NIMR Automotive and VOP CZ have signed a strategic collaboration agreement for the marketing, distribution, production and after-sale support of the complete range of NIMR armoured vehicles to the Visegrád 4 countries comprising Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary.

The agreement was signed during a formal ceremony at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) held in Abu Dhabi in the presence of senior defence officials from the UAE and Czech Republic.

NIMR Automotive CEO Dr Fahad Saif Harhara said: "This partnership will greatly enhance the company’s growth opportunities in the European market, where defence spending is set to rise to support urgent requirements. This includes modernising existing military vehicle fleets to address today’s complex threat environment."

NIMR, a subsidiary of Emirates Defence Industries Company (EDIC), the UAE’s integrated defence manufacturing and services platform, is already a leading manufacturer of armoured vehicles in the Middle East and North Africa, with combat-proven vehicles that can perform in the harshest operational environments. These will now be winterised with VOP to maximise performance in Europe’s cold weather environments.

Commenting on the signature partnership deal, the first with a Middle East manufacturer, VOP managing director Marek Špok stated: "Thanks to this agreement VOP CZ has acquired the opportunity to offer and manufacture NIMR vehicles in eastern and central Europe.

"The agreement and location of our manufacturing facility in the Czech Republic will increase the potential of both companies to sell and market these vehicles. We are also jointly preparing their modification for use under local climatic conditions, including very cold regions."

The NIMR AJBAN440A, a highly mobile 4×4 protected vehicle incorporating the latest technologies in ballistic and blast protection, will be presented to representatives of the Czech Ministry of Defence and the Czech Armed Forces at the end of February during an industry day event being held in Vyškov. The intention is to showcase the joint capability to the Czech Armed Forces, particularly modern, light armoured vehicles with industry-leading specifications, which can be used as a platform for chemical, reconnaissance, logistics, medical and other versions, thereby providing a common platform for multiple operational needs with a common logistic support base and lower lifecycle costs.

VOP CZ already enjoys a strong supplier relationship with NIMR and has been manufacturing armoured cabins for the AJBAN 440A for more than two years. This provided the catalyst for expanding the engagement to explore sales opportunities for the full NIMR vehicle range within the region, chiefly in the Visegrád Group of countries.

Addressing the new partnership, Czech Republic deputy minister of defence Tomas Kuchta said: "This sees the combination of 70 years of military vehicle experience from VOP with cutting-edge manufacturing processes from NIMR to deliver quality military vehicles to the European market, supporting the sustainment of local high-skilled jobs and industrial capability.”

NIMR and VOP CZ currently project to produce more than 1,000 vehicles in the next three to five years, exceeding a value of more than $500m.

Addressing the potential impacts of the new agreement, Dr. Fahad noted that: "Through this partnership, NIMR will also have an opportunity to localise production of vehicles in Europe, at VOP’s plant in the Czech Republic."

Czech Republic Ambassador to the UAE Alexander Sporys, senior UAE Armed Forces officials, defence attaches from the Visegrád 4 and other European countries and senior representatives from VOP CZ, NIMR Automotive and EDIC were also in attendance for the signing of the new agreement.