The protracted war to defeat the dreaded Boko Haram terrorists exposes the flaw in lacking a viable indigenous defense industrial complex.
Nigerian Army Chief of Army Staff Tukur Yusuf Buratai
Nigeria’s defense, security and ultimately its unity and existence is a function of its military industrial complex, the baseline is that a credible Nigerian made weapons and military equipment development capability offers Nigeria the ability to defend itself from both ideological as well as military interferences from foreign aggressors.
More than Fifty-five years after Nigeria’s independence, the country should be able to boast of a flourishing industrial military complex able to manufacture sophisticated weapons as well as dual use military equipment.
One of the things that stand Nigeria in good stead to lead the African continent in technology is the availability of numerous youths in Nigeria, who are interested in technology. There are many young Nigerians that are exposed to tech gadgets at an early age these days and this spurs innovative tendencies in these young ones.
If these set of innovative young Nigerians are well coordinated and well directed, they will form the launching pad of a tech revolution that is capable of engulfing the country as well as take the whole of Africa by storm.
A brief history on Nigerian made weapons production (DICON)
Nigerian-made weapons design and development ecosystem is still at early stages built with assistance from Fritz Werner a West German manufacturing firm and the Soviet Union, DICON has at least two weapons production factories outside of Abuja.
The premier defense company DICON which according to its website, was established by an Act of Parliament in 1964. Fritz Werner was assigned the task of providing technical expertise and set up the Ordnance Factory in Kaduna.
In 2004, DICON successfully produced prototype medium range weapons namely 60mm mortar, 81mm mortar and the RPG-7. The weapons were successfully test-fired at the Kachia range with the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in attendance.
The Nigerian Air Force in recent times has not been left out in the Nigerian made weapons development drive. The force has taken significant steps aimed at deepening research and development in the service.
The first major step taken to enrich Nigerian Air Force Research & Capability was the establishment of the Air Force Research & Development Centre in 2015. At this moment, lack of financial and management support has impeded further progress in the area of Research and Development.
Nigerian Civil War
The Nigerian Civil War, also known as the Biafran War and the Nigerian-Biafran War was fought between 6 July 1967 – 15 January 1970, was a war fought between the government of Nigeria and the secessionist state of Biafra. The Nigerian Civil War neccessitated the increase in Nigerian made weapons production in order to contribute reasonably to the war efforts.
Despite the war, Nigeria made little inroad in weapons research and development, relying massively on imports from both the Soviet Union, Britain, France and the U.S. However, unlike its opponent, Biafra depended solely on its own weapons constructs which to the amazement of the whole world performed astonishingly.
Biafran made weapons in Nigeria
Although, not much is said on the mainstream media about the technological gains made by the Biafran separatist forces during the Nigerian-Biafran War. In that conflict, the Biafran people innovative spirit never seen before.
Being blockaded in all directions- air, sea and land, the Biafran Scientists and engineers went about developing cutting-edge technology to circumvent the siege. Its Science and Technology Group under the Biafran Research and Production Group (RAP) headed by Dr. Felix Oragwu a nuclear physicist developed the Ogbunigwe Surface to Surface rocket system which was used with devastating effect against the Nigerian troops.
A 1968 Ogbunigwe rockets barrage culmulated into the total decimation of the Nigerian 2nd Division numbering about 6000 troops, more than a hundred vehicles were destroyed with a handful of survivors. Nigerian authorities and defense planners have been adviced to harness whatever is left of the expertise in weaponry developed during the Nigeria civil war by the Biafrans to boost the defense industry. Since military technological development is usually assimilated from a nation’s war experience.
Weapons Embargo European Union Weapons Embargo
In November 1995, the leader of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni Peoples, Ken Saro-Wiwa, a pro democracy campaign group which protested against oil pollutions by multinational company Shell in the Niger Delta was murdered alongside nine other members.
Nigeria was suspended from the Commonwealth, became diplomatically isolated, and an arms embargo was imposed by the European Union via Common position 95/515/CFSP and the United States. Although, in May 1999, the European Union restored cooperation with Nigeria however, the damage has already been done.
The United States justified its position under the Leahy Act which prevents it from supporting other countries’ militarily on grounds of human rights violation.
Decline of the Nigerian Military weapons inventory
“We also learnt the hard lessons of over reliance on foreign equipment and spares which was a huge setback in the initial stages of our operations.”
For years, the perception of the Nigerian military combat strenght and resolve has served as a form of deterrence to near-peer rivals. Sadly, that protective deterrence is now being eroded following the increasing security challenges facing the country coupled with the apparent inability of Nigeria’s security forces to curtail the menace.
