Proforce is ready to start production of its new Ara (Thunder) mine-resistant, ambush protected (MRAP) vehicle for the Nigerian Army.
Proforce Limited’s Keji Akerele told defenceWeb that the Nigerian Army is due to receive nine Aras and that the production process has started in conjunction with the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON). Deliveries are expected from 2017.
The Nigerian company’s Ayobami Omotoriogun told IHS Jane’s that Proforce has the steel and glass to begin making the three prototypes of the Ara, with the first to be delivered in December, after which the Nigerian military will start testing the vehicle.
The Ara has a length of 5.2 metres and height of 2.4 metres, ground clearance of .25 metres and gross weight of 19 tons. It has a payload of 1.5 tons and is powered by a Cummins engine delivering 300 hp, giving a top speed of 110 km/h.
A 12.7 mm machinegun can be mounted on a 360 degreee roof turret which can be open or fully enclosed. Optional equipment includes slat armour, gun ports and grenade launchers as well as reactive armour, according to Proforce.
Proforce was established in 2008 and describes itself as the only private armoured vehicle manufacture in Nigeria specialising in armoured vehicles and personal protection. The company makes armoured tactical vehicles, armoured personnel carriers for military and police, ballistic helmets and vests, armoured cash-in-transit, armoured private and commercial passenger vehicles.
One of Proforce’s main products is the Pf-1 armoured personnel carrier (APC), which has been upgraded to the Pf-2 with bigger wheels and other improvements. The company recently delivered six Pf-2s to the River State police.
The 3.2 ton Pf-2 is armoured against 7.62×51 mm ammunition, grenades and landmines in excess of Stanag 4569 Level 1. It is based on the Toyota Land Cruiser chassis and is powered by a six cylinder four litre engine giving a top speed of 110 km/h and range of 650 km. Payload is between 800 and 1000 kg or 6-8 people. The vehicle has eight gun ports and can mount a turret on the roof. Standard equipment includes an electric winch, air conditioning, public address system and strobe lights.
Other Proforce products include armoured Toyota Hilux vehicles, Special Combat Vehicles (Hilux type vehicles with armour and weapons turrets), armoured patrol boats between 9.5 and 11 metres long, cash in transit vehicles (Toyota Hiace, Hilux, Isuzu etc.), armoured SUVs (e.g. Land Cruiser, Mercedes, Lexus LX570, Cadillac Escalade, Range Rover, FJ Cruiser), armoured passenger busses (Mercedes Viano, Toyota etc.) and armoured sedans.
The company’s body armour range includes helmets, vests and armour plates and it is also marketing RemoEye 006 unmanned aerial vehicle from South Korea.
Proforce operates a 40 000 square metre facility in Ogun State and a 25 000 square metre facility in River State. While it is geared towards meeting Nigerian security needs, the company has also supplied the Rwandan government with APCs and done business with the United Nations.