Joint venture signed to set up ballistic vest factory in Nigeria

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The Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) and Marom Dolphin Ltd have signed a joint venture agreement for the establishment of a ballistic vest factory in Kaduna.

The agreement was signed on January 24 with the Israeli company, which specialises in military and security textile products. The company says it is the main authorised supplier of tactical and bulletproof vests to the Israel military and ministry of defence.

Established in 1964, DICON also operates an Ordnance Factory in Kaduna, where it makes small arms and ammunition, including assault rifles, machine guns and sub-machine guns. Its Special Vehicle Plant is carrying out the refurbishment and upgrade of Scorpion light tanks, Steyr tracked armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and MOWAG APCs.

DICON recently announced that is has sent a third batch of engineers and technicians to China for “technical training covering all aspects of engineering and technical skills.” China’s Poly Technologies Incorporated (PTI) is one of DICON’s main technical partners.

DICON was primarily established to produce small arms and ammunition for the Nigerian Army and other security agencies. The Corporation also uses its excess capacity to produce machinery spare parts for industries and other products for civilian use. The company has produced an assault rifle similar to the AK-47 and has also developed 60 and 81 mm mortars.

DICON remains the only legal small arms and light weapons manufacturer in Nigeria. Despite former President Obasanjo appealing to DICON to meet the arms and ammunition needs of West Africa, DICON continues to suffer under insufficient and inconsistent funding, Jane’s reports.

However, in November last year the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence and Chairman of DICON’s board, Linus Awute said the company would start production of the AK-47 to deal with Nigeria’s security challenges, which have increased exponentially since the Boko Haram militant group stepped up its attacks.