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Côte d'Ivoire unveils new equipment during military parade

The Ivorian army's cavalry contingent unveiled its WZ551 armoured vehicles during the 62nd anniversary parade in Yamoussoukro on 7 August. (AFP via Getty Images)

Several types of previously unseen armoured vehicle and unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) were displayed during a parade held by the Armed Forces of Côte d'Ivoire (FACI) on 7 August

Televised coverage of the parade in Yamoussoukro to commemorate the 62nd anniversary of the country's independence showed it included 20 of the FACI's new Otokar Cobra II light armoured vehicles (LAVs), including an ambulance and a recovery vehicle.

The official commentator said the vehicles are attached to Combined Arms Tactical Groups (GTIA) Bolt and Flash, which are intended as a rapid intervention reserve. Several were fitted with electronic jammers to counter remote-controlled improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

The Cobra II has a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of up to 13.5 tonnes and can embark up to 10 personnel, including a driver and a gunner. Its armour provides protection against direct impact from 7.62×51 mm ammunition. The Ivorian vehicles were seen armed with 12.7 mm heavy machine guns.

While the total number of Cobra IIs in service with the FACI has not been confirmed, Turkey reported to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms that 26 armoured personnel carriers were exported to Côte d'Ivoire in 2021.

These could include other types, but 24 would be sufficient to equip two companies with three platoons, each with four vehicles, as is standard across most French-speaking African countries' militaries, with the ambulance and recovery vehicle bringing the total to 26.

Other known international customers for the Cobra II include Bangladesh, Ghana, and Rwanda.

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