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DIMDEX 2018: Barzan Holdings presents Al Zubarah Qatari VBCI Nexter 8x8 armored.

| 2018

At DIMDEX 2018, the International Maritime Defense Exhibition & Conference in Qatar, the French Company Nexter Systems in collaboration with the local Company Barzan Holdings presents a new version of its VBCI 2 8x8  IFV armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle under the name of Al Zubarah. The Company Barzan Holdings has been recently created by the Qatari Ministry of Defense to enhance military capabilities and investment in the defense industry.

DIMDEX 2018 Barzan Holdings presents Al Zubarah Qatari VBCI Nexter 8x8 armored 925 001
The Al Zubarah, the Qatari version of the French VBCI fitted with CTA40 turret at DIMDEX 2018, the International Maritime Defence Exhibition & Conference in Qatar. (Picture source Army Recognition)

Following the signature of a letter of intent on the 7th of December 2017 between Nexter and the Qatari Ministry of Defense (through Barzan Holdings, a company 100% owned by the Qatari Ministry of Defense) for a partnership and the procurement of 490 VBCI 2 for the Qatari forces (Al Rayyan program). At DIMDEX 2018, Barzan Holdings displays on its booth two models of the 8x8 armoured vehicle VBCI 2, one equipped with a Kongsberg 30mm cannon turret and another one with the Nexter T40CT turret.

In December 2017, Nexter Systems has announced that the VBCI has completed an evaluation of mobility and firing in Qatar, fitted with the CTA 40 two-man turret.

Nexter and Barzan intend to establish a Joint Venture (JV) in Qatar. This JV will be the local industrial base to deliver and maintain complete vehicles for the Al Rayyan program, as well as to consider other future cooperation which could lead to the development of the unmanned T40CT turret, of which a model will be presented at the exhibition. The parties will also identify other areas of collaboration which are currently being studied.

The VBCI 2 is an improved version of the standard VBCI designed and manufactured by the French Defense Company Nexter Systems mainly for the export market. The VBCI 2 was introduced at DSEI 2015, the International Defense Exhibition in London, UK.

The layout of the Al Zubarah seems to be different to the original Nexter VBCI 2, the front of the vehicle and side of the vehicle has been modified with new armour. The 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 turret mounted on the Al Zubarah is based on the CTA40 turret developed by the companies Nexter and BAE Systems using the same armament including one 40mm cannon and anti-tank missile launchers, but as for the hull of the vehicle, the turret seems to be redesigned. There is additional protection around the smoke-grenade dischargers mounted on each side of the turret.



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