With armoured vehicle exports rated as South Africa’s largest exports for 2016, it is no surprise that Denel Vehicle Systems is leading the pack with regards to orders.

On 28 April 2015, Denel bought from BAE its 75% stake in Land Systems South Africa (LSSA) for R641 million ($53 million) and the remaining 25% stake from BAE Systems’ partner DGD Technologies, costing Denel R855 million in total. BAE Land Systems South Africa was rebranded as Denel Vehicle Systems.

Denel Vehicle Systems is comprised of three business units namely OMC, Gear Ratio, and Mechatronics, offering services to the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), the South African Police Service (SAPS), and foreign customers.

Denel Vehicle Systems is the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) of:

• Main battle tank such as the Olifant
• Heavy wheeled armoured combat vehicles such as the Rooikat and the weapon platform for the G-6 SP Howitzer
• Ratel infantry fighting vehicle
• Casspir and Mamba armoured personnel carriers
• Police and security vehicles such as the RG12 Nyala
• SAMIL trucks


OMC manufactures armoured vehicles and provides maintenance, upgrades, and retrofits, offering in-service support for more than 7000 armoured vehicles and military trucks in service with the South African Army and the SAPS and more than
3 500 armoured vehicles in service with armed forces across the globe.

OMC manufactures the following vehicles:

• RG32M armoured patrol vehicle
• RG32 LTV light tactical vehicle
• RG12 armoured public order police vehicle
• RG31 mine protected personnel carrier
• RG21 mine protected personnel carrier
• RG41 8×8 wheeled armoured combat vehicle

Gear Ratio

Gear Ratio offers custom designed and manufactured components for transmissions and drivelines developed in partnership with selected partners.

Gear Ratio includes:

• Power shift transmissions
• Axles
• Transaxles
• Torque converters
• Transfer gearboxes
• Wheel stations
• Railway traction gears
• Dana Service Centre for Southern Africa


Mechatronics designs and manufactures Fire Directing Systems (FDS), Remotely Controlled Turrets, Weapon Stations, Fire Control Sub-systems (FCS), and various shooting training systems.

Mechatronics products include:

• Tactical Remote Turret (TRT)
• Self-Defence Remotely Operated Weapon (S-DROW)
• Overhead Manned Turret (OMT)
• Remote Cocking Mechanism (BCM)
• Missile Stabilised Turret (MST)
• Mobile-Fully Interactive Rifle Shooting Training (M-First)
• Turrets for attack helicopters
• Fire Control Systems (FCS) Building Blocks
• Aerial Target drone

The popular Casspir, of which production began in 2010, has targeted the African market with more than 200 vehicle-variants sold to African clients and the United Nations. Customers include the African Union, Benin, Burundi, Djibouti, India, Indonesia, Malawi, Mozambique, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Denel Vehicle Systems has seen much success with over a billion rand in contracts including a R900 million contract with Emirati NIMR Automotive to manufacture and supply N35 vehicles.

Orders and deliveries according to SIPRI Arms Transfers Database:

India: Ordered 250 Casspir-6 (MPV-I version including production of components and final assembly in India) with delivery from 2018.

Namibia: Ordered 8 RG32 Scout in 2016 with delivery set for 2017.

United Arab Emirates: Ordered 50 N35 in 2015 with ten delivered in 2016. The design of the RG35 was sold to NIMR Automotive, which began manufacturing the vehicle as the N35 in the UAE with 4×4 and 6×6 versions. In November 2015, a R900 million contract was signed with NIMR over the development and supply of the N35 (re-designated as the JAIS), with initial production planned in South African followed by subsequent production in the UAE at Tawazun Industrial Park (60% of NIMR was acquired by Tawazun Holdings in 2010). NIMR range of armoured vehicles will be marketed, distributed, produced, and supported by VOP CZ in the Visegrad countries under a strategic collaboration agreement. The agreement covers the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary. On the last day of the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi, NIMR announced that it would manufacture 1 500 JAIS four-wheel drive and six-wheel drive versions.

Ordered 24 RG31 Nyala (Mortar carrier version with 120mm mortar from Singapore; UAE designation Agrab-2) in 2015 with delivery in 2016 to Abu Dhabi’s International Golden Group (IGG), a defence and security firm.

Angola: Ordered 45 Casspir (Casspir-2000B version; including ARV, command post, ALV, and ambulance versions) in 2013, which were delivered between 2015 and 2016.

Unknown Recipient: Ordered 24 RG31 Nyala (Mortar carrier version) in 2015, which were delivered in 2016.


Written by Sylvia Caravotas (Satovarac Consulting) for OIDA

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