The Ghana Armed Forces have officially unveiled new Cobra armoured personnel carriers acquired from Turkey’s Otokar.
Forty of the vehicles were displayed by President Nana Akufo-Addo on 31 March during a parade in the capital Accra.
Addressing a ceremony at Burma Camp, Akufo-Addo stated that since taking office in 2017, his government has been working to satisfy the logistical and personnel needs of the Armed Forces.
On December 5, 2019, at Burma Camp, the President presented 33 Armoured Personnel Carriers (Cobra I and IIs), 41 assorted Toyota vehicles, three water tankers, one self-loading recovery truck, one refrigeration van, and five utility vehicles for waste disposal and management.
“I did indicate in my address on that day that there was more to come. As you know by now, a Government of the New Patriotic Party is a promise-keeping one, and I am here to redeem that pledge,” he said.
“Today, I am here to present 40 Cobra II Armoured Personnel Carriers, which, according to military standards, are very strong and versatile armoured vehicles, and which will help us contain even better the security threats posed at our northern borders, as well as provide the necessary protection for our western and eastern frontiers.”
He commended the Armed Forces for their continued commitment to the ongoing Operations Conquered Fist and Motherland, which are intended to enhance security in the north of the country, My Joy Online reports.
“We all know that the rapid economic transformation and accelerated growth that we seek can only be realized in an atmosphere of peace, tranquillity and security. I assure you that Government will continue to address your logistical needs, and we will work to provide resources through our re-equipment programme, and help ensure that you are properly equipped to perform your roles effectively and efficiently,” he said.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Ghana received a first batch of 30 Cobra I and II vehicles in 2018-2019. They were first seen in November 2019 during the counter-terrorism exercise Eagle Eye. It appears another 40 have been delivered in a further batch.
Two Cobra II and two Cobra vehicles were seen in the November 2019 exercise to provide support to troops. Each vehicle was equipped with a protected weapon station and both Cobra IIs were armed with 12.7 mm FN M2 heavy machine guns and the Cobras fitted with 7.62 mm FN MAGs. One of the Cobras was equipped with what appeared to be a mast-mounted electro-optical sensor fitted on the rear of its hull, noted Jane’s Defence Weekly at the time.
Ghana’s Cobras join its dozens of Ratel 20/90, Piranha, WZ-525/Type-05P, Typhoon, Maverick and Tactica armoured personnel carriers.
Akufo-Addo said Ghana’s military had received 73 armoured personnel carriers over the last three years, and that the equipment was procured in three batches for the 153 Armoured Regiment in Accra in 2018, 154 Armoured Regiment in Sunyani in 2019 and the 155 Armoured Regiment in Tamale in 2021.
The Cobra vehicle features a common platform that can be adapted for a variety of roles, and the vehicle can be used as a weapons carrier, reconnaissance vehicle, armoured personnel carrier, ambulance, NBC reconnaissance vehicle etc. The Cobra can transport between four and nine people, including the driver, depending on configuration.
The monocoque V-shaped steel hull provides protection against small arms fire (including 5.56 and 7.62 mm rounds), mines, IEDs and shrapnel. The front wheel arches are designed to be blown away in the event of an explosion. Additional bolt-on armour can be added for better protection. The vehicle is powered by a V8 turbo diesel engine, driving all four wheels, which feature independent suspension and a central tyre inflation system. Top speed of the 6 200 kg Cobra is around 115 km/h.
Various turrets and weapons systems are available, including the Rafael overhead weapon station (OWS) with Rafael Spike anti-tank missiles, 40 mm grenade launcher and Nexter 20 mm M621 cannon.