Angola looking to acquire military hardware from the United States

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Angola’s Minister of Defence, João Ernesto dos Santo, has expressed interest in acquiring Oskhkosh Defense logistics vehicles, General Motors Defence light tactical vehicles and other equipment from the United States.

This emerged during dos Santos’ recent visit to the United States, where he was welcomed by US Secretary of Defence Lloyd J Austin III at the Pentagon to continue talks begun when Austin visited the African nation in September.

“With the USA…the Ministry of National Defence and Homeland Veterans intends to strengthen its relations in the field of defence by expanding cooperation in new areas, namely strengthening technical and operational capacity, such as acquisition of an ultimate building machine construction system, acquisition of transport and logistic vehicle to be supplied by Oshkosh Defense, acquisition of a bridge system to be supplied by Acrow Bridges, acquisition of a fleet of light tactical vehicles to be supplied by General Motors Defence, also the acquisition of aircraft,” dos Santos said.

“So we came to your country to make the follow-up of all the activities that we’ve been developing…we intend to visit some companies — American companies so — in order for us to work together and to strengthen the relation of cooperation that we started. Certainly, all that we’ll — we might expect to acquire, we should think about the institutional financing,” he added.

The US provides Angola assistance through the International Military Education and Training (IMET) programme, which finances professional military education opportunities at United States military education institutions and military training teams that deploy to Angola strengthen Angolan medical readiness and maritime security and develop English language capability. The US has significantly increased military assistance to Angola in the past four years, providing over $18 million from 2020-2023. In the coming year, the US will explore new opportunities to expand capacity building efforts for cyber security and Angola’s Navy.

During a meeting between President Joseph Biden and Angolan President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço in December 2023, a senior US official said there would be a high-level defence dialogue scheduled for 2024. “We’ll discuss many agreements there. We’ll also just continue to deepen our mil-to-mil exchanges, looking for opportunities where we can focus on education, English language capacity, maritime security, and peacekeeping. So, there’s really a lot of excitement about the ways in which we can work more closely with the Angolans on these security issues.”

During the meeting between Austin and dos Santos on 28 May this year, Austin said Angola is a US strategic partner and a regional leader. He said the ties between the two nations are growing deeper and have tremendous potential.

The outreach to African nations follows the US-Africa Leaders Summit, which was hosted by President Joe Biden in 2022. At the summit, the president said, “Africa’s success is the world’s success.”

Since that meeting, the United States has continued high-level dialogue with African partners to advance the goals the leaders agreed upon, the Department of Defence said.

Austin became the first defence secretary to visit Angola. “I travelled to Angola because of the importance of our defence partnership,” he said at the meeting. “I’m proud of all that we’ve done together to deepen our partnership, from maritime security to peacekeeping to defence policy and more.”

The military-to-military relationship between the two nations has the potential to grow, Austin said, and he specifically talked about strengthening cooperation in cybersecurity, as well as Angola’s potential participation in the Defence Department’s National Guard’s State Partnership Programme.

“We’re eager to work together to seize this historic opportunity to promote peace, security and responsible rules-based governance,” Austin said. “And the Department of Defence looks forward to continue the cooperation with Angola as you restructure and modernise your armed forces.”

“The geostrategic and the geopolitical space in which Angola is inserted requires special attention due to the deep historical, geographical, economic and cultural complexities of the community,” dos Santos told the secretary through a translator. “The Republic of Angola is … focused on an agenda of conflict prevention and resolution by peaceful means in interstate dialogue.”