It appears that Jordan has delivered an unknown number of Mbombe 6×6 armoured vehicles to forces in Libya allied to Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) along with Jordanian-manufactured Al-Mared 8×8 vehicles.
Several photos and videos have emerged online appearing to show Mbombe 6 vehicles in use with forces allied to the Libyan National Army after being delivered by Jordan. It appears one was captured by Government of National Accord forces after being hit by enemy fire south of Tripoli, with a large hole revealed in the side of one vehicle seen in a video posted on social media.
In mid-2016 it was announced that Paramount Group and Jordan Manufacturing Services Solutions (JMSS) had signed a contract for the local production and assembly of Paramount’s Mbombe 6×6 vehicle, with 50 vehicles to be supplied (25 coming from South Africa and 25 being built in Jordan). It is understood that not all the contracted vehicles were delivered, making it unclear how many Mbombes Jordan actually had in service. The Mbombe 6×6 weighs 17.3 tonnes empty and has a payload of 5.2 tonnes. The vehicle can carry three crew and eight soldiers.
Other images on social media show Al-Mared 8×8 armoured vehicles delivered to the Libyan National Army. The Al-Mared infantry fighting vehicle is manufactured by Jordan’s King Abdullah Design and Development Bureau (KADDB) and is based on an 8×8 Tatra truck chassis with an armoured hull that provides ballistic protection up to STANAG 4569 Level 3. A V-shaped armoured hull provides protection against an 8 kg mine blast under the wheels. The vehicle can carry eight soldiers and two crew.
Jordan has previously delivered other vehicles to Libya – for example in 2013 it supplied 49 Nimr vehicles and in June 2018 a Jordanian manufactured Al-Wahsh 4×4 armoured personnel carrier was spotted in Libyan National Army service, equipped with a Jordanian Snake Head turret. The Al-Wahsh is a relatively new 4×4 armoured personnel carrier developed by KADDB. It was launched in 2016 and is based on a Czech Republic Tatra (4×4) cross-country chassis, with STANAG 4569 Level 1-2 armour. Eight passengers can be carried. Weapons and turrets can be mounted on the roof. The APC is powered by a 370hp diesel engine giving a top speed of 110km/h and a maximum range of 600 km.
The recent Jordanian deliveries appear to be in response to the 18 May delivery of dozens of Kirpi II armoured vehicles to forces loyal to Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). They were shipped to Libya from Turkey along with several Vuