November 5, 2013
(ADDIS ABABA) – Ukraine ’s state-controlled arms exporter, Ukrspecexport SC, has begun delivering the upgraded T-72 main battle tanks and related parts to the Ethiopian military.
According to local sources gathered by Sudan Tribune, the Ethiopian military has taken delivery of a first group of 16 T-72 Tanks which recently arrived at Djibouti port.
The delivery is said to be part of the 2011 deal signed between Ethiopia’s defence ministry and the Ukrainian arms firm to purchase 200 T-72 tanks at a cost of $100 million.
Officials at the ministry of defence declined to comment on Tuesday over the matter despite repeated attempts by Sudan Tribune.
The components of the T-72 tanks were upgraded with modern guided weapons, new and powerful engines, reactive armour as well as updated sighting systems and countermeasures.
Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populace nation, is one of the continent’s top military spenders.
According to the Global Firepower military power ranking report for 2013, the horn of Africa nation was ranked second on the African continent after Egypt and placed 28th globally.
The Ethiopian military is made up of an army and an air force. In 2012, Ethiopia had an estimated 150,000 personnel in their ground forces and 3,000 air force personnel.
Ethiopia engaged in border war with Eritrea during 1998-2000 which killed over 70,000 people from both sides.
With its border disputes with Eritrea still unresolved and Addis Ababa committed to the African Union’s force in neighbouring Somalia, Ethiopia has beefed up its military strength in the past ten years.
Ethiopia is also among the top ten countries that contribute to peacekeeping mission worldwide.
It currently has over 4,000 peacekeeping troops deployed in the contested Abyei region, which is claimed by both Sudan and South Sudan.
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