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01 Dec 15. T-90 tanks move to the front in Syria. The Syrian Army is now operating Russian-made T-90 main battle tanks (MBTs), Iran’s Fars News Agency has reported. On 29 November, Fars cited military sources as saying that Syria’s 4th Armoured Division had deployed newly delivered T-90 tanks to support its advance south of Aleppo. The division is the Syrian Army’s best equipped and trained manoeuvre formation.
Russia’s deployment of T-90 tanks to its Humaymim Air Base in Latakia province was confirmed on 12 November, when one was seen in the background of photographs of a musical performance held at the base. Satellite imagery had previously shown six tanks at the base, but it was unclear if they were T-90s or T-72s, which have almost identical dimensions. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/IHS Jane’s)
17 Nov 15. EGYPT – Local factory set to produce 250 military vehicles. Egypt’s Kader Factory for Development Industries will reportedly begin the production of 250 military vehicles for the Egyptian armed forces late this year.
Kader’s chairman, Abdel Sadek Abdel Reheem, has said the company was granted a contract for the vehicles several weeks ago and is currently in the early phases of manufacturing, reports Daily News Egypt today (17 November). The vehicles are not intended for combat operations, but instead will be used for transportation of goods. Further details about the vehicles, such as their size, has not been made clear.
Abdel Reheem also reportedly stated that Kader is looking to find additional customers beyond the Egyptian military, and is planning to attend an exhibition (unnamed) in the country’s northern Al Sharqeya Governorate next week. (Source: MPI – Hawk Information)
17 Nov 15. ETHIOPIA – MoD-linked company to establish nation-wide ‘engineering zones.’ Ethiopia’s Bishoftu Automotive Industry (BIA) has reportedly declared plans to establish 27 new ‘engineering zones’ across the country. The engineering zones “will be assembling and manufacturing motorcycles, bicycles, light and heavy trucks and other vehicles,” according to The Ethiopian Herald.
BIA is managed by the Ethiopian Ministry of Defence. Its activities include the assembly of vehicles, the manufacture of construction equipment and machinery, and the overhaul of military vehicles. However, it is not exactly clear whether the vehicles produced in the new ‘engineering zones’ will have a military/defence purpose.
BIA has entered arrangements with Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda to build vehicle production facilities, according to the company’s General Manager Gebremedhin Zeselassie, and is also producing armoured vehicles for Ethiopian and other African peacekeeping missions. (Source: MPI – Hawk Information)
16 Nov 15. FRANCE – Nexter unveils upgraded VBCI for export – targeting Asian market? France’s Nexter is promoting an upgraded version of its 32-ton 8 x 8 Vehicule Blinde de Combat et Infanterie (VBCI) Mk2 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) for export markets, according to a report in the Asian Defence Journal. The vehicle was unveiled at the Defense and Security 2015 exhibition in Thailand (2-5 November), suggesting Nexter may be looking to target the Asian armoured vehicle market.
The specifications of the upgraded vehicle include a 600bhp Volvo D13 engine, upgraded armour for greater protection from landmines, and a new communications system for operation with Sagem’s Fantassin à Équipements et Liaisons Intégrés (FELIN) integrated soldier system.
According to data from Forecast International, the most recent supply contract for Nexter’s VBCI was in 2009 when the French DGA awarded Nexter a USD3.722bn contract for 332 units. (Source: MPI – Hawk Information)
16 Nov 15. THAILAND – Left-hand drive Thai MRAP to boost export potential? The Philippines will be the first country t