SHAH ALAM: The End is Near. It appears that the Gempita 8X8 production is reaching the end. Denel, one of the biggest suppliers for the programme announced last week that it had supplied the 100th turret from the 122 ordered by Deftech.
The programme would have been completed last year but with a financially mandated slow down of the deliveries, it is likely the last Gempita would roll off the production line by 2021. It must be noted that Denel is only supplying the turrets for 177 vehicles only out of the 259 Gempita contracted to Deftech. Two of these are R&D vehicles with only 257 to be put into service
From the 257, 46 is the IFV25 variant, the one fitted with the FNSS Sharpshooter turret with a 25 mm ATK M242 cannon and FN MAG 7.62 mm machinegun. The other 34 is likely to be armed with the FN MAG machine gun only.
Denel is delivering the 100th modular turret for armoured vehicles used by the Malaysian armed forces in terms of a multi-million rand export contract.
“This is an historic and significant achievement which again demonstrates our leadership role in landward defence and Denel’s capacity to produce advanced technology systems for both the local and international markets,” says Mxolisi Makhatini, the CEO of Denel Landward.
The Euro 342-million contract is the largest export contract in Denel’s history. South Africa’s small and medium defence manufacturers have been amongst the largest beneficiaries of the contract, as Denel has had to procure millions of rands worth of equipment and services from domestic suppliers in order to meet its contractual obligations. At a time when the local economy has been contracting, the direct benefit to the local defence industry underlies Denel’s importance to the South African manufacturing industry and its position as a productive national asset, which contributes to generating export revenue and jobs in the manufacturing sector.
“We are extremely proud of what we have achieved in Malaysia. Despite Denel’s constrained liquidity position and significant changes that the organisation is undergoing, we have managed to stay focused and deliver the 100th turret out 122 to our client as per specification and schedule and to execute almost 98% of our Offset obligation to date. Not only this, but we have built an excellent working relationship with our Malaysian partners and we intend to build on this as we explore further export opportunities in emerging markets,” he says.
In terms of the contract, Denel Land Systems supplies 177 modular turrets in four variants that are fitted onto the Malaysian AV8 vehicles as well as 216 laser-guided Ingwe anti-tank missiles.
The contract deliverables consist of:
-69 armoured fighting vehicle turrets fitted with GI30 30mm cannons
-54 missile turrets with combined GI30 cannons and Ingwe missiles
-54 remotely-operated weapon systems
Makhatini says the Malaysian contract has been a breakthrough for Denel as it established turret manufacturing outside of the country based on South African design and intellectual property. The variants were developed to meet the specific requirements of the client, which needs the product to be utilised in tropical and jungle conditions.
The contract requires the integration of products from some 13 different original equipment manufacturers to ensure seamless functionality. This is achieved through solid project management and sound governance in line with international best practice.
“Denel has contributed to technology transfer, capability and vendor development as well as skills transfer to ensure that it is able to meet its contractual obligations.
“Throughout the delivery process we have been able to uphold the high standards, product quality and professionalism that Denel is renowned for,” he says.
Based on the above it is likely Denel supplied 122 turrets directly to Deftech with another 55 were assembled by the company or its associate company.
Anyhow I have been told that the Army has no plans for new Gempita in the near future. And a 6X6 or 4X4 variant (HMPV) of the Gempita must be part of a procurement project under the RMK plan. If the Army decides to get new vehicles for both projects, it is likely sayonara for the production of military vehicles in Pekan. That said the plant went into doldrums in the early 2000 after the end of the Adnan and other military vehicles production, only to be upgraded in 2011 to prepare for the Gempita programme.
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