South African vehicle manufacturer EWI2 has entered into a teaming agreement with China North Industries Group Corporation (Norinco) to jointly develop the 8M wheeled mine resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicle.
As part of a cooperation agreement signed by both companies in 2010, the 8M development represents the first step in a series of collaborative projects that are expected to be completed in future.
The manufacturer was quoted by Defence Web as saying: "EWI2 is proud to be associated with Norinco and was one of the first South African companies to establish themselves in China in support of South Africa’s membership of the BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India and China] nations."
Powered by a 5.9lt Cummins QSB diesel engine, the 8M is an 8000kg 4×4 wheeled joint tactical light vehicle, designed to protect its crew against a range of ballistic and blast mines, as well as improvised explosive device (IED) attacks.
Capable of carrying eight personnel or a 2500kg payload at a maximum speed of 120km/h, the vehicle can withstand a 7kg anti-tank mine blast under the hull, and a 10kg blast on any wheel.
The vehicle has been designed and configured to incorporate local Chinese components, and will be marketed both to the China’s People Liberation Army (Pla) and export markets, according to the company.
The MRAP was showcased at China International Exhibition on Police Technologies and Equipment Expo (CIEPE), held in June 2012, in Beijing.