-protected 4×4 that uses modern main components while keeping unit costs low. It is mine- and ballistically-protected, with standard NATO STANAG Level 2 ballistic protection up to 7.62×39 mm armour piercing rounds; Level 4B blast protection protects up to 10 kg mines under the centre of the vehicle. The vehicle is suitable for a wide range of military, security, peacekeeping and policing operations and comes in variants including battlefield ambulance, explosive ordnance disposal, cash in transit protection vehicle, weapon platform, riot control with water cannon and VIP transporter.

The Nyati is powered by a 7.2 litre six-cylinder Mercedes Benz diesel engine developing 240 kW (322 hp) and driving an Allison automatic transmission, giving a top speed of 105 km/h and road range of around 850 km with 290 litres of fuel. A central tyre inflation system and run flat inserts ensure critical mobility.

Empty, the vehicle weights 11 800 kg and has a payload of 1 800 kg, which can include eight occupants in the rear of the vehicle (driver and co-driver sit up front). Access on the APC variant is via two front doors and two pneumatically operated rear doors. A turret can be mounted on the roof and accommodate weapons up to 20 mm. This can be either electrically or manually driven. In addition, two roof-mounted 7.62 mm machinegun mounts can be positioned on the rear of the roof, and there are 12 firing ports around the vehicle.