The Namibia Defence Force (NDF) is believed to be testing a Chinese copy of the US High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), commonly known as the Humvee, amid indications that the army intends to acquire it to boost its vehicle fleet.
According to reports from Walvis Bay, a vehicle resembling a Humvee with NDF number plates has been spotted several times on the B2 highway near Usakos and in the city of Walvis Bay. Although the defence ministry has denied any knowledge of a Humvee being tested on Namibian soil, a Namibian military source currently attached to a training programme in Zimbabwe confirmed to defenceWeb that the NDF is testing the vehicle with the aim of possibly adopting it.
“The Humvee was spotted and widely appreciated by the NDF delegation which attended the 2012 Africa Aerospace and Defence exhibition (AAD) in South Africa two months ago. The NDF believes it is a vehicle that is well suited for our country’s desert terrain as proved by its widespread use by the US Army as a leading combat vehicle on rugged terrains in the Iraqi desert and mountainous Afghanistan. Namibia is a desert country and for that reason, we have good reasons to add such versatile combat vehicles to our arsenal. My understanding is that the NDF is impressed and might order a fleet of Humvees very soon,” the source said.
The Namibian defence ministry can plausibly deny that any HMMWVs are being tested in Namibia because the vehicle on display at the Africa Aerospace and Defence exhibition outside Pretoria in September was not in fact an American HMMWV. Rather, it was a China North Industries Corporation CS/VA1 light strike vehicle, which appears to be based on the Dongfeng (Eastwind) EQ2050. This HMMWV copy is based on an imported AM General Hummer H1 chassis and powered by a licence built Cummins diesel.
If acquired by the NDF, the CS/VA1 or EQ2050 will join the army’s ageing fleet of twenty South African-made Casspir and thirty Wolf and Wolf Turbo APCs, both built by Namibia-based Windhoeker Maschinenfabrik. Wolf and Werewolf APC variants include the Mk I, and Mk II and Mk III Turbo which can be used as troop carriers, ambulances, water tankers, anti-aircraft gun platforms and logistics and command vehicles. According to the Military Technology World Defence Almanac 2012, Namibia also has some WZ523 wheeled armoured personnel carriers from China, BRDM armoured cars and BTR-12s in service.
In August Last year, the Namibian defence ministry contracted Windhoeker Maschinenfabrik to supply 10 Werewolf Mk II APCs.