The Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) has taken into service four 850 Military Patrol Boats (MPB) built in South Africa and supplied by Twiga Services and Logistics under a contract by Impala Services and Logistics Limited of Uganda.
The four 850 Military Patrol Boats (MBPs) were commissioned into service by President and Commander in Chief Yoweri Museveni on 19 June after a firepower demonstration near the UPDF Marine base at Port Alice Pier near Entebbe. The Marines also demonstrated combat tactics, water survival skills and scuba diving capabilities. At the same time, Museveni commissioned five cadet officers.
He said it is vital for Uganda to secure its bodies of water as 20% of the country is under fresh water. “Lakes are very easy areas of infiltration, there is need to defend our fisheries but also stop border lakes from being used by terrorists and criminals.”Museveni said search radars are needed to improve security on Uganda’s lakes.
The boats were built in Cape Town and supplied by Twiga under contract from sister company Impala Services and Logistics in Uganda. Training and technical support was part of the package, with training taking place in Cape Town and Entebbe.
Museveni said the military should consider partnering with Impala Services to be able to make the boats in Uganda instead of importing them and thanked Impala Services for supplying the boats.
Each boat is fitted with a machinegun mounted on the bow and a machinegun on each side of the rear of the vessel and is powered by two 200 horsepower Yamaha outboard engines giving a top speed of around 35 knots. The MPB marine electronics system includes radar, underwater scanners, engine management system and wifi system. The boats are 8.5 metres long and 2.3 meters wide accommodating three gunners and boarding party of four, coxswain and marine electronic system operator.
The Twiga rugged patrol boat range, which includes the 850 Military Patrol Boat, is made from High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), which make them virtually indestructible water platforms, although slightly heavier than conventional boats. They are built by Rhino Marine, which has granted Twiga the sole agency for its military craft. The MPB are supplied from 6.5 to 12.0 meters and designed for riverine and close to coast operations. The HDPE provides positive bouncy and is simple to maintain should it suffer damage.
The Chief of the UPDF, General David Muhoozi, said the Marines have plans to increase their fleets with more vessels and strengthen the Marines’ capabilities.
Impala Services and Logistics has worked with the UPDF since 2011, manufacturing the Nyoka Armoured Personnel Carrier in Jinja together with the Ugandan military. The first Nyoka were commissioned at the Maga Maga defence industry facility in August 2014. Impala Services continues to manufacture in Uganda and provides fourth line re-manufacture for the UPDF in Mogadishu.
Twiga and Impala have been in business since early 2011 and supply military and security forces with armoured vehicles, night vision equipment, rugged boat systems, thermal imaging devices and a wide range of training and support programmes. Around 90% of Twiga’s business is joint venture manufacturing of armoured personnel carriers, the supply of spares, weapons mounts, night vision systems and ex-South African vehicles and equipment.