8-Wheeled Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected (MRAP) Vehicle
The United Arab Emirates has contracted with Otokar of Turkey for some 700 Rabdan armored vehicles.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
The RABDAN is based in the Turkish Otokar ARMA family of modular, multirole, multi-wheeled Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFVs) detailed elsewhere on this site. It is a modified form specifically for the United Arab Emirates land forces in which structural dimensions have been slightly enlarged in order to better fit the 100mm-armed turret of the Soviet-Russian BMP-3 tracked Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV). As such, the RABDAN retains all of the excellent performance and tactical flexibility qualities of the original ARMA line though with enhanced ranged field firepower.
The UAE has contracted for up to seven hundred total RABDAN 8x8 vehicles to field alongside its existing fleet of tracked BMP-3s. The new vehicles are manufactured in conjunction with the local UAE concern of Al-Jasur in joint partnership with Turkey's Otokar. The shift to wheeled fighting units has become the norm on today's battlefields which have been hampered by shrinking spending budgets in the post-Cold War world.
The RABDAN weighs in at a hefty 28 tons, up from the original ARMA's 24-ton rating, and structural dimensions include an overall running length of 8 meters, a width of 3.25 meters, and a height of 2.3 meters (making it air-transportable in the belly of a C-130 Hercules or similar transport). Internally, the truck is crewed by three personnel (driver, commander, and gunner) and has protected seating for up to nine combat-equipped infantrymen in the rear passenger compartment / fighting cabin. The driver is seated at front-left in the hull while the commander and gunner reside in the two-man powered turret set over the hull. A powered loading/unloading door-ramp found at the rear hull facing provides quick entry / exit for these warfighters while various hatches are fitted along the hull roof and turret roof for the remainder of the occupants. A rectangular (hinged) door can be found along the portside of the hull wall as well. Ballistics / armor protection for the crew and passengers is against small arms (up to 14.5mm caliber) as well as artillery "spray".
The turret sits atop the mid-section of the hull roof and fields its 100mm autocannon as standard, primary armament. It also features a co-axial 20mm autocannon as secondary armament in addition to a coaxially-fitted 7.62mm machine gun. A secondary 7.62mm weapon can also be fitted for additional anti-infantry capabilities. Six total smoke grenade dischargers are featured in two banks of three launchers at each turret "cheek" position giving the truck with a self-screening capability. As with other Soviet-Russian inspired weapon systems, the turret of the RABDAN is cleared to fire missiles - in this case the 9M117 "Bastion" Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) - giving it a ranged tank-killing quality; this weapon is fired directly from the 100mm gun tube. Up to 40 x 100mm projectiles can be carried aboard along with 500 x 20mm projectiles to serve the 20mm autocannon. There are six ATGM missile reloads and up to 6,000 x 7.62mm ammunition rounds for the machine gun(s) installed - all this in addition to any personal weapons carried by the crew and passengers.
Power is derived from a Caterpillar liquid-cooled, diesel-fueled turbocharged engine outputting 600 horsepower giving the RABDAN a top road speed of 105 kmh with an operational range out to 700 kilometers. The engine is positioned at the front-right of the hull, opposite the driver's position. The 8x8 wheeled nature is completely suspended for cross-country travel and on-road comfort while the two front-most axles are steerable. Tires are of the run-flat kind and managed through a Central Tire Pressure System by the driver. The wheels are well-spaced apart and ground clearance is optimal which - when combined with the hull design - offers protection against mines and IEDs.
A traditional amphibious feature is built into the RABDAN in which a snorkel exhausts the engine, a trim vane is erected at the bow, and a pair of hull-mounted waterjets propel the vehicle through water sources (though at a much reduced speeds). Some preparation is required by the crew for such actions. Beyond this, a NBC (Nuclear-Biological-Chemical) suite, air conditioner, and fire suppression system are standard installations.