South Africa’s defence company Paramount is offering its Mbombe 8 infantry combat vehicles as an immediately available and affordable alternative to the long-delayed Badger vehicle.
Paramount asserts that the Mbombe 8 specifications is closely match to the Badger, and should be acquired as an alternative to the Badger armoured vehicle under Project Hoefyster.
Project Hoefyster entails that the South African Army will receive 242 Badger vehicles in different variants from Denel Land Systems (DLS) to replace some Ratels.
As with many South African procurement processes, Project Hoefyster is experiencing delays due to financial, technical and developmental difficulties. The Badgers were supposed to be delivered between 2019 and 2022.
State-owned Armscor has recommended the contract be canceled and the money be spent on Ratel upgrades, and South African Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise now admitted in June 9, 2022 that the project is unlikely to happen.
Thandi Modise noted at the time that there has been virtually no progress on the project due to financial and capacity constraints within Denel, over the past three years.
Decades after Project Hoefyster was signed, the South African Army is yet to receive any Badger IFV, despite a total of R7.6 billion been spent on the project; R1.5 billion spent on the design and development phase, and R5 billion on the industrialisation phase. The entire project was valued at R16.2 billion by Armscor.
In its 2020/21 annual report, Armscor noted that the Badger IFV development had not reached product baseline establishment by the end of the reporting period, failing two rounds of performance tests.
Locally built Mbombe 8 8×8 on the other hand is considered a matured system after being launched in mid-2016.
Paramount Group is now targeting the domestic market is offering the 8×8 Mbombe 8 as an affordable indigenous alternative to the Badger vehicle, says South Africa’s defenceWeb.
The Mbombe 8 has been further developed by Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering (KPE) as the Barys 8 and last year concluded a four-year series of trials conducted by the Ministry of Defence of Kazakhstan.
John Craig, Executive Chairman of Paramount Land Systems Group, stated, “The Barys 8×8 has undergone uniquely challenging and extensive testing over the course of the past four years. Its successful completion of this campaign is an important milestone in the success story of Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering (KPE). This further demonstrates the advanced potential of Kazakhstan’s defence industry, offering state-of-the-art facilities and high level skills for the development of indigenously manufactured defence technologies to the wider region”.
The Mbombe 8 features advanced technological solutions to address regional threats in often harsh and rugged environments, says Paramount. The vehicle was built-for-purpose to meet the increasing demands in the region for versatility, high mobility and the need for mine-resistant platforms.