Basically the OF-40 Tank is an Italian copy of the Leopard 1 40 of which which the UAE bought in 1981. Now the Bin Jabr group with SABIEX is upgrading it to be a Heavy Infantry Fighting Vehicle based on the BMP-3 already in service with the UAE armed forces.
Late in 2005 the Belgian company of SABIEX was awarded a EUR12 million (USD15.8 million) contract by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to develop a new Heavy Infantry Fighting Vehicle (HIFV) based on components of the Italian OF-40 Main Battle Tank.The UAE took delivery of a total of 36 OF-40 MBTs plus a small number of Armoured Recovery Vehicles (ARV) based on a similar chassis. First deliveries were made in 1981 and a total of 40 vehicles, including ARV were delivered. These have now been replaced in front-line service by the French Leclerc MBT.The first prototype of this HIFV was completed in Belgium in 2007.This subsequently underwent extensive trials in the UAE but as of mid-2010 it is understood that the go-ahead for full-scale production of this HIFV had yet to be given.Conversion work on the main production run will be undertaken at the facilities of the Al Badie Group (ABG), Defence Division in the UAE, with the facilities already established.With the delivery of 436 French Nexter Systems Leclerc MBTs and variants to the UAE, the older OF-40 MBTs have now been withdrawn from service. A number of other countries have also developed HIFV of this type including the Jordanian King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau, while Russia and the Ukraine have developed HIFV that in some cases retain their original MBT turrets.Israel has used a variety of MBT chassis for specialised support roles with the Namer HIFV based on Merkava Mk 4 MBT subsystems recently entering production.
The new UAE HIFV consists of a new welded armour steel hull which uses automotive components from the OF-40 MBT including the complete MTU power pack as well as the complete running gear.According to SABIEX, the HIFV chassis offers STANAG 4569 Level 5 ballistic protection while the floor provides protection against a Russian TM-57 anti-tank mine.In the original OF-40 MBT, the power pack was at the rear but in the new HIFV the power pack is at the front which leaves the remainder of the chassis clear for the fighting compartment.The first example of the HIFV has a hull roof modified to accept the complete turret of the Russian BMP-3 IFV which is used in large numbers by the UAE.The turret is armed with a 100 mm gun, 30 mm coaxial cannon and 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun (MG) and is operated by a crew of two. When fitted with this turret, only four infantry can be carried in the rear.The infantry can rapidly enter and leave the vehicle via a large power-operated ramp at the rear. This is also provided with a door that opens to the right.Suspension is of the torsion bar type and each side consists of seven dual rubber tyred roadwheels with the drive sprocket at the front, idler at the rear and five track return rollers.The vehicle has a quoted gross weight of 45,000 kg which includes the payload of 10,000 kg which is the turret/weapon system, crew and ammunition.Optional equipment includes an auxiliary