The Botswana Standardization Plan was a series of trials and competitions in early 2010 between several Botswanan companies to decide which company would receive government funding for their projects. The Plan was originally proposed under the government of Ian Mmusi who wanted to standardize all of Botswana's military equipment and replace the old USSR equipment they were still using, As well as being a publicity stunt the plan had a practical undertone, The equipment being used by the army at the time was unsuited for desert combat and was two heavy to be used on the salt flats.
The idea was originally discarded when Festus Mogae came to power but by January 2010 his transport minister had suggested that they bring back the trials, not only to improve Botswana's military but to also improve the Botswanan Air Force and trains.
- 1 Vehicles
- 2 Aircraft & Helicopters
- 3 Trains
These had been ordered from the USSR in 1981 and by the time of their arrival were already twenty years old. They were fully amphibious and were armed with a heavy machine gun. However like many vehicles employed by the BDF they were two heavy to cross the salt pans and more importantly were prone to mechanical failure in desert environments. Despite their flaws they were put to good use invading the less arid south.
These were ordered at the same time as the BTR-60's and shared many of their features. They were also amphibious and prone to damage from sand (though less so than the BTR's), but unlike the BTR could cross the salt pans and didn't sink in soft sand. Their improved reliability was offset by the fact that they were lightly armed and their armour wasn't as good.
Several of these tanks were captured by BDF forces in a skirmish with an unknown force and were taken back to Botswana to be copied. Unsurprisingly they cannot cross the salt pans and sink quickly in soft sand, However they are far more reliable in desert conditions as well as being heavily armoured and having a cannon. They were put to good use in the invasion of the south and Mmusi had originally planned for them not to be replaced.
Two major contenders emerged for the replacement of the BTR-60. Botswana Automobiles (BA) proposed a long bodied eight wheeled APC. It would be armed with a trimmed-down version of the T54 cannon and a coaxial heavy machine gun. It had sealed electrics and mechanical parts to deal with the dust and because of its long wheelbase and spread out weight would have been able to cross the salt pans. To allow for the heavier guns and increased passenger space it did lose some armour. The other proposed design was from Botswanan Industries (BI) who proposed a tracked APC similar to the BMP-1. It had a 73mm cannon and machine gun as well as the capacity to have a missile attached. Its tracked system did mean it couldn't cross the salt pans but it was light enough not to get stuck in sand and was also sand-proofed. The design eventually chosen was the BI one and it was called the BI-21.
Both BI and BA both decided to use lightened versions of their proposed BTR replacements for the V-100 replacement. The BA design was shorter and only had six wheels as well has having lost the tank cannon and replacing it with heavy machine gun. The BI design lost its heavy armour and tracks and replaced them with six wheels. Botswana Military Systems (BMS) also proposed a replacement for the V-100 it was an eight wheeled APC which had no gun turret and could carry up to three section's of BDF soldiers. Seeing as the BDF already had a turreted IFV they chose to build the BMS APC as it had the largest capacity.
There were only two competitors for the replacement of the T54. The first, by BMS, was a simple conversion of the T54 to a wheeled vehicle to allow it to cross the salt pans and with reduced armour. The BA version was far more complicated and was tracked. It was built onto the body of the T54, but featured improved armour and a larger cannon. Unlike the BMS tank it wouldn't be able to cross the salt pans but its good weight distribution meant it would be able to survive in desert conditions. As a tank the BA version was far superior and was chosen as the successor.
Aircraft & Helicopters
These aircraft were ordered from Britain in the 1980's to form the backbone of the Botswanan Air Wing. Although originally designed as a trainer aircraft the Strikemaster proved itself as a decent fighter-bomber in the invasion of the south. Despite its success in the southern war the Strikemaster was over 40 years old by the 2000's and was a prime candidate for replacement. It is also fuel intensive and uses kerosene instead of petrol or diesel.
Bell Twin Huey/412
The Twin Huey was the BDF's main support helicopter in the southern war and proved itself to be a good military copter. However it was lightly armoured and was vulnerable to even small arms fire. The Huey is easy to operate however and even though it is due to be replaced will probably remain in service for use as a trainer.
