Burkina Faso receives Isotrex Phantom MRAP vehicles amid tensions with ECOWAS

According to the Faso Times on 24 August 2023, the Burkina Faso army appears to have received Emirati-made Isotrex Phantom mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles. Images circulating on social media also show other vehicles with the inscription "BUFFALO.E10." Tensions between Burkina Faso and ECOWAS continue, as ECOWAS still threatens military intervention against Niger, an openly allied country of Burkina Faso.
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Isotrex Phantom mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles In Burkina Faso (Picture source: Faso Times )

The strengthening of Burkina Faso's troops does not come at an insignificant time, as ECOWAS continues to threaten Niger with military intervention, and tensions, for now, do not seem to be subsiding. As a reminder, Burkina Faso has declared that any attack on Nigerien soil would be considered an attack on its own territory. Although the exact details of the agreement and the number of Phantoms acquired are not publicly available, the presence of these vehicles indicates a strengthening of Burkina Faso's military assets.

The Phantom has five doors, two escape hatches, and a 360-degree turret. The vehicle's dimensions are as follows, 2.5m in width, 6.12m in length, and 2.36m in height, or 2,650 mm with the turret. This design accommodates 10 seats, providing room for a driver, a commander, and eight other people.

Under the hood, the Phantom is powered by a 330 horsepower, 6.7 L engine, available in both diesel and petrol variants. The automatic transmission and All-Wheel Drive (AWD) configuration enhance its mobility and responsiveness. The vehicle's Independent Suspension and Isotrex Heavy Reinforced Suspension systems ensure a smooth ride, even in the most challenging conditions. The Central Tire Inflation System (CTIS) adds to its adaptability. The armoring, available in STANAG II or III levels, ensures that the vehicle can withstand various types of attacks.

But the threat of intervention from ECOWAS is not the only one Burkina Faso must face. The country is grappling with security challenges, particularly in the northeastern region. It has been confronted with ambushes and attacks from armed groups, some of whom have sworn allegiance to terrorist organizations like ISIL and al-Qaeda. Recently, terrorists ambushed a police reconnaissance mission in the Koulpelogo province. The addition of Isotrex Phantom vehicles could also be a response to these ongoing threats, providing the army with enhanced protection and mobility in conflict zones.

The acquisition of Isotrex Phantom MRAP vehicles by Burkina Faso's army marks a significant step in enhancing its defense capabilities. As the country continues to face security challenges, these vehicles may play a crucial role in safeguarding personnel and enhancing operational effectiveness.