Lieutenant General Azubuike Ihejirika, Chief of Army Staff, announced the planned unveiling during a press conference organised for this year’s Army Day celebrations. He was represented by the Chief of Military-Civil Relations, Major General Bitrus Kwaji, who said that the development of the APC is a positive result of ongoing military reform, reports the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
He added that producing armoured personnel carriers locally will make the vehicles 30% cheaper than imports.
“The highpoint of the [Army Day celebrations] ceremony [on July 6], which is expected to be witnessed by President [Goodluck] Jonathan, among other dignitaries, include the unveiling of the Nigerian built APC; Combat Airborne Jump and Helicopter Rappelling, Combat March and a Pep talk on old days in the Infantry Corps by Major General Emmanuel Abisoye (Rtd),” Kwaji was quoted by NAN as saying.
According to Nigerian media, the new vehicle is the Pf1, built by Nigerian company Proforce Limited. The Pf1is a four wheel drive APC with capacity for ten personnel, including driver and commander, and comes in several variants, including police, APC, combat surveillance, missile carrier, command and control and ambulance, according to Proforce Defence.
The vehicle is armed with a pintle mounted 7.62 machinegun and two banks of 3 x 76 mm grenade launchers. Equipment includes a 4 000 kg winch, CCTV system for all-round observation, public address system and searchlights at the front and rear.
Its welded ballistic steel armour complies to STANAG 4569 Level 1 protection (it can withstand 7.62 x 51 ball ammunition at 30 metres) and it is landmine protected to STANAG 4569 Level 2b standard (6 kg anti-tank mine explosion under the centre).
Its 4.8 litre MTU 4R 106 Td21 turbocharged diesel engine, developing 218 hp, gives the 7 850 kg vehicle a top speed of 110 km/h and it is able to navigate obstacles 80 cm high.
Proforce was incorporated in 2008 as a total defence solution provider specialising in armoured vehicles and personal protection and has customers in the Middle East and Africa. Its products include private and commercial passenger armoured vehicles, Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs), armoured cash-in-transit vehicles, tactical vehicles and ballistic vests and helmets.
Meanwhile, another Nigerian company, Mekahog, is in the process of setting up a factory to manufacture Springbuck and other armoured vehicles in Nigeria. Construction of the new assembly and fabrication plant will commence next year and vehicle production in 2014. The company has just completed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with its joint venture partners in South Africa.
Mekahog is in partnership with Drakensberg Truck Manufacturers (DTM), and has supplied its products to the Nigerian Police Force and Army. At the moment it is fulfilling an order for Springbuck vehicles for the Nigerian government via DTM’s factory in South Africa. Between now and the end of the year the company hopes to receive a firm order for 200 vehicles for Nigeria government and other West African countries.
Mekahog will later build other designs, such as the DTM Fox light armoured commercial pickup and the DCD Mountain Lion armoured battle vehicle.
Editor's note: The indigenous APC is not, in fact, the Proforce Pf1 but the Igirigi, produced by the Nigerian Army Engineering Corps. It was commissioned by President Goodluck Jonathan on July 2.
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