The PMP Inkunzi Strike 20×42 mm automatic weapon will be qualified by March this year, allowing for production to proceed.
The first demonstrator of the fully automatic weapon has been completed and is undergoing functional tests, according to the 2016/17 Denel annual report, which adds that “further design improvements are intended to establish the baseline for finalisation of two weapons systems to be qualification units.”
The belt fed Inkunzi Strike is an automatic version of the hand held 20 mm Inkunzi Personal Area Weapon (PAW), formerly called the Neopup. The new version weights 13 kg and is 85 cm long. It can accept left or right hand ammunition feed and uses standard NSV-type links.
The Inkunzi PAW (meaning Bull) is a semi-automatic weapon that fires bursting ammunition and can be comfortably fired by a single rifleman as an area weapon to a range of up to 1 000 metres, although effective range is up to 400 metres. The entire barrel/bolt group recoils within its housing to decrease recoil.
Some of the ammunition designed for the weapon includes high-explosive incendiary, semi-armour-piercing high-explosive incendiary, ball, and ball tracer.
In 2015 PMP began production of the Inkunzi PAW for its first international client. Another client, in the Middle East, subsequently ordered the weapon. In 2016/17 Denel said that additional export orders for the Inkunzi were received, “showing the market’s positive acceptance of this innovative system. This is further attested by increased enquiries for the PAW system”.
The innovative Inkunzi should be a welcome boost to Denel PMP’s bottom line, which has not been particularly healthy of late, partly due to reinvestment in the company’s facilities. PMP made a R44 million loss in the 2016/17 financial year, according to the latest Denel annual report, on the back of R583 million in revenue. This is better than the R61 million loss in 2015/16 and R503 million in revenue.
The company’s difficult financial situation has slowed down its plant modernisation process. According to the annual report, “whilst the proposed modernisation of PMP’s manufacturing plant has been delayed due to funding constraints, installation of a modern 3D printer for ‘rapid prototype development’ was implemented. With accuracy of the printed products within 0.17mm, this investment…makes it possible to identify certain design inadequacies before components are machined, thereby reducing valuable development time and costs. The system lends itself ideally to complex products that are costly to machine, once-off items and products of which the interface with other products needs to be confirmed before serial production is undertaken.”