While reacting to an incident in which at least five security personnel were on September 10th killed when their APC was hit by an RPG in Elwak area, Mandera County, Police Spokesman Charles Owino said the vehicles cannot withstand a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) attack.
“We wish to clarify that the attack was not in any way due to the unsuitability of our equipment,” said Owino, Standard reported.
The personnel were travelling between Farhama and Elram when their two armoured vehicles and a lorry were hit by an RPGs fired by suspected Al-Shabaab militants. About 20 other personnel were injured in the attack.
Mr. Owino was, however, quick to add the APCs can resist bomb attack since they are equipped with Mine Resistant Ambush (MRAP) armour.
“Armoured Personnel Carriers can resist specific calibres of ammunition while MRAPs resist mines and RPGs,” said Owino.
The attack poked holes on the suitability of the equipment, which police insist is suitable.
In 2016, Kenya bought 30 VN-4s for unspecified amount which were deployed to the General Service Unit and Anti Stock Theft Unit (ASTU).
An additional fleet of CS/VP3 type Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles was purchased and, among other units, was deployed to the Border Patrol Unit of the Administration Police.
All you need to know about VN-4s APC
The VN4 is designed and manufactured in China by the Chinese Defense Company Norinco.
According to Han Xiaoxin, publicity head at Chongqing Tiema Industries Group Co, a Norinco subsidiary that specializes in armored vehicles, the VN-4, can be installed with a wide variety of weapons at the buyer's request.
VN-4, can conduct amphibious operations and is able to resist 7.62-mm bullets fired from assault rifles. It can be used to control riots, rescue hostages, for armed escorts, border patrols, and for counterterrorism and peacekeeping operations, Han said.
The VN-4, which weighs 9 metric tons, is suitable for quick-response deployment and can travel in all types of terrain.
The VN4 comes fitted with an open-roof small turret mounted at front top hull armed with a 12.7mm heavy machine gun. Three smoke grenade dischargers are mounted on each side of the turret.
The layout of the VN4 is standard with the engine at the front, the crew in the middle and the troop's compartment at the rear. It can carry up to 10 crew.
Standard equipment of the VN4 includes air conditioning but in option the vehicle can be equipped with communication system, central tyre inflation system, driver night vision, GPS and NBC protection system.
The hull of the VN4 is made in all-welded steel armour plates which provides a protection for the crew against firing of small arms and shell splinters. On entry door is available on each side at the front of the hull and one large door at the rear. Two small bulletproof windows are fitted on each side of the hull with firing port.
The VN4 can run at a maximum road speed of 115 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 700 km. The vehicle can climb a gradient of 30° and cross a trench of 0.8 m.
US comes to the rescue of Kenya
Meanwhile, Kenya is set to receive six new US-made light attack helicopter gunships by December, a US manufacturer said on Friday. The helicopters are part of an initial order of 12 light attack and reconnaissance helicopters.
The planes are part of the $253 million (Sh25 billion) arms deal that Nairobi signed with Washington, which got the United States Congress approval in May 2017.
The six MD Helicopters Inc (MDHI) MD530F Cayuse Warrior Scout and light-attack platforms were set to be delivered between April and August but was delayed.
“Kenya will receive all six of the MD Helicopters Inc MD 530F Cayuse Warrior scout and light-attack platforms it ordered in 2018 by the end of this year, the manufacturer confirmed on September 13,” UK-based defence magazine IHS Jane's Defence Weekly said in an update yesterday.