As the Nigerian Army shifts from small-unit counterinsurgency operations in the nation’s northeast to potential big-unit mechanized warfare, the Nigerian army is expanding its active duty force from 150,000 to 200,000, plus 32,000 in reserve. In other words, the Nigerian army is roughly bigger than the combined armies of France (117,000) and Great Britain (75,000).
Deployment of all active duty personnel is far from guaranteed though because of shortages of strategic logistics assets. The army will not be able to fully equip and deploy more than three divisions in short notice.
But looking at the current force structure of potential adversaries, Nigeria isn’t likely to fight a division-sized land battle today, though it is not inconceivable.
This raises an important question: is the Nigerian Army ready for such a possibility? If one merely sees preparedness through net manpower and kinetic force capacity, the answer might be a simple ‘yes.’: the Nigerian Army, though not where it should be, has been committed in recent years to equipment and training.
Nonetheless, Nigeria has the world’s 19th largest economy, as well as an increasingly muscular foreign policy that has deployed troops to countries such as Gambia, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia etc, And it can only muster a two or three combat division on short notice. Let’s take a look at the weapons the Nigerian army would use to defend her territory.
Nigeria’s ability to defend itself against a Franco-American backed ground invasion begins with its formidable Amoured Divisions which includes five Tank Battalions from 21 Armoured Brigade Maiduguri, 23 Armoured Brigade Yola. 23 Brigade include 231 and 232 Tank Battalions. The 3rd Armoured Division is responsible for the security of areas bordering Chad.
The Nigerian army has 214 Main Battle Tanks in active service. Almost as many tanks as the French army (200 tanks) and British Royal army (217 tanks). Nigeria’s tank fleet includes :
108 Vickers Mk.3 Eagle MBT
77 Upgraded T-72M1 Main Battle Tank
157 FV101 Scorpion Light Tank
Needless to say, in terms of sheer armoured kinetic firepower Nigeria has that in abundance. But in todays modern battlefield, a large column of tanks can be wiped out fairly quickly from the air. The Nigerian army is gravely deficient in air defenses and electronic warfare. This potends gr