Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, has said the Ghana Army needed to upgrade its armoured vehicles to efficiently offer protection and mobility in difficult and hostile terrains.
Speaking at the 2017 Armoured Vehicles and Future Fires Africa Conference and Defence Exhibition in Accra on Thursday, Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said Ghana was currently ranked the seventh largest contributor of troops to the United Nations Peace Support operations.
The conference, hosted by the Ghana Armed Forces, in collaboration with the International Quality and Productivity Centre (IQPC), aimed to digest fires available to the military and examine the way forward for optimum application in contemporary warfare.
The event, on the theme; “Ensuring Survivability and Ground Superiority through Protected Mobility and Enhanced Firepower,” aimed to engender benchmarking, debate, and collaboration in the area of procurement of new platforms, maintenance and upgrade of existing vehicles and equipment.
It brought together security agencies from Ghana, Nigeria, Benin, Cameroun, South Africa and Botswana among others.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng noted that internal and expeditionary challenges in West Africa had demanded the procurement of increasing numbers of armoured vehicles and protected mobility solutions for the rapid deployment of assets across vast areas.
“This has resulted in significant defence expenditure to secure borders, defend populations and natural resources as well as aiding in peacekeeping missions,” he added.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said as African countries made investments in improving the quality of firepower and mortars, there was the need for the Military to explore new and emerging topics at the forefront of strategic and technological thinking in defence.
Digitised weapons system vulnerabilities, munitions, and employment of organic firepower by Special Forces are beneficial, he added.
He said the event would expose guests to “unique” opportunities, meeting leaders in the armoured vehicles and future fires industry.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng urged military leaders and stakeholders in defence to take advantage of the event to develop a well-integrated plan to ensure survivability and ground superiority through protected mobility and enhance firepower in the armed forces.
He said the battalions would be equipped with Armoured Personnel Carrier and infantry Assault Vehicles in order to provide protection for personnel, enhance mobility across rough terrains and provide a more integrated fire power for both internal security duties for peace support operations.
He said this would enhance the Ghana Army’s ability to react efficiently to any threats to national peace and security from internal and external sources and expand the deployment of its troops on peacekeeping duties.
Major General William Azure Ayamdo, the Chief of the Ghana Army Staff, said: “The current security challenges across the world will require us to procure the advanced amour vehicles and protected mobility solutions that will enable us to deploy rapidly to intervene in crisis situations.”
He said: “We have to invest to improve on the platforms we have for such rapid deployments and also improve the quality of indirect fire support available to the Ghana Armed Forces”.
He said Armies and security services across the world would have to explore new strategic and technological thinking in defence architecture to be able to combat ‘the sophisticated enemy both internally and externally.