SA’s Paramount teams with Ashok Leyland in MRAP business


South Africa Paramount Group has signed an agreement with India’s Ashok Leyland for the development and manufacture of mine resistant armour protected (MRAP) vehicles in India.

The two companies announced the agreement at DEFEXPO 2010 now underway in New Delhi and backed it with plans to produce the Stallion MPV (mine protected vehicle) for the Indian Armed Forces and other Government Internal Security Forces as well as other products in the future.

Paramount says the tie is “an important strategic step in assuring the best available protection of the world’s second largest and fastest developing Armed Forces.” Ashok Leyland, which is part of the Hinduja Group, is already the largest supplier of utility vehicles to the Indian Armed Forces and this industrial collaboration with Paramount will provide for India’s needs to deliver protection to large numbers of troops in potentially hostile environments.

BAE Systems and Mahindra & Mahindra have announced a similar arrangement at the show. BAE ystems has a large MRAP business in SA. Paramount adds SA and India are both established and responsible democracies, and two of the world’s leading emerging economies. They play an increasingly important role in promoting peace and stability.

Paramount Group Executive Chairman Ivor Ichikowitz says his company’s collaboration with Ashok Leyland is an important step “in the closening of ties in the field of defence industrial co operation between India and South Africa. Paramount Group has several world class technologies which it is able to contribute to this relationship and together the two organisations will become a force to be reckoned with in the global defence and security industry.
“Our objective is to be able to offer countries in both the developed and developing world the best available mine and ballistic protection at prices which are affordable to all. Our intention is to ensure that no government is ever in a position where it is forced to send its troops into hostile environments without the highest levels of protection available.”

The Stallion MPV is based on the Stallion Aggregates from Ashok Leyland which has been used to produce over 50 000 logistics vehicles for the Indian military and other countries. “The Stallion MPV is based on Paramount’s unique spaced armour protection technology found in its Matador and Marauder range of mine protected vehicles,” the company says.
“Our entry into armoured vehicles is in answer to an ever-increasing demand from the Armed forces for well -engineered , high-mobility, high protection, tactical vehicles that can be used in counter-oinsurgency and counter- terrorist operations,” says Ashok Leyland chief operating officer Vinod Dasari. “Over the last three decades we have been playing a pivotal role in the modernisation of the Indian Army and with these new tactical , offerings and more on the anvil, we are well -placed to engage the Armed Forces on more fronts in terms of product opportunities and also look at new geographies,” he added.

The company says Paramount has assisted it upgrading its “highly successful Stallion 4×4 vehicle” with an armoured cab and load body for “combat war superiority without any compromise on the vehicle operational parameters.” The armour provides base line protection against AK-47 Kalashnikov 7.62×39 mm on both the sleeper cab and load body. The Armoured Stallion can be used as a troop or logistics carrier, riot control, communication vehicle, command post and ambulance. Optional items like an air conditioned cab, roof hatch with a provision to mount light machine guns, spall liners on the roof for splinter protection, run flat tyres, radiator louvers, engine side shield, fuel tank protection and anti ignition can also be provided.

The also on offer is the MPV, an all-wheel drive (4×4), multi purpose, all-terrain vehicle with high mobility, high protection and multi-mission capabilities. With a power-to-weight ratio of 13.5 kW/T, “it is a versatile performer even in the worst of terrains.” It can attain a maximum speed of 90km/hr with a road range of 1000+ kms. It offers STANAG level 1 protection i.e. protection against 7.62x51mm NATO Ball and double anti tank mine blast protection – 14 kg TNT under hull and triple anti tank mine protection – 21 kg TNT under wheels whereby it exceeds STANAG 4569 level 4 protection.

The design of the vehicle lends itself for easy adaptation to a number of applications such as a troop carrier or command vehicle in border patrol, riot control, internal security and counter terrorism scenarios, Ashok Leyland says. Additional features such as run flat inserts (RFI), roof mounted air conditioners, radios, intercom systems, an 8mt winch, GPS navigation, weapon stations, gun mounts, gun ports, add-on-armour kits can also be provided.

The Armoured bus has been developed in response to the Indian Army’ s requirement to transport army personnel and their families in insurgency infected areas and it has been engineered to provide all-round protection, Ashok Leyland says. A unique feature of this bus is its roof hung floor. The seats in the bus are mounted on a floor which is hung from the roof that will protect the passengers from shock waves that are generated due to a blast under the vehicle. All the seats are provided with seat belts to prevent the passengers from injury due to roll over in case of a blast. The floor is covered by spall liners that give protection against the shrapnel and secondary projectiles from the floor. All round protection against 7.62x5mm NATO Ball at a distance of 10m have been provided.