The Nigerian Army has unveiled a wide range of locally-made weapons and equipment which includes an Infantry Patrol Vehicle (IPV), a Combat Fighting Motorcycle (CFM), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), an Automated Sniper Rifle (ASR) and firing pins for the Soviet-made D30 howitzer.
The equipment was exhibited at the first-ever Nigerian Army ‘Research and Innovation Summit’ held in Abuja recently under the theme ‘Research and Innovation, Developing Synergy with Indigenous Institutions for Enhanced Capacity in the Nigeria Army.’
According to Nigerian Army Director of Public Relations Brigadier-General Sani Usman, the Infantry Patrol Vehicle (IPV) has a maximum of 130 km/h. Weighing just 650kg, the IPV is a light force-multiplier that carries three crews members including the driver. Two other soldiers on board operate the two machineguns.
The IPV is suited for multiple tasks which include open-range fighting, fast-attack missions, border patrols and urban security operations amongst others. Although he did not give the numbers, Usman said several IPVs have been deployed in counter-terrorism operations against Boko Haram in the north-east.
Engineers from Nigerian Army 35 Battalion unveiled the Combat Fighting Motorcycle (CFM), a re-modelled version of locally available civilian motorcycles which can be armed with an AK-47 or a light machinegun.
The motorcycle carries two soldiers facing in opposite directions and was designed to support hot-pursuit operations against cattle rustlers. According to Nigerian Army Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, the CFM has already been deployed and plans are underway to develop a tri-axle version to improve the stability of the vehicle.
The Nigerian Army Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Division also unveiled the ‘Peak Cap Turret’, an 18 mm thick, hardened steel cap which can be modified to house different guns and fitted atop Toyota Hilux 4X4 trucks for force protection during combat operations.
According to the designers, the rotating cap has a mechanical traverse of 360 degrees and offers the machine gun operator a protection range of 30 metres from small arms fire, and 100 metres from machineguns. Also displayed was the Buratai Overhead Manned Turret, weighing one ton, and which has been installed on recently delivered mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles.
The Nigerian Army Institute of Technology unveiled some locally-made UAVs, which it said were yet to be deployed operationally despite successful testing.
The Nigerian Army Ordnance Corps unveiled a new smoke grenade – ASI-17 – which was designed from local materials to replace the expensive imported versions the army previously relied on.
Other new technology on display included a Collapsible Ammunition Incinerator Device (CAID), which was designed for the safe and environmentally friendly disposal of ammunition, gunpowder and high explosives materials, a remotely-operated Automated Sniper Rifle (ASR), and firing pins for the Soviet-era 122 mm D30 howitzer.
In a related development, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) says it is in the final stages of setting up a plant that will produce liquid oxygen for its combat aircraft fleet. The plant will also produce oxygen, nitrogen and other gases that will be used in military hospitals.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Defence Minister Mansur Dan-Ali on 1 March, said the country had procured military equipment from Russia and United Arab Emirates to sustain the counter insurgency operation in the northeast.
“Mine-resistance ambush patrol vehicles, 120 mm mortars and ammunition were being procured by the Nigerian Army. Also, some patrol boats and other platforms have been ordered by the Nigerian Navy for outpost at Lake Chad Basin while the contract for helicopters from Russia for the Nigerian Air Force has been awarded and approval for an addition four Mi-35s is being awaited. Additionally, 20 unmanned aerial vehicles from the United Arab Emirates have been procured by the Nigerian Air Force to support the operation in the North East,” he said.