Denel Sets Sights on Winning Army Contract
Johannesburg - The South African Army's new infantry combat vehicle may be a customised variant of a Finnish design.
An industry source told Sapa yesterday that a Finnish Patria Armoured Modular Vehicle (AMV) was currently in South Africa to undergo modification ahead of September's African Aerospace and Defence Exhibition.
State arms maker Denel and the Pan-European Aeronautic, Defence and Space Company (Eads) planned to showcase the vehicle there to steal a lead on their competition in providing the infantry with an initial 264 of the vehicles.
The AMV is currently in production for the Finnish and Polish armed forces. Deliveries will begin this year.
The vehicle builds on the success of the Patria XA-200 6x6, which is in active service with Finland, Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands, as well as with UN peacekeeping forces in Lebanon, Kosovo and Eritrea.
According to Patria, the genius in the design lies in the fact that customers can adopt the same vehicle platform for all kinds of uses and operational conditions, from troop carrier to weapons platform to armoured ambulance.
The design features a modular structure, allowing rapid changes in configuration, with a welded armour steel hull and an independent suspension system. It weighs between 14 and 24 tonnes.
Armscor, the Department of Defence's armaments acquisition agency, earlier this year gave a dozen local and international defence companies until February 2005 to tender for the contract.
Domestic companies asked to tender are Denel as well as private concerns Land Mobility Technologies, Benoni-based OMC, IST Dynamics, Industrial and Automotive Design SA, the Mechanology Design Bureau, Advanced Technologies Engineering of Midrand, Grintron and Intertechnic.
The overseas contractors approached were GIAT Industries of France, Mowag Motorwagenfabrik of Switzerland and Eads.
Initial reports speculated that Mowag's Piranha IV was a shoo-in to win the competition.
With acknowledgements to Sapa and the Daily Dispatch.