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Courier companies move to armoured trucks to guard against hijackings

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Courier companies in South Africa are moving to armoured trucks in a bid to curb hijackings. This, as the latest crime statistics provided by SAPS showed an increase of nearly 25% in truck hijackings.

SVI Engineering, which specialises in the manufacture of armoured products, revealed a new armoured kit for trucks, developed in response to a sharp increase in truck hijacking incidents across the country.

SVI said that it is increasingly being contacted by clients locally looking for ways to reduce the risk of hijacking and ultimately protect their drivers. It has also noted growing demand from courier companies looking for a method to protect cargo.

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The latest crime statistics provided by the South African Police Service for the second quarter of 2022, show the number of reported truck hijackings across the country has increased by nearly 25% year on year and by more than 150% compared with the same period in 2020.

The kit – the B6 Stopgun V2.0 – is for the Hino 500 Series of trucks, commonly used to transport goods in the country. It is based on the same kit already available for bakkies such as the Toyota Hilux, Toyota Land Cruiser 79, Ford Ranger and Nissan Navara.

However, SVI said that it features a number of model-specific enhancements, making it suitable for a truck cab.

The kit offers cabin occupants B6 protection against assault rifles, including AK47 and R1. The package eschews the widely used double-door system in favour of unobtrusively integrated door armour and upgraded door hinges to handle the additional mass of the various armouring components.

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Additionally, the Hino 500 kit gains secondary bolt-action door locks as well as an upgraded cab-tilting mechanism to ensure unhindered access to the powertrain for servicing requirements. In addition, nose armour is concealed behind the vehicle’s standard grille.

It uses a split windscreen, while flat ballistic glass is fitted to each window frame to allow for fuss-free replacement should damage be sustained during an attack.

“In addition to the aforementioned integrated door armour, all pillars, all glass and part of the firewall gain B6 bullet-resistant protection. The roof, too, is armoured, while the underfloor section gains protection courtesy of custom-fabricated armoured steel plates,” SVI said.

SVI said that production on the kits is expected to launch in January 2023, with a production time of two months. Orders for the kits are now open. The product will cost R544,779, it said.

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