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2023-05-16 at 15:47 #404862Nat QuinnKeymaster
As global tensions continue to rise in times of uncertainty, opportunities are emerging for defence manufacturers to take advantage of the global mindshift in defence procurement. One example is Milkor reporting a massive increase in orders for its multiple grenade launchers.
According to Armand Bodenstein, Business Development Director at Milkor, 2022 was the company’s best year out of the last six. “A lot of groundwork has been done over the past six years in demonstrating the superiority in quality and performance of the Milkor weapon systems when compared to competitors. These efforts are now proving to be fruitful with current confirmed orders for 2023 and 2024 surpassing 4 000 units of the flagship SuperSix MRGL across Africa, Asia, MENA, Europe and South America. These numbers exclude orders placed for other weapons systems Milkor has to offer.”
The SuperSix can fire low-velocity and medium-velocity rounds at ranges up to 800 metres. All six rounds can be fired in under three seconds.
The company’s latest evolution of its 40 mm weapon range includes the development of the Milkor MAR (Multiple Anti-Riot), a six shot less lethal grenade launcher for use by police and security forces, which is undergoing final qualification before demonstrations to end users in the third quarter of this year.
The company’s Centurion manufacturing facility increased production capacity to over 3 000 weapons towards the end of 2022 in order to meet its target of supplying 15 000 grenade launchers over the next five years. Additional allocations have been made to ramp up total production to 4 000 weapon systems per year, should the demand exceed current requirements.
Milkor’s land division has also started to make inroads on the market with some deliveries of the Milkor 4×4 taking place during the second half of 2023. Current requirements allowed Milkor to expand manufacturing capabilities and build stock in order to reduce delivery lead times.
Since debuting the Milkor 4×4 in 2018, the company has further developed the vehicle to suit end user requirements. The original vehicle was built with high ground clearance and high level offroad performance ideally suited to challenging African terrain. The vehicle’s operational capability has been expanded to deployment in the desert with the option of an inline central tyre inflation system and an upgraded cooling package. Multiple electronic sensors and remote-control weapons stations (RCWS), such as a 12.7 mm machinegun option, have been integrated. Milkor also offers an anti-riot version of its APC – the latter was deployed during the July 2021 unrest in South Africa.
Milkor has also started the development of a second product offering which it is looking to finish and qualify by December 2023.
Another flagship product Milkor has to offer is the Milkor 380 UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) which is currently undergoing testing, with planned demonstrations towards the end of the year to interested end users. The 18.6 metre wingspan UAV is the largest such aircraft to be developed in Africa. It has an endurance of up to 35 hours of flight time and a payload capacity of 210 kg, including various weapons and sensors.
“The interest and engagements with end users in different regions on the Milkor 380 has been integral in our development efforts as it has allowed us to develop the platform in such a way that it can be customized for existing end user requirements while also catering for future applications an end user might have. The current interest shown in the complete offering is proving positive and we look forward to demonstrating the capabilities of this product to end users towards the end of the year,” Bodenstein concluded.
Milkor’s growing product range is in line with its aim of becoming an established global leader in the defence industry, with a growing international presence. Milkor has opened offices in India, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. With the shifting geopolitical landscape, Milkor is well positioned to make the most of these changing conditions and is setting its sights on meeting new global defence demands.
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