June 4, 2016:
A UAE (United Arab Emirates) firm (NIMR Automotive) is marketing an armored version of its popular NIMR military truck. The Ajban SOV (Special Operations Vehicle) is an open top vehicle meant for reconnaissance, border patrol or any mission that requires the mobility of a 4x4 military vehicle plus some armor protection. Ajban SOV is a 7.5 ton vehicle with a 2.5 ton payload. That can vary depending on the degree of armor protection carried. Ajban is based on the older (introduced in 2005) NIMR military truck. This is a 4x4 vehicle similar to the American hummer and designed to cope with the high heat and abundant sand and dust found in the Middle East. The basic NIMR weighs 4.4 tons, can carry 1.5 tons (or up to eight people), and be equipped with a remote control 12.7mm machine-gun turret. Top speed is 140 kilometers an hour on roads. This version costs about $82,000 each. There is a larger 6x6 version for carrying cargo. There is also an anti-aircraft version armed with four Mistral missiles ready-to-fire and four more as reloads. An anti-tank version comes equipped with four Milan ATGM (anti-tank guided missiles) ready to fire and four more as reloads. All NIMRs are equipped to take a variety of armor kits (providing different degrees of protection against bullets and explosions). Ajban SOV also can mount a machine-gun and comes in configurations for carrying cargo.
NIMR development began in the late 1990s and production began in 2005. NIMR was designed with the help of Russian automotive company GAZ, which also helped set up the manufacturing operation and supplies some of the components. The UAE has so far ordered over 2,000 NIMR vehicles for its armed forces. The new Libyan armed forces, as well as Lebanon, Tunisia, and Algeria, have ordered or are evaluating NIMR vehicles. NIMR and Ajban SOV are produced in an assembly plant in Jordan.
NIMR and several other manufacturing operations are part of an effort by oil-rich Arab countries to develop their economies and not just be dependent on exporting oil and gas. This is difficult because most Arab countries, especially the oil-rich Gulf states, don’t have much industrial infrastructure or a population with the motivation or skills to create one.