Military


Al-Faris 8-400 Armored Personnel Carrier

In April 1997 Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense and Aviation Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz presided over the unveiling of Saudi Arabia's first domestically produced armored personnel carrier (APC) in Dammam. However, this vehicle never entered production and Saudi efforts are being concentrated on a new 8 x 8 vehicle called the Al Fahd.

The Al-Faris 8-400, produced by the Abdullah Al-Faris Heavy Industries company, is the product of 16 years of research and development by Saudi engineers and technicians. Earlier, Prince Sultan inaugurated the Peninsular Shield Factory, which will manufacture the APCs. He expressed hope that the Kingdom would achieve self-sufficiency in the production of APCs within ten years. He said the Al-Faris 8-400 was the first step in developing a domestic military industry, and in the near future "we will take up other defense-related projects."

The Al-Faris 8-400 family of 6 x 6 armoured vehicles was planned to be put into service in the Kingdom's armed forces. The manufacturer planned to produce 50 units of the personnel carrier in 1997, increasing output to 150 vehicles in 1998. This initial production will meet Saudi defense requirements. Later it may be made available to neighboring Gulf Cooperation Council states.

The APC weighs 20 tons and can carry up to 14 personnel, including the driver and navigator. The personnel carrier is capable of protecting its crew against nuclear, biological and chemical attack. The eight-wheel APC is an all-climate, all-terrain vehicle capable of long-range amphibious operations.





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