By Paolo Valpolini
Saudi Military Industries Corporation huge exhibition stand included numerous types of systems, ranging from UAS to assault rifles to electronic equipment, as well as numerous armoured vehicles. Among those we could find 4×4 and 6×6 trucks based on swinging half-axles Tatra chassis, as well as the already in service Al Shibl 1 and 2. The latter are light armoured vehicles based on an upgraded commercial chassis, respectively with a 3.6 and 4.6 tonnes GVW and a 600 or 1,000 kg payload.
The Al Shibl 2 maintains the characteristics of the Al Shibl 1 except for the longer wheel base, 3,180 mm versus 2,310 mm, which adds three seats to the maximum of four of the shorter version, the engine remaining at 228 hp hence a lower power-to-weight ratio. Two vehicles were exhibited, both Al Shibl 2, one with a long cab with four doors and a rear cargo area and one with full length cabin, both fitted with manual ring mounts that can be armed with a 12.7 mm machine gun. Base armour is Level 1, also for the engine compartment, however Level 2 armour can be provided as option.
The Tuwaiq 2 4×4 MRAP is an improved version of the Tuwaiq built on the well-proven Unimog 500 military chassis, with a GVW increased from 13 to 14.5 tonnes. It maintains the same 3,850 mm wheelbase but is slightly longer, 6,473 versus 6,270 mm, and wide, 2,450 versus 2,280; the higher ground clearance, 560 versus 511 mm, and the redesigned hull allow for a better departure angle, 43° versus 30°, something important in countries characterized by dunes in the desert.
The engine should have remained the same 4 cylinders turbodiesel providing 218 hp at 2,200 rpm, as maximum speed has been lowered from 100 to 95 km/h, due to the heavier weight. The 220 litres tank provides a cruising range of 900 km. It can ford up to 1.2 meters, overcome a 500 mm high vertical step cross a 600 mm trench, while climbing a 60% slope. The payload remains at 2,000 kg, internal volume being around 12 m3, a two-man crew plus eight dismounts being the standard transport capacity, although two extra seats in the back can be added as option. Protection provided is Level 3 all-round, ballistic and mine, the latter having been further improved by the higher ground clearance. The Tuwaiq 2 is still at prototype level, the same being true for the Shaheen.
This is a lighter armoured vehicle, its GVW being 9,060 kg with a 1,200 kg payload, powered by a 250 hp diesel engine allowing it to reach a speed of 110 km/h. The Shaheen is 4,950 mm long, 2,200 mm wide and 2,065 mm high, with a 3,200 wheel base and a 380 mm ground clearance. Based on a Saudi requirement, the vehicle has a military driveline and its baseline ballistic protection is at Level 2, with Level 3 as option, while mine protection should be at Level 2a/b. As for mobility, it can cope with a 60% front slope and 30% side slope, while approach and departure angles are both 40°. The 100 litres fuel tank allows a cruising range of 450 km.
Photos by Paolo Valpolini