In 2015 Cameroon received artillery, missiles, armoured trucks and other weapons from Russia. Russia’s ambassador Nikolay Ratsiborinskiy met with President Paul Biya on January 16 and discussed a number of issues. In a statement released after the meeting, the president’s office said that :
“By the end of the year, the Cameroonian army will be equipped with the most sophisticated military equipment from Russia. This will among other latest generation of weapons, heavy artillery, including missiles, air protection, anti-aircraft missile system, and cannon. Armoured trucks of Russian production will also be delivered to Cameroon to transport troops. To ensure proper use of this equipment, Russia is ready to welcome the young Cameroonians for the training of civilian and military specialists.”
A thousand Jihadists had entered the country, “attacking five villages an temporarily seizing a Cameroonian military base”.
“Fighter planes went into action for the first time since the start of the conflict,” Cameroonian Communications Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary told Al Jazeera.
“Militants were driven out after two strikes and heavy fire”, he added. Later on President Biya reportedly deployed more than 1000 troops to the Nigerian border to fortify against follow-up attacks. Meanwhile, neighbouring Chad has agreed to send troops to Cameroon to combat Boko Haram.
Rising concerns over the situation in neighbouring Nigeria and the Central African Republic (CAR) eventually prompted the Cameroonian Government to initiate a military modernisation.
China and Russia are supplying a significant amount of hardware to the West African nation.
These are some of Cameroons new military hardware that is transforming the country’s defence forces.
BGM-71 TOW ANTI-TANK MISSILE
Cameroon has 250 missiles and 24 launchers of the American made TOW wire-guided anti-tank missile.
MILAN ANTI-TANK MISSILE
Cameroon fields 60 missiles and 6 launchers of this anti-tank missile.
HOT ANTI-TANK MISSILE
Cameroon stacks a staggering 582 HOT anti-tank missiles.
EXOCET ANTI-SHIP MISSILE
Cameroon has 15 Excocet missile anti-ship M38, MM40. They are deployed on its navy warship aptly named P-48S “Bakassi” fast patrol craft.
RATEL INFANTRY FIGHTING VEHICLE
In 2015 Cameroons military began taking delivery of South African made Ratel Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV), which were deployed to Cameroon army Rapid Intervention Battalion .
The Ratel 20 is armed with a French GIAT 20-mm cannon in a two-man turret, plus three 7.62-mm machineguns, one coaxial one over the turret and one on a pintle mounting over a hatch in the rear hull roof. The 20-mm cannon has an effective range of 1 500 m and can engage light armoured vehicles.
NORINCO WMA301 TANK DESTROYER
Nigeria’s tank brigades will be the main strike force of the Nigerian army in a hypothetical conflict with neighboring Nigeria
There are approximately 282 tanks in service witch the Nigerian army. They are mainly used in conjunction with the mechanized and artillery regiments. Cameroon cannot possibly match this,so they bought Chinese wheeled tank destroyers rather than tracked tanks to perform the direct fire support role. It’s fitted with a turreted 105 mm gun.
SEMIC 825 TOWED FIRE CONTROL RADAR
NORINCO TYPE 07P INFANTRY FIGHTING VEHICLE
Cameroon recently took delivery of 20 of these Chinese built 8×8 vehicles and are now permanently deployed in Cameroon’s Far North region by the Armoured Reconnaissance Battalion (Bataillon Blindé de Reconnaissance: BBR).
Improvised open back civilian trucks is common feature in today’s low intensity and not so high tech battlefield of Africa. The weapons configuration for every “technical” in the Cameroon army includes ZPU or ZU 23-2 anti-aircraft artillery, and even 82mm mortar, giving it a kill radius of nearly 3 times that of the DShk or M2 browning that is a regular feature of Nigerian army technicals
Z9WE ATTACK HELICOPTER
The Cameroon Air Force in the last three years has enjoyed a major expansion in its helicopter fleet, increasing from just four aircraft to a current total of 17. Aside from five Mi-17 multi-role helicopter, Cameroon has also received 12 brand new Harbin Z9WE attack helicopter from China.
Before now just four Gazelle helicopters made up the CAF’s rotary wing strike asset flying in the 1990s, providing air support to Cameroonian troops operating against the Nigerian military in the Bakassi peninsula during the territorial dispute there.
