The Nigerian Army is confirmed to be operating Type 89 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) acquired from China’s Norinco, months after they were first rumoured to be delivered.
TVC News reported that 60 of the newly acquired vehicles would be immediately deployed to various theatres after more than 100 Army personnel conducted training over the last three months.
Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Farouk Yahaya, said the new vehicles will be a gamechanger for the armed forces in their campaign against enemies of the Nigerian state. He inaugurated the 60 vehicles at the Nigerian Army School of Infantry in Jaji, Kaduna, on Thursday. He was represented by the Commander Infantry Corps, Major General Victor Ezugwu.
“These platforms commission here today is in addition to other equipment brought in for this purpose and underscores the strategic resolve to ensure that a state of normalcy is achieved across the country,” he said.
“Let me make it very clear that the Nigerian Army, under my watch shall continue to work assiduously with relevant stakeholders, partners and other agencies in the protection of the sovereignty of Nigeria.”
The Type 89s were apparently delivered in late August – video emerged in September of a number of tracked IFVs being transported through Nigeria.
The Type 89 (ZSD-89) APC/IFV was developed in the 1980s as an improved version of the earlier Type 63 armoured fighting vehicle and over 1 000 were supplied to the Chinese military. The export version is known as the Type 85 and was sold to countries such as Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
The vehicle is powered by a license-built Deutz 320 hp diesel engine giving a top speed of 65 km/h, and can carry 15 soldiers plus crew. The main armament of the basic APC version was a QJC88 12.7 mm anti-aircraft machine gun, protected by a cradle-type shield/open turret. All-around armour provided protection from rounds up to 12.7 mm. Twelve variants were built.
The Type 89 was also exported to Ethiopia, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. The Type 90 APC (YW535) was derived from the Type 89 and intended for export.
Nigeria has previously acquired other equipment from China, including VT-4 main battle tanks, ST-1 8×8 tank destroyers and SH-5 105 mm self-propelled howitzers. The first batch of hardware was delivered from Norinco in April 2020 and is believed to have been order under a $152 million 2019 contract.
At the time, Nigerian Army Chief of Policy and Plans Lieutenant General Lamidi Adeosun this was the tip of the iceberg, with more deliveries still to come.
Nigeria is also believed to have recently acquired 100 more CS/VP3 armoured personnel carriers from China.