Denel has unveiled the prototype of its “Africa Truck”, which is likely to emerge as its offering to replace the South African National Defence Force’s (SANDF) aging fleet of Samil military trucks.
The Africa Truck demonstrator model unveiled yesterday at Africa Aerospace and Defence was designed in SA and is almost entirely based on SA technology. At the unveiling yesterday, Denel Vehicle Systems officials said the Africa Truck would have the advantage of being designed as a military vehicle rather than as a commercial vehicle, which is then developed for military purposes.
Given the present funding constraints on the SANDF, a Samil replacement when it comes is likely to be very gradual. To increase its order books for such a project, Denel will have to try and sell the vehicle to African countries. A large number of brass from African countries were present at the unveiling by Chief of the SANDF, General Solly Shoke and Acting Denel Group CEO Zwelakhe Ntshepe.
While some of the vehicles in the Samil fleet are 40 years old, there is, as yet, no tender that has been announced for a new military logistic vehicle. The build of the prototype in a speedy ten weeks is in response to SA’s Military Command Council asking Armscor, Denel, and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to come up with ideas for a logistic vehicle.
The design of the demonstrator model, which will be adapted to customer needs, is based on the SA made RG-31 mine protected infantry mobility vehicle, which saw service in Afghanistan and Iraq with the US and other forces. The Africa Truck has a Stanag Level 2 protection, affording protection against armour piercing ammunition and a high degree of mine protection.
On the Denel stand at Waterkloof yesterday, the demonstrator was a 6X6 version with a gross vehicle mass of 28 tons. As it is designed to be constructed on a modular bases it will be able to be reconfigured to a variety of customer requirements for different loads and weapons for protection.
The prototype carries an ISO container with an office, and a general purpose machine gun has been mounted on the roof of the driver’s cab. The cargo load of the Africa Truck can be adapted to transport supplies, troops, act as a field hospital, or an office. Denel said it is able to manufacture the vehicle in a number of configurations, including 4X4 and 8X8 versions.