The ongoing counter-terror warfare in Nigeria’s northeastern region against the Islamic State and Boko Haram is set to receive a significant boost as new battle equipment are being introduced into the theatre.
In April this year, the Nigerian Army took delivery of a plethora of next-generation armored combat vehicles from China’s state-owned China Ordnance Industries Group Corporation Limited -Norinco under a $152 million contract signed in 2019.
This includes VT-4 main battle tanks, ST1 light tank, SH5 105 mm self-propelled artillery and other items.
Again in October, more VT-4 main battle tanks, ST1 light tanks were also delivered in a second batch.
The COVID-19 pandemic is apparently not slowing down the Nigerian Army’s plans to destroy the various insurgent groups operating in the region.
To further improve on this new war tactics, the NA took delivery of various tactical and strategic weaponry which will enhance it’s long range as well as close-quarter strike capacity.
Newly delivered vehicles includes Streit Armored Personnel Carriers, Typhoon Mine Resistant and Ambush Protected (MRAPs), Ezugwu MRAPs, Proforce Ara MRAP.
Just last week, the Nigerian Army procured and commissioned 55 utility vehicles to increase the mobility and combat efficiency of it’s troops. The vehicles includes Toyota Hilux, Buffaloes, Innoson Motor Vehicles, Peugeot among others.
VT-4 main battle tank
ST-1 light tank
The ST-1 is a fire support vehicle, modified from the Chinese ZTL-09. The vehicle can support combat units with its firepower.
The ST-1 light tank can undertake tactical reconnaissance and counter armor operations, convoy escort, and road patrol missions.
The vehicle’s road wheels gives it a tactical advantage in mobility and maneuver especially as Boko Haram and ISWAP operates in this domain. It also has a central tyre inflation system for improved cross-country mobility.
The ST-1 is armed with a 105 mm gun. It is compatible with all standard NATO 105 mm ammunition. It fires APFSDS, HEAT and HE rounds. Maximum range of fire is around 3 km. This vehicle can also launch GP-2 105 mm anti-tank guided missiles with the main gun with effective range of 5km. The gun doesn’t have an autoloader.
The ST-1 secondary armament consists of coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun and roof-mounted 12.7 mm machine gun. It comes equipped with a thermal imager to engage targets accurately day and night.
The armor of the hull and turret of the ST-1 are made of welded steel armor, providing frontal protection against 12.7 mm armor-piercing rounds, 7.62 my on all sides, and from artillery shell shrapnel.
For extra armor protection, the ST-1 can be fitted with add-on composite ceramic armor kit, which can withstands fire from 25 mm armor-piercing projectiles from the front, against 12.7 mm armor-piercing rounds on all sides.
The ST-1 light tank is powered by a licensed-built Deutz BF6M1015CP turbocharged diesel engine, with 440 hp. The engine is reportedly mated to an manual transmission.