Bahrain Defence Forces show new vehicles

Paolo Valpolini

BIDEC 2019 saw the unveiling of a new armoured personnel carrier locally built according to Bahraini Defence Forces (BDF) requirements. The service is already equipped with numerous wheeled vehicles of foreign origin, the new vehicle being apparently a move to become more independent for mobility. Based on a commercial chassis, the new vehicle is named Faisal and has a 9 tonnes GVW with a 2 tonnes payload. It is powered by a 300 hp diesel engine coupled to an automatic 6-speed transmission, and can reach 110 km/h top speed, cruising range being 900 km. Its 365/85 R20 tires are provided with run flat inserts, other key standard equipment being a self-recovery winch, four cameras providing all-round surveillance at short distance, and a fire suppression system.

The Faisal is 5,714 mm long, 2,630 mm wide and 3,230 mm high at the roof, the wheelbase being 3,300 mm. It can carry a two-man crew, a machine gunner and five dismounts, a mechanical protected gun mounted being installed over the roof; personnel can enter the vehicle via two side and one rear door. The ballistic protection is at B6 level (7.62×51 mm Ball at 10 meters) according to EN 1063, the V-shape and bottom design ensuring protection against a blast of up to 6 kg TNT. The Faisal can climb a 60% slope, ford up to 1,120 mm of water, and overcome a 400 mm vertical obstacle. The vehicle can be used for military operations as well as internal security duties, and can be declined in APC, Command and Control, Reconnaissance and Ambulance configurations. No information on potential acquisitions was provided.

Beside the Faisal, the BDF also exhibited a Toyota Land Cruiser 71 that was locally fitted with an M40A1 106 mm recoilless gun aimed at providing direct fire support to the infantry. It features a hood cover, to protect it from flames produced by the gun if fired at 12 o’clock, a foldable front shield having also been added. The bumpers have been reinforced, a 6 tonnes self-recovery winch being installed at the front. A storage box containing six ammunition is located at the rear. Tires are fitted with run flat inserts, a central tire inflation system being available as optional as well as a rear machine gun pintle mount. The vehicle has been tested but it is unclear if and when it will enter operational service.

Photos by Paolo Valpolini