The Gabonese Republican Guard (GR) revealed its Norinco VP11 mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles publicly for the first time during the 17 August Independence Day military parade in Libreville.
Thirteen Norinco VP11s were displayed along with Maverick, Aravis and VN1 armoured vehicles.
Gabon’s Republican Guard 2nd Reconnaissance and Combat Squadron of the GR’s Armoured Intervention Group are the main users of the VN11 armoured vehicle.
The GR is an armed forces branch responsible for presidential security and supporting the rest of the military.
The vehicles were used by the Gabonese contingent that served with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).
The 4×4 VP11 has a combat weight of 10 tonnes and can accommodate up to eight personnel, including a driver and a gunner. According to the manufacturer, it offers all-around STANAG Level 1 protection, which can be increased to Level 2 using add-on armour, and has a V-shaped hull to mitigate mines and improvised explosive devices.
Gabon had earlier acquired VN1 8×8 armoured vehicles also acquired from Norinco. Local sources disclosed that the Norinco VN1 8×8 infantry fighting vehicles are part of the Scouting, Reconnaissance, and Combat Squadron of the GR’s Armoured Intervention Group.
Two years ago, reports from Gabonese sources indicates that Gabon is struggling to keep the armored vehicles that it deployed with its troops for the UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) in operation due to persistent mechanical issues attributed to the VN1’s locomotion system, which significantly hampered Gabonese MINUSCA contingent in the first six months of 2020.