The strenght of the Nigerian army has historically centred around its armoured and artillery forces. There are times when a country will need the brute force of heavy armour, this is where Nigeria stands in a league of its own.
These are some of the heavy weapons fielded only by the Nigerian army in the region.
Palmaria 155 Self Propelled Howitzer.
Developed by the Italian company OTO Melara, the Palmaria is the Nigerian Army’s most potent howitzer. It features an automatic loading system, providing a rate of fire of one round ever 15 seconds or a burst fire rate of three rounds every 25 seconds.
A wide variety of munitions includes specially developed Simmel ammunition with a range of 24.7 km and rocket-assisted projectiles with a range of 30 km.
RM-70 Multiple Launch Rocket System.
The RM-70 is a heavier variant of the venerable BM-21 Grad, designed for area-saturation. It packs 40 additional 122 mm rockets for reload and a maximum range of 20 kilometres and an operational range of 400 km.
It is designed for concentrated fire coverage of large areas (up to 3 hectares in one volley) by high explosive fragmentation shells. The fire is robust with almost 256 kg of explosives used in one volley of 40 rockets.
T-72 M MBT
The Nigerian Army Amoured Corp operates close to a hundred T-72 M tank. This 41.5 ton second generation battle tank is the spear of the Nigerian Army three amoured brigades. It’s main armament are
125 mm 2A46M smoothbore gun.
12.7 mm NSVT anti aircraft machine gun.
7.62 mm PKT coax machine gun.
The T-72 has an operational range of 700 km and a top speed of 80 km/h.
FV101 Scorpion Combat Vehicle Reconnaisance (light tank)
There are 200 Scorpion CVR’s light tank with the Nigerian Army. Built by Britannia the FV101 Scorpion Reece vehicle provides fire support for Nigerian ground forces. It holds the Guinness world record for the fastest tank, recording 82.23km/h.
Vickers MK III Eagle Tank.
There are 118 Vickers MK III Eagle tanks in service with the Nigerian Army. Built by Vickers Defense Systems of Britannia, the Vickers is a 38.6 tons tank. It has an operational range of 530 km and a top speed of 50 km/h
1 x 105 mm L7A1 gun with 50 rounds.
1 x 12.7 mm ranging machine gun with 700 rounds
1 x 7.62 mm MG (pintle mount) with 1,300 rounds
FH77 B (Haubits) 155 mm Howitzer.
The Haubits is a Swedish made 39 calibre barrel howitzer. It features an interrupted screw breech, making it able to fire 4 rounds in 9 seconds or 6 rounds in 25 seconds. In a sustained firing role, it can fire 6 rounds every two minutes for 20 minutes. There are 36 FH77 Haubits in service with the Nigerian Army.
The FH77B uses standard NATO 155 mm high explosive shells with bagged drive charges, and can lob shells 13 miles downrange into enemy territory. With a kill zone of 100 metres each shell ends all life within the size of a football field.
Panhard ERC- 90
The Panhard ERC 90 (Sagaie) is a six wheeled armoured all terrain vehicle, able to traverse through land and water. Built in France it weighs 8.3 tonnes and has a crew of 3. The crew is protected by 10 mm of thick amour.
The primary amour of the ERC Sagaie is its 90 mm cannon. It also has a secondary armament of 2x 7.62 mm machine gun. It has an operational range of 730 kilometres and a top speed of 90 km/h.
There are 130 Panhard ERC -90 in service with the Nigerian Army.
Steyr 4K 4FA Infanry Fighting Vehicle.
The Steyr is an Austrian built 15 ton tracked amoured vehicle. The hull of the Steyr 4K 4FA series armoured personnel carrier is made of all-welded steel armour and is immune to penetration from 20 mm armour-piercing projectiles over its frontal arc.
81 mm Multiple Rocket Launcher mounted on the rear troop compartment.
20 mm cannons.
12.7 mm Browning machine gun.
There are 300 Steyr 4K 4FA in service with the Nigerian Army.
This 9 ton British built Combat Vehicle Reconnaisance is armed with a single 1 x7.6 mm General Purpose Machine Gun.
ZSU Shilka SPAAG.
Originally designed to destroy low flying attack planes, the Shilka when used on a depressed trajectory is devastating to infantry and vehicles. There are 30 ZSU-23-4 Shilka in the Nigerian Army inventory.