South African soldiers being transported in Goma in their Mamba armoured personnel carrier.
|Type||Armoured personnel carrier|
|Place of origin||South Africa|
|Weight||5,565 kilograms (12,269 lb)|
|Length||5,460 millimetres (215 in)|
|Width||2,205 millimetres (86.8 in)|
|Height||2,495 millimetres (98.2 in)|
|12.7 mm MG|
|Engine||312N Mercedes Benz turbocharged diesel
92 kilowatts (123 hp)
|650 kilometres (400 mi)|
|Speed||102 kilometres per hour (63 mph)|
The Mamba is a South African armoured personnel carrier that offers protection against small arms fire and land mines. The vehicle, which uses a Unimog chassis and is powered by a Mercedes Benz engine, is suited for rough terrain and can carry up to 10 passengers plus the driver. It has been used by a number of countries as well as peacekeeping forces of the United Nations, and the improved Mk2 and Mk3 versions are in service with the South African military. A new Mamba version has been designed and built by N4 Trucks (Pty) Ltd, in their Pretoria Factory in South Africa and marketed globally by Osprea Logistics as the Mamba Mk5 and deployed by African Union peacekeepers in Somalia. It is offered in two variants, one built on the Magirius air-cooled drive train and the other on an Iveco Eurocargo drive train in water-cooled configuration. It is also used in Iraq by private security contractors. Several variants have been developed from the Mamba. Recently blast tested by the Pretoria based Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, (the CSIR) the Mamba Mk 5 defeated a 10 kg explosive blast under its hull. The Mk 5 survived a blast test of 14 kg of explosive beneath its wheels in earlier tests.
Design and features
The Mamba was developed by Land Systems OMC, a subsidiary of BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa. It utilizes a Unimog truck chassis and is specifically designed to suit the African terrain. The first units were derived from surplus Buffel vehicles. Its V-shaped hull is designed to deflect a mine blast away from the occupants. It is powered by a 352N Mercedes Benz 6-cylinder diesel engine. The Mamba entered service in 1995, and is still in use with the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and several other countries. The SANDF now uses the improved Mamba Mk2 and Mamba Mk3 versions, with the Mk2 able to be upgraded to Mk3 configuration.
The Mamba is 5,460 millimetres (215 in) in length, 2,205 millimetres (86.8 in) in width, and has a height of 2,495 millimetres (98.2 in). The four-wheeled vehicle can carry up to 10 passengers, excluding the driver. A roof hatch allows a gunner to use the weapon mount, which can be equipped with a 12.7 mm machine gun. A large door at the rear of the vehicle provides access to the passengers and crew. The Mk3 features better ballistic protection over the Mk2 – the latter can withstand impacts from up to 7.62x51mm NATO rounds, while the former is capable of handling 5.56x45mm NATO impacts. The Mk3 is also lighter, more stable, has lower operating costs and comes with an 8-speed transmission compared to the 4-speed transmission of the Mk2. However, the Mk3 has a range of only 650 kilometres (400 mi) whereas the Mk2 has a range of 900 kilometres (560 mi). The Mamba also provides protection against mines of up to 7 kilograms (15 lb). It has four-wheel drive capability, and can achieve a top speed of 102 kilometres per hour (63 mph). Apart from the APC role, the vehicle may also be used as an ambulance, a command vehicle, a VIP transport, or a logistics vehicle. The newest Mamba, the Mk5, is manufactured by Osprea Logistics in South Africa, and delivers 240 hp (176Kw) from a water-cooled Iveco engine, a range over 600 km, over 4,500 kg payload, and a B7 ballistic protection versus previous B6 capabilities of the Mk1-Mk3.
The following countries operate the Mamba or have used it in the past.
In addition, the Mamba is used by United Nations peacekeeping forces, such as in Angola, Bosnia, Kosovo and Sudan. Apart from South Africa, Argentina and the United Kingdom have also exported their Mambas. Sudan has received the most number of Mamba APCs, with South Africa having delivered 62 Mamba Mk3 units to assist in the peacekeeping operations there. In 2011, over 40 Mamba Mk5's were ordered by the United Nations and African Union for use by the African Union peacekeepers operating in Somalia. The Mamba has also been used by private security contractors employed in Iraq by the United States military. According to them, the vehicle has an aesthetic appeal and appears "less aggressive".
Variants and derivatives
Numerous variants of the Mamba have been produced, as well as vehicles derived from it.
- Mamba Mk1 - Original 2x4 (Over 500 built by TFM Industries later becomes Reumech OMC)
- Springbuck Mk1 - modified version
- Reva Mk1 - modified version by ICP
- Puma - modified version with a Toyota Dyna 7-145 powerplant and drivetrain
- Mamba Mk2 - 4x4 (built by Sandock Austral and TFM) Mamba Mk II - Improved production version.
- Mamba Mk2 EE - Version produced for the Estonian Army
- Mamba Mk2 SW - Version produced for the Swedish Army
- Komanche - A short wheeled base (SWB) version which can carry up to 7 troops
- Sabre - 4 man cab with a cargo area in the rear
- Alvis 4 - Version produced by Alvis UK for the British Army
- Alvis 8 - Komanche SWB version produced by Alvis UK for the British Army
- RG-31 Nyala - redesigned version by TFM
- Romad - modified version by Sandock Austral)
- Reva Mk2 - modified version by ICP with Cummins powerplant
- Springbuck Mk2 - modified version
- Mamba Mk3 - 4x4 version fitted with Mercedes Benz 312N engine. Built by Alvis OMC
- Reva Mk3 - modified version by ICP
- Mamba Mk5 - 4x4 fitted with Iveco Euro 3 engine and B7 armor. Built by Osprea Logistics SA
- Taipan - a version with a Mercedes Benz OM366LA turbo-diesel engine that lost the bid for the Australian Specialised Vehicle System (ASVS) proposal (Project Bushranger)
- Mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles
- List of AFVs
- Reva APC - similar vehicle produced by ICP South Africa.
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