There were two proposed replacements for the BAC Strikemaster. One was from BI and was a modified version of the Strikemaster. It came in two versions, a fighter and bomber variant. It would have been lighter and required less Kerosene. Botswana Air Systems (the company responsible for maintaining the BAW fleet) produced a turboprop aircraft that would be cheaper than the Strikemaster but still carry a similar armament and could be operated on petrol. The BAS version was chosen due to its simplicity and cheapness. A trainer version is also on the cards but it is likely for the Strikemaster to be maintained as a trainer.
The BAS Skyblitzer was proposed alongside the Skysweeper. It was a turboprop tactical bomber developed by the BAS and had two turboprop engines. The skyblitzer has capacity to carry a section of infantry to be para-dropped in or up to 6,000 lb of bombs. It was superficially similar to the De Havilland Mosquito of the Second World War, but was built of aluminum rather than wood. Unlike the other designs being proposed the Skyblitzer had seen limited deployment in the southern war where it had been used to destroy rebel positions. There is also a transport version that is larger and can carry a platoon of BDF soldiers.
There was only one contender for the replacement for the Huey which was the BI Lea helicopter, It maintained the simplicity of the Huey but was more heavily armoured and the transport version could carry more passengers. The Huey's armament was upgraded with new rocket pods and the capacity to mount AA and AT missiles.
Botswana's rail network is relatively new with decent equipment and locomotives. It is only in need of updating due to the electrification of several new lines and the need for new locomotives to run on them.
This was the most modern vehicle in use in Botswana at the time of Doomsday having only been ordered in 1982. They had a 2,250 BHP engine and were the mainline vehicles in Botswana. Like the majority of train locomotives in African countries they were general purpose locomotives suited to hauling freight and passengers. They are used on the Francistown to Sowa line to haul salt and other materials to Francistown as well as moving passengers between the two cities. There are only two in service due to fuel shortages.
Class 10 Express Locomotive
The Class 10 was based on an EAR steam locomotive that BDF forces recovered in 1990. The EAR locomotive itself had been based on the LNER A1 class but had been modified to fit the narrower gauge and to burn wood. The Class 10 was the first locomotive to be produced by the fledgling Francistown Engineering Yard and is the fastest locomotive in the Botswanan Railways. The class is the primary express locomotive and is used on the main lines between Maun - Ghanzi - Francistown - Maun, Francistown - Serowe, Ghanzi - Serowe and Francistown - Ghanzi, although it will be replaced on all the Francistown lines once the electric locomotives are finished.
Class 5 MP Locomotive
The Class 5 was the first home developed vehicle of any kind in Botswana. It came about out of a desire to expand the UM22C class but a lack of fuel to support any more diesel locomotives. To accommodate the lack of turntables on the smaller lines the class 5 was a tank locomotive. While it was originally only designed to be used on the Francistown/Sowa line, its success there resulted in it becoming the main locomotive on all of Botswana's railway lines. The only lines it isn't used on are the electrified lines and the main lines from Francistown and Maun.
Unlike the military contracts there were only ever two contractors for railway equipment, the Francistown Engineering Yard and the Maun Locomotive Works. The FEY specializes in diesel and steam locomotives and the MLW focused on the new electrical locomotives.
The UM25C was a modified version of the UM22C already operating in Botswana. It has an increased engine output of 2,500 BHP and an improved fuel consumption. The UM25 is only going to be produced in small numbers due to the shortage of fuel in Botswana.
The MLW EXL is the first Botswanan electrical locomotive to be built in Botswana. EXL is simply a loco designation (Electric eXpress Locomotive) and it is designed to have at least equivalent power to the class 10, but is far more reliable and cheaper to use. Being an electric locomotive it is limited to the lines running out from Francistown.
The EBL is a branch line version of the EXL it runs on the branches of the Francistown main lines and is fast becoming the main vehicle in use in Botswana.