The United Arab Emirates’ displayed its newly acquired N35 mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles and AJBAN Special Operations Vehicles (SOV) at its National Day parade on 05 December.
The N35 and AJBAN SOV are manufactured by NIMR Automotive, a subsidiary Emirates Defence Industries Company, at the Tawazun Industrial Park, which is located in Abu Dhabi.
Marking the occasion, NIMR Automotive’s CEO Dr. Fahad Saif Harhara stated that NIMR was “honoured to support the UAE Armed Forces with [its] latest world-class military vehicles, which will protect the lives of [UAE] soldiers on the battlefield” (Gulf Today).
NIMR Automotive is the UAE armed forces’ leading light armoured vehicle supplier, which, in June of this announced that it supplied 1,000 vehicles to the country’s armed forces.
As per IHS Jane’s, the NIMR N35 series, which comprises of the 4×4 N35-4 and 6×6 N35-6, were acquired from Denel Vehicle Systems (which was acquired from BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa).
In November 2015, NIMR signed a $63 million U.S. agreement with Denel Vehicle Systems to bring RG35 manufacturing to the UAE. Initially, Denel’s plants in South Africa manufactured a small number of units, but the line was eventually – along with the N35’s development (leading to the N35-4 and N35-6) – was shifted to the UAE.
The AJBAN SOV is a lightweight 4×4 “long-range reconnaissance vehicle” that is easily transportable, including by helicopter, and capable of operating in “any environment for self-sustained missions lasting up to two weeks.” The AJBAN SOV was “designed to be highly mobile in all terrains” (The National).
The AJBAN SOV is a variant of the AJBAN-line of 4×4 light armoured utility vehicles, which was designed to provide the UAE armed forces a common platform to take on many roles and applications. This has enabled the UAE to minimize its maintenance overhead (with a single platform utilized for multiple roles).
Notes & Comments:
Although domestic demand is providing NIMR Automotive with substantive production work, the strong light armoured vehicle line-up should position it well for the overseas market. The supplier base is growing with an increasing number of newcomers, but the strong Denel-BAE technical origins of the N35 renders NIMR’s offering as a credible and – potentially – combat tested platform.
Similarly, the AJBAN could make for an affordable and versatile platform. An AJBAN SOV customer could also buy ABAN 440 (or other variants) without adding to its overall logistics and maintenance footprint.
The Arab Gulf, North African and Pacific-East Asian markets may constitute as NIMR’s key prospective markets. Many prospective users in these regions are unlikely to have the scale necessary to absorb the costs associated with local manufacturing. In turn, NIMR could step in as an off-the-shelf supplier.
Edit: Corrected the listed selling vendor. Thank you, Jean Racine.