Paramount Group has unveiled its 8×8 Mbombe 8 infantry combat vehicle, based on the earlier Mobmbe 6, at the Kazakhstan Defence Expo in that country’s capital Astana.
Paramount on 3 June said the new vehicle has a gross weight of 28 tonnes and kerb weight of 19 tonnes and payload of nine tonnes, which covers the weapon system, ammunition, crew and supplies. Eight dismounts can be accommodated in addition to three crewmembers.
A wide range of turrets and weapon stations can be integrated onto the vehicle, such as the Russian AU-220M remote turret armed with 57 mm cannon and a 7.62 mm machine gun. This was displayed on the vehicle in Kazakhstan.
The Mbombe 8 is powered by a cylinder engine turbo charged diesel engine driving a six speed automatic transmission, giving a maximum speed of 110km/h and a range of 800 km. The cooling systems and driveline have been tested and proven in winter conditions of -55 Celsius and desert conditions of +55 Celsius.
With the flat armoured floor of the Mbombe series, the new vehicle has STANAG 4569 Level 3+ ballistic protection and STANAG 4569 Level 4a and 4b blast protection.
Paramount said the first advanced prototype of the Mbombe 8 will soon start mobility trials and production could be undertaken in South Africa or Kazakhstan.
According to IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, Kazakhstan defence officials have said a variant of the Mbombe called the Barys was being developed for their military and would be built in the country at the Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering joint venture. Paramount said the new vehicle is called Barys 8 in Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering (KPE) produces the Arlan (based on Paramount’s Marauder). Paramount in November last year officially opened the new KPE factory, which can produce more than 200 armoured vehicles a year. KPE is a joint venture between Paramount Group and Kazakhstan Engineering Distribution. Paramount at the time said the new factory will also produce the Mbombe 6×6 armoured vehicle.
Chairman of Kazakhstan Engineering, Yerlan Idrissov, last year said Kazakhstan plans to export 50 armoured vehicles to Jordan in 2016 and hopes to also export to a dozen countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States, Middle East, China and Russia.
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 2015.
Ben Jansen, CEO of Paramount’s armoured vehicle business for the launch of the Mbombe 8 said “The development of Mbombe 8 has enabled Paramount Group to provide potential customers with a complete family of 4×4, 6×6 and 8×8 AFVs [armoured fighting vehicles] which share over 80% of common components to reduce through life costs and make for easier training and logistics. This commonality relates to both the driveline aggregates, as well as the fact that all three vehicles utilise a ‘conventional’ or ‘in-line’ automotive driveline configuration, positioning the powerpack at the front of the vehicle and along its centre line. This configuration results in far greater efficiency in terms of the transfer of power from the powerpack to the wheels, as the loss of power associated with a second transfer gearbox necessary for ‘unconventional’ drivelines, such as with side-engined vehicles, is eliminated.”
Paramount Group Chairman Ivor Ichikowitz added: “We pioneered mine-resistant flat floor technology which is central to the design of the new 8×8 platform. Another important feature is the driveline commonality across our family of vehicles, as is the case with the Marauder XT (4×4), Mbombe 6 (6×6) and Mbombe 8. This presents a unique opportunity for the global market, affording a prospective end-user of all three vehicles significant savings in the areas of maintenance and logistical support.”
The unveiling of Mbombe 8 follows the recent announcement in May that Paramount has started local production of its 6×6 Mbombe 6 in Jordan as part of a defence industrial partnership between Paramount Group and the Jordanian defence industry. The multi-million dollar contract will provide the Jordanian Armed Forces with IFVs which will provide the platform for Jordan’s future combat vehicle requirements.
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.