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Proforce Viper armoured vehicle breaks cover

One of the two Viper APCs displayed by Proforce during the COAS Conference. (Proforce)

Nigerian company Proforce publicly unveiled its new Viper armoured vehicle for the first time on 6 December during the Nigerian Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Conference at Army Headquarters in Abuja.

A Proforce executive told Janes that the two vehicles displayed at the conference were purchased earlier this year by the government of one of Nigeria's 36 states for use by the army. Both have now been handed over and will soon be deployed.

Initial concept work on the Viper began in 2019 as an internal company effort, the Proforce executive said, but the army became involved in 2020 and its recommendations have been incorporated into the design. This resulted in the development of different armoured personnel carrier (APC) and mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) variants.

Both vehicles displayed at the COAS conference were the Viper APC variant, which is built on a Ford F550 Super Duty chassis. It has a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 9 tonnes, a 4.5 litre V8 turbocharged Cummins diesel engine that generates 330 hp, and room for eight personnel, including a driver and a gunner for weapons up to 20 mm in calibre.

It has all-round NATO STANAG 4569 Level 1 protection, including floor armour against mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

The Nigerian Army's requirement for a lighter fast-attack vehicle led Proforce to develop the fully monocoque MRAP version alongside the Viper APC. This has a GVW of 7.5 tonnes and a 4.5 litre V8 turbocharged Cummins diesel engine that generates 267 hp. It has the same protection levels as the APC and also has room for up to eight personnel, including a gunner.

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