Denel Land Systems has signed an agreement with Patria for serial production and delivery of the Patria AMV 8x8 armoured wheeled vehicles to the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).
The agreement covers a total of 238 vehicles, out of which five pre-series vehicles, which are designated Badger in SANDF service, have already been delivered during the development phase.
An initial batch of 16 serial vehicles is scheduled to be assembled by Patria in Hämeenlinna, Finland, after which the fabrication will be taken over by Denel in South Africa.
Patria Land Systems and Patria Land Services president Seppo Sepp said the agreement represents a continuation of the good co-operation of the last several years.
"We simply provide a vehicle with very high standards and we believe that Denel is the best partner to customise the vehicle to meet the unique needs of the South African National Defence Force," Sepp said.
Denel received a multi-billion rand contract from state-owned Armaments Corporation of South Africa (Armscor) for full-scale production of more than 200 new Badger infantry combat vehicles in October 2013.
The Badger is a new generation 8x8 ICV, designed to provide soldiers with effective protection and offensive firepower in high-intensity warfare, while enabling them to dismount from the vehicle and freely interact with civilians during peace-enforcement operations.
Expected to contribute to the modernisation of the SANDF, the vehicle will ultimately replace its existing armoured protected combat vehicles fleet, including the Ratel 6x6 infantry fighting vehicle.
Specially designed and customised to address the unique requirements of operational deployment in demanding African environment, the vehicle can also provide required protective mobility in the battlefield, shown by the recent involvement of SANDF soldiers in the Republic of Congo.
Image: A mock-up of Patria AMV, which is designated as Badger in SANDF service, at Parola Tank Museum in Finland. Photo: courtesy of Kristoffer Soderlund.