The Nigerian Army has acquired yet another armoured vehicle type to fight the Boko Harm insurgency, with new images revealing Isotrex Phantom II armoured personnel carriers in service.
Photographs showed eight Phantom IIs preparing for Operation Tura Takaibango on 8 January in Yobe State. The operation was launched at the beginning of January as part of wider efforts to counter Boko Haram terrorists.
It is not clear when Nigeria ordered the Phantom IIs or how many have been delivered. One was apparently destroyed in combat after being hit by a suicide vehicle bomb.
Also seen ahead of the operation were newly delivered VT-4 main battle tanks, ST-1 8×8 tank destroyers and SH-5 105 mm self-propelled howitzers. When the first batch of hardware was delivered from China’s Norinco in April 2020, Nigerian Army Chief of Policy and Plans Lieutenant General Lamidi Adeosun said, “The process of acquiring this has been on for some time but thank God they are coming in now. From this, you can see how serious the Federal Government of Nigeria is in making sure that the Nigerian Army is not only equipped, but contains problem of insecurity we are having across the country.
“This is being tackled with trained personnel and required equipment. What you are seeing here is just a tip of the iceberg. Others are still coming but it is very important that we all see that both the military and the government are really very serious to tackle the security problems across the nation.”
The Phantom II 4×4 armoured personnel carrier features B6 armour protection and is powered by a 6.7 litre V8 diesel delivering 300 hp. It seats eight people including the crew.
On its website Isotrex published a photo of seven Phantom II vehicles at its factory in the same colour as those seen in Nigeria, and also with the same roof turrets as those observed in Nigeria.
Isotrex Manufacturing was founded in 2005 by a group of North American armoured vehicle manufacturing veterans. It describes itself as manufacturing better designed and more cost effective armoured vehicles than its counterparts. The company is based in the United Arab Emirates.
Nigeria has been acquiring a wide variety of military hardware in recently years, from both local and foreign manufacturers. Domestic products include the Proforce Ara armoured personnel carrier and the Ezugwu APC manufactured by DICON, while the Nigerian Army Vehicle Manufacturing Company (NAVMC) is developing several armoured vehicles.
Recent imports include Kia Light Tactical Vehicle (KLTV) armoured personnel carriers and Paramount Marauders, amongst others.
It appears another Phantom II has been lost in combat. Sahara Reporters on 19 January said an Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) statement it had seen claimed a Phantom II had been captured during an ambush in Borno State.
The group also claimed to have wounded and killed 30 soldiers and destroyed two other APCs. The Insurgents had on 18 January displayed a modified FV103 Spartan APC it said it captured from the military.