A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Saudi companies Scopa and the National Society of Mechanical Systems (NCMS) has been signed for the production of Paramount’s Mbombe 4 armored vehicle in Saudi Arabia.
The deal was announced by Scopa in September. Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Al Ajlan, Chairman of the Board of Scopa, said: “This alliance, the first of its kind, aims to provide the materials, technologies and equipment required by the Saudi Armed Forces, to serve the Ministry of Defense and all Saudi Military and Security Agencies,” in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 strategic plan, which aims to see more than 50% of military spending localized.
“Together, we are celebrating a big step in the area of partnerships with major international companies, led by the Paramount company, which has high defense and security technologies, to support our armed forces and the Saudi military and security services” , did he declare.
The objective of the memorandum of understanding is to eventually manufacture Paramount’s Mbombe 4 in Saudi Arabia, although to date no firm contract has yet been signed. Scopa said its agreement with Paramount covers the supply and location of 4×4 mine resistant and ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles equipped with defensive systems and meeting international military standards.
Scopa is a new company, founded by the Ajilan Group earlier this year. Scopa CEO Nasr Alghrairi said that within five years, Scopa aims to be among the largest rig manufacturers in the region and hopefully among the top five. The company partners with many international entities, including UK-based UAS Tactical Systems. In this case, a recent deal is for the localization and co-production of the Watchkeeper drone, which will be known as WK-X in Saudi Arabia.
Scopa’s areas of expertise are planned to cover air, land, air defence, sea, information technology, C5ISR, small arms and ammunition, CBRN defense and logistics. Many retired senior US Army officers were recruited to help Scopa achieve its goals and cement its partnerships.
The National Society of Mechanical Systems was registered in 2006 and specializes in mechanical and optical parts manufacturing services and environmental and engineering testing.
Paramount displayed its Mbombe 4 and N-Raven unmanned aerial vehicles on the Scopa stand at the World Defense Show in Riyadh in March this year. The company has already concluded several agreements with foreign countries on the production of Mbombe 4, the most recent being with Thailand. Paramount has partnered with the Defense Technology Institute (DTI), Thailand’s defense research and development (R&D) agency, and local defense and security company Jatunapas for local production of the vehicle, known as the by D-Lion. The first locally assembled D-Lion was handed over to General Chalermphon Srisawasdi, Chief of Defense Force of the Royal Thai Armed Forces, at the Defense and Security 2022 conference in August.
Since its launch in 2019, the Mbombe 4 has been ordered by five nations, including the United Arab Emirates and Togo. More than 150 vehicles have been manufactured or are on order worldwide.
Key features of Mbombe 4 include flat floor mine protection technology. The vehicle has a top speed of 140 km/h and a range of 800 km. The platform provides the crew compartment with NATO STANAG 4569 Level 3 ballistic protection and blast protection in accordance with STANAG 4569 Levels 4A and 4B standards and protection against a 50 kg TNT side blast or edge bomb of route/IED. The 16 ton Mbombe 4 provides a payload of nearly three tons and has been designed to accommodate a wide range of payloads and turrets, including a 30mm cannon.
Paramount recently unveiled the Mbombe 4 S Desert variant, which was developed in response to customer feedback and trials in India, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The Mbombe 4 builds on the legacy of the eight-wheeled Mbombe 8, launched in 2016, and the six-wheeled Mbombe 6, which is in service. Component commonality (approximately 70%) across the entire Mbombe family of armored vehicles reduces costs associated with support, repairs and training, Paramount claims.