Sudan’s defence industry had a prominent display at the recent IDEX defence show in Abu Dhabi and displayed a wide range of military equipment, from upgraded scout cars and artillery to new armoured personnel carrier variants.
According to Sudan’s Military Industry Corporation (MIC) Director-Spokesman Ali Osman Mahmoud, MIC has launched over 35 new products, including a fast boat designed for interception, two new armoured personnel carriers, a new self-propelled 122 mm howitzer, and a guided smart bomb. “Some of the items were just dreams and ideas at the last IDEX, and now they are reality. It was very fast,” he was quoted by Khaleej Times as saying.
Some of the items on display at IDEX 2017 included the Khatim-4 armoured missile launcher, Sarsar-2 4×4 armoured personnel carrier (APC), Khalifa-2 self-propelled gun, Sarsar-1 4×4 APC, Taka-2 Multiple Rocket Launcher and Amir reconnaissance vehicle.
MIC has upgraded the BRDM-2 4×4 amphibious scout car (Amir DBA02), which had its GAZ-41 V8 petrol engine replaced by a more efficient Isuzu 6HH-1 6-cylinder diesel developing 210 hp (versus 140 hp for the GAZ). This improves speed from 100 to 120 km/h. Other changes on the Sudanese model include the elimination of lowerable belly wheels and the removal of the trim vane for amphibious operations. The vehicle is fitted with a 14.5 mm gun.
At IDEX 2017 MIC revealed two versions of its Khatim armoured personnel carrier, which is based on the BMP-2. The Khatim-3 is fitted with a twin 23 mm ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft gun in a roof mount. The weapon’s mount has manual traverse through a full 360° with weapon elevation also manual from -5° to 78°.
The Khatim-4, meanwhile, is based on the BMP-1 and fitted with a single missile launcher on the roof in addition to a cupola-mounted 12.7 mm machinegun. Firing rate is 1-2 missiles per minute, with 20 missiles stored in the hull.
The Sarsar-2 is a new vehicle based on a 1.2 ton Kia 4×4 chassis built under license, and fitted with several tons of armour. Shephard Media reports that this is an upgrade on the earlier Sarsar-1 vehicle, which is also based on a KIA chassis and has been in service for more than ten years. Up to six soldiers can be carried inside the Sarsar-2, which can also mount a 12.7 mm machine gun. It is powered by a D4DA engine and fitted with lightweight armour from Dubai Armour company. The Sarsar-2 has entered service with Sudan’s army. MIC has also built an APC similar to the Sarsar for the Sudanese army, but using a Land Cruiser chassis with armoured cabin able to carry eight.
MIC has also upgraded its Taka-2 MRL02 122 mm multiple rocket launcher (mounted on a KIA 4×4 truck) with a new fire control system.
Another item on display at IDEX was the Khalifa-2 GHY03 D30 122 mm howitzer fitted on a 6×6 Ural chassis built under license by MIC. It can carry 50 rounds of ammunition and fire to a range of 20 km. The similar Khalifa-1 was displayed at IDEX 2015. According to Shephard, the Sudanese Army has the vehicle in service.
Mahmoud said Sudan’s display at IDEX was a major increase over 2015, when it showcased items like the Ateed remote weapon station, Sarib anti-tank guided missile (apparently based on the Chinese HJ-8), artillery and armoured vehicles.
Sudan’s President Omar Al Bashir attended the IDEX 2017 opening ceremony, after also attending the 2015 opening ceremony. Sudan is keen to market its equipment in the Middle East, with Mahmoud noting that all its hardware is used by the Sudanese military and suited to desert conditions.
Sudan also had a large presence at the Africa Aerospace and Defence exhibition in Pretoria in September last year, where the state owned SAFAT Aviation Group was pushing its SAFAT 02 light helicopter, SAFAT 03 two seat trainer and Burkan smart bomb.
Since the 1990s Chinese, Russian and Iranian companies have helped Sudan develop its domestic military industry after an international arms embargo placed on the country. The Military Industry Corporation was established in 1993 to manufacture weapons and equipment for the Sudanese military and is now marketing its products internationally. Products include main battle tanks (based on Chinese designs), small arms, recoilless rifles, mortars, rocket launchers, upgraded armoured vehicles, ammunition, electronics and uniforms.