ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Nimr unveiled Feb. 21 that it is working with Adasi on a four-wheel drive armored vehicle that can be transformed into an unmanned vehicle.

The move essentially allows users to safely drive near a battlefield, get out and then operate the system via remote control if conditions are too dangerous.

“Through this autonomy, we [want to] make sure that despite the high-risk zone no man is put in danger,” Abri Du Plessis, Nimr chief executive officer, told Defense News. “It was the quickest way for us to do a proof of concept; it is a workable vehicle. … So when the people move to a high risk area, they get out of the vehicle and remote control it. Hence it becomes like a robot vehicle.”

The two Emirati companies, both Edge subsidiaries, converted the AJBAN 440A armored 4-door manned vehicle into an unmanned system called the AJBAN armed robotic vehicle (ARV). The vehicle withstands small arms fire, artillery shell splinters and survives mine and improvised explosive device (IED) blasts, and has a payload capacity of 1,200kg.

Operated via a ground control station (GCS) with a communication range of 12km and endurance of up to eight hours, it can travel up to speeds of 50 km/h to support Armed Forces with greater firepower while ultimately reducing risk to soldier lives.

Du Plessis said this autonomous Ajban isn’t an application to be used for pure autonomous missions like reconnaissance or, “it carries people and then it lets them disembark”.

Nimr had started market analysis and case studies. “We need to find the ideal kind of vehicle to take autonomous forward, whether a small 6x6, small 8x8, small tractor vehicle, or something bigger even,” he said. “It is very important for us to find the right suits for.”

Nimr is also using IDEX to showcase the second generation of its four-wheel drive Ajban and its six-wheel drive Hafeet platforms.

The MK2 versions boast require less time to remove a vehicle’s powerpack – down from 10 hours to 20 minutes. To ensure vehicles are properly equipped, maximum payload capacity has doubled from 1.2 tons to 2.5 tons.

Nimr has also increased the payload significantly and moved to new electrical systems that will allow forgreater interoperability with other systems and protect against electromagnetic threats.

Agnes Helou was a Middle East correspondent for Defense News. Her interests include missile defense, cybersecurity, the interoperability of weapons systems and strategic issues in the Middle East and Gulf region.

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