A UAE (United Arab Emirates) firm (NIMR Automotive) is entering the special operations ATV (all-terrain vehicles) market, which is currently dominated by American and British firms. The NIMR RIV (Rapid Intervention Vehicle) is four ton vehicle with a 1.5 ton payload. RIV is a 4.9 meters (15.6 feet) long four seater that can mount a 12.7mm machine-gun atop the roll bars.
The RIV is similar in layout to the existing (and very popular) MRZR4 which weighs 1.5 tons (loaded with nearly 700 kg of fuel, passengers, and cargo). MRZR4 is a 4x4 vehicle that is 3.6 meters (11.8 feet) long and has no doors, four seats, and a steel framework on top which is usually left open for maximum visibility. The vehicle is optimized for cross country operations and powered by an 88 horsepower engine. Fuel capacity is 7.25 gallons (27.4 liters) and range depends on what sort of terrain is being crossed. MRZRs can tow a load of up to 680 kg. Cost per vehicle varies depending on accessories. MRZR can be equipped various electronic navigation and night movement equipment. The latest versions have improved electronic automatic power steering. There are a lot of accessories for storing different types of cargo on a MRZR.
RIV has a more powerful 300 horsepower engine giving it a top speed of 160 kilometers an hour on roads. RIV is built to use quickly attached lightweight bullet proof panels and comes standard with a blast resistant bottom. RIV is appealing to the special operations and special (SWAT type) police units in Moslem countries where special operations capability is often part of regular police work. Thus RIV is built to operate on paved roads and at high speed while still capable of cross country patrols.
The RIV is part of a trend because In 2016 NIMR began offering an armored version of its popular NIMR military truck as the Ajban SOV (Special Operations Vehicle) and in 2017 offered an updated version. Ajban SOV 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. The 2017 has various technical improvements as well as a higher (three ton) payload.
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 can 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.