Since 2010 Paramount Group of South Africa has been producing the "Mbombe" high-mobility, Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected (MRAP) vehicle in both a four- and six-wheeled form ("Mbombe 6"). Current customers include Jordan (Mbombe 6), Kazakhstan and South Africa. From this work has spawn a newer 8-wheeled model known as the "Mbombe 8" which was unveiled in June of2016.
The Mbombe 8 is billed as a Next Generation (NG) battlefield vehicle categorized as an Infantry Combat Vehicle (ICV). The role is similar to that of an Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) in that the design can haul combat-ready troops under protection, disembark them and fight alongside them through cannon and machine gun armament in a support role. More modern conflicts involving armored vehicles, particularly in Afghanistan and Iraq, have shown the value of better-armored and -armed lightweight vehicles fighting in urban settings where tanks and other heavy-minded systems have revealed their shortcomings. Additionally, vehicles like the American HUMVEE proved extremely vulnerable to Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and other hidden/buried mine-like threats, prompting the U.S. Army to invest heavily in MRAP vehicles.
Paramount Group has already forged an impressive resume in the field of such vehicle types and the Mbombe 8 represents one of its latest offerings. The system is based on the existing, and proven, under-workings of the Mbombe vehicle family and, as such, the vehicles can share as much as 80% commonality of parts between them making them logistically-friendly for the most budget-conscious of armies.
The Mbombe 8 sports mine-resistant flat floors for the crew and passenger spaces with STANAG 4569 Level 3+ protection against projectiles and STANAG 4569 Level 4a/4b protection against blasts. The vehicle weighs in at 28 tonnes and is cleared to carry payloads of up to 9 tonnes. Drive power is from a 6-cylinder, turbocharged diesel-fueled engine tied to an automatic transmission system allowing for road speeds of 110 kmh and operational ranges out to 800 kilometers through an 8x8, fully-suspended wheeled arrangement. Its armament fit is variable (and the turret altogether optional), a common installation being the AU-220M remote-controlled turret armed through a 57mm cannon with 7.62mm machine gun.
While obviously longer than its 4x4 and 6x6 cousins, the Mbombe 8 makes up for this with increased internal volume (due to its front engine and centerline transmission placement) and increased surface area with the extra wheeled axle, enabling it to keep up with mechanized forces, operate independently and manage cross-country travel as needed.
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