South Africa’s Paramount Group displayed its Mbombe 8 infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) for the first time at the Kazakhstan Defence Expo (KADEX 2016) that opened on 2 June.
Kazakhstan defence officials have previously been cited as saying that a variant of the Mbombe called the Barys was being developed for the Kazakhstan military and would be produced by the factory that Paramount has set up in Astana with a state-owned company under the Kazakstan Paramount Engineering (KPE) joint venture.
Paramount declined to comment on whether the Mbombe 8 has been developed specifically for the Kazakhstan military, although it did say it would be trialled in both South Africa and the Central Asian country.
It also explained that the new 8×8 vehicle is called the Barys 8 in Kazakhstan and that the KPE plant is capable of producing the entire Mbombe/Barys family, which includes the original 4×4 vehicle and the 6×6 Mbombe 6 that has been ordered by Jordan, as well as the new 8×8.
The KPE plant currently produces a version of the Marauder 4×4 called the Arlan. Paramount says the technology is being transferred to enable the factory to fabricate complete Arlan hulls, but major sub-systems such as engines and drivelines need to be imported.
Paramount also listed various features of the Mbombe 8 that appeared tailored towards Kazakhstan, saying its cooling systems and driveline have been tested and proven in winter conditions of -55 °C and desert conditions of 55°C. It noted that the Mbombe 8 displayed at KADEX could carry eight dismounts and three crew wearing the clothing and equipment needed for Central Asian winters.
The vehicle on display was fitted with the Russian-made AU-220M unmanned turret armed with a 57 mm dual-feed cannon and a 7.62 mm co-axial machine gun. A wide range of other turrets and weapon stations could be integrated on the vehicle.
Main picture: Mbombe 8 with the AU-220M unmanned turret Source: Paramount Group
Mbombe 8 IFV
The Mbombe 8 is based on the design of Paramount’s Mbombe 6 that employs an innovative new form of construction to give unprecedented levels of protection, while keeping profile to a minimum. The 8×8 also draws on the company’s experience of designing the highly effective and battle-tested Marauder and Matador mine-resistant vehicles.
Key features of the Mbombe 8 include:
- Gross weight of 28 tonnes and kerb weight of 19 tonnes
- Payload of 9 tonnes which covers weapon system, ammunition, crew and supplies
- Powered by a 6 cylinder engine turbo charged diesel engine
- Six speed automatic transmission
- Max speed of 110km/h
- Operating range: 800 km
- High levels of ballistic and mine protection: ballistic protection: STANAG 4569 Level 3+ and blast protection: STANAG 4569 Level 4a and 4b
- Wide range of turrets and weapon stations can be integrated e.g. the AU-220M remote turret armed with 57mm cannon and a 7.62 mm machine gun
- The cooling systems and driveline have been tested and proven in winter conditions of -55 Celsius and desert conditions of +55 Celsius
- Large internal volume due to position of powerpack
The first advanced prototype of the Mbombe 8 will soon start extensive mobility trails and production could be undertaken in South Africa or Kazakhstan.
The unveiling of Mbombe 8 follows the recent announcement in May that Paramount has started local production of its 6×6 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (Mbombe 6) in Jordan as part of a defence industrial partnership between Paramount Group and the Jordanian defence industry. The multi-million dollar contract will provide the Jordanian Armed Forces with IFVs which will provide the platform for Jordan’s future combat vehicle requirements. Source paramountgroup.com
U-220M unmanned turret with a 57 mm dual-feed cannon
The gun is recoil operated. Rate of fire is 105-120 rpm and the muzzle velocity is around 1.020 m/sec. It has a barrel length of around 4.4m.