SANDF refurbishing NTW-20 AMR


The South African National Defence Force has awarded Denel Land Systems a R424 000 contract to refurbish a number of NTW-20 anti materiel rifles.

According to the Wikipedia and the Russia-based Modern Firearms website, the SANDF acquired the weapon in 1998, likely for the Special Forces.

The R424 521.18 contract to refurbish the weapons was awarded last Thursday (January 28).

The Wikipedia avers the weapon was designed around 1995 by Tony Neophytou. Modern Firearms adds initial development was under the Aerotek name. The Mechem division of Denel later purchased all rights for this design from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

The NTW-20 is a long range anti-materiel rifle available in two calibres: 20mm and 14.5mm and can easily convert from one variant to another by simply replacing the barrel, bolt, magazine and scope, “which will take about one minute in field conditions”.

The 20mm barrel uses the WW2-era German MG-151 20×83.5mm aircraft gun round and can deliver high explosive, fragmentation or incendiary rounds with good accuracy. When long range armor penetration is an issue, the 14.5mm version comes into the play.

It is built around another WW2-era round, Soviet 14.5x114mm high velocity, armour-piercing cartridge, developed for the PTRD and PTRS anti-tank rifles and now used with the Russian KPV/ KPVT heavy machine guns.
“While probably not so accurate as the specially developed .50BMG (12.7x99mm) rifles, mostly due to unavailability of the ‘match grade’ ammunition in the 14.5mm and 20mm, NTW-20 offers significantly more terminal effectiveness than any .50BMG rifle / round combination,” Modern Firearms adds. It says the 20mm version “could be most effective against targets like parked aircraft and helicopters, command and communications equipment, radar cabins, fuel dumps” and unarmoured vehicles. The 14.5 mm version “will be more effective against armoured personnel carriers or relatively large “soft” targets at extended ranges.”

The site further adds the NTW-20 is a manually operated, rotating bolt action rifle. The barrel is locked by the rotating bolt that has six lugs. The barrel along with the receiver recoil inside a chassis frame against a combined hydraulic and pneumatic damping system. A large two-chamber muzzle brake also helps to keep recoil at an acceptable level,the web site says. The NTW-20 is fed from the detachable box magazine, that is inserted from the left side and holds three rounds. The rifle is disassembled and carried in two man-portable packs, each weighting about 12 to 15 kg. One pack carries the frame, stock, butt and bipod while the other carries the barrel, sighting equipment
and magazines. NTW-20 is equipped with a 8X magnification, long eye relief telescopic sight on the quick detachable mount. No open sight is fitted. The folding bipod is mounted under the receiver, and a non-folding frame above the receiver serves as a carrying handle and a scope protection bracket.

20×83.5 mm

14.5 mm


20 x 83.5 mm MG151

14.5 x 114 mm Russian

Barrel length

1000 mm

1220 mm


26 kg

29 kg

Maximum effective range

1500+ meters

2300+ meters