Over the years, the Nigerian military has been consciously underfunded by self-interested leaders and who favoured their personal gains and power over national interest.
What is more, for two decades the Nigerian military habit of burying itself in secrecy, with little or no oversight and transparency, arms procurement was done through middle man and back-channel deals instewad of Government to Governement (G2G) as done across the world.
This trend led to an increase in corruption which has ingrained itself into the institution. The scale of corruptionand how officials apparently exploited the insurgency shocked even Nigerians wearily familiar with corruption scandals. Sambo Dasuki, the former Nigerian National Security Adviser (NSA) to the former President of Nigeria, and scores of other defence officials were arrested and put on trial. Buhari’s government then went after procurement firms.
The need for a Nigerian made weapons production
The protracted war to defeat the dreaded Boko Haram terrorists exposes the flaw in lacking a viable indigenous defence industrial complex.
“Our experience in the Northeast and other theatres of operation has assisted us in drawing useful lessons which have shaped the ongoing transformation process of the Nigerian Army.”
The lack of a credible Nigerian made weapons production capacity has severely limits the Nigerian military’s campaign against the Jihadi group Boko Haram.
A discomfiting event occurred during the regime of the former President Goodluck Jonathan, when cash running into several millions of dollars ostensibly for arms purchase from the dodgy international the black market was seized by the South African authorities. This singular incident caused an international uproar and collosal condemnation and outrage from the Nigerian public.
As a precautionary measure as well as a matter of national survival, the Nigerian government should take proactive measures to reverse this decline. Also, the defense industry must build synergy with the academia and tap into its research potential while the Diaspora community has a lot to contribute as well. The arms industry is highly innovative and Nigeria must harness all resources to keep up with the pace, at least in the manufacturing of small arms and light weapons for internal security.
Nigerian made guns
OBJ-006 (AK-47 clone)
The Nigerian made OBJ-006 is copy of the AK-47 assault rifle which was designed by the Soviet Commander Mikhail Kalashnikov in 1946, the first practical prototype began state trials in 1947 and in 1948 full production started.
NR-Light Automatic Rifle (LAR)
The Nigerian made NR-Light Automatic Rifle (LAR) is a copy of the Soviet Union Degtyaryov hand-held machine gun, it is a 7.62mm light machine gun, chambered on the 7.62×39mm M43 intermediate cartridge.
Sub Machine Gun – PMS 12
The Nigerian made Sub Machine Gun – PMS 12 is a copy of the Beretta Model 12. The PMS is a 9×19mm Parabellum caliber submachine gun originally designed by Beretta. The production started in 1962, the first users were the Italian Carabinieri and the Italian State Police
Nigerian Rifle 1 Model 7.62mm 1 7.62
The Nigerian Rifle 1 Model 7.62mm 1 7.62 is a Nigerian version of the Fabrique Nationale Fusil Automatique Léger (FN FAL) Light Automatic Rifle. The Nigerian Rifle 1 Model is a copy of the battle rifle designed by Belgian small arms designers Dieudonné Saive and Ernest Vervier and manufactured by FN Herstal.
Nigerian Pistol 1 (NP1)
Beryl M762 rifle (future)
The Beryl M762 is an export variant of the Polish military’s 5.56 mm Beryl wz. 96C service rifle that is chambered in 7.62×39 mm. It has accessory rails, uses standard AK-47 magazines, and has a fire selector with single shot, three-round burst, and full-automatic modes.
General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG)
The Nigerian made GPMG is a copy of the MG 34, designed in 1934 by Heinrich Vollmer of Mauser in Nazi Germany. The GMPG is an air-cooled, fully automatic weapon that can be adapted to light machine gun and medium machine gun roles. Nigerian made small arms
Rocket Propelled Grenade Launcher (RPG)
A rocket-propelled grenade or RPG is an anti-tank shoulder-fired weapon system that fires rockets equipped with an explosive warhead. It is reloadable with new rocket-propelled grenades. It is also effective against a wide range of targets such as bunkers, vehicles, low level helicopters and UAVs as well as personnel.
