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Mauritania Acquires Chinese Armored Vehicles Including WMA-301.

Mauritania has acquired a range of Chinese-made armored vehicles, notably the WMA-301. The President of the Republic of Mauritania, Mr. Mohamed Ould Sheikh Al-Ghazouani, conducted an inspection visit on June 9, 2024, to review the newly acquired military equipment as part of an initiative to modernize the land, air, and naval forces.
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Mauritania has acquired a range of Chinese-made armored vehicles, notably the WMA-301. (Picture source: Mauritanian MoD)

Upon arrival, President Al-Ghazouani was welcomed by the Minister of National Defense, Mr. Hanen Ould Sidi, accompanied by the Commander of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, Lieutenant General Mokhtar Bellah Chaabane, and the Commander of the Central Institution of the General Reserve of Materiel, Colonel Ahmadou Bemba Hefazou El Mamoun.

Following the honor salute ceremony, the President greeted several high-ranking military officials, including the Chief of Staff of the National Gendarmerie, Lieutenant General Abdallah Ould Ahmed Aisha, the Assistant Commander of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, Major General Mohamed Val Rais, and the chiefs of the land, air, and naval armies. Other officials present included the Inspector General of the Armed Forces and Security Forces, the Secretary-General of the Ministry of National Defense, and various division and directorate commanders.

Brigadier General Mohamed Al-Mukhtar Minni provided a detailed briefing to the President and his delegation. This briefing covered the technical characteristics and strategic significance of the new military equipment, emphasizing its role in modernizing the armed forces in response to current geostrategic challenges.

The new equipment, aimed at enhancing operational capabilities and combat readiness across all branches of the military, includes advanced armored units, cutting-edge communications systems, field artillery, anti-armor units, rocket and anti-aircraft launchers, aircraft, radar stations, and reconnaissance drones. These drones, equipped for surveillance, tracking, and precise missile guidance, also feature effective attack capabilities, ensuring round-the-clock coverage of national territory, including territorial waters.

Colonel Ahmadou Bembeh Hefazou El-Mamoun highlighted the advanced nature of the new arsenal during the presentation, noting its importance in strengthening the nation's defense capabilities.

Among the various vehicles presented was the WMA-301, an armored vehicle designed by NORINCO China North Industries Corp. It is armed with a 100 or 105 mm gun, a coaxial 7.62 mm caliber machine gun, and a 12.7 mm anti-aircraft machine gun. Used by countries like China, Senegal, Chad, Cameroon, and Djibouti, this vehicle is equipped with a nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) protection system, a fire control system, night vision, a GPS system, and air conditioning. It can carry a crew of four plus one additional soldier. The WMA-301 is protected against 12.7 mm caliber projectiles and shell splinters on the battlefield. It weighs 19,000 kg, can reach a speed of 85 km/h on the road, and has a range of 600 km. Its dimensions, with the gun, are 8.3 meters in length, 2.86 meters in width, and 3.15 meters in height.

Thus, Mauritania appears to favor China for the supply of military equipment. However, while this type of equipment is less expensive than its Western counterparts, Chinese vehicles have yet to prove their effectiveness in combat, raising doubts about their technical capabilities.

Mauritania has acquired a range of Chinese-made armored vehicles. ( Picture Source: Mauritanian MoD)

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