Proforce Ara, also known as Thunder, is a mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle designed and developed by Nigerian defence solutions provider Proforce.
Designed to offer all-round protection in high-threat environments, the MRAP’s modular architecture integrates the latest technology, making it suitable for multiple challenging missions.
The modular Ara MRAP can be configured for missions including recovery, medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), command and control, patrolling, and reconnaissance.
The vehicle was first inducted by the Nigerian armed forces in July 2018, while the upgraded version, Ara 2, was displayed at the Nigerian Army Day in June 2019.
Proforce received an order from an undisclosed African customer for the delivery of 20 Ara 2 MRAP vehicles, in June 2019.
Ara vehicle design and features
The Ara MRAP features a V-shaped, monocoque armoured hull offering all-round protection to the crew and the troops. The 4×4 independent drive rigid body vehicle features two doors on each side and a single door at the rear.
The front portion of the vehicle accommodates the crew and commander, while the rest of the vehicle houses the troops and their armament. The vehicle can carry up to 12 troops.
Designed for modern warfare, the MRAP vehicle offers tactical digital battlefield communications using the onboard command, control, communications, and computers information system (C4IS).
The vehicle has a length of 6.8m, width of 2.5m, height of 2.5m, and a wheelbase of 3.5m.
Its gross weight is 19t and the payload carrying capacity is 3,000kg.
Ara MRAP integrates a 360° freedom rooftop turret-mounted 50mm machine gun. The turret can be operated manually, as well as remotely. It also features a 360° protection shield ensuring protection to the operator.
Weapons of various grades and profiles can be integrated into the vehicle through a programmable system, which allows the commander or the crew to operate the weapons from the vehicle.
The vehicle also features a multiple input joystick system and thumb control unit for quick response.
Gun ports are also available on the sidewalls of the vehicle to launch counter-attacks from within the vehicle.
The vehicle features a full spectrum of hybrid armour system. It is designed to offer Stanag level 3A and 3B ballistic and 4A and 4B mine protection, which can be upgraded based on the requirements.
The armoured vehicle can be optionally fitted with slat armour (bar armour), and iron curtains to provide complete protection against rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs).
Ara offers protection against improvised explosive devices (IEDs), explosively formed penetrators (EFP), and sharp charge warheads. It can be optionally installed with additional countermeasures, grenade launchers, and nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) protection systems.
Engine and performance
Ara mine-resistant vehicle is powered by a Cummins 300hp turbo engine coupled to a six-speed Allison automatic gearbox.
The fuel tank capacity of the vehicle is 200l and it can reach a maximum speed of 96km/h.
It features a fully-independent suspension system providing superior control and greater agility on and off the road. It offers the desired manoeuvrability due to its traction and minimum turning circle.
The Ara 4×4 is an all-terrain vehicle capable of treading over mountainous terrains, sandy areas, mud, and shallow waters. It has an approach angle of 40°, a departure angle of 60°, and a ground clearance of 0.25m.
The heavy-duty tires fitted to the vehicle are designed for difficult terrains, while the onboard advanced inflation system manages the tire pressure and offers protection against impacts as high as four billet punctures.
The internal vehicle run-flat system further ensures mobility, even in the event of tire damage.