The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will procure Rabdan 8×8 wheeled infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) from Al-Jasoor Heavy Vehicles Industries, a joint company owned by the Turkish vehicle manufacturer Otokar and Tawazun Holdings in the UAE.
Specifics vary. The Daily Sabah reports that the contract is worth U.S. $661 million for 700 vehicles, which are to be built by Al-Jasoor in the UAE under license. IHS Jane’s cites the sale of 400 IFVs, but the pricing could be $656 million or $540 million.
Although the Rabdan is essentially a licensed variant of the Otokar Arma, it is different in some respects. The Rabdan IFV is slightly heavier at 28 tons (in contrast to the 24-ton Arma) and overall length and width at 15 cm and 55 cm, respectively.
The Rabdan provides small-arms fire protection of up to STANAG 4569 Level 4 and mine blast protection of up to STANAG Level 4a and Level 4b.
The Rabdan is also configurable with the BMP-3’s turret, which is equipped with a 100-mm 2A70 semi-automatic rifled gun, 30 mm 2A72 cannon, and 7.62 mm machine gun.
Powered by a Caterpillar 12.5 litre diesel engine, which offers an output of 600 hp. The Rabdan can reach a top speed of 105 km/h and a range of 700 km. It can also travel up to 10 km/h in water.
Notes & Comments:
UAE had been seeking a new 8×8 IFV since at least 2008, when it had evaluated FNSS (i.e. another Turkish defence supplier) Pars. During the 2015 International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX), Emirates Defence Technology and Ireland-based Timoney Technology presented the jointly developed Enigma 8×8. The Finnish Patria Armored Modular Vehicle (AMV) was even slotted as the winner of the UAE bid in 2016.
While it is unclear if the UAE will depend solely on Otokar, the Rabdan is a certain factor in the UAE’s modernization plans, especially since the vehicle will be manufactured domestically under license. This sale also paves the way for deeper Emirati-Turkish defence collaboration, and, in particular, a relationship between the Emirati Army and Otokar. Otokar also developed the Altay main battle tank.