17 February 2019 – Updated on 18 February 2019
By Paolo Valpolini
At the end of Day 1 of the 2019 Edition of IDEX/NAVDEX the United Arab Emirates announced the acquisition of Paramount Group’s newly launched, next generation armoured personnel carrier, the Mbombe 4. As EDR On-Line understood the contract should be for a limited number of vehicles aimed at testing the vehicle’s capabilities.
The Mbombe story started in 2011, when the South African company unveiled its Mbombe 6, a 6×6 low-profile, mine protected vehicle that is currently in production and in service in Kazakhstan where it is locally produced by KPE (Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering) under the name of Barys 6×6, barys meaning leopard in the local language. The lessons learned with the 6×6 development were put to fruition in designing the 8×8, which was launched in 2016 and is also in production in Kazakhstan. Here too thorough testing led to an evolution of technologies and materiel, these improvements being now applied in the latest member of the Mbombe family, the 4×4 Mbombe 4. Some 70% of the components are taken from the family which helps in reducing the logistic burden in those armies already using some members of the family. The Mbombe 4 is 6.13 meters long, 2.6 meters wide and 2.45 meters high, and has a kerb weight of 13.3 tonnes, with a payload of 2.7 tonnes. It can carry a crew of 2 plus a gunner and 4 dismounts; these can leave the vehicle through a rear ramp, similar to that adopted on bigger members of the family, a feature that allows easy access and egress and makes the Mbombe 4 suitable for numerous applications.
Powered by a turbodiesel 6-cylinder engine providing 450 hp, which gives over 32 hp/t power-to-weight ratio at 13.9 tonnes, it is fitted with an automatic 6-speed transmission and can reach 140 km/h. It can ford up to 0.9 meters without preparation, climb a slope of over 60%, travel on a 35% side slope and overcome a 500 mm step and a 850 ditch.
The design allows to easily install a wide range of payloads and turrets. This monocoque vehicle ensures a Level 4 ballistic protection, a Level 4a/b antimine protection also thanks to the 0.43 meters ground clearance, and can withstand a 50 kg TNT side blast.
The Mbombe 4 was designed according to Middle Eastern potential customers’ requirements, some peculiar elements added on customers request being i.e. the two water tanks at the rear, one per side, each with a tap allowing infantrymen to fill up their water bottles. As for its predecessors, the vehicle design was optimised to allow easy transfer of technology to customer countries, a mark of the Paramount Group. Paramount is in close discussions with a launch customer which name was of course not unveiled.
Photos courtesy Paramount
Gallery photos by Paolo Valpolini