Burundi’s contingent serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) has taken delivery of a fleet of new armoured personnel carriers (APCs) for operations in Somalia. These include Springbuck HD and Fahd APCs.
Amisom on 6 November announced that Burundi had received at least 20 combat vehicles as contingent-owned equipment for its troops serving under Amisom. It released photos showing ten Springbuck HD armoured personnel carriers manufactured by DCD Protected Mobility and at least nine Fahd-300 armoured personnel carriers manufactured by Egypt’s Arab Organisation for Industrialisation.
Of the ten Springbuck HD (Heavy Duty) vehicles delivered from South Africa, three have been fitted with RCIED (Remote Controlled Improvised Explosive Device) jammers provided by GEW Technologies (part of Hensoldt South Africa).
Amisom said the high rate of wear and tear of equipment due to the harsh operating environment requires troop-contributing countries to replace equipment periodically to ensure the efficiency of operations.
On 5 November, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Ambassador Francisco Madeira, inspected the new equipment in Mogadishu.
Also presented was the Deputy Amisom Force Commander in-charge of Logistics and Support, Major General George Owinow, and the Commander of the Burundian troops under Amisom, Brigadier General Richard Banyankimbona.
Ambassador Madeira, who is also the Head of Amisom, noted that the military hardware would boost Amisom’s capacity to combat terrorism while ensuring safety of the soldiers. “Our soldiers are valiant and brave however they need protection while fighting. So, these armoured personnel carriers will protect them as they fight the enemy,” said Madeira.
“They are force enablers and force multipliers, no doubt and I thank the Burundi President for providing this essential equipment,” he added.
The Amisom Burundi contingent commander, Brigadier General Banyankimbona said the APCs would enhance his troops’ movement, protection of civilians, UN and Amisom personnel. The Burundian troops under Amisom secure Middle Shabelle region.
“We are deploying them to support the implementation of the Amisom mandate,” said Banyankimbona.
Burundian troops alongside other forces from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda, are deployed in Somalia under a UN Security Council mandate to support the Somali security forces to defeat terrorist groups.
DCD Protected Mobility has completed a number of recent sales of its Springbuck vehicles to African countries, and deployed Springbuck HDs to West Africa in 2017. At the beginning of this year the company said it would soon deploy Springbuck SD (Standard Duty) vehicles to East Africa.
Some three years ago DCD expanded the Springbuck range to meet different customer requirements, and now offers the vehicle in Standard, Heavy Duty and Extra Duty versions. DCD Protected Mobility said the Springbuck ballistic and landmine protected vehicle was built with simplicity, comfort, protection and cost effectiveness in mind and was geared specifically towards the African market. It can be adapted to suit various applications including ambulance, command and control, cash-in-transit, riot control or tactical patrol and with the addition of turret-mounted weaponry, DCD said the vehicle can also be effectively used in combat. “Our vehicles are battle proven and successfully deployed in various combat areas,” the company said.
The Springbuck SD is the Standard version, the HD is the Heavy Duty and XD is the Xtra Duty, with performance, payload and protection increasing with each model. The 4×4 SD has B6 ballistic protection and can withstand a TM57 landmine directly under the hull, or two under any wheel. The SD is the lightest in the series and weights 9 000 kg and has a 1 500 kg payload. It is powered by the MWM 6.10T 6.45 litre six cylinder turbocharged diesel delivering 194 hp.
The intermediate Springbuck HD is powered by an MWM 6.12TCA 7.2 litre six cylinder turbocharged diesel engine delivering 286 horsepower and giving a maximum speed of 110 km/h and range of 600 km. The 13 000 kg vehicle has a payload of 2 500 kg and B7 ballistic protection.
The Springbuck XD is the heaviest in the range and weighs 15 000 kg and has a payload of 3 500 kg. It carries two crew and eight personnel, who enter and egress via two side doors, a rear door and two roof hatches. With ballistic protection upgradeable to STANAG Level 3, the all-steel armoured V-shaped hull is certified against STANAG Level 4a under any wheel and 3b blast protection under the hull. A 6.7 litre Cummins turobdiesel delivers 360 hp and gives a top speed of 110 km/h and range of 600 km.
The Fahd-300 acquired by Burundi is the latest variant of the Fahd series, and is manufactured by the Kader Factory for Development Industries, affiliated to the Arab Organisation for Industrialisation (AOI). The earlier Fahd series is in service with eight countries, including Egypt. The new Fahd-300 is based on a Tatra chassis and powered by a 300 hp diesel engine, giving it a speed of more than 100 km/h and range of 700 km.
The three-man crew includes driver, commander and gunner – the vehicle is usually fitted with a turret – Burundi’s vehicles are fitted with turrets but it does not appear weapons have yet been added. The vehicle can carry ten dismounts. The hull is armoured against 7.62×51 mm armour piercing rounds, while mine protection is STANAG Level 1A/B.
The Fahd-300 appears to have been delivered to the Egyptian Ministry of Interior in mid-2016 and Burundi is believed to be the first export customer of the version. The Fahd-300 has been fitted with a 120 mm mortar and other weapons, including anti-tang guided missiles.