By Paolo Valpolini
In May 2020, talking to EDR On-Line, Abraham Du Plessis, Chief Executive Officer of Nimr, announced the launch of a new generation of vehicles during IDEX 2021. At IDEX two years ago Nimr, which in November 2019 became part of EDGE, unveiled the Ajban 447A, an evolution of the Ajban A440A in service among others with the UAE armed forces. “This vehicle was not meant to become a product, we developed it as a prototype with greater transport capacity, seating seven soldiers instead of four, and with higher protection, to verify the impact on our current and potential future customers, and see if there was an interest and a market for a much improved version,” Khaled Al Zaabi, NIMR Chief Commercial Officer told us at that time, adding that this would lead to a Mark 2, a second generation vehicle. Among the anticipations Mr. Du Plessis told EDR On-Line that the aim was not only to increase mobility, protection and payload while maintaining the maximum seven seats capacity, but also to add modularity as well as to propose the new vehicle at a better price.
The Ajban Mk 2 protected light tactical patrol vehicle that will be exhibited at IDEX maintains the has a crew of five, with the driver and commander sitting in the front cabin, a second row of three seats behind them. Dimensions are very close to those of its predecessors, the Ajban Mk being 5.62 meters long, the wheelbase is of 3,40 meters, 2.35 meters wide and 2.39 meters high. The vehicle is fitted with two doors per side, the driver and commander ones being front-hinged while those for the three dismounts are rear-hinged, all doors being equipped with a transparent armour window of limited surface allowing direct view of the battlefield. Nimr maintained the two glass windshield, with a slightly reduced surface, looking for a compromise between visibility and weight, transparent armour typically weighing four times opaque armours at the same protection level. The Gross Vehicle Weight of the patrol version is 11,500 kg, marginally higher than the 440A 4-seater version, 10,750 kg, and of the 447A, 11,100 kg, but what is considerably increased is the payload, 2,916 kg versus respectively 1,200 and 2,000-2,800 kg. Beside the five personnel carried, who add 800 kg to the kerb weight considering 160 kg the weight of a fully equipped soldier, and adding fuel, the residual payload is considerable and can be exploited not only to add a remotely controlled weapon station or other systems, some to be contained in the rear ballistic-protected cargo module, but also to further improve protection thanks to add-on kits, no information are being provided about the base protection level and the maximum one with extra armour. As for antimine protection, the Ajban Mk 2 features a V-hull while its ground-clearance is increased to 505 mm, 35 mm more than the 447A, all seats being of the energy-absorbing type.
Weights being pretty similar, the powerpack remains the same, the standard vehicle being provided with a 296 hp engine, coupled to a 6-speed automatic transmission, ensuring a power-to-weight ratio of over 25 hp/t. According to Nimr the whole powerpack, including cooling, engine, transmission and transfer case, can be replaced in a very short time. Should the customer require a higher output Nimr is ready to provide as option a 360 hp powerpack, another optional being the 100 litres range-extender fuel tank, cruising range with the standard engine and tank being over 700 km at 100 km/h. Cross-country mobility is ensured by independent suspensions, the vehicle being fitted as standard with a central tire inflation system.
No data are provided about the electric power available on board; what is however clear is that dedicated batteries for mission equipment are hosted in the rear protected compartment.
Among other optional equipment that Nimr is proposing we find critical ballistic protection for engine, smoke grenade launchers, NBC air filtration system, front and rear obstacles awareness cameras, a 1,025.4 mm pitch circle diameter gun ring, and a self-recovery winch.
At IDEX Nimr announced it’s teaming with ST Engineering of Singapore to develop hybrid vehicles, and specifically a hybrid version of its Ajban Mk 2. According to information available, the GVW will be of 11,500 kg with a 2,500 kg payload, the electric machine being in the centre of the vehicle while the battery pack will be located under the rear protected module (see the above image). The range at 100 km/h will remain identical, however the hybrid Adjban Mk 2 will be able to travel for 10 km on electric power at 50 km/h, silently approaching its operational destination, something key especially in the observation role; moreover in that role the considerable power available on-board will also extend the silent-watch, another key operational factor.
Images courtesy Nimr and D. Fediushko