South Africa's Paramount Group (Hangar 4, Stand W14) is showing a production standard version of its latest Mbombe 8 in the infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) configuration.
The prototype of the Mbombe 8 was shown for the first time at the Kazakhstan Defence Expo (KADEX) held in June 2016 under the local name of the Barys. It has remained there since and feedback from extensive customer trials has been fed into the second example, which is to production standard. While in Kazakhstan, the Mbombe 8 was put through extensive winter trials and proved that it was capable of operating in temperatures ranging from -50°C to +50°C.
The vehicle being shown at the show is fitted with a locally developed one-person turret armed with a Russia 2A42 dual-feed cannon and 7.62mm co-axial machine gun, which are laid onto the target by the gunner using a flat-panel display with twin control handles.
This is just one of the many weapon systems that the Mbombe 8 can be fitted with. The others include protected weapon stations and remote weapon stations armed with a 7.62mm or 12.7mm machine gun or a 40mm automatic grenade launcher, or various combinations of these weapons.
Mbombe 8 has also been shown fitted with a mock-up of the Russian AU-220M unmanned turret armed with a stabilised 57mm dual-feed cannon, 7.6 mm co-axial machine gun, with these coupled to a computerised fire control system to enable stationary and moving targets to be engaged with a high first round hit probability.
The hull is of all-welded double-skin steel, which is to STANAG 4569 Level 3 protection, but with options for higher protection levels, as well as RPG net-type protection.
In the IFV configuration, Mbombe 8 has a crew of three, consisting of driver and commander at the front, gunner in the middle and the eight dismounts, seated four down either side on blast-attenuating seats. They can rapidly dismount via the power-operated ramp in the rear, which can be operated by the driver or from the rear troop compartment.
The front-mounted powerpack consists of a Cummins diesel developing 450hp, with further growth potential, coupled to an Allison 2200 automatic transmission. Steering is power assisted on the front four wheels, but consideration is being given to developing a version with all-wheel steering for use in confined spaces. The wishbone suspension has hydraulic struts, and for a high level of cross-country mobility, a central tyre pressure regulation system is fitted as standard.
Gross vehicle weight is about 28 tonnes, with a curb weight of 19 tonnes, which allows 9 tonnes for the crew, weapons, ammunition, fuel and additional protection. A joint venture company, Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering has been established in Kazakhstan, which started manufacturing the Paramount Marauder (4x4) mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicle, locally known as the Arlans.
Work is underway on building the complete hull and carrying out final integration, with the suspension and driveline coming from abroad.
The factory has the capacity to manufacture up to 120 vehicles a year and in the longer term there is potential for local production of the Mbombe 8 to replace older Russian-supplied BTR series of 8x8 armoured personnel carriers.