By Paolo Valpolini
Visitors attending the World Defense Show in Riyadh could see the latest evolution of the Rabdan 8×8, the armoured vehicle produced by the joint venture created with Otokar of Turkey for the new Emirati land platform.
The UAE armed forces are receiving their last Rabdans in the combat version, fitted with the BMP-3 turret, which are being assembled at the UAE plant. Following the acquisition of 400 vehicles in that configuration the UAE are closing to the signature of a new contract that should involve around 350 8×8 in different configurations to be manufactured in the UAE plant.
The first to appear is the ambulance one, which together with the Command Post version features a higher roof. This allows medical personnel to work in the standing position, the inside height being 1.86 meters. EDR On-Line understood that in theory the high-roof prototype vehicle was originally to be fitted as Command Post, but then priorities changed and therefore the Ambulance version has been designed and produced earlier.
Beside the driver and commander, the Rabdan Ambulance can transport ether two stretchered patients and three sitting patients, or three stretchered patients, in both cases two military personnel ensure the needed cares to the wounded.
While length and width remain very similar to those of the combat version, respectively 8.45 and 3.25 meters, the height changes considerably, the Ambulance version being 2.72 meters high compared to 2,35 meters of the combat version. Combat weight is around 30 tonnes. As for mechanical, automotive and protection issues, these remain identical to those of the combat version in order to exploit the synergies provided by the family concept.
The prototype was fully produced in the UAE; EDR On-Line understood that the main scope of the acceleration on the Ambulance version was due to the need of a physical vehicle to put the last touches to the internal layout.
The presence of Al Jasoor at the World Defense Show is also linked to the fact that in late 2021 Saudi Arabia announced that the Rabdan 8×8 had been selected by the Saudi Navy for its naval infantry. The vehicle was qualified by the Saudi military, and Al Jasoor is currently negotiating with Saudi SAMI the details before signing the contract , a signature that is expected pretty soon. According to information available the Saudi Rabdan will be fitted with a John Cockerill 30 mm turret.
Photos Al Jasoor and P. Valpolini