Defence Web announced recently that Nigeria and Algeria are in the process of purchasing sophisticated military equipment from China. These announcements are reminders of an important Chinese export to Africa that receives very little coverage in the media.
An article dated 30 January 2014 and titled “China Launches First Nigerian Offshore Patrol Vessel” reported that the China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Company launched the Nigerian Navy’s first of two P-18N offshore patrol vessels. The first vessel was built entirely in China while between 50 and 70 percent of the second ship will be constructed in Nigeria in an effort to enhance local shipbuilding capability and provide technology transfer. Delivery of the first vessel is scheduled for the middle of 2014 and the second to be completed late in 2014 or early in 2015. The vessels are 95 meters long with a draft of 3.5 meters. Crew complement is 70 and the vessels can carry a helicopter on the rear deck. The Nigerian Navy announced that the vessels would mainly be used for maritime surveillance, patrol and response.
An article dated 27 January 2014 and titled “Algeria Acquires Chinese Artillery; Evaluating UAVs” reported that the Algerian military appears to have acquired self-propelled artillery from China and is evaluating Chinese unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as it continues to expand its military forces. Early this year, there was a picture in Algeria of a convoy of about 50 new PLZ 45 self-propelled howitzers, which are made by Norinco for the export market. Algeria is also reportedly in discussion with China for the purchase of Xianglong UAVs, a jet-powered High Altitude Long Endurance aircraft designed by the Guizhou Aircraft Corporation of China.