The Cameroonian Rapid Intervention Battalions (BIR) are now fielding Mack Fortress armoured personnel carriers (APCs), Jane’s confirmed during a visit to the BIR base at Salak, the headquarters of Operation Alpha, the elite force’s deployment in the Far North Region.
The vehicles were built by the French company ACMAT – which, like Mack, is a subsidiary of Arquus (formerly Renault Trucks Defense) – as part of an order announced in 2015 by the US Department of Defense (DoD) for 62 vehicles for Cameroon, Ethiopia, Somalia, Tunisia, and Uganda.
The BIR received 15 Fortresses in late 2017 and deployed them to the Far North for operations against the militant group known as Boko Haram, a BIR officer told Jane’s . The vehicles are known as Cyclones in BIR service.
The Fortress was formerly branded as the Bastion HM and is a development of the ACMAT Bastion APC. At 14.5 tonnes it is heavier than the 12-tonne Bastion and has a more powerful 340 hp engine and independent suspension.
The Cameroonian vehicles have add-on armour mounted on both sides of the hull and heavier bullet-resistant windows.
Few details were provided about the vehicle’s performance, but the BIR officer noted that the Fortress has good mobility, especially when compared with the heavier General Dynamics Peace Keeping Security Vehicle (PKSV) that the BIR also uses.
BIR personnel praised the exceptional robustness and very high resistance to mines and improvised explosive devices of the PKSVs that were donated by the United States in 2015 and 2016.
The BIR also received two Oshkosh FMTV A1P2 6×6 trucks from the United States in April, the BIR officer said. The FMTVs are equipped with an LTAS B-Kit armoured cab and are being used for logistics.