Paramount Group and Singapore’s ST Engineering have announced they will collaborate on marketing the co-developed Belrex range of vehicles internationally.
The Belrex Protected Combat Support Vehicle (PCSV) is based on Paramount’s Marauder mine-resistant vehicle.
Paramount on 20 September at the Africa Aerospace and Defence exhibition outside Pretoria said the new Belrex family comprises ten variants including security, engineering, reconnaissance, logistics, fuel, mortar, medical, signal, maintenance and mortar ammunition carrier.
The range of vehicles has been fully industrialised and a production line has been established in Singapore to meet customer requirements.
The Singapore Armed Forces have commissioned the Belrex Protected Combat Support Vehicle into service.
Paramount Group chair Ivor Ichikowitz said the partnership had been eight years in the making, but such was the secretive nature of the defence industry that no announcements could be made until the actual vehicles had actually been deployed.
“For the South African Defence Industry to be successful in winning the tender was a he achievement in itself,” he said, noting that Singapore had the most fastidious and most transparent tender process imaginable. “Winning that tender was a huge testament not just to Paramount but to the industry as a whole because we had many sub-contractors involved.”
Paramount senior vice president John Craig, who was involved in the project since its inception, marvelled at how the Marauder – which was only released onto the South African market in 2007 – had been able to attract the attention of the Singaporeans.
“We competed with the best in the world, we won the tender with ST Engineering with a very young product. Today, 10 years later we sit with a range of 10 vehicles all industrialised and qualified – there are very few like this in the world.
“Partnerships are the way for the future,” he said.
Ichikowitz agreed: “we have had to learn to work in the first world and we had great partners to guide us. We had to upskill, but now we are taking a South African product that has been co-developed in Singapore – a first world product – to the rest of the world.”
Working with ST Engineering, transferring skills and partnering in this way had not just been a privilege, he said, but also a sign of how South Africa would make its defence industry sustainable.
“Building defence industrial eco-systems through strategic alliances have been the cornerstone of Paramount’s portable manufacturing model. The production of the Marauder in Singapore is a testament to its successful application in meeting the requirements of sovereign nations to develop their own defence capability.”
Mr Tan, ST Technologies said: “We are pleased to be able to apply our design and engineering know-how in armoured vehicles to develop and produce ten variants based on the Marauder platform. We believe the Protected Vehicle, and its variants, will be a key asset to para military and armed forces, offering protected mobility transport for combat and non-combat operational requirements.”
The base platform vehicle comes in three basic crew compartment sizes – four, eight and ten. In addition to a remote machine gun and a smoke grenade launcher, the vehicle also has provisions for a suite of C4 systems, enabling co-operative engagement with other land combat platforms as part of a networked force. The vehicle can be deployed in peace-keeping roles in conflict areas and other para-military roles.