Military Capabilities

Senegal parades new BM-21s and armoured vehicles

11 April 2017

The Senegalese Army publicly displayed for the first time its recently delivered Ukrainian-made BM-21 'Grad' multiple rocket launchers (MRL) and Oncilla armoured vehicles during a military parade in Dakar on 4 April.

A still from Senegalese TV footage shows Mista Oncilla armoured vehicles in the military parade held on 4 April. (Leral TV)A still from Senegalese TV footage shows Mista Oncilla armoured vehicles in the military parade held on 4 April. (Leral TV)

Six BM-21s and two Oncillas featured in the parade to mark the 57th anniversary of the country's independence.

A Senegalese Army source told Jane's that both types were delivered earlier this year to the Dakar-based Artillery Battalion and that the Oncillas, which are armed with FN M2 .50 calibre heavy machine guns, were acquired to serve in the forward artillery control role.

Senegal is the first confirmed foreign user of the Oncilla, which is a variant of the Ukrainian Dozor-B 4x4 light armoured vehicle that is made by the Polish company Mista.

It has a combat weight of 8,800 kg, can carry three crew and eight dismounts, and is powered by an IVECO NEF 4 ENTC diesel engine. The vehicle has STANAG Level 2 armour, which can be increased to Level 3.

The Senegalese BM-21s launchers are mounted on Ukrainian-produced KrAZ-6322PA Bastion-01 6x6 truck chassis instead of the more usual Russian-made Ural 4320-3 chassis. First unveiled by the Ukrainian defence industry in 2011, the KrAZ-mounted version offers better cross-country mobility and fuel efficiency than the Ural-mounted BM-21.

The Artillery Battalion also paraded a number of KrAZ trucks outfitted as shelter vehicles.

The cabs on the Senegalese KrAZ trucks do not appear to have the armour plating that can be fitted to protect their crews from small-arms fire.

The Artillery Battalion also fields eight Nexter 155 mm TRF1 towed howitzers that were delivered in 2011 and eight legacy 105 mm M101 towed howitzers of Second World War vintage. The TRF1s were deployed to The Gambia as part of the Senegalese-led military intervention in January.

The Senegalese military is engaged in an ongoing modernisation programme that has seen the delivery of significant amounts of new equipment since 2014, including several dozen IAI RAM Mk.3 armoured personnel carriers; 39 OTT M26 Puma Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, of which several examples were paraded on 4 April, including a recovery version; and a squadron of NORINCO WMA301 tank destroyers.

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