Africa Aerospace & Defence 2018

Rugged boats and protected vehicles [AAD18D3]

21 September 2018

South African defence logistics and services company Twiga has brought its 850 MPB military patrol boat to AAD, showcasing the rugged vessel alongside its Nyoka 4x4 protected vehicle. Four of the vessels have recently been delivered to the Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF) after being built in Cape Town. Uganda is also an operator of the Nyoka, having initially driven the vehicle's requirement.

Twiga designed the 850 MPB to perform patrols on rivers, lakes and in coastal waters. The rugged hull is made from high-density polyethylene that makes the boats "virtually indestructible", according to the company. The hull offers considerable ballistic protection against small arms.

The vessel is operated by two crew, comprising the skipper and a marine electronics operator. Two touchscreen displays are provided, as is an onboard wi-fi system.

In typical configuration, the vessel has three gunner stations and carries a boarding party of four. The internal arrangement can be rearranged to meet mission requirements. Two 200hp Yamaha outboard engines give the 850 MPB a speed of more than 35kts. Fuel capacity is 300 litres. With a full load the vessel draws only 0.5m of water, making it suitable for riverine operations.

Twiga supplied the vessels to the UPDF via its Uganda-based sister company Impala Services and Logistics. The two have been partners since 2011 when Twiga designed the Mamba-based Nyoka to meet a Ugandan requirement.

Impala built the vehicles in Uganda from armour produced in South Africa, where the original Mamba drivelines were refurbished. Although production of the Nyoka has been ongoing in Uganda since 2013, the facility at Magamaga was officially opened by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni last month.

The Nyoka offers excellent performance both on and off road, suiting it to security and policing operations in urban and rural settings. The vehicle has NATO Level 1 ballistic protection, and can withstand a single anti-tank mine blast underneath. It can mount three guns up to 20mm calibre on the roof, while a pick-up style version can be used as a weapons mount for 82mm mortars and 107mm rocket launchers.

Twiga supplies defence systems and provides a range of services, including the remanufacture of South African armoured vehicles and spares supply. As well as its partnership with Impala, Twiga has had a subsidiary operating in Namibia since 2016.

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