South African defence equipment and logistics company Twiga Services is building Mamba-class armoured personnel carrier vehicles for a client in East Africa.
Twiga CEO Damian de Lange says the vehicles are due for completion by the end of the year.
“The contract, which was signed last year, involves a small number of Nyoka armoured personnel carriers that will be built in the client’s country under a technology transfer and joint venture (JV) arrangement,” he explains.
Twiga originally developed the Nyoka in 2014, after receiving a request from the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) for a new Mamba-class vehicle that incorporated its upgrades to meet operational requirements.
The UPDF commissioned the first five of 12 Nyokas after it had been manufactured in a JV between the Ugandan Ministry of Defence and Twiga’s Ugandan sister company defence force capability developer Impala Services & Logistics.
The Nyoka upgrades include ballistic protec-tion equal to Nato Stanag Level 1, shooting ports, a ballistically protected grill, air condi-tioning, three weapon positions on the roof, pneumatically operated rear doors, an anti-roll bar, improved braking system, infrared illuminator and improved lights.
The armour plate used in the vehicle is cut in South Africa and shipped to the client’s country for assembly. The old Mamba driveline, which includes the engine, gearbox and axles, is remanufactured while the rest of the vehicle is new. The engines are remanufactured and certified in South Africa.
Part of the Nyoka programme involves the training of client personnel in specialised and armoured welding, mechanical and auto-electrical repair, pneumatics and store management.
Twiga and Impala have been in business since 2011 and supply military and security forces with armoured vehicles, night vision equipment, rugged boat systems, thermal imaging devices, as well as training and support programmes.
Around 90% of Twiga’s business is JV manu-facturing of armoured personnel carriers, the supply of spares, weapons mounts and night vision systems.
Meanwhile, Twiga also has military patrol boats (MPBs), in different sizes including the 8.5-m-long MPB, which is manufactured out of high-density polyethylene to enable it to be resistant to abrasion, corrosion and ultraviolet light.
“The Rugged 850 MPB is designed for use on the Great Lakes of East Africa and the rivers of sub-Saharan Africa,” says De Lange, adding that the company also has a Rugged 900 MPB, which has a bow ramp for marines and was designed for riverine operations in South America.
The company supplies a range of tough work and general purpose boats that can fulfil a number of civilian, military and security roles. It says the boats meet South African Maritime Safety Authority requirements and come in heavy-duty or extra-heavy-duty versions.
De Lange says Twiga Services, which has been active since 2011, has a turnover of about R 30-million each year.
“We are a small company and we focus on supplying products where we can also transfer technology, skills and capabilities,” he says, adding that the company’s priority area of operation is sub-Saharan Africa, but it is also looking to supply products to companies in South America and Asia.
De Lange says Twiga is completely export-focused as between 95% and 98% of its income is from exports, and about 85% of the components it uses are procured from South African companies.
“We tend to form strategic relationships with local companies and we maintain close relationships with our customers – we are in the field with them,” he concludes.