South African defence group Denel unveiled its conceptual Africa Truck at Africa Aerospace & Defence (AAD) this week as a potential logistical support vehicle for African militaries and defence organisations.
Chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) General Solly Shoke helped Denel representatives pull the veil on the new truck for viewing by African military dignitaries.
Denel’s Africa Truck is designed from the “ground-up” as a purpose-built military truck, with the company pointing out that every aspect and component of the vehicle has been designed with military applications and the African climate in mind.
The truck is locally designed and Denel intends to manufacture it in South Africa using experience attained in the production of its family of mine-protected vehicles – chief of which is the Denel Casspir.
Shoke noted that the SANDF’s existing fleet of Samil trucks is ageing – having been the backbone of logistical support services since 1975 – with many of these trucks having reached the end of their useful life.
The concept for the Africa Truck stemmed from the Military Command Council having requested Armscor, Denel and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to urgently investigate a project to restore the SANDF’s capabilities regarding logistical vehicles and to renew its fleet, if required.
Shoke added that the Africa Truck demonstrated the ingenuity and technical capabilities of the South African defence industry. Its cabin offers protection against small-arms fire, landmines and explosives. The truck can also be outfitted with a remote-controlled weapon for self-defence purposes.
The truck builds on the successful design of Denel Land Systems’ RG31 mine-protected personnel carrier. “Our vehicles have been deployed in operational conditions in many parts of the world. They are tried and trusted . . . battle-tested . . . and have withstood the rigours of both combat and peace-keeping operations,” said Denel CEO Zwelakhe Ntshepe.
Following its launch, the truck is due to undergo further testing and evaluation before a final decision will be taken on acquisition. It is available in 4 X 4, 6 X 6 and 8 X 8 variants, with the 6 X 6 variant having a gross vehicle mass of 28 t.