IDEX: Abu Dhabi Firm Introduces Family of Mine Protected Trucks

By Stew Magnuson

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — A United Arab Emirates state-owned company is jumping into the international tactical wheeled vehicle market.
NIMR Automotive is offering a locally manufactured mine-protected armored vehicle that comes in at 13 metric tons that it has named the 6x6 armored patrol vehicle.
Abu Dhabi, one of the emirates, has been aggressively investing its oil wealth to build up its local defense industries.
The company announced plans to begin building an indigenous vehicle here at the IDEX show in 2009, and two years later unveiled the designs with a series of prototypes.
The 6x6 can carry up to five personnel and can be up-armored for additional protection. It runs on an Allison transmission and Cummins 300 horsepower engine. Both are U.S-based suppliers. Company literature says it can reach speeds of 135 kilometers per hour and has a range of 800 kilometers. The six wheels have run-flat capabilities.
NIMR is also offering an extended wheel base, multi-purpose 6x6 with a flatbed that can carry up to five metric tons, and an armored personnel carrier that can carry up to 12 soldiers, company literature said. It is also offering a smaller 4x4 that can carry up to three metric tons. There is also a command vehicle in this class as well as an open top version of the 4x4. In total, the company is marketing nine different models.
A South African firm, LMT Engineering Ltd. certified that the cabin can withstand standard mine blasts without penetration of the crew cabin.  
NIMR is a joint venture between two UAE companies, the state-owned Tawazun Group and the Bin Jabr Group. Bin Jabr was purchased by the Abu Dhabi-based Tawazun.
The acquisition of Bin Jabr fits into a recent pattern of the Abu Dhabi emirate snatching up troubled local privately owned companies, and those based in the nearby emirate of Dubai, according to a British vendor who lives in the UAE.
“I’ve been hearing about that locally made truck for 20 years,” said an executive with a U.S.-based manufacturer, who declined to be named. He sniffed at the claims made in the local press that the new vehicles would equal the Humvee, produced by AM General.
“When they’ve built 260,000 over the course of 20 years, then we’ll see,” he added.
Another representative of a U.S.-based manufacturer hadn’t heard anything about the NIMR.
“I have to get out of the booth more often,” he said. He seemed to take a “more the merrier” attitude about the potential competition. There are at least a dozen vehicle manufacturers here at the IDEX show from the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, South Africa and others.
The first obvious customer would be the UAE government, although Tawazan had not made any announcements for orders. It only recently broke ground on the manufacturing facility, which is intended to produce other items besides vehicles. Company literature said it was actively seeking technical expertise on how to rapidly alter production lines to so it could produce different items.
Tawazan representatives were not available for comment.
UPDATED: The United Arab Emirates armed forces on the final day of the IDEX show announced plans to order 1,000 of the NIMR vehicles in a deal worth $92 million.
Keep watching National Defense Magazine’s blog for daily reports from the 2011 IDEX and NAVDEX exhibitions at Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 21-24.
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Topics: International, Land Forces

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