The China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) has delivered military vehicles including VT-4 main battle tanks (MBT) to the Nigerian Army, Chinese Ministry of National Defense announced.
The first batch of 17 military vehicles consisting of VT-4 MBTs, ST-1 wheeled tank destroyer and two types of self-propelled howitzers arrived at the Apapa Ports on April 8. Nigerian Army (NA) made the emergency purchase of vehicles to be used against Boko Haram terrorists in the northern part of the country.
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.
VT4/ MBT3000 is a Chinese third-generation main battle tank built by NORINCO for the export market. It is an upgraded variant of the MBT2000 (VT-1) and the latest tank model from the Type 90-II tank family.
The MBT-3000 concept debuted at the 2012 Eurosatory. The tank was subsequently shown at the 2014 Norinco Armor Day and the tenth China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition as the VT-4.
The VT-4 has a 125mm smoothbore cannon capable of firing APFSDS, HESH, HEAT, and HE rounds and guided missiles. There is also a remote weapon station on the turret armed with a 12.7 mm heavy machine gun. The fire control system has hunter-killer capabilities, laser rangefinder, panoramic sight, and a third-generation thermal imaging system.
The tank appears to have composite and explosive reactive armor. The turret front has wedge-shaped armor and the hull sides have armored side skirts. The tank is equipped with an active protection system designated GL5, defensive grenade launchers, and a laser warning device. The vehicle also has an IFF system, NBC protection, explosion suppression system, fire extinguishing system, and air conditioning.
According to Norinco, the VT-4 uses a locally produced 1,300 hp diesel engine with torsion bar suspension and an integrated hydraulic transmission system. Steering and acceleration is handled by a steering wheel and automatic gear transmission.
The tank is also integrated with digital communications systems for tank-tank communication and communication between commanders.
The VT-4 MBT has been already exported to Thailand.