October 12, 2014

Tanzania’s Type 07PA 120 mm self-propelled mortars were seen for the first time in a 26 April parade. China’s submission to the UNODA says it supplied 12 large calibre artillery systems to Tanzania in 2013. Source: IHS/Ping Zhang

The UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) recently released two documents that provide additional details of African defence procurement in 2013, including the numbers for some of the acquisitions that countries are known to have made that year.

For example, China said it had supplied 11 unidentified armoured combat vehicles and 12 large calibre artillery systems to Cameroon. This is probably a reference to the Type 07P infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) and PTL-07 tank destroyers with 105 mm guns that were paraded for the first time on 20 May.

Similarly, China said it had supplied 24 new tanks and 12 large calibre artillery systems to Tanzania. The Tanzania People’s Defence Force paraded Type 63A light amphibious tanks and 120 mm Type 07PA self-propelled mortar systems for the first time on 26 April.

China also said it transferred 30 unidentified tanks to Chad. This suggests the tanks seen on transporters in the Chadian parade in August were not its old T-55s, but newly acquired Type 59s.

Belarus confirmed to the UN that it sold four Su-24M supersonic attack aircraft to Sudan, as well as four Mi-24 assault helicopters, but no additional Su-25s as claimed by the source that revealed the Su-24 sale.

Sudan also bought more armour from Ukraine, namely 20 T-72 tanks, 20 BMP-1 IFVs, and five 2S1 Gvozdika self-propelled guns. It is unclear if the T-72s were exported as kits to be assembled in Sudan as the Al-Zubair tank. Ukraine also sold five 122 mm D-30 howitzers to Sudan.

Having delivered 99 T-72s to Ethiopia in 2012, Ukraine transferred another 29 in 2013. Ukrainian state arms exporter Ukrspecexport announced in June 2011 that the company had signed a USD100 million deal to supply 200 surplus T-72s to Ethiopia. It is unclear if the first deliveries were made in 2011 as Ukraine did not submit any information to the UNODA that year.

Ethiopia also acquired 12 surplus Mi-24 helicopters from Ukraine and 12 MiG-23 jets from Bulgaria. Described as “dismantled, expired lifespan, without armament”, the MiG-23s were presumably acquired so they could be cannibalised to keep Ethiopia’s existing fleet flying.

Bulgaria confirmed that it supplied the 152 mm D-30 howitzers that were seen in a parade by the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in July.

Most of Russia’s defence exports to Africa went to Algeria, which acquired 101 tanks and 10 armoured combat vehicles. Algeria is reportedly in the process of acquiring a second batch of T-90S tanks from Russia to bring its total fleet up to 305 vehicles.

The only other African export listed in the Russian submission to the UNODA was for four combat helicopters delivered to Ghana: an apparent reference to the Mi-171Sh aircraft it received that year.

Mozambique, meanwhile, appears to have received its first tracked vehicles in 2013. The UK said it exported 40 F430 armoured combat vehicles to the country: probably a reference to surplus British Army vehicles from the FV430 family. The UK also delivered 20 old Saxon wheeled armoured personnel carriers to Mozambique.

Rwanda, meanwhile, acquired just one FV430 from the UK.