The Nigerian Army has since April this year taken delivery of new hardware including Chinese-made VT-4 main battle tanks, some South Korean-made Kia Light Tactical Vehicle (KLTV) armoured personnel carriers and SH5 self-propelled artillery units as well as locally manufactured vehicles.
Officially opening an Army conference in Abuja earlier this month, Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai said the equipment included 8 new Conqueror Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAPS) that were designed and built by the Army’s engineering unit.
“The Nigerian Army recently took delivery of key logistical and defensive platforms to re-invigorate our operations,” he said. This included VT-4 main battle tanks, ST1 8×8 tank destroyers and SH-5 self-propelled artillery from China’s Norinco. An initial 17 were delivered in April.
“The army has also received some armoured personnel carriers from Jordan and we expect delivery of more weapons capabilities. Through local ingenuity, the Army has facilitated the production and delivery of Proforce and [DICON] Ezugwu MRAPs, as well as Conqueror and Champion APCs. Despite initial challenges in delivering the new innovations, these platforms have undoubtedly enhanced the effectiveness of our troops in various theatres,” Buratai said.
The army expects eight more locally-built Conqueror MRAPs to be delivered and deployed to theatres of operations before the end of the year. Buratai commissioned a number of Conqueror vehicles in April this year. Two months later he revealed that 47 additional Ezugwu vehicles were being produced by DICON. At the same time, he said the Army was producing improvised Champion and Conqueror armoured vehicles, and had procured 250 Toyota Hilux vehicles.
The 4×4 Ezugwu was unveiled in September 2019 by DICON and features two gun turrets on the roof. It is being manufactured in collaboration with the Nigerian Army Command Engineering Depot (CED). It is armoured against small arms fire and using flat-bottom armour technology, its hull can withstand a 7 kg TNT explosion whilst each wheel can withstand a 12 kg TNT explosion.
A photo of a K-152 (the armoured version of the Kia Light Tactical Vehicle) in Nigeria surfaced in September but it is not clear how many vehicles have been acquired. In January 2019 Buratai visited South Korea and this included a stop at Kia Motors Corporation.
Meanwhile, the recently established Nigerian Army Vehicle Manufacturing Company (NAVMC) is developing several armoured vehicles for the Nigerian military. These include an Infantry Patrol Vehicle (IPV) fitted with a mounted heavy machinegun; a Tactical Patrol Vehicle with seating for eight personnel, and a Light Tactical Vehicle armoured personnel carrier.