Armored Cars: Tawazun Group Nimr
It’s arguably the best tactical vehicle to come out of the Middle East so far. The Nimr is a rugged 4×4 engineered to perform in the extreme heat of desert environments. Its origins date to the previous decade, when the United Arab Emirates (UAE) laid plans for an indigenous arms industry for the Union Defense Force’s vehicular needs.
The Nimr, which borrows its name from the Arabian leopard, was developed as a requirement for an all-around light transport that’s the backbone of any mechanized army. By 2005 prototypes of the Nimr were completed by the Bin Jabr Group, a local conglomerate.
At a time when Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Qatar are developing their own arms industries, the UAE went farther than its neighbors with the Nimr. The Nimr already found a niche market in the Middle East and North Africa.
The first batch of Nimr’s were delivered to the UDF by 2009 with ongoing production at Tawazun Holding’s industrial park in Abu Dhabi, under the subsidiary Nimr Automotive, LLC. Tawazun Holding is a government-owned conglomerate launched in 2007 and tasked with building arms and related equipment for the UAE’s military.
Aside from the UDF, the Nimr is used by the armed forces of Lebanon, Jordan, Libya, and Tunisia. Some 500 models are in service internationally, with each vehicle priced between $500,000 and $700,000. In 2012 a new factory was built in Algeria for licensed production of the Nimr to meet the Algerian armed forces’ requirements.
Since 2013, a large UDF contract for an additional 1,800 Nimr’s is expected to be fulfilled in the coming years.
What makes the Nimr so appealing for its customers, other than being manufactured by an Arab state, is it can be remodeled into different variants. The original Nimr was no different from tactical vehicles like the Humvee and the Eagle. In the ensuing years, however, the Nimr was modified to suit the fancies of the regional armored vehicle market.
For the discerning vehicle enthusiast, the Nimr is recognizable for the leopard emblem on its front grille.
The basic Nimr seats a driver, co-driver, and at least four passengers in a spacious cab with an independent suspension system for off-road mobility. The Nimr offers six-speed automatic transmission, a distinctive air-conditioning system for hot weather, modular geomapping equipment, an optional frontal winch, and mandatory runflat tires. Its current protection level is at STANAG III.
A half dozen variants of the Nimr are now available for international clients. In late 2014, Tawazun Group paid $117 million to Raytheon for the Talon guided rocket system. This module transforms a 6×6 Nimr into a multi-rocket launch platform, an interesting capability.
The following year, the Nimr Ajban-series was unveiled during the IDEX arms show, featuring an up-armored variant for law enforcement and a stripped-down special forces recce vehicle armed with an M2 Browning. Three more Nimr’s were introduced in 2015 called the Hafeet.
The Hafeet APC is a6x6 Nmir configured as a mine-resistant truck.
The Hafeet 620 is a 6×6 Nmir armed with two modules of Talon guided rockets.
The Hafeet 640A is a 6×6 Nimr armed with a remote control 25mm cannon on its truck bed.
Few modern vehicles are manufactured without an international supply chain. The Nimr’s chassis may be assembled in Tawazun’s facilities, but it runs on a 300 horsepower Cummins diesel engine. Newer variants of the Nimr have an optional engine upgrade.
In December, 2014, Nimr’s manufacturer Tawazun Holding was further consolidated with other UAE-based holding companies. This appears to further boost the Nimr’s prestige, underscoring its reputation as a world-class product made by “a dynamic company with an assured future.”