Mbombe 4 rolls out new armour addition

by Charles Forrester

Paramount Group has announced a new armour add-on for the Mbombe 4 MRAP. (Paramount Group)

South Africa's Paramount Group has created a new add-on armour package for the Mbombe 4 mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) 4×4 vehicle, Janes has learnt.

The new package has, according to the company, bolstered the armour protection of the vehicle to full NATO STANAG 4569 Level 3 for ballistic protection, with certification being provided by South Africa's Armscor.

According to Paramount Group, the new add-on system is “designed to be quickly replaceable in the field”, and provides “a lightweight shielding system that adds the least possible weight to the vehicle while providing maximum security against multi-hit ballistic threats, artillery shell fragments, and close-proximity IED [improvised explosive device] explosions, as examples”.

The Mbombe 4 successfully completed independent blast testing in 2019, receiving certification from South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for protection to NATO STANAG 4569 levels M4a and M4b for blast protection. Testing at the time included the detonation of three 10 kg TNT charges under the wheels and hull and one 50 kg side blast test to replicate an IED strike.

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Safran to acquire Orolia

by Marc Selinger

French aerospace company Safran has agreed to purchase positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) product provider Orolia, saying the acquisition will complement its navigation portfolio and expand its international footprint.

“With this addition, Safran will be able to build a world-leading position in all aspects of PNT,” Safran said on 6 December.

Safran, which has more than 76,000 employees, said it intends to “accelerate the development” of Orolia, which employs approximately 435 people, has facilities in five countries, and expects to generate revenue of more than EUR100 million (USD112.9 million) in 2021. Orolia CEO and co-founder Jean-Yves Courtois will continue to lead his firm, which has headquarters in both France and the United States.

Safran expects to complete the transaction by mid-2022, after receiving regulatory approval. It will buy Orolia from French investment firm Eurazeo for an undisclosed sum, and will consolidate it within its Equipment & Defense division.

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Malian military receives new vehicles

by Erwan de Cherisey

Mali has joined Uganda as the only known operators of the Norinco VN2C. (Norinco)

The Malian Armed Forces (FAMa) received several dozen new armoured and unprotected vehicles in a ceremony held at the Kati military camp on 3 December.

Photographs and television coverage of the event showed the deliveries included six Norinco VN2C 6×6 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), making Mali the second known export customer for the type after Uganda.

Unveiled by Norinco in 2016, the VN2C is an improved variant of the VN2, itself a derivative of the Chinese company's widely used WZ551 armoured personnel carrier (APC), with increased protection against improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Norinco says it has a gross vehicle weight of 19 tonnes, a 402 hp diesel engine, and armour that provides STANAG 4569 Level 3a/3b protection.

The FAMa vehicles appeared to be fitted with a low-profile turret armed with an autocannon, although this was not possible to confirm as their weapons were covered during the ceremony.

The Ugandan VN2C acquisition was revealed when two were seen in a video that President Yoweri Museveni released on 20 November showing him visiting the Kalama Armoured Warfare Training School.

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I/ITSEC 2021: Kongsberg unveils new Protector RWS simulator

by Giles Ebbutt

The Kongsberg CORE Training Simulator for the Protector RWS displayed at I/ITSEC 2021. (Giles Ebbutt)

Kongsberg has integrated its Protector remote weapon station (RWS) fire-control system (FCS) with the Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BIS) Virtual Battlespace 4 (VBS4) synthetic environment to provide a new version of the RWS simulator, known as the CORE Training Simulator.

Kongsberg showed the simulator for the first time at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) 2021 held in Orlando, Florida, on 29 November – 3 December.

Unlike the existing Protector simulator, the CORE Training Simulator runs on the real RWS fire-control hardware and software, with only the sensor feed into the system substituted with VBS4 to provide the synthetic environment. This allows the system to be embedded in a vehicle, with an additional computer connected to the vehicle network and streaming VBS4 into the FCS. When operating in simulator mode, the commander and gunner will, therefore, see the VBS4 environment on their screens.

Kongsberg told Janes that when the RWS is ‘fired' in the simulation, the ballistic calculations are performed by the RWS software, overriding VBS4 calculations, because this is more accurate.

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