The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) made a huge leap forward in use of technology, moving away from soldiers walking long distances in pursuit of an enemy to manufacturing and assembling armoured vehicles.
The Nyoka Vehicles were unveiled on Wednesday at Magamaga Barracks in Mayuge District.
“I am glad now after a long period of sleep, Africa is waking up because such work is a result of no sleep,” President Museveni observed.
The Nyoka vehicles whose ballistic protection can “withstand a single anti -tank mine blast anywhere under the hull”, are made from steel which Uganda has and that very soon a factory in Tororo will be making new steel from iron ore.
Research shows the Nyoka 4×4 protected vehicle platform provides a cost-effective option for urban and rural operations.
Its ballistic protection is equal to NATO Stanag Level 1 and can survive anti-tank blasts.
The Nyoka is well suited for military and policing operations where cross-country mobility is required.
The vehicle also is in service as an armoured personnel carrier and weapon platform.
Nyoka 4×4 key performance areas are high-mobility all-wheel drive for urban and rural operations; exceptional on and off-road performance; cost effective, reliable and maintainable protected 4×4 platform; mine blast protection up to 7kg of TNT anywhere under the hull and pneumatic-operated rear doors.
Others include air-conditioned interior; C-130 transportability; internal lighting; shooting ports; external storage bins; front grill ballistic protection and have a crew of 2 people plus 9 combatants.
In the Arab world, the Nyokas are known as Masmak – unveiled in 2011 by the Saudi Groups, a private Saudi Arabian company specialised on military armoured vehicles ad security systems.
The 15-tonne APC can carry 2 tonnes and is powered by a 450 hp six cylinder diesel that provides a 30 hp/tonne power-to-weight ratio, which translates into acceleration (10.5 seconds to 60 Km/h) and high top (150km/h) and cruising (120km/h) speeds.
A more powerful 530 hp diesel engines can also be supplied.
During the event, Museveni promised to look into the economies of making iron steel here as opposed to buying from Sweden.
He pledged to work tirelessly to see that other industries such as Luwero Industries can combine ideas for better output and form a bigger industry which can employ more Ugandans.
Museveni commended UPDF Engineers for assembling armoured military vehicles.
Impala Service and Logistics Limited of South Africa was applauded for choosing to partner with UPDF and the President urged them to maintain such a wonderful working relationship.
At the same function the Chief of Defence Forces Gen David Muhoozi commended the Commander in Chief for being such a guiding star for UPDF and doing a very commendable job towards the professionalization of the Army
“We have skilled our soldiers and we hope to upgrade,” he said.
The CDF also promised that the Army will soon construct a Marine.
Asked to speak on the transformation of the armed forces, Defence spokesperson Brig Richard Karemire responded: “It has been such a long journey to steadily transform the NRA guerilla army into the now mighty modern UPDF that continues to keep our people safe.”
He added: “The correct pro-people and Pan Africanist ideology under the guidance of our Commander in Chief has under pinned UPDF successes along the path to professionalization.”
He, however, did not tell us the amount of money saved in the local assembling of the vehicles.
The function was attended by the Minister of State for Defence in-charge of Veterans Affairs Hon Lt Col (Rtd) Dr Bright Rwamirama, Minister of State for Transport Hon Aggrey Bagire, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs, Ms Rosette Byengoma and UPDF senior officers among others.