The Nigerian Army has commissioned into service another batch of Ara armoured personnel carriers manufactured by Nigeria’s Proforce.
The Nigerian Army took four vehicles into service on 1 August at Nigerian Army Resource Centre at Asokoro, Abuja. The ceremony was attended by Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff General Gabriel Olonisakin and Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, who said the vehicles would be used to fight terrorism and insurgency.
Proforce delivered a single Ara to the Nigerian Army for trials, and this was purchased in 2017. Another eight were ordered, with deliveries in 2018.
“This is the third consignment that we are receiving consisting of the four Ara vehicles and we still have five more to be delivered soon as part of 2019 procurement,” Buratai said. “We have about 20 of this type of vehicles, although not of this standard but they have very good resistance and protection. By the end of this month, we will also display them.”
The Nigerian Army received five Aras at the beginning of March this year, three several weeks ago and another five at the beginning of July. These have been deployed them to the country’s northeast to fight Boko Haram insurgents.
“This is a step in the right direction and our ability to produce such vehicles locally will go a long way in ensuring that we do not only save but also have the ability to get them quickly to be able to deploy them,” Buratai said.
The latest version of the Ara was displayed during the Nigerian Army Day celebrations on 6 July. It features a fully monocoque hull (the previous Ara used a Tatra 2.30 TRK 4×4 truck chassis). Development of the improved version began in January 2018 after feedback from the Nigerian military.
With the capacity to carry up to 12 personnel plus equipment, the 15 ton Ara 2 can be configured into multiple variants including recovery, command and control, ambulance, field kitchen and reconnaissance. A 12.7 mm machinegun can be mounted on a 360 degree roof turret which can be open or fully enclosed.
In addition to Nigeria, Proforce has sold the Ara to Chad, which finalised a contract for 20 in June this year, according to Jane’s Defence Weekly. An undisclosed source told Jane’s that deliveries will start before the end of this year in batches of five vehicles at a time.