Weapons For Future Wars On Sale At Abu Dhabi Arms Show

The future of war is mostly armored cars

Hafeet Air Defense Vehicle

The International Defense Exposition is a technology conference with a whole lot of sellers and very few buyers. On display are the latest in weapons that countries are willing to sell to each other, and they run the gamut from robot patrol boats and fast drones to armored cars designed for chemical warfare.

Check out a few of the items that are up for grabs:

Khalifa-1 Mobile Howitzer

Sudan is huge, almost a fifth the size of the United States, and it’s been involved in a fair share of wars since achieving independence in 1956. Their new Khalifa-1 mobile howitzer, produced by the state-owned Military Industry Corporation, is an artillery weapon that can be rapidly moved across the country. Built from a Russian 6×6 truck chassis with an armored crew cab added on the front, the truck carries a 122-mm howitzer. That’s a Soviet-designed artillery piece with a range of at least 9 miles, depending on the type of ammunition used. Putting it in the back of a vehicle like this means it can launch a barrage of fire and then drive away before enemies can hit back.

Cobra Mortar

Made by Swiss arms manufacturer Ruag, the Cobra launched with a slick video that resembles an ad for a new car or innovative smartphone. The Cobra is, instead, a 120-mm mortar, with a range of more than 5 miles. Crew place the ammunition into a distinctive hood, which then slides along rails and lowers into the mortar’s barrel before firing. The Cobra can be mounted on light armored vehicles, and targeting software lets it do the adorably named tactic of “shoot and scoot,” where it fires from one position and drives away fast to avoid getting shot back.

Hafeet Air Defense Vehicle

Created as a collaboration between missile giants MDBA and the UAE’s Nimr military vehicle maker, the Hafeet is a truck designed to fight airplanes. With four mistral missiles on board, the Hafeet can shoot at airplanes as high as 16,000 feet and as far away as three and a half miles. Thermal sensors and laser rangefinders identify the targets, and after firing the Hafeet can be reloaded twice, as each Hafeet carries up to eight extra missiles.

Enigma Armored Car

The name invokes an air of mystery, but the Enigma is really straightforward: It’s an armored car, with several options for what weapons it has. It has a V-shaped hull like that found in MRAPS, which protects the people inside from any explosive devices it might drive over. Made by the UAE’s own Emirates Defense Technology, it’s available in an amphibious version, with propellers to steer it through water, and on top it can be outfitted with a range of turrets or adapted to carry artillery pieces.
Kelsey D. Atherton
Kelsey D. Atherton

Kelsey D. Atherton is a defense technology journalist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His work on drones, lethal AI, and nuclear weapons has appeared in Slate, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, and elsewhere.