South African defence company opens largest armoured vehicle factory in Central Asia


Paramount Group, the South African-based global defence and aerospace business, opened a new armoured vehicle factory in Kazakhstan with the capacity of more than 200 armoured vehicles per year and creating 150 skilled jobs. It is the largest armoured vehicle factory in Central Asia and the first defence manufacturing plant with this scale of capability in Kazakhstan.

This represents a new way of in-country defence manufacturing comprising the transfer of technologies and skills, the creation of new joint projects, research and development (R&D), hi-tech manufacturing and local job creation.

Coinciding with the start of production at the 15 000m2 factory, the president of the Republic of Kazakhstan, His Excellency Nursultan Nazarbayev, visited the new state-of-the-art factory built by Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering (KPE) for the production of the world’s most advanced armoured vehicles to meet the regional demand for land systems technologies.

KPE is the joint venture between Paramount Group and Kazakhstan Engineering Distribution. The establishment of armoured vehicle manufacturing in Kazakhstan follows the technology transfer and local manufacturing model championed by Paramount Group globally, and realised through strategic alliances with governments and strong local partners.

The founder and executive chairman of Paramount Group, Ivor Ichikowitz, said: “The governments of South Africa and Kazakhstan have committed themselves to closer economic and industrial co-operation, through reciprocal visits of the Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs, and this new factory is the first concrete manifestation of our co-operation. We are confident that more will follow. We are privileged to enjoy the support of the president and his government for this unique collaboration that is already driving a new wave of innovation in defence technologies and attracting interest in other parts of the world.

“As a leading company in the global aerospace and defence industry, Paramount Group partners with countries such as Kazakhstan and co-invests in developing new manufacturing capabilities, transferring technologies, advancing skills development, and creating new products and services through long-term collaborations such as this one. We take pride in the contribution we make in working with governments to improve security and the protection of their citizens and their sovereign territory.”

The factory has started the production of an indigenous version of Paramount Group’s iconic armoured combat vehicle, the Marauder. The new winterised variant of the Marauder, called Arlan, was designed and developed following extensive collaboration with the Kazakhstan military and rigorous trials to meet the specific operational requirements of the Kazakhstan military.

Chairman of Kazakhstan Engineering, Yerlan Idrissov, said: “The KPE factory is designed for complete end-to-end fabrication and the local manufacture of finished products. Through this investment we are actively going to create substantial local capability by training young engineers in armoured vehicles manufacturing and other skills.

“We have a total of 70 personnel now and will reach around 120 over coming months. Our intention is for the factory to serve the local and regional markets.”

Ichikowitz concluded: “South Africa has been leading the world in armoured vehicle and land mine protected technologies for decades. We have an amazing skills base, we are home to some of the best engineers in the world and they have developed technologies that are used globally and save lives every day.

“Few countries have created strong economies without a robust defence industrial complex, and globally we are working with governments to reap not only the benefits of increased security and stability, but also the economic growth dividend achieved by a home-grown defence industry.”

“Kazakhstan has established an outstanding investor-friendly climate, and together with the high levels of skills and the government’s vision of a diversified high tech economy, the country has proven to be an ideal partner for us. There are significant synergies, capabilities and innovation within our partnership and we are very excited by the joint research and development (R&D) and production that we are undertaking.”

Kazakhstan Engineering, Paramount Group (SA) and Kazakhstan Engineering Distribution are the participants of the project. Paramount Group is one of the leading designers and manufacturers of armoured vehicles and other land forces systems in the world.