8×8 upset in UAE

enigma -The competition for the UAE’s 8×8 vehicle requirement has been shaken up by a new entrant – and it could be a sign of things to come.

Domestic company Emirates Defence Technology (EDT) displayed a new 8×8 design fitted with the BMP-3 turret at IDEX called Enigma that will challenge the international offerings that were also on display.

The UAE have a plan to diversify their industry away from oil and gas and defence is an important part of this. They want to reduce dependency on overseas defence equipment imports and develop their own domestic manufacturing capabilities.

This means that they are likely to select the Enigma design to meet a large portion of their 8×8 requirement. The Enigma vehicle was designed with the help of engineering firm Timoney and if selected will probably be constructed by Tawazun’s Nimr Automotive subsidiary. Nimr has 4×4 and 6×6 vehicles so this would be a first 8×8 for them.

amvHowever, for the international firms – apparently Otokar with the Arma, Patria with the AMV and Nexter with the VBCI are downselected – it will mean a smaller order than planned.

So unless they can come up with a way of meeting the UAE requirement at reduced cost with a large local build element the expected export contract could be almost halved.

Patria had their amphibious variant AMV on show at IDEX with a BMP-3 turret fitted to show what they can do. Furthermore their vehicle has been sold to Malaysia and South Africa, which are building some vehicles locally, and so Patria can expect to be competitive.

But if more countries want to develop this local capability like the UAE then it could reduce the export market for western firms. So what does the future hold and how will international industry react?

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