It has emerged that Senegal is now operating an additional batch of Arquus Bastion armoured personnel carriers (APCs), which were seen for the first time during a military parade this month.
The parade on 4 April marked Senegal’s 59th anniversary of independence and also included ten white M36 Mk 5 Puma armoured vehicles manufactured by OTT and a single 6×6 M36 recovery vehicle. M36 vehicles have previously been seen in standard camouflage, indicating either new vehicles have been delivered or are being used for peacekeeping missions.
Senegal has acquired Bastion vehicles in the past, with nine being acquired for the Gendarmerie in 2017. During the 4 April parade, 29 Bastions were observed taking part and were described by the parade commentator as being new acquisitions.
Intelligence Online reports that 36 Bastions were acquired by Senegal in 2018 using a $30 million grant from Saudi Arabia, with France’s Sofema acting as the purchaser.
The Bastion is manufactured by France’s Arquus – it was designed by Acmat, which was in 2006 acquired by Renault Trucks Defence and subsequently rebranded Arquus. The Bastion range of 4×4 tactical armoured vehicles features STANAG 4569 protection and can carry ten to 12 people. They are based on the VLRA TDN-TDE platform for easy maintenance and logistics. Top speed is 110 km/h and range 1 000 km. Senegalese Bastions are fitted with an open-top weapon station on the roof armed with a 12.7 mm machinegun.
The Bastion APC is configured for troop transport while the Bastion Patsas is a semi-open-top design developed with French Special Forces for reconnaissance and assault. The Fortress (formerly Bastion High Mobility) is an up-armoured Bastion with more powerful engine and improved suspension.
Bastion vehicles have been delivered to a number of African countries including Chad, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Mali, Kenya, Uganda and Togo. The United States ordered Bastion vehicles for African nations in 2015, including for Somalia, Uganda, Tunisia, Cameroon and Ethiopia, although not all of these have been delivered.
Also seen during the 4 April parade were WMA-301 fire support vehicles, Humvees, Mi-8 and Jet Ranger helicopters and a CN235 transport aircraft.