The first batch of 17 military vehicles consisting of VT-4 main battle tanks (MBT), ST-1 wheeled tank destroyer and two types of self-propelled howitzers bought by the Nigerian Army (NA) from the China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) arrived at the Apapa Ports on April 8, 2020. The NA made this emergency purchase to strike Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs) in northern Nigeria.
The VT-4 MBT is a third-generation main battle tank built by the NORINCO for export. It uses CH1000B hydro-mechanical drive system, 125 mm smoothbore gun, FY-4 reactive armor, and 1,300hp engine. The tank has strong maneuverability, good protection performance, and strong firepower. It has been exported to Thailand and won recognition of the Thai Royal Army.
The NA’s Chief of Policy and Plans (CPPLANS) Lieutenant General Lamidi Adeosun said that Nigeria and the NORINCO signed a package contract last year. Nigeria has become the first country in the region to own advanced tanks and is now fully prepared for the use and maintenance of the vehicles. The Nigerian soldiers who will operate the tanks have been trained in China. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese instructors who originally planned to travel to Nigeria for further operation training are yet to be put into place for the time being.