Ghana’s Parliament approved $86,1 million in government loans to fund acquisition of 19 armoured vehicles from Israel’s Elbit Land Systems.
According to official records of a 3 August meeting between the parliamentary portfolio committees on health and defence, an agreement is in place between the Israeli Discount Bank and the Government of Ghana and insured by the Israeli Foreign Trade Risks Insurance Corporation. A $74 million credit facility will be combined with a $12 million commercial loan.
In terms of the agreement, Elbit Land Systems will supply nine 8×8 Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) equipped with Elbit Systems UT30 30 mm remotely operated turrets. The order includes ten 6×6 IFVs fitted for reconnaissance operations.
It is not specified what vehicles will be acquired, but Elbit Systems offers various models sourced from original equipment manufacturers, such as the Sentinel 8×8, based on the STK Terrex 2.
Parliamentary Finance Committee chairman Mark Assibey Yeboah said by approving the loan, parliament recognised the need to equip the army to deal with potential impacts of terrorism, human smuggling and other security threats along the northern border with Burkina Faso.
He said armoured vehicles were critical in counter-terrorism operations and supporting internal security operations of police.
The acquisition will help Ghana’s military realise long-delayed establishment of two new armoured regiments to be based in Sunyani and Tamale.
In August, the Ghanaian Army elevated 2 Independent Reconnaissance Squadron of the 153 Armoured Regiment to create the 154 Armoured Regiment. The 153 Armoured Regiment is set to remain under GAF Central Command in Sunyani when the new 154 Regiment moves north to Tamale to provide armour support to GAF Northern Command in Tamale.
Planning is underway for the establishment of the GAF 155 Armoured Regiment. The establishment of GAF armoured units is delayed by a lack of funds, logistic equipment and weapons platforms.
In October the German Embassy handed seven vehicles (six Toyota Hiluxes and a bus) to the Rapid Response Unit of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS). Germany, through the Federal Police, handed the vehicles to the GIS Comptroller General as part of efforts to strengthen Ghanaian border security agencies.
“The vehicles will assist in the fight against illegal entry and other transnational crimes at the borders”, said Comptroller-General of Immigration (CGI), Kwame Asuah Takyi.
The CGI explained setting up the Rapid Response Unit last year was one intervention aimed at supporting operational units such as the Border Patrol Unit (BPU) and the GIS Enforcement Section.