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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 25 February 2021

Idex 2021: Defence company Nimr plans to boost military vehicle exports

The Abu Dhabi-based business has a current production capacity of 1,500 vehicles per year

Nimr's chief commercial officer Khaled Al Zaabi with one of the company's armoured military vehicles. Victor Besa / The National
Nimr's chief commercial officer Khaled Al Zaabi with one of the company's armoured military vehicles. Victor Besa / The National

Abu Dhabi’s Nimr plans to export its military vehicles to more countries to boost growth, a senior executive said.

The company, part of the emirate’s defence conglomerate Edge, currently exports to nine countries, including Saudi Arabia and other nations in the Mena region.

“Demand is there but also the competition is fierce and this is why we wanted to ensure that we develop our vehicles to be globally competitive," said Khaled Al Zaabi, chief commercial officer of Nimr, on the sidelines of the International Defence Exhibition and Conference.

"That is what allowed us to really push the envelope as much as we can.”

The company unveiled its second-generation Ajban 4x4 and Hafeet 6x6 armoured vehicles during Idex this week.

The new vehicles “have improved all capabilities in all aspects, whether it is protection, mobility, payload or number of crew”, said Mr Al Zaabi.

“The price is the same or lower than what it was for first-generation [vehicles].”

Gulf countries, particularly the UAE and Saudi Arabia, are pushing to ensure military equipment is manufactured locally as they focus on reducing their economic reliance on oil.

The company has two plants – one in Tawazun Industrial Park in Abu Dhabi and the other in Al Ain. It also has a plant in Algeria that produces vehicles that cater to the North African country’s market.

Mr Al Zaabi said Nimr is working very closely with Saudi Arabia and “we are going to be announcing developments” with the kingdom.

“There is a great collaboration in the pipeline between us and the kingdom,” he said, without providing further details.

The company’s 3.8-hectare plant in Tawazun Industrial Park has the capacity to manufacture more than 1,500 vehicles a year and caters to specific contracts, he said.

“We have a lot of future plans in our vehicles. What we wanted to do is first develop our Ajban and Hafeet vehicles,” he said.

“We are really ambitious and excited about the prospects of autonomous capabilities and hybrid drive technology. There is a lot of effort that is going to be done to upgrade our vehicles into really technology-focused capabilities.”

Nimr is one of 25 entities that make up Edge – a defence group formed in 2019 that specialises in developing advanced technology for weapons systems, cyber protection and electronic warfare.

Other businesses in the conglomerate include Adasi, Abu Dhabi Ship Building and arms manufacturer Caracal.

Updated: February 23, 2021 09:21 AM

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