Paramount Group has opened a new factory in Kazakhstan with the capacity to build over 200 armoured vehicles a year. It is the first armoured vehicle factory in the country.
The beginning of production coincided with a visit by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, on Monday, accompanied by the Minister of Defence, Imangali Tasmagambetov, the Chairman of Paramount Group, Ivor Ichikowitz, and the Chairman of Kazakhstan Engineering, Yerlan Idrissov.
The 15 000 square metre facility will create 150 jobs and was built by Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering (KPE), a joint venture between Paramount Group and Kazakhstan Engineering Distribution. The establishment of armoured vehicle manufacturing in Kazakhstan follows the technology transfer and local manufacturing model championed by Paramount Group globally, and realized through strategic alliances with governments and strong local partners, Paramount said.
The factory has started the production of an indigenous version of Paramount’s Marauder armoured vehicle. The new winterised variant of the Marauder, called Arlan (Wolf), was designed and developed following extensive collaboration with the Kazakhstan military and rigorous trials to meet the specific operational requirements of the Kazakhstan military, Paramount said. The new factory will also produce the Mbombe 6×6 armoured vehicle.
KPE CEO is reported by CA-News as saying that Kazakhstan plans to export 50 armoured vehicles to Jordan next year, after signing a deal with Jordan last week. KPE hopes to export vehicles to 12 countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States, Middle East, China and Russia.
Chairman of Kazakhstan Engineering, Yerlan Idrissov said: “The KPE factory is designed for complete end-to-end fabrication and the local manufacture of finished products. Through this investment we are actively going to create substantial local capability by training young engineers in armoured vehicles manufacturing and other skills. We have a total of 70 personnel now and will reach around 120 over coming months. Our intention is for the factory to serve the local and regional markets.”
In December 2013 Kazakh Defence Minister Adilbek Dzhaksybekov announced the launch of the project in the capital Astana. Paramount, Kazakhstan Engineering and Kazakhstan Engineering Distribution signed an agreement in November 2013 over military vehicle production and maintenance. Construction of the factory began in April 2014 and the plant was opened in October this year.
“The Governments of South Africa and Kazakhstan have committed themselves to closer economic and industrial cooperation, through reciprocal visits of the Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs, and this new factory is the first concrete manifestation of our cooperation. We are confident that more will follow,” Ichikowitz said.
“As a leading company in the global aerospace and defence industry, Paramount Group partners with countries such as Kazakhstan and co-invests in developing new manufacturing capabilities, transferring technologies, advancing skills development, and creating new products and services through long-term collaborations such as this one. We take pride in the contribution we make in working with Governments to improve security and the protection of their citizens and their sovereign territory.
“Few countries have created strong economies without a robust defence industrial complex, and globally we are working with governments to reap not only the benefits of increased security and stability, but also the economic growth dividend achieved by a home-grown defence industry.
“Kazakhstan has established an outstanding investor-friendly climate, and together with the high levels of skills and the government’s vision of a diversified high tech economy, the country has proven to be an ideal partner for us. There are significant synergies, capabilities and innovation within our partnership and we are very excited by the joint Research and Development (R&D) and production that we are undertaking,” Ichikowitz said.
Jordan will also manufacture Mbombe vehicles. In May 2014 Arabian Defence Industries (ADI) received an order for 50 Mbombes for Jordan’s armed forces. ADI is a joint venture between Paramount and the King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau Investment Group and aims to ultimately manufacture a full range of Paramount vehicles, including the Matador and Marauder.
Azerbaijan also manufactures Paramount products, including Marauder and Matador mine protected vehicles. In 2012 the Azerbaijan Ministry of Defence Industries (MDI) ordered 30 Marauder and 30 Matador mine protected vehicles, following the establishment of a joint production facility in the country and the production of an initial 15 Matador and 15 Marauders under a joint production agreement set up in 2009.