ABU DHABI--The United Arab Emirates Army will buy the new Mbombe 4 armored car from South African company Paramount, marking the vehicles first sale, according to Paramount’s founder and chairman, Ivor Ichikowitz.

“The UAE is one of the most sophisticated procurers of equipment in the world, and they probably run one of the most modern armed forces in the region" he said in an interview at IDEX in the UAE’s capital city. “Through interfacing with them, we will keep evolving our product, to keep learning about in-service requirements.”

The 16-ton Mbombe 4 is a 4x4 armored car, and is part of Paramount’s Mbombe line, which also includes 6x6 and 8x8 versions. According to the company, the three versions share a 70% compatibility between them, and are designed to be highly modular, allowing for a lot of customization by different countries.

“This allows us to supply with literally every single kind of vehicle they need for the battlefield with one logistics train, which is a huge evolution as customers start realizing that the purchase cost of the vehicle is completely academic” he said. “Its the through-life cost, the cost to sustain the vehicle that is important for being able to keep vehicles in service for 25 years.”

According to an announcement by the UAE government, the initial contract is for four of the Mbombe 4 vehicles, at a total cost of $2.7 million. While it’s unclear how those vehicles will be configured or used by the UAE, Ichikowitz says that the Mbombe 4 is highly customizable with a variety of different weapons and payloads, ranging from a 30mm cannon turret to cameras to an electronic warfare suite.

In addition, since the UAE is only buying 4 of the vehicles, it indicates possibly one of two things. It could be that the UAE Army is evaluating the Mbombe 4 for future purchase of a larger amount, or that there is a very specific mission set that only requires four vehicles to execute.

But regardless of that, Ichikowitz says that Paramount is targeting the Middle East as a big future market for their products.

“Its a current market, but it’s also going to be where a lot of our growth is coming from, and we’re very excited about that,” he said.

Jeff Martin is the Associate Editor for Multimedia and the host & producer of Defense News Weekly, airing online and on American Forces Network worldwide. In his role as Associate Editor, he reports worldwide on the military and defense industry and leads a market-leading multimedia team.

More In IDEX