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Gabon parades Norinco VP11 MRAPs

A still from the television coverage of Gabon's military parade on 17 August shows the Republican Guard's new Norinco VP11 MRAPs followed by Aravis and VN1 infantry fighting vehicles. (Gabon 24)

The Gabonese Republican Guard (GR) displayed its Norinco VP11 mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles publicly for the first time when 13 were used in the 17 August Independence Day military parade in Libreville.

The GR is an armed forces branch responsible for presidential security and supporting the rest of the military. The commentator for the television coverage of the parade said the VP11s are part of the 2nd Reconnaissance and Combat Squadron of the GR's Armoured Intervention Group and were used by the Gabonese contingent that served with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).

The 4×4 VP11 has a combat weight of 10 tonnes and can accommodate up to eight personnel, including a driver and a gunner. According to the manufacturer, it offers all-round STANAG Level 1 protection, which can be increased to Level 2 using add-on armour, and has a V-shaped hull to mitigate mines and improvised explosive devices.

The GR's vehicles were armed with a Norinco QJC-88 12.7 mm heavy machine gun in a protected weapon station and two Norinco CS/LW2 38 mm anti-riot launchers.

China and Tajikistan are the only other confirmed VP11 users with reports of a sale to the UAE still unconfirmed.

Other GR vehicles on parade included 10 Norinco VN1 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), which were unveiled in 2019, although only five were seen in previous parades. They also included several Arquus Bastion, Sagaie 2 and VBL, Nexter Aravis, Norinco WZ523, Engesa EE-9 Cascavel, and the single GDELS 6×6 Pandur II Gabon bought in 2004.

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