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Armored Cars: Paramount Group Mbombe 4

February 23, 2019

Via Paramount Group.

South Africa’s Paramount Group turned a lot of heads at the IDEX 2019 arms show in Abu Dhabi this month. The company unveiled its new Mbombe 4, the smallest member of a streamlined “family” they’ve been growing for the past few years. The “Mbombe” brand now applies to three vehicles. These are the modular 8×8 APC designed for Kazakhstan’s armed forces, the Mbombe 6×6 APC, and now the Mbombe 4 that shouldn’t be confused with the older Mbombe 4×4 MRAP whose production was transferred to Saudi Arabia.

Paramount Group wants the world to know the Mbombe 4 is ready for export as part of the company’s “portable production” strategy.

Since Paramount Group expanded its operations to several countries its portable production approach means it can help a client establish a manufacturing site for the Mbombe 4 wherever they want. If this isn’t a good enough incentive, the Mbombe 4 boasts a radical departure from the mine-resistant trucks of the previous decade. Rather than just pile on lots of armor on a sturdy monocoque v-hull, so many aspects of the Mbombe 4 have been tweaked. Access to the cab is improved by an abundance of grips for climbing aboard. The familiar storage bins on the hull are distributed intelligently to offer more space for holding gear. Even its reinforced windows have a novel design; they’re three compartments in a row with separate viewing slits and gun ports covered by a protective screen.

Trucks with the size and weight of the Mbombe 4 usually boast automatic transmission and a huge 400 horsepower (or higher) engine. But Paramount Group are still mum on its mobility, preferring to emphasize an operating range of 800 km on a full tank. Another selling point is it drives fine in subzero temperatures and scorching desert. Protection levels are impressive too, with armor on the vehicle’s sides at STANAG III and blast resistance strong enough against a hundred pounds of TNT. Each Mbombe 4 carries eight soldiers, with six passengers entering from a hydraulic ramp at the back. A roof hatch serves as a mount for turret options such as the popular “Snake Head” from Jordan’s KADDB that encloses the gunner in a hardened shell. Surely, a large caliber armament is possible for the Mbombe 4 should the client ask for it.

The Mbombe 4’s debut in Abu Dhabi and its current appearance suggest it’s meant to entice customers from the Middle East and North Africa. This makes perfect sense when taking account of the different insurgencies simmering over these regions. Since the Mbombe 4 is a fresh iteration of the original Mbombe that has earned its battle scars, there should be little hesitation about its combat readiness. In fact, Paramount Group has gone ahead and announced the UAE’s armed forces are keen on buying an unspecified number, no doubt to augment their collection of Oshkosh and Navistar mine-resistant trucks. This could hint at the company’s plans for establishing a factory in the Gulf.

But the Mbombe 4 still has a ways to go in the supercharged market for armored trucks. A combination of killer looks and Paramount Group’s savvy marketing puts it at the forefront of today’s MRAPs. It also cements South Africa’s reputation as a world leader in protected mobility.

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