OTT Technologies has expanded its Puma M36 armoured vehicle range, with its ambulance, munitions disposal and recovery variants being sold to United Nations peacekeeping partner countries.
Hans Kriek, OTT Marketing Manager, told defenceWeb that the new Puma M36 6×6 recovery vehicle is in production for United Nations peacekeeping partner countries. Vehicles have been bought through the US Department of State (DoS) for countries participating in UN missions.
Kriek said that because many countries that participate in UN operations do not have the budgets to buy their own vehicles, the United States and other nations donate equipment and funding. The US Department of State works through several contractors like Dyncorp to acquire vehicles, which are ordered from companies like OTT.
For instance, the company’s M36 ambulance has been in service with the United Nations since March this year. A number have also recently been delivered to United Nations peacekeeping partner countries in Mali (taking part in MINUSMA), through a DoS contract. The ambulance version was designed according to UN specifications.
OTT also delivered a single M36 version with a remotely operated bomb arm to the United Nations in the middle of this year. Another company received a follow-up order for six to eight munitions disposal vehicles.
OTT also offers the M36 command vehicle based on the armoured personnel carrier (APC) version but customised with computers, desks and other equipment.
The M36 is an evolutionary development of the proven M26 and weights between 11 and 14 tons depending on the level of protection. It is powered by a 220 hp (165 kW) Ashok Leyland HA 57L 165 diesel engine, giving a maximum road speed of 100 km/h and a range of around 800 km. The use of commercial Ashok Leyland automotive components means economical after sales support.
Compared to its predecessor, the M36 features more space, higher protection levels and extra seating and has a payload of up to 3 000 kg. It can be fitted with up to two turrets. With the introduction of the new Puma M36 variants OTT now offers a complete family of light and medium mine-protected vehicles.
OTT received a contract for 115 vehicles through Dyncorp for countries participating in MINUSMA and although the majority of these have been delivered, 16 are still stuck in Mozambique. The vehicles were to be assembled there in an effort to promote that country’s economy but the export was blocked due to some yet to be resolved regulatory technicalities.
Kriek said the armoured vehicles market is very slow at the moment with new vehicles being difficult to sell. However, OTT has no problem selling refurbished vehicles and is working hard to sell the ex-South African Army Ratels it has, which are refurbished. It is also proud to offer a wide range of Ratel spares as well as Ratel 60 turrets that can be fitted with a 14.5 mm or 12.7 mm gun plus a co-axial 7.62 mm light machinegun.
Kriek said there is a big future for light armoured vehicles like its 4.3 ton Agrale Marrua M27 light armoured patrol vehicle, but getting orders is not an easy process. Another side of the OTT business is mobile workshops for vehicle maintenance – the company deployed a mobile workshop to Kenya for the first time this year.
OTT was established in 1980 as a supplier of surplus military equipment. It then began refurbishing military vehicles before moving on to manufacturing new vehicles. Its product lineup includes cash in transit vehicles (which have been exported to places like Nigeria), mine protected vehicles (notably the Puma series), light armoured vehicles and crowd control vehicles.
OTT has bought hundreds of surplus South African military vehicles and offers these for sale after refurbishment. The company has also modified some of these vehicles for different roles – for instance, the Hunter 4×4 patrol and reconnaissance vehicle is based on a Samil 20 driveline.