Partnership Bazan from Qatar and Nexter from France to procure VBCI 8x8 armored

March 13, 2018, during DIMDEX 2018 the International Maritime Defense Exhibition & Conference in Qatar, one of the major defense meetings Nasser Al Naimi, Managing Director of Barzan Holdings and Stéphane Mayer, CEO of Nexter and co-CEO of KNDS are delighted to announce the signature of an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) between their two companies for a partnership around the procurement of VBCI 2 8x8 armoured vehicles for the Qatari armed forces (Al Rayyan program).

Partnership Bazan from Qatar and Nexter from France to procure VBCI 8x8 armored 925 001
Al Zubarah with Nexter T40 turret on the left and Al Wajbah with Kongsberg turret on the right. (Picture source Army Recognition)

This MoU represents a major step in the strategic partnership between Qatar and France. It will allow cooperation between Nexter, the French leader in land defense, and Barzan, a Qatari strategic industrial player. Together they will work to finalize the Qatari VBCI program. Other common projects are under consideration to propose complementary solutions to the Qatari forces.

Stéphane Mayer underlines that Nexter is fully committed to provide operational equipment to Qatar. At DIMEX 2018, two VBCIs are displayed on the Barzan booth, one equipped with a Kongsberg turret armed with one 30mm canon and another one with the Nexter T40 turret armed with one 40mm cannon.

In Qatar, the VBCI 2 fitted the Nexter T40 turret is nicknamed Al Zubarah, using a new design based on the standard VBCI 8x8 armoured vehicle in service with the French Army. The front and sides of the vehicle seem to be modified with new armour.

The Al Zubarah 8x8 armoured vehicle is fitted with a two-man turret armed with one 40mm automatic cannon with thermal sleeve and Ammunition Handling System (AHS) able to automatically manage the loading of ammunition in the gun. Second armament of the Al Zubarah turret includes one remotely operated weapon station mounted on the right side of roof turret which can be armed with a 7.62mm or a 12.7mm machine gun. Two launchers for anti-tank guided missile is mounted on each side of the turret.

The second VBCI 2 displays at DIMDEX 2018 on the booth of Barzan Holdings is nicknamed Al Wajbah in Qatar. This vehicle uses the same 8x8 VBCI chassis as the Al Zubarah but fitted with a remotely operated turret Kongsberg Protector armed with one 30mm automatic cannon. This version of the VBCI 2 seem to be destined to the AMIRI Guard according information written on the side of the vehicle, while the Al Zubarah will be used by the Qatari army.