Military and Strategic Journal
Issued by the Directorate of Morale Guidance at the General Command of the Armed Forces
United Arab Emirates
Founded in August 1971


Armoured Vehicles: Indispensable Assets for Strategic Objectives

Land power is indispensable for achieving strategic ground objectives. Yet the modern battlefield is changing, with new threats and enemies emerging to create fresh challenges for armed forces and so arises the need for  new procurement requirements. 
The armoured vehicle community needs to adapt to this evolution and increase the requirement that armoured vehicles play a significant part in saving troopers lives, no more so than in the Middle East as a now-volatile region. The crisis between Qatar and GCC countries shows no prospect of abating, while Iran’s meddling in the regional politics has seen mounting terrorist attacks in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. 
It is within this urgent context that the Armoured Vehicles Middle East conference is taking place in Abu Dhabi. The companies on show will invigorate a vital interchange between the military and industry, and amongst the panoply of next-gen offerings, the following contracts were prominent. 
As a unit of Abu Dhabi-owned Emirates Defence Industries Company (EDIC), NIMR was awarded a contract in February 2017 to supply more than 1,765 vehicles to the UAE armed forces, including 1,500 JAIS 4x4 and 6x6 IFVs, 150-plus HAFEET 630A artillery support vehicles and 115 AJBAN 440 missile-equipped vehicles. The contract will be undertaken by the Al Jasoor Heavy Vehicles Industries, a joint company established by Otokar and Tawazun.
The 2018 vehicle deliveries will join the 1,000 NIMR vehicles currently in service with the UAE’s armed forces. The order of 400 8x8 armoured vehicles was also announced during IDEX 2017, with the new UAE acquisitions fitted with Russian combat turrets. 
The JAIS is a re-designation of NIMR’s N35 mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicle series, benefitting from STANAG-4569 Level 4-standard protection from ballistic fire, as well as mine and improvised explosive device (IED) blast protection of up to STANAG 4569 Level 4A and 4B. The JAIS can be armed with remote-controlled turrets (such as the EVPU Turra 30) and anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM). 
The HAFEET 630A artillery support vehicles are procured in two configurations – observation and command-and-control – while the AJBAN 440A utility vehicles will be armed with ATGM. Meanwhile, Navistar Defence has announced it will upgrade 1,085 long wheel base MaxxPro armoured vehicles for the UAE under a foreign military contract with the U.S.
The UAE is the largest international operator of BMP-3 and the optional installation of this combat module on Rabdan vehicles will increase the level of the UAE`s infantry armoured vehicles fleet unification, replacing its fleet of ageing BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles. 
The Rabdan is a modified Emirati version of a Turkish Otokar Arma 8×8 with a turret fitted with 100mm 2A70 gun and two coaxial weapons: the 30mm 2A72 automatic cannon and 7,62mm PKT/PKTM machine guns from Russian-made BMP-3 amphibious infantry fighting vehicles. 
Textron’s Afghan MSFVs
Following the retreat of international troops, the Afghan government has prepared a four-year plan to improve its security forces. Thus, in November 2017, the U.S. delivered 495 armoured fighting vehicles to Afghanistan for its Special Forces Cops. 
It is this context that Textron Systems Marine & Land Systems has been awarded a contract for the delivery of additional 55 Mobile Strike Force Vehicles (MSFVs) to the Afghan National Army. 
The 4x4 MSFV was developed specifically for the Afghanistan National Army under the U.S. Army’s MSFV programme. The first deliveries are scheduled for later in 2018, with the contract including training, spare parts and logistics services. 
Based on Textron Systems’ COMMANDO Select armoured vehicle line, 621 MSFVs have been delivered to the Afghan National Army (ANA) since 2012, with over 550 of these vehicles actively engaged in security operations in strategic locations across the country. Textron Systems Marine and Land Systems have produced three variants of the MSFV, including an armoured personnel carrier – or APC - equipped with a Mk.19 Grenade Launcher, an automatic belt-fed weapon system that fires 40mm grenades and a .50 calibre machine-gun turret.
Terminator battle tank 
Algeria has ordered 300 BMPT Terminator tank support vehicles from Russian manufacturer UralVagonZavod, with deliveries taking place from the first quarter of 2018 to the end of 2019. Two versions of the Terminator are earmarked for export, both based on the T-72 battle tank chassis.
The BMPT-72 is fitted with a state-of-the-art guided weapons system, capable of destroying enemy infantry vehicles, tanks, helicopters and other armored objects. Its armoury includes two 30-mm 2A42 automatic cannons loaded with 850 rounds of ammunition, four laser-guided Ataka-T anti-tank missile systems and one coaxial machine gun with a remote reloading mechanism.
Aside from two AG-17D automatic grenade launchers, the BMPT also carries four launchers for 9M120-1 (or 9M120-1F/4) guided anti-tank missiles, which can hit targets at a distance of six kilometres day or night. With the Terminator’s night vision, laser-range finder and integrated laser-controlled missile guidance system, the three-man crew is protected in a range of climates, zones and light conditions, including within urban areas. 
