Friday, December 15, 2017
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Cameroon operating Musketeer armoured vehicles

A Saymar Musketeer armoured vehicle.Cameroon is operating the Israeli Saymar Musketeer armoured vehicle, and using it for presidential protection.

According to IHS Jane's Defence Weekly, Cameroon’s Presidential Guard Reconnaissance and Support Group includes a Musketeer platoon, as well as fire support, anti-aircraft, and anti-terrorist units.

The publication reports that Cameroon's Presidential Guard is the first known user of the vehicle, which is based on a Toyota Land Cruiser chassis. Although one of the Musketeers was seen by IHS Jane's in the capital Yaounde during the official state visit by Italian President Sergio Mattarella on 18 March, it is believed the vehicles have been in service since 2014.

The six-seat vehicle was seen earlier this month fitted with a remotely operated weapon station with a 7.62 mm FN MAG machinegun.

The Musketeer was unveiled in 2009 by Saymar, which subsequently was taken over by Elbit Systems. It features Stanag Level 1 ballistic protection, that can be upgraded to B7 level if requested, or Stanag Level 3. The vehicle is powered by a 4.2 litre Toyota diesel engine.

IHS Jane's Defence Weekly reports that Cameroon’s Presidential Guard also has Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) RBY Mk 1 and RAM Mk III vehicles, with some of the RBY Mk 1s being armed with TCM-20 twin 20 mm anti-aircraft guns.

Cameroon has received a variety of new military equipment in recent times, with its Rapid Intervention Brigade (BIR) now equipped with Ratel 20 infantry fighting vehicles. Deliveries began in December 2015, according to a source quoted by IHS Jane’s, and the BIR now has 12 with its Light Intervention Units deployed to the Far North province, where the force is leading operations against Boko Haram militants.

The Ratels join around two dozen LAV-150 Commando infantry fighting vehicles, 30 AML-90s, six AMX-10RCs, a dozen Ferrets, eight M-8s and half a dozen VBLs.

Some of the equipment Cameroon’s armed forces have acquired in the last five years, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), include five Type-07 armoured personnel carriers, six Type-07P/VN-1 infantry fighting vehicles, 12 WMA-301 Assault armoured fire support vehicles, four Z-9 helicopters and two P-108 patrol craft from China; a second hand OPV-54 patrol boat from France, two Mi-17 helicopters from Russia; two Aresa-3200 patrol craft and a single CN235 transport aircraft from Spain; and two Bell 412 helicopters from the United States.

Last year the United States ordered 15 Acmat Bastion armoured vehicles from France for Cameroon, which in February this received the first two of six refurbished Mi-24 attack helicopters. They will be placed at the disposal of the BIR’s Operation Alpha Command, tasked with tackling Boko Haram militants in the Far North Province of Cameroon, joining two Mi-17s acquired from Russia in 2013 as well as Bell 412 and Gazelle helicopters, the latter equipped with HOT missiles.

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