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Feb 19, 2010

Locally developed fighter vehicle enters international markets

BAE Systems Land Systems SA MD Johan Steyn discusses the state of the defence industry, as well as teh company's latest innovations. Cameraperson: Nicholas Boyd. Editing: Darlene Creamer.
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Defence company BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa introduced the locally developed multipurpose RG35 6 × 6 vehicle, a crossover vehicle between a personnel carrier and a fighting vehicle, to the international markets late last year.

BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa MD Johan Steyn says that the RG35 is midway between an 8 × 8 and a 4 × 4 vehicle and is very well protected against land mines. The payload is also significantly higher with 
better protection and an attractive price.

The RG35 combines the high survivability
levels of the RG31 mine-protected vehicle with the tactical capability of modern fighting vehicles. It offers good on- and off-road mobility, protection and sustainability and
meets modern operational, support and 
logistical requirements.

The vehicle can carry light and medium -size
turrets, as well as direct- or indirect-fire 
weapons. It can also be customised to operate in a variety of roles, such as an ambulance, a weapons carrier or as a vehicle recovery and command post. The company does regular market analysis to determine where to focus its exports.

Meanwhile, the company reports that 
exports have a positive impact on the local industry, as it makes new innovation and 
developments available to the South African customer without having to invest too much in research and development.

“The local defence industry was too 
dependent on South Africa’s defence acquisition, disposals, and research and development agency Armscor and local customers to provide funds and retain professional skills in the past. This has been a challenge for about ten years. The industry must now focus on 
securing business abroad,” says Steyn.

The unattractive image of the defence indus-
try has resulted in a number of challenges, such as the recruitment of skilled, experienced engineers and the development of new skills.

Edited by: Brindaveni Naidoo
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