Every love story has its ups and downs… just like the one between Nexter and Africa. The sale of the Aravis to Gabon in 2014 ended a 30-year stretch during which contracts on the continent were scarce. Today Nexter is interested in the Côte d’Ivoire’s ambitious programme to reconstruct its army offering the TITUS which is being exhibited this week in Abidjan at the ShieldAfrica show.
The obsolescence of many of Africa’s armoured vehicle fleets, combined with the growing threat of terrorism and more involvement in peacekeeping operations have revealed a real requirement for better adapted vehicles. To meet this requirement the Côte d’Ivoire in 2002 launched a programme dominated by the purchase of second-hand vehicles. But these vehicles quickly showed their limits, notably during the French deployments in the Sahel-Saharan band and underscored the urgency of investing in new, robust and versatile vehicles. Nexter has a one-word answer: TITUS.
This polyvalent armoured vehicle’s “technical concept is completely adapted to the Ivorian requirements,” Marc Delort, director of international affairs Africa told us. Its modular architecture means it could equip all components at every level of the Ivorian armed forces.
If Nexter’s principal aim is to accompany the “creation of the backbone of the Ivorian army by concentrating on its need for heavy armoured vehicles,” Delort explains, the group’s ambition is to “profit from the concept of a platform to equip a whole army.” The modularity of TITUS means it can be adapted, for example, from being a troop carrier to a command vehicle via an artillery towing vehicle.
Weighing between 17 to 27 tonnes depending on its configuration, the TITUS can transport up to 14 soldiers protected by the latest generation of modular armour offering NATO level 4 protection from heavy machine gun fire and from a 10kg mine.
Far from limiting its offer to vehicles, Nexter is also proposing to provide the logistical support considered by African nations to be “an axe of improvement” Delort says. In other words by putting an emphasis on a global solution it is not impossible that Nexter could invest locally to supply the necessary services to ensure that the materiel is available.