Increasing cooperation with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) resulted in the Chinese Export Import Bank (EXIM) extending a $3.5 million loan in 2012. The money was used to purchase a major consignment of military equipment comprising armoured vehicles, patrol ships, anti-aircraft weapons and helicopters.
Indeed, the CAF decided to order four Harbin Z9WEs, a dedicated attack version of the Z9 utility aircraft, itself a derivative of the Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters) AS365 Dauphin.
Along with the aircraft, a package of weapons comprising HJ-8 wire-guided anti-tank missiles, 57mm rocket launchers and 23mm canon pods was included, as well as a set of spare parts, including a spare Turbomeca Arriel 2C turbine.
The money was used to purchase a major consignment of military equipment comprising armoured vehicles, patrol ships, anti-aircraft weapons and helicopters. Indeed, the CAF decided to order four Harbin Z9WEs, a dedicated attack version of the Z9 utility aircraft, itself a derivative of the Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters) AS365 Dauphin.
The Chinese built Z9WEs attack helicopter may not stand up to the Mi-35M helicopter of the Nigerian Air Force, but it does pack a powerful punch in terms of armament. Each Z9WE can either carry up to eight HJ-8 anti-tank missiles simultaneously, or a pair of 23mm canons or 57mm rocket launchers, or a mix of these.
The HJ-8 target acquisition is achieved thanks to the helicopter’s nose-mounted Luoyang Electro-Optics Technology Development Centre (EOTDC) optronics turret, which comprises a TV camera, an infrared camera and a laser rangefinder. The images provided by these sensors are projected on one of the aircraft’s two multi-function displays (MFDs).
The Z9WE features a head-up display (HUD), which is used for aiming when firing rockets or canons. For self-protection, it has a flare launcher mounted on each side of the fuselage.
The aircraft features armoured shock absorbent seats, as well as protected fuel tanks, which can resist small arms fire. It is powered by a pair of Turbomeca Arriel 2C turbines, each delivering a cruise power of 779shp.
Each CAF Z9WE has a Spectrolab Nightsun searchlight mounted on the left-hand side of its nose and Rockwell Collins provides the aircraft’s avionics suite.
The helicopters are fitted with a global navigation systems (GNS) navigator. They have an autonomy of 3 hours and 30 minutes, which can be extended by an hour with a ferry fuel tank. The three-axis autopilot and is instrument flight rules (IFR) rated.
When Cameroon, a nation with a defense budget of $373 million USD is acquiring more sophisticated weapons system than Nigeria, you know that the Nigerian military has a corruption problem.
To put things into perspective, of Cameroons $373 million defence budget, capital expenditure may be allotted less than %40.
Yet Cameroon is modernising her armed forces with new air defence systems, anti-tank missiles, more modern infantry fighting vehicles and has in storage 15 EXOCET anti-ship missiles. You will never find regular infantry with AK-47 rifles, those were phased out almost a decade ago.
According to figures obtained by IHS Jane, Cameroon’s Ministry of Defence’s budget grew from from CFA198.5 billion ($355 million) in 2014 to CFA212 billion ($376 million) in 2015. After taking into account inflation of 2.7%, this works out as an increase of $16 million in real terms. $376 MILLION! !
Nigeria earmarks $1 BILLION each year for bullets and munitions. It is not hyperbole. Nigeria spends more than the combined defence budget of Chad and Cameroon on munitions.
On the whole Nigeria’s defence budget has been oscillating between $5 billion, $3 billion, $2.5 billion for the past five years. That’s more than the entire defence budget of all 16 ECOWAS member States combined.
The fact that the security imperative of Nigeria has not motivated those at the helm of affairs to evolve and modernize is all the more bewildering.
In 2018 as Nigeria’s war against Boko Haram enetered its tenth year, the nations Air Chief? Air Marshall Abubakar Sadique, the man entrusted with the security of the nations air space was hard at work n projects critical to the nations war effort.
In a ribbon cuting ceremony the NAF formaly commissions a fish pond. The fishes were incredibly beautiful, a sight to behold.
NAF COMMISSIONS TAILORING WORKSHOP
In yet another monumental occasion the NAF formally commissioned a tailoring workshop. Reporters are given a tour of the sewing machines.
This was the Nigerian Air Force capital expenditure of fiscal year 2018. Cumulatively Nigeria has allotted over $26 Billion to the security sector from 2013 to 2017. TWENTY SIX BILLION USD. I leave you to fill the blanks.