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MILITARY TECHNOLOGY (MILTECH) is the world's leading international tri-service defence monthly magazine in the English language. MILITARY TECHNOLOGY is "Required Reading for Defence Professionals". Follow us on Twitter: MILTECH1

04 March 2015

Armoured Vehicles Round Up: IDEX 2015

The latest iteration of the International Defence Exhibition & Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi, UAE, showcased another impressive tranche of armoured vehicles this year with a noticeable trend towards increasing indigenous manufacture of such platforms in the Middle East.

As with previous shows, the international defence and security market displayed a large number of armoured vehicles but large contracts secured by companies including Tawazun Holdings subsidiary Nimr Automotive and Jordan’s King Abdullah Design and Development Bureau (KADDB) will have many European and US-based firms concerned regarding potential for future sales.

One of the largest vehicle contracts signed at the event, which ran between 22 and 26 February, was agreed between Nimr Automotive and the UAE Armed Forces with a AED1.2 billion deal for the production of 500 vehicles as well as development of a further 500 platforms in the future. The company has already supplied over a thousand vehicles in 4x4 and 6x6 configurations but this latest deal provides a significant uplift to the domestic market as well as potential for international sales in the Middle East and beyond, building on contracts with Bahrain, Egypt and Libya.

The AJBAN series of light armoured vehicles was exhibited at the show in a number of variants with the most noticeable being a 4x4 open-top platform complete with two 7.62mm machine gun weapon mounts. This option will be of interest to border security forces and special operations forces (SOF) looking to conduct long-range reconnaissance missions.


Other variants included a closed-cab 6x6 platform, also targeting the SOF market, Nimr Automotive officials disclosed.

The company also revealed a joint venture with munitions specialist MBDA to integrate a Very Short Range Air Defence (SHORAD) Multi Purpose Combat System on board the HAFEET 640A 6x6 all-terrain vehicle, comprising a day camera; thermal imaging camera; integrated laser rangefinder; and two Mistral fire-and-forget surface-to-air missiles capable of reaching 6km in range. Additionally, Nimr has also joined forces with Raytheon to integrate the 2.75in TALON laser-guided rocket system on board its vehicles with a single platform capable of carrying up to 16 munitions.

Elsewhere, Emirates Defense Technology unveiled its ENIGMA protected patrol vehicle at IDEX. Industry sources suggested to MT that the company will be specifically targeting a requirement from the UAE Armed Forces for an undisclosed number of 8x8 armoured vehicles.

ENIGMA has a combat weight of 28t and measures 8.3m in length with a capability to withstand an IED blast of 50kg, according to official sources. 

The company also displayed a scale model of an ENIGMA variant with integrated BAE Systems 155m/39-caliber lightweight artillery system. The base vehicle is scheduled to begin mobility trials with the UAE Armed Forces immediately after the show.

Also reinforcing the rise of indigenous manufacturing in the Middle East was a deal signed between South Africa’s Paramount Group and KADDB, allowing the latter to manufacture an initial tranche of 50 6x6 protected patrol vehicles for the Jordanian Armed Forces.

Signed on 23 February, the contract follows months of testing in the deserts of Jordan in temperatures reaching 50C as well as winter trials in Kazakhstan where temperatures plummeted to -50C. Providing protection against 14.5mm ammunition and 155mm artillery shells, MBOMBE also boasts STANAG Level IV protection against 10kg mines detonated under its flat-hull or wheels. Paramount Group officials added that the vehicle could also withstand a 50kg TNT blast.

Continuing the indigenous trend at the show was Armored Vehicles & Heavy Equipment Factory (AVF) which exhibited its Al Shibl 4x4 light armoured vehicle. Designed to carry between three and four personnel, the vehicle comprises a combat weight of 3.6 tonnes with 600kg payload. Capable of reaching a maximum speed of 120kph, the vehicle provides protection against 7.62mm ammunition and can be fitted with remote weapon station or multi-weapon ring mount capable of carrying weapons including the .50-cal heavy machine gun and 40mm automatic grenade launcher.

The company also exhibited its AL SHIBL II 4x4 variant which comprises a two man crew and is capable of carrying an additional seven dismounted troops. With a combat weight of 4 tonnes, Al Shibl II boasts a single-tonne payload similar to its predecessor, has a top speed of 120kph with the same levels of protection and capability to carry the same weapon systems.

Europe was heavily represented at IDEX this year with Rheinmetall exhibiting its High Energy Laser (available in 1kw, 5kw and 10kw laser variants) on board the 8x8 ARTEC BOXER platform. It was revealed that the technology has also been tested on RUAG Defence’s M113 armoured personnel carrier as well as the 8x8 Tatra protected patrol vehicle with tests having been recently completed in Switzerland.

Elsewhere, Renault Trucks Defense unveiled its Véhicule de l'avant blindé Mk III variant to the export market. Available only in a 6x6 configuration, the platform is capable of carrying nine personnel including two crew and has a combat weight of 20-tonnes.

Nexter was also displaying the latest variant in its 8x8 Véhicule Blindé de Combat d’Infanterie (VBCI) range complete with the company’s very own T40 turret system. This particular vehicle and configuration is being offered to Qatar which is understood to have a requirement for 82 8x8 armoured personnel carriers, industry sources informed Military Technology.

Other European offerings which will interest Qatar amongst other countries, included CIO Consortum’s (Iveco Fiat-Oto Melara) FRECCIA 8x8 infantry fighting vehicle which was designed to fulfil requirements in the Middle East.

The platform featured a two-man turret armed with Oerlikon 25mm dual-feed cannon and 7.62mm machine gun, 30mm cannon and anti-tank guided munition. CIO is already supplying Jordan with 141 Centauro 105mm mobile gun systems.

Also exhibited was Turkish company Otokar’s COBRA II armoured amphibious tactical vehicle (AATV) which has already completed 5,000 miles of testing in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, other international systems on show included Hyundai Rotem’s KW2 8x8 APC, with the company specifically targeting the Middle East market and potentially partnering agreements- a trend which many industry commentators believe will grow significantly in the near future as state actors in the region seek to build further on their indigenous manufacturing capabilities.
Andrew White