The Congolese navy has begun operating several BK-10 (Project 02450) assault boats recently acquired from Russia.
Last year April, Russia’s Rosoboronexport JSC (part of the Rostec State Corporation) confirmed to Military Africa that it had supplied BK-10 assault boats to a sub-Saharan African nation. At the time, Rostec declined to mention the African customer.
“The contract signed by Rosoboronexport was the first document for the supply of Russian-made final naval products to Sub-Saharan Africa in the last 20 years. This is an undoubted success in fostering military-technical cooperation with the countries of the region that is strategically important for Russia. We have been working long and purposefully to develop relations with them and expand our African footprint, which now covers almost the entire continent,” said Alexander Mikheev, Director General of Rosoboronexport during a press statement.
The Project 02450 (BK-10) assault boats are operated from the naval base at Pointe-Noire where they help Congo battle the rising maritime challenges in the Gulf of Guinea.
The BK-10 assault boats were built by Kalashnikov Concern, a subsidiary of the state-owned conglomerate Rostec, and were acquired via Russia’s military export agency Rosoboronexport.
The Project 02450 fast assault boat BK-10 is intended for transporting personnel, landing troops on unimproved shores, providing fire support to forces ashore, fighting piracy and terrorism, rendering assistance to those in distress. It features high speed performance and long operational range.
Powered by two high performance outboard gasoline engines, the BK-10 can reach speeds of up to 40 knots. With its large-capacity fuel tanks, the boat has a cruising range of up to 400 miles without refueling. It can carry up to 10 troopers and can be armed with up to four 7.62 – 12.7 mm machine guns.
Since the ending part of last decade, Moscow have been trying to increase its influence and footprint in Africa amid growing Chinese, French and United States’ presence. The Russia-Africa Summit and Economic Forum, held in Sochi in October 2019, gave a strong impetus to the growth of Russia and Africa cooperation.
Asides the BK-10/assault boats, Moscow has also delivered Patriot armoured SUVs built by UAZ and troop transport trucks built by Ural and Kamaz to the Congolese security forces with vehicles to strengthen their ground capabilities.