M36 Hand Grenade
This are modern fragmentation grenades used across the globe and have seen widespread use since the World War I. It is very dangerous to enemy personnel and vehicle. Its blast radius is usually five feet. 81 mm Mortar
This is a muzzle-loaded smooth-bore medium weight mortar. It is use for providing long range indirect fire support for ground troops. It can also be used by airborne assault units, air assault and amphibious troops to cover ground maneuvers in the entire theater of operation. Nigerian Made ammunition
7.62mm X 51 Soft Core (Ball) Cartridge
7.62mm X 51 Blank Bulleted Cartridge
9mm Blank Star
9mm X 19 Parabellum Cartridge
7.26mm X 65 Blank Star Cartridge
Nigerian made ships Andoni Seawards Defence Boat I
Andoni Seawards Defence Boat I
Described as a seaward defence boat (SDB), the 31-metre boat was built by the Navy engineers at the Nigerian Naval Dockyard, Victoria Island, Lagos, over a period of about four and half years. This seaward defense boat was designed and built after other river town class patrol craft in the NN inventory such as NNS Yola and NNS Brass, albeit with several modifications. This is one of the best Nigerian made weapons available. Karaduwa Seawards Defence Boat II
This is undoubtedly the largest and most sophisticated Nigerian made weapon system. The NNS Karaduwa (P-102) is a 40 meters naval vessel categorized as a ‘Seaward Defense Boat’ (SBB) a term use to describe a boat capable of operating from the littoral coastal waters down towards the deeper seas. In summary, it is a mid-shore patrol boat something short of a deep ocean-going ship but more capable than a coastal patrol boat. Dorman Long Engineering was contracted to fabricate the hull and superstructure while the instruments and sensors was done by Blueflag Inc. CLICK TO READ MORE ABOUT THE NNS KARADUWA Nigerian made armored vehicles Proforce Ara Mine Resistance and Protected (MRAP) Vehicle
The Ara MRAP is a masterpiece showcasing Africa’s ingenuity and technical mastery of advanced warfighting capabilities. This is clearly one of the best Nigerian made weapons available. Uniquely named ‘Thunder’ due to its perceived aggressive role in a complicated battlefield. First unveiled in August 2017, the Nigerian-made MRAP was even featured in AAD 2016 in a record-breaking development.
This decision to start this project came at a time when the Nigerian military was neck-deep in its war against fanatic Islamic terrorist sect known notoriously as Boko Haram or more informally as ISIS in West Africa (ISWA). In the IED filled northeastern part of Nigeria where the bitter conflict has been raging for more than six years, the Nigerian military was forced to adapt to the new modus operandi of the terrorists such as the switch from the usage of soft-skinned Toyota pick-up truck to more sturdy and robust foreign-made MRAPS. This necessitates the development of a locally made variant to ease logistics and to standardize the MRAP fleet. CLICK HERE TO READ ALL ABOUT THE PROFORCE ARA MRAP Infantry Patrol Vehicle (IPV)
Although, the IPV isn’t really a new design in Africa, it’s use and development has never been done before. The Nigerian Army engineers Corp known to be innovative and creative in the face of overwhelming obstacle came up with the IPV to tackle the high-speed high-mobility engagement they usually encounter in the arid desert of the north eastern Nigeria. The incessant attacks by marauding Cattle herdsmen from the Fulani tribe against farmers and villagers prompt the Nigerian military high-command to look inwards and develop a potent solution at a very cost-effective price. This is an innovative Nigerian made weapons. Nigerian made Infantry Patrol Vehicle (IPV) The Infantry Patrol Vehicle (IPV) with off-road mobility and a crew of three was one of the star attractions at the summit. Weighing 650kg and powered by 150-200 Horse Power Engine, the IPV has a 130 kilometre per hour capacity. It provides force multiplier and the required flexibility to undertake all tasks across the entire spectrum of military operations, including range fighting, fast action mission, urban and border patrols. The IPV is fitted with two machine guns and have been deployed in all the theatres of operation. READ MORE ABOUT THE IPV PF 1 Armoured Personnel Carrier
According to Proforce Defense, the new vehicle is the Pf1, built by Nigerian company Proforce Limited. The Pf1is a four wheel drive APC with capacity for ten personnel, including driver and commander, and comes in several variants, including police, APC, combat surveillance, missile carrier, command and control and ambulance, according to Proforce Defence. The vehicle is armed with a pintle mounted 7.62 machinegun and two banks of 3 x 76 mm grenade launchers. Equipment includes a 4 000 kg winch, CCTV system for all-round observation, public address system and searchlights at the front and rear. This is one of the most formidable Nigerian made weapons available.
Igirigi Armoured Personnel Carrier
Designed and manufactured by the Nigerian Army Corps of Engineers, the Igirigi APC was first introduced to the media during the 2012 Nigeria Army Day celebrations (NADCEL). Although details on the vehicle is very scarcw howevwer, it can be observed to have a remote control weapons station, and its IED deflecting V shaped hull. The Igirigi APC has been revised several times. noticeable changes include a relocation of the gun turret. Significant number of the Igirigi are being fielded by the NA which plans to deploy them in large numbers for internal security and COIN but details of the location of manufacture and assembly are still unknown nevertheless, this is still one of the best Nigerian made weapons available.
