Gabon's elite Republican Guard (GR) displayed Chinese-made Norinco VN1 8×8 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) for the first time during the independence day military parade on 17 August.
The commentator for the television coverage of the event said the IFVs are part of the Scouting, Reconnaissance, and Combat Squadron of the GR's Armoured Intervention Group.
The five VN1s that appeared in the parade were not painted in the GR's standard camouflage, suggesting they were delivered recently.
The IFV variant of the VN1 is a fully amphibious vehicle weighing 21 tonnes with a two-man turret armed with a 30 mm main gun and a 7.62 mm coaxial machine-gun. It can carry seven dismounts in addition to three crew. It has already been exported to Thailand and Venezuela, with Gabon being its first known operator in Africa.
A pair of Dongfeng EQ2050 vehicles fitted with multiple antennas and cameras also took part in the parade. The television commentator said both are configured for tactical ground-to-ground and air-to-ground communications, with high frequency, VHF, and UHF capabilities.
Several Panhard VBL light-armoured vehicles, Arquus Bastion armoured personnel carriers, and a pair of Nexter Aravis APCs from the Armoured Intervention Group's Support and Combat Squadron also featured in the parade.
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