By Dapo Akinrefon
A South Africa-based global aerospace and technology business, Paramount Group has announced that the Kazakhstan locally-produced variant of the company’s next generation Mbombe 8×8 Infantry Combat Vehicle (aptly named after a legendary West African warrior), has successfully completed a four-year series of extensive trials.
The trials being conducted by the Ministry of Defence of Kazakhstan, brings the vehicle a step closer to production orders.
Known in Kazakhstan as the Barys 8×8 (‘Snow Leopard’ in Kazakh), the vehicle was unveiled for the first time in 2016 at KADEX Exhibition and has since embodied African technological prowess’ applicability to addressing the innumerable challenges which are today region-defined across the world.
Commenting on the product, Executive Chairman of Paramount Land Systems Group, John Craig said: “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.”
Barys 8×8 is a multi-purpose armoured vehicle, offering for its crew of up to 11 (including a driver, two crew members and eight infantry troops) advanced technological solutions to address regional threats in often harsh and rugged environments.
According to him, 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.
While providing a maximum speed of 110 km/hr and an operating range of 800 km, the Barys 8×8 offers a payload of up to 9 tonnes, and hosts unsurpassed STANAG 4569 Level 4B protection against mines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and roadside shell-less landmines, as but examples.
The anti-mine flat bottom of the Barys 8 further allows its silhouette to be reduced to 2.4 meters, providing additional advantages in combat, as well as protecting against the excessive force of improvised explosive devices.
Besides, Craig said: “The Barys 8 is a breakthrough for the region and one that allows us to perpetually integrate next-generation technologies that will ensure the platform remains on the cutting-edge of the defence and security landscape, meeting the demands of regional armed forces. The Barys 8×8 is also a testament to the exceptional capabilities of our partners at Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering.
“Special ‘anti-mine’ seats have been designed and equipped within the Barys 8 to prevent injury to the crew during extreme acceleration, which can take place due to the effects of an explosion near or directly under the vehicle.
“The Barys 8 further sports an ‘Ansar’ manned combat automatic system, wholly produced in Kazakhstan; a remotely controlled turret variant with a 30-mm 2A72 automatic gun equipped with stabilizing barrel support, a twin 7.62-mm PKT(M) machine gun, ammunition storage, feeding and loading system, and 81-mm smoke grenade launchers. The installation of ATGM launchers can also be provided.
The vehicle’s retractable searching and tracking system is equipped with a television camera, thermal imager, laser rangefinder, night vision devices and a weather station. In addition, a missile guidance unit can be installed, capable of addressing low-flying aerial targets.
Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering (KPE) looks to further bolster the Eurasian nation’s industrial capability in future by expanding into new land, aerial and maritime production lines.
“KPE has served as a direct proponent of high-skills job creation and for the establishment of centers of innovation and excellence in Kazakhstan and greater Eurasia; these are benchmarks which we at Paramount Group look forward to building upon and expanding on in future, the world over”, Craig noted.
Over the span of four years, the Barys, the product of Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering (KPE) in a joint venture between Paramount Group and one of Kazakhstan’s leading defence and engineering companies, Kazpetromash, was tested throughout the mountainous terrains of Southern Kazakhstan, across forested and savannah-like steppe and the salt marshes of Central Kazakhstan.
The campaign came to conclusion upon the sands of Mangistau, near the Caspian Sea, covering a total distance of 25,000 km.
In addition to testing the outstanding mobility and versatility of Barys, its firepower was also tested to the ultimate, with more than 5,000 rounds of 30 mm and 7,000 rounds of 7.62 calibre ammunition discharged.
The Barys 8×8 had previously undergone strenuous testing activities in adverse weather conditions across Central Asia, withstanding temperatures between +45º and -60ºC during summer and winter trials.
Proof positive of the 27-year legacy of the Paramount Group-pioneered portable manufacturing model which has since the company’s inception been replicated across Africa, the Middle East, Eurasia and beyond, the Barys 8×8 ICV is manufactured in-country from within Kazakhstan, at the 15,000m2 KPE armoured vehicle production facility in Nursultan.
The facility is today recognised as one of the largest and most modern armoured vehicle factories in Eurasia, notably the only throughout the region capable of producing such next generation Infantry Combat Vehicles.
Operated by over two-hundred Kazakhstani employees, the facility has for years served as a hub of localised manufacture and a centralised base for the provision of modern equipment to Kazakhstan’s Special Operations Forces and its Ministry of Defense, providing the capacity to produce hundreds of armoured vehicles per year.
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