Ezugwu MRAP was designed and developed by Nigeria’s DICON in collaboration with Command Engineering Depot (CED), Nigeria to replace obsolete combat vehicles in the Nigerian Army’s inventory. Using innovative and revolutionary flat-bottom technology, it can resist Improvised explosive and mine blast up to 12 kg under the vehicle. Ezugwu MRAP features a double enclosed turret which can traverse 360 degrees. Both turrets can mount all type of munition in the Nigerian Army inventory. TY Buratai Combat Vehicle
The TYB ROVER is said to be an initiative of the Commandant Depot NA, Maj Gen VO Ezugwu through the Military Skills and Acquisition Training Programme package in consultation and guidance of the Mechanical Engineering Department ABU Zaria and National Automative Council Abuja. This is one of the most ingenious Nigerian made weapons available. Innoson Patrol Vehicle
The Nigerian military which has a soft spot for soft skin vehicles has been offer this light patrol vehicle by Innoson Vehicl Manufacturing company. The Nigerian army had already acquired 40 vehicles from the company after it donated three vehicles to the Theatre Command of the Operation Lafiya Dole.
Buratai Overhead Manned Turret (BOMT) Although ungainly, however, it offers an “all-round protection” according to the Army, weighing one tone, it provides all-round observation with the aid of periscopic sights and the plate thickness can give protection for up to 30 meters. This is one of the most creative Nigerian made weapons available. The BOMT invention was necessitated by the delivery of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAPs). The BOMT has been installed on the MRAPs now being used in the Northeast. Nigerian made drones Tsaigumi Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
The new Tsaigumi UAV was built by the Nigerian Air Force aerospace engineers and was unveiled on February 15th at the Nigerian Air Force Base Kaduna. Tsaigumi means ‘surveillance’ in the local Hausa dialect. It is a twin-boom UAV spotting a pusher propeller configuration with a high-wing monoplane design. For enhanced aerodynamic stability, it spots a H-type configuration tail section. It is one of the most sophisticated Nigerian made weapons available. CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT THE TSAIGUMI UAV Amebo Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Credit: Nigerian Air Force The Amebo drone is used for training Nigeria’s remotely piloted drone operators at the 401 Flying Training School, Kaduna. It also provided valuable insights in aerodynamics during the constyruction of the Gulma UAV. Gulma Unmanned Aerial vehicle
Credit: Nigerian Air Force The Gulma UAV was developed as a test bed for the Tsaigumi UAV. It has similar appearance to the Tsaigumi UAV. It has a twin boom configuration and a pusher propeller. Star Tiltrotor
Nigerian Air Force Hexacopter armed with a bomb Credit: Nigerian Air Force The Star tilt-rotor unmanned aircraft which takes off vertically and can go up to five kilometers for aerial surveillance. It also has aerial bombardment capabilities. Fitted with a 250 kg drop bomb. This is one of the most innovative Nigerian made weapons available. CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT THE STAR TILTROTOR DRONE Nigerian Army Helicopter Project A software enhanced picture of the Nigerian Army made helicopter The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) has been given a Presidential marching order to produce made-in-Nigeria helicopters through reverse engineering method. To that regard, the agency has placed order for a Dynali H3 easy flyer sport ultralight helicopter for the purpose of reverse engineering. CLICK TO READ MORE ABOUT THE NIGERIAN ARMY HELICOPTER PROJECT Aerial Gunpods Credit: Nigerian Air Force Each gunpods containing two guns each. The gun was also installed on the Bell 452 helicopter. The helicopter gunpods have been successfully test fired, both in the air and on the ground. IED Defusing robot
Credit: Nigerian Air Force (AFIT) The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has developed an improved prototype known as UGV-2. These robots were built to replace humans in highly hazardous situations such as handling IED’s and bombs. Another military application is reconnaissance and target acquisitions. The Nigerian Air Force designed and produced an unmanned ground vehicle following the unfortunate loss of a police sergeant who was in the process of defusing an improved explosive device in Kaduna.
31 mm Rocket System Credit: Nigerian Air Force The 30.1mm rockets were successfully tested during the 2017 NAF day celebration in Markurdi. The live warheads has been tested and found satisfactory in times of fragmentation and blast characteristics. It was designed and constructed by NAF Research & Development Centre using locally sourced materials. Automated Sniper Rifle (ASR) Designed by Cadet Ebenezer Mojeed, the Automated Sniper Rifle (ASR) which is designed to be mounted on observational post or likely adversary route.The ASR has an optical device which monitor the battlefield. It allows an operator to view the enemy position and using the controls, can engage and repel the adversary without exposing himself.