Marking Gabon’s 55th independence anniversary in mid-August, the first five Nexter Aravis armoured vehicles delivered a few days earlier took part to the national celebrations in Libreville.
A total of twelve Aravis were ordered by Gabon in October 2014 as the nation’s commitment to the United Nations’ Minusca mission (the acronym derives from the French Mission multidimensionnelle intégrée des Nations Unies pour la srabilisation en Centrafrique and is translated as United Nations multidimensional integrated stabilisation mission in the Central African Republic) – in other words a peacekeeping mission set up in April 2014 with a view to protecting civilians in Central African Republic (République Centrafricaine).
Highest Protection Level
More than ever before, vehicles engaged in peace-keeping operations abroad must guarantee a high degree of protection to their occupants who are not at war with the other parties involved. The Aravis is thus one of the only vehicles of its kind to offer an all-round level 4 protection to Stanag 4569. This translates as Level 4 ballistic protection by defeating 14.5mm rounds, Level 4 mine protection by remaining immune to 10kg mine underbelly attack, Level 4 artillery attack protection against 155mm attack all round.
Given the nature of their mission, the vehicles delivered to Gabon are equipped with an ARX20 gun turret also manufactured by Nexter, which is operated from within the vehicle so as not to expose their gunners. The 20mm is the maximum standard calibre deemed necessary for self-protection (as anything above is considered to cross a more offensive line). However, the ARX20’s 10M621 canon ability to belch out 750 of 100-gram steel slugs per minute, allied to the inherent strength of the vehicle in such operations, is believed enough to give second thoughts to a bold attacker.