The 8M was unveiled at the China International Exhibition on Police Technologies and Equipment Expo (CIEPE) in Beijing at the beginning of last month.
The vehicle is powered by a 5.9 litre Cummins QSB diesel, manufactured in China by the Dongfeng Cummins Engine Co joint venture. The engine produces 281 hp, giving the 8 000 kg vehicle a top speed of 120 km/h.The 8M has seating for eight people or a payload of 2 500 kg. It can withstand a 7 kg mine blast under the hull and a 10 kg mine blast on any wheel.
EWI2 said that the 8M is the first success in a series of collaborative projects to be completed over the coming years by EWI2 and Norinco after the two companies established a cooperation agreement in 2010. “EWI2 is proud to be associated with Norinco and was one of the first South African companies to establish themselves in China in support of South Africa’s membership of the BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India and China] nations,” EWI2 said in a statement.
EWI2 said it had designed the 8M and adapted it to utilise local Chinese components, which “has resulted in a world class product from state of the art industrial facilities and with world wide product support capability.” The 8M will be marketed in China as well as to export markets.
EWI2 was established in 2008 as a company that specializes in implementing industrial ventures in the emerging world. The company says it primarily uses its own intellectual property with joint venture partners “to the benefit of both parties and countries involved.”
South African companies are becoming increasingly involved in the Chinese defence market. In July 2010 Emerging World Technologies (EWT) sold 31 multipurpose security vehicles to China’s Jixi municipal government for R72 million. EWT partnered with the state-owned China Special Automotive Group (CSAG) and was scheduled to supply 150 modular all-terrain system (MATS) vehicles to the Chinese company. The deal also included skills transfer.
In November 2010 Mobile Land Systems announced it had a R40 million contract to manufacture eleven mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles in conjunction with China’s Changan Industries. The deal included technology transfer. Changan was scheduled to take over manufacture and was licensed to build 289 more vehicles, with intellectual property being handed over to Changan for a fee.
Dewald Hattingh, the CE of Mobile Land Systems at the time, said that China may need as many as 10 000 MRAP vehicles to cover their internal needs and equip peacekeeping missions. The PLA is the largest military in the world mustering some three million soldiers, sailors and airmen, of whom some 2.5 million are in full-time service. It is said to operate over 8500 main battle tanks but just over 1000 infantry combat vehicles and 3500 armoured personnel carrier of various designs – and none are mine protected.