AFRICANGLOBE – The Nigerian Army has re-commissioned several 35 mm anti-aircraft guns, after they were refurbished by the army’s 31 Artillery Brigade.
The weapons are believed to be Chinese Type 90s, license built copies of the towed Oerlikon GDF-002 twin-barelled anti-aircraft unit. The guns became unserviceable in 2002.
Speaking at a test-firing and commissioning demonstration at the Kachia Military Range in the northern city of Kaduna last week, Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Azubuike Ihejirika said the successful refurbishment of the guns using local products marked a milestone in the army’s desire to build and support the growth of the local defence industry.
Ihejirika said the project was designed to increase the army’s support to the local economy by ensuring that all defence procurement and maintenance contracts are awarded to local companies.
“I am here today to witness the test firing of 35 mm anti-aircraft guns recently repaired by the 31 Artillery Brigade using local resources. I urge you to maintain the tempo of transformation and high standards. During the test-firing we witnessed today, I observed that the guns fired consistently without missing targets,” said Ihejirika.
As part of its programme to develop the local defence industry, the Nigerian Army has also designed surveillance vehicles and mobile antenna for urban communication to improve command and communication systems within its divisions.
The army also used local content to manufacture bomb detectors, armoured personnel carriers and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
“The changing nature of contemporary threats facing the Nigerian Army and the degradation of NACA’s [Nigeria Army Corps of Artillery’s] capacity over time due to equipment attrition made it necessary to rebuild its capacity for (undertaking) missions,” Ihejirika said.
With an average firing rate of 500 rounds per minute per barrel, the twin-barrelled guns are capable of engaging aerial targets to a range of up to 6 500 metres. The gun can also engage ground targets within a range of 4 000 metres.
By: Oscar Nkala