NIMR Automotive, the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) leading armoured vehicle producer, rolled out its 1000th vehicle last week (15 June) at the Tawazun Industrial Park in Abu Dhabi.
The 1000th vehicle was from its AJBAN 440A line, a lightweight armoured utility vehicle.
NIMR Automotive’s CEO, Dr. Fahad Saif Harhara, commemorated the achievement by stating that “NIMR Automotive today achieved an important milestone in UAE’s history … [and] established a modern production system that delivers consistent quality and high volumes.”
Comment and Analysis
NIMR Automotive is a company of Tawazun Holdings, an “active industrial investor” that in recent years has succeeded in creating a defence industry base in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). A private sector entity, Tawazun has grown through the proliferation of partnerships with overseas vendors, particularly Denel in South Africa.
In November 2015, NIMR Automotive and Denel Vehicle Systems signed a $63 million U.S. contract to produce Denel’s RG-35 mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle platform under license at NIMR’s facilities in the UAE. The technology transfer process (to enable NIMR to produce the vehicle using a localized manufacturing and supply chain network) is scheduled to take two years.
NIMR Automotive – and Tawazun in general – is an example of private sector defence industry growth. From the onset, Tawazun’s investors have focused on comparatively low-capital and low-risk programs such as light armoured vehicles and munitions, and procured the technology through technology transfer arrangements and partnerships. Denel is a well-matched partner; the company possesses technology and the capacity to develop new solutions, but its lack of a domestic customer base or sustained government funding prevents it from easily bringing new big-ticket items to production.