An Iraqi delegation met with the Polish Armaments Group representatives in November 2017 to discuss overhauls and modernisation of the T-72 tanks and armoured personnel carriers. Poland exports T-55 and T-52 tanks, WZT-2 armoured recovery vehicles, landing ships and arms to Iraq, while the two nations are now discussing potential deliveries of personnel equipment. 
New Tigr Egyptian contract  
Tigr is a multi-role, all-terrain light special armoured car designed for police and defense forces, operational with the Russian Interior Ministry, National Guard and other law enforcement or armed services. Egypt’s police forces are looking to buy 50 Tigr armoured vehicles from Russia’s Military Industrial Company (VPK). 
Egypt is modernising its armoured vehicle fleet to maximise efficiency in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula. In this context, the advanced features of the Tigr GAZ 4x4 include stronger armor, embrasures in the windows, two hatches and a tow rope on the roof, an improved braking system and flexibility in all terrain, including the ability to operate in water 1.2 metres deep. 
Tigr now offers a wide-range of variants for diverse applications: GAZ-2975 is the military variant of the GAZ-2330 Tigr; the GAZ-233001 is an unarmoured version developed for the civilian market; the GAZ-233034 and GAZ-233036 SPM-2 are multi-role armoured police vehicles for police and law enforcement agencies; and the SPM-2 offers a NATO STANAG 4569 level 2 ballistic protection.
Gorets-M battlefield transportation
Iraq has just received the first of Russia’s Gorets-M armoured vehicles in a batch including KamAZ-65225 military tank transporters for T-90 tanks. 
The Gorets-M 4×4 armoured vehicle is based on the Russian-made 8×8 Kamaz-43502 chassis developed by OKB Tehnika. It is equipped with a nuclear, biological and chemical protection system, with Level 1 STANAG 4569 mine-blast and Level 3 ballistic protection. 
At 7.4 m length, 2.5 m width and a height of 2990 mm, the new armoured vehicle weighs 11.9 tonnes with a payload of 1 tonne. It is intended for the transportation of the personnel on the battlefield with protection against bullets and fragments of improvised explosive devices (IED).
Jordan’s Marder collaboration 
After Germany, Chile and Indonesia, Jordan is the fourth nation to deploy the enhanced-performance Marder, receiving 25 vehicles of this type in 2016/2017. The vehicle’s main armament is a 20mm RH-202 automatic cannon, weighing 35 tonnes overall to achieve a top speed of 65 km/600 with its HP-engine and boasting a fighting compartment seating nine soldiers. 
Rheinmetall has upgraded 25 Marder 1A3 infantry fighting vehicles for Jordan’s Armed Forces, to be delivered in Q1 2018 under a $17 million German military aid programme. Under the contract, Rheinmetall will supply Jordan with twenty-five fully modernised, former German Marder 1A3 infantry fighting vehicles, painted in a desert camouflage pattern within a package encompassing spare parts, ammunition, documentation, special tools and customer support on location, along with training for operators and maintenance personnel. 
Jordan’s King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau (KADDB) is also testing its first 8x8 armoured fighting vehicle, based on a Tatra high-mobility cross-country chassis. The first version is the armoured-personnel-carrier configuration, featuring an all-welded steel armoured body providing ballistic protection up to STANAG 4569 Level 4 or Level 5 with an upgrade. 
Kuwait’s M1A2-K battle tank
General Dynamics Land Systems Inc. has been awarded a $24 million modification in foreign military sales contract to design, develop and build a unique M1A2-K main battle tank for Kuwait. It will include 240 .50 Cal M2A1 machine guns,  480 7.62mm M240 machine guns, 240 AN/VRC-92E SINCGARS radios and 1,085 AN/PVS-7B Night Vision Goggles, as well as transportation and other logistics support. 
The M1A2-K incorporates cooling/thermal management systems, Common Remotely Operated Weapons Station (CROWS) II (Low Profile Stabilised Weapon Stations), special armour, 120mm gun tubes, 2nd generation Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) sights, embedded diagnostics, gunner’s primary sights, Counter Sniper and Anti-Materiel Mount (CSAMM) hardware. 
The total estimated programme cost is $1.7 billion with the package including upgrade/maintenance of engines and transmissions depot level support, training devices, spare and repair parts, support equipment, tools and test equipment, technical data and publications, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, and technical and logistics support services alongside other related elements of logistics support. 
Thales will also provide Kuwait with an integrated state of the art remotely operated turret-and-surveillance system for eight armoured 4x4 patrol vehicles to be operated by the Kuwaiti Security Shield department. These vehicles will be used to maintain internal security, public safety and surveillance missions.
 Lebanon’s US counter-infantry deal 
Since the 2006 war with Israel, the Lebanese Army has received a total of $1.5 billion in military aid from successive American administrations, including education and training. The U.S. donated a second shipment of 8 M2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles to the Lebanese Army in February 2018 to complete delivery of sixteen of the 32 vehicles scheduled. 
Lebanon has now received the third batch of Bradley M2A2 Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicles supplied by the U.S. under a larger military assistance programme. The Lebanese Army will receive a total of 32 M2A2s, 6 MD 530G light attack helicopters, 6 Scan-Eagle UAVs and communications and night vision devices. 
The Bradley achieved the Initial Operational capability (IOC) in 1981 and was combat-proven during the 1991 Gulf War. As an armoured, fully-tracked M2 infantry fighting vehicle, it provides mobile protected transport to a battlefield infantry squad, while also supplying fire support to dismounted troops and anti-tank/anti-bunker capability through its 2-turret mounted TOW missiles.
The turret-mounted armament consists of a M242 25mm Bushmaster gun with a maximum range of 2,000 metres and diverse ammunition, notably 25mm M793 cartridges and M793 TP-T target practice-traced and M910TPDS-T target practice discarding sabot-traced cartridges. Alongside a M240C 7.62mm machine gun, 2 anti-tank TOW missiles are mounted in the turret left side, providing an engagement range of about 4 km.
The early M2A0 and M2A1 have been upgraded to the current M2A2 configuration and are now powered by a single turbo-diesel engine rated at 600-hp, featuring high mobility, amphibious capability and a maximum road speed of 72 km/h, with improved armour, mobility and survivability compared to the M113. It features a 3-man crew (commander, driver and gunner) and a 6-man squad in the rear compartment. 
Morocco’s Abrams partnership
Morocco’s Royal Armed Forces received a third batch of American Abrams tanks in November 2017 under the Army’s Excess Defence Articles programme contract signed between Morocco and the United States in September 2015. The 220 Abrams tanks are a mix of the M1A1 and M1A2 model with camouflage designed specifically for Morocco. 
The M1A1 emerged in the 1980s while the enhanced M1A2 version has been in production since 2005. The heavy-armoured M1 tanks feature Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) protection and a 1,500-hp AGT-1500 gas engine which allows high on- and off-road mobility. 
The M1 Abrams 105mm or 120mm stabilised cannon can open fire moving or stationary at night and in adverse weather against moving and stationary targets, with a high probability of kill using depleted uranium penetration ammunition and advanced ballistic computers. Its sensor package is housed on the turret, while the frontal part of the turret is protected using depleted uranium plates more resistant than steel. 
The first M1A2 was fielded within the U.S. Army in 1996 as a remanufactured and upgraded M1 Abrams main battle tank seeking to retain mobility and increase firepower. Although export Abrams are not provided with depleted uranium armour, the M1A2 Abrams main battle tank features a M256 120mm smooth bore gun 42 rounds, two M240 7.62mm machine guns and a M2 12.7mm machine gun providing a short-range air defense capability against helicopters and low flying aircraft. 
The M1A2 provides the Abrams with improvements in lethality, survivability and fightability for advanced threats by including a commander’s independent thermal viewer (CITV), an improved weapon station, a fire control system and enhanced armour. The U.S. Army has changed the older M1 to the M1A2 configuration which has been upgraded to the SEP v2 standard for export to Kuwait and to the M1A2S standard for delivery to Saudi Arabia.
Oman’s Anatolian Leopards
Oman’s first batch of the 172 PARS III 8x8 armoured fighting vehicles developed by Turkish manufacturer FNSS Savunma was delivered to the Omani Ministry of Defence in July 2017, entering service in November 2017 at the ‘Safrat Al Dooh’ field of the Royal Army of Oman. 
The PARS III 8X8 has been developed with a special emphasis on mobility, protection, payload and growth potential and a focus on the performance and durability required for modern military operations. The vehicles are available in 4X4, 6X6 and 8X8 configurations in a family of vehicles taking its name from the “Anatolian Leopard”.
The 8X8 has a combat weight of 30,000 kg, powered by a diesel engine and consisting of a water cooled diesel engine coupled with a fully automatic transmission to generate a maximum road speed of up to 100 km/h. It is capable of manoeuvring on a 60 per cent vertical and 30 per cent horizontal gradient, climbing 70 cm-high obstacles and crossing 200 cm-wide trenches. 
Thanks to the engine layout and advanced balance design, the vehicle can maintain almost equal axle loads with the ability to move comfortably on loose and soft terrain, thus providing increased road-holding at high speeds and short braking distances. The vehicle has 8X8 driving characteristics, with its axles locked when necessary, while the central tire inflation system allows the driver to adjust the tire pressures to adapt to the terrain conditions.
The fully independent hydro-pneumatic suspension system provides the highest wheel travel and the best road grip of its class, with the all-axle steering system boasting the lowest turning radius in its class at 8 m. The PARS III’s ability to decrease the steer-by-wire of rear axles progressively by locking over certain speeds, together with the ABS system and the engine brake, all contribute to enhanced driving safety.
Furthermore, the front two-man driver’s cabin offers a 180° horizontal field of vision and high-level driving safety and comfort. The driver and commander also enjoy a wider field of vision thanks to large glass periscopes and front-driving/manoeuvre thermal cameras located at the front and rear of the vehicle.
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