Speaking during the Defense & Security Thailand 2017 show, NIMR’s CEO Dr Fahad Saif Harhara Al Yafei explained to AMR’s Daily News the company’s business outlook and its ambitions for Asia.
Can you provide some background on NIMR, its origin and growth?
The first NIMR vehicle design was announced in 2000 by a joint venture of regional and UAE investors. NIMR Automotive was formally established in 2010 with the UAE’s Tawazun Holding as the majority shareholder and became fully operational in 2012.
Since, NIMR has witnessed rapid growth, becoming the leading light and medium-weight wheeled military vehicles manufacturer in the Middle East / North Africa (MENA) region and based on our current order books, now rank in the top five OEMs globally in their business sector.
NIMR began with interlectual property (IP) recognition for a single, tactical 4×4 vehicle. Since 2010, we have grown our portfolio to more than 15 variants in both 4×4 and 6×6 variants, developed a firm customer base, expanded our employee base ten-fold and have just finalised our first international contract to export our vehicles outside of the MENA region through an agreement with the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces of Turkmenistan.
How will NIMR be able to sustain this pace of production?
Recently, we have completed the construction of our new engineering and manufacturing centre, bringing state-of-the-art armoured military vehicle manufacturing to the UAE. Comprising an armoured steel cut and bend facility in Al Ain and a new cutting-edge design, engineering and production facility in Al Ajban, NIMR has united top commercial applications from the automotive sector with military grade technologies to produce world-class armoured vehicles.
By providing a complete production solution, NIMR transforms raw materials into a completed armoured vehicle ready for service under a single system.
What differentiates NIMR from the competition?
There are three key aspects. First, our entire vehicle range is designed from the ground-up based on international military standards, while the service life of our vehicles (expected 15-20 years) is far longer than up-armoured commercial options. Additionally, our vehicles have garnered global recognition for their high-level of tactical mobility in the harshest environments.
Second, we are able to easily customise and modify vehicles to suit specific client requirements, even mid-production because we understand the threats our clients face continually evolve and challenge them to adapt.
Finally, we understand the need for countries to seek out best-in-class vehicle solutions whilst supporting their local industry base – we have significant experience in technology transfer programmes, such as our Joint-Venture with Algeria and can produce vehicles locally to meet customer requirements and create high-skill jobs
Turning to the region, what opportunities does NIMR envision?
2018 will see NIMR focus heavily on the Southeast Asian market with partnerships and collaborations signed with leading companies including Malaysia’s DefTech and Thailand’s FICO Technology and Engineering (FTECH). As the region continues to overhaul and modernise its armoured vehicle fleets, we plan to build on NIMR’s already strong reputation and further expand our reach.
Southeast Asia is expanding its influence in the global defence industry. Recent data suggests that the upward trend in military expenditure indicates a desire to strengthen regional defences, with ASEAN defence imports increasing by 71 percent between 2009 and 2016. As a result, we can expect a greater modernisation of land forces in the region as a key part of this increased spending, where there is a legacy of ageing ground vehicles offering little to no protection.