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UAE to upgrade IFV fleet with Guardian 30 unmanned turrets

The Guardian 30 unmanned turret displayed on the International Golden Group stand at IDEX in February 2023. (Janes/Sonny Butterworth)

Spain's Escribano Mechanical and Engineering (EM&E) announced on 22 May that it has signed a contract to deliver its Guardian 30 remotely operated weapon stations (ROWSs) to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Armed Forces.

A deal was signed at the beginning of this year covering 516 Guardian 30s to upgrade wheeled and tracked armoured vehicles in service with the UAE Armed Forces over an initial three-year period, according to an EM&E statement provided to Janes. The contract's value was not disclosed.

Having revealed that the UAE bought more than 500 weapon stations for 12.7 mm machine guns in 2019, the statement said, “This new contract is part of the Emirati army‘s modernisation programmes to equip its vehicles with small- and medium-calibre stations, replacing the current manual stations with more advanced remote stations.”

It added that it signed an agreement with Emirati defence company International Golden Group (IGG) during the IDEX 2023 show held in Abu Dhabi, covering the establishment of a joint venture to produce the Guardian 30 in the UAE. It confirmed the Guardian 30s would be armed with 30 mm cannons and 7.62 mm co-axial machine guns.

Industry sources suggested to Janes that the Guardian 30s will be fitted to the 400 Rabdan 8×8 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) that have been delivered to the UAE Armed Forces and others used to upgrade BMP-3 tracked IFVs. Badged as a product of Al-Jasoor, part of the UAE's Edge Group, the Rabdans are a version of the Arma 8×8 IFV made by Otokar in Turkey and currently fitted with the BMP-3 turret.

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