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Oct 04, 2010

Paramount's new Mbombe armoured vehicle makes its debut

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The Johannesburg-based Paramount Group has unveiled its new locally manufactured armoured vehicle, the Mbombe, providing protection against 50 kg of explosives at a distance of five metres.

Mbombe will also withstand the explosion of 10 kg of explosives anywhere under its hull or under any wheel station without rupture.

Mbombe is a high-mobility, three-axle, six-wheeled infantry fighting vehicle, with a mine-resistant honeycomb flat hull, rather than the traditional v-shape, which gives it a lower profile than typical vehicles in this segment.

“Named after a famed African warrior, we believe that with Mbombe, [the] Paramount Group has developed a groundbreaking new vehicle that will take the international market by storm,” says executive chairperson Ivor Ichikowitz.

Variants of the Mbombe include an armoured personnel carrier, an armoured combat vehicle mounting a heavy machine gun or autocannon, a command vehicle, an ambulance, as well as a number of other options.

“Mbombe is well suited for use in both conventional and non-conventional war, peacekeeping and counter-insurgency operations,” says Ichikowitz.

The Paramount Group has seen its sales increase by 20% year-on-year over the last five years, with the workforce more than doubling over the past 12 months. It currently employs around 300 people.

Its vehicle production facility is in Midrand.

“We have not supplied any vehicles to the South African government yet,” says Paramount Group CEO John Craig.

“We have only launched our first concept vehicle in 2007,” he adds.

Craig believes the African armoured vehicle market is growing.

“With African defence spending up nearly a third since the end of the Cold War, Africa is purchasing more defence and security systems.”

The Paramount Group has supplied Ghana with armoured vehicles as part of a deal to equip this country’s army. This fleet included old stock from the South African National Defence Force.

The group has also seen a number of its own armoured vehicles doing service in Congo (Brazzaville) and Gabon.

Craig says Paramount started doing business as a solutions company, which “we still do”.

He notes that the company is able to provide financing solutions to customers in need of its services or products.

“We largely provide this finance ourselves. We structure the payback period. This means we can provide a turnkey solution,” notes Craig.

“The world has finally discovered that Africa has some of the best technologies available worldwide at competitive prices. We have an amazing skills base, we are home to some of the best engineers in the world and they have developed technologies which are used globally and save lives every day,” he adds.

Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter
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