The Zambia National Defence Force is now operating a diverse range of weapons and military equipment which were previously unknown to be in it’s inventory.
These new weapons were paraded during the country’s national defence day also known as the Armed Forces day -which was last held on 13 June.
In a speech during the ceremonial parade, Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu said “In the past the Zambia Defence Force Day has been commemorated by way of sports competitions among the defence force wings. However, today, the event is unique as a military parade has been put up comprising a march past, a drive past of military vehicles and equipment, and fly past by the Zambia Air Force.”
President Lungu also said that his government has embarked on the modernisation of the defence force to bring it to the level of other modern defence forces. “As such, my government will continue to support the growth of the defence force by acquiring modern equipment to ensure efficient and effective operations.
“The acquisition of this modern equipment is a long time investment and at great cost to my government and the people of Zambia. Therefore, I expect you to take care of this equipment by ensuring high standards of maintenance and safety.”
Some of the paraded weapons includes small arms, mortars, howitzers, drones, air defence weapons, trucks, Armored personnel carriers, Infantry fighting vehicles, patrol boats and main battle tanks.
Regarding the mortars, six SPEAR Mk 2 120 mm mobile mortar systems developed by Elbit Systems and mounted on Tata LPTA 713TC 4×4 military trucks were paraded.
Also, six Elbit Systems Atmos M-46 self-propelled howitzers mounted on a 6×6 TATRA chassis with an armoured cab. These were not known to be in Zambian military inventory.
Likewise, several BM-21 multiple rocket launchers, BRDM-2 armoured cars, D-30 122 mm howitzers also took part in the parade.
Meanwhile, two Elbit Skylark unmanned aerial vehicles and three Elbit Hermes 450 unmanned aerial vehicles were also towed past – these were acquired in 2016/17, and were first seen in 2018.
For air defence, several towed ZSU-23-2 anti-aircraft artillery, ZPU-4 14.5 mm towed anti-aircraft guns, M-1939 37 mm anti-aircraft artillery, ZSU-23-4 self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, Rapier surface-to-air-missile systems towed by Saymar Musketeer 4×4 armoured vehicles and SA-3 (S-125 Pechora) surface-to-air missiles were paraded.
Armoured combat vehicles showcased during the parade includes GAZ Tigr armoured personnel vehicles operated by the Special Forces, BTR-80 armoured personnel carriers, WZ-551 armoured personnel carriers, Ratel infantry fighting vehicles, PT-76 amphibious tanks, and Type 59 main battle tanks.
Other equipment includes Ural trucks, small patrol boats, and Israeli-made IWI Tavor assault rifles fitted with grenade launchers and Galil sniper rifles for Zambia’s special forces.
Towards the end of the parade, a flypast by the Zambian Air Force included AB205, AB412 and Z-9 helicopters, SF-260 trainers, MA60, Y-12 and Caravan transports, K-8 jet trainers, L-15 lead-in fighter-trainers, and CL-604 and AW139 VIP aircraft took part.