Military engineers achieve success with modified Unibuffels | Daily News

Military engineers achieve success with modified Unibuffels

At the centre of our story are the Sri Lanka Army’s Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (SLEME) who have made a significant contribution by manufacturing armoured vehicles for the world. The Sri Lankan military is taking the lead not only by safeguarding the country, but also by manufacturing Unibuffels (the improvised version of Unicorn) which were handed over to the shippers recently to be shipped to the Sri Lankan Peacekeeping Combat Convoy Company who are serving in Mali.

This locally fabricated blast protected ambulance comes with enhanced facilities including a more spacious interior where the doctor could treat the patient easily. It also has essential medical equipment and refrigerators that can store medicines which can be used in the case of an emergency, non-blast glassware protection and a portable ladder which could easily be fixed to any place for combat requirements.

This ambulance has oxygen cylinders, a small refrigerator, saline holders, oxygen masks, defibrillators which can restore a normal heartbeat by sending an electric shock and pressure meters.

Presently, 243 Sri Lankan UN Peacekeepers, including 20 officers and 223 other ranks, together with 65 vehicles, are serving the Mali Combat Squadron.

Adding a new chapter to local military history, the troops of Sri Lanka Electrical and Mechanical Engineers have created nine modernized versions of air-conditioned Unibuffels for the UN peacekeeping operations in Mali.

Under the guidance and the directions of the Chief of Defence Staff and Army Commander Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, the troops were able to create these modern armoured vehicles according to US standards. Although locally designed, this vehicle has features similar to an imported Unibuffel.

Army Commander Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva said imported WMAZ vehicles, each costing about Rs 40 million, were purchased for UN troops which are expensive. He added that combat squadrons are generally supplied with those vehicles, but the skilled SLEME troops spending nearly one-fourth of that expenditure, managed to produce these vehicles in an impressive manner.

“These Unibuffels have similarities with those WMAZ vehicles, but the numbers that can move in these Sri Lankan ones are more and they are fully air-conditioned as against imported ones sans air-conditioning in accordance with UN needs and specifications,” said the Army Commander. A distinct feature of the Unicorn was that the driver-passenger compartment was undivided. According to soldiers in the battlefield, this feature made communication among the two sections easier than that in a South African made Buffel where the driver was separated from the passengers.

Subsequently, the SLEME has renovated a new military ambulance which can be used for the casualties in the battlefield. Although the manufactured year of this ambulance was 2016, under the directions and supervision of Brigadier (Rtd) K. Rasaputre and Lieutenant Colonel JKD Jayasinghe, the SLEME produced a Unicorn Mark VI vehicle in 2010. Later on, this vehicle was renovated, including modern facilities, at the Sri Lanka Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Regiment machine workshop in Katubedda.

Normally, it costs nearly Rs. 10.8 million to complete this landmine-resistant ambulance. The maximum length of this ambulance is 6070mm, 2,430 mm in width and 2,700mm in height. Five persons can travel in the ambulance. This vehicle has a high-standard protection level which can protect against hand grenades and landmines. Also, two guns have been placed in the vehicle. As the vehicle is made of a special chassis, it could be utilized for both mobile patrols and combat duties.

This Unicorn ambulance is powered by a well-developed engine which can easily deal with both road and off-road conditions. Technology in our military has advanced to meet and compete with international standards. With the continuous growth of the Sri Lankan military, the SLEME’s meticulous service has embellished both the Motherland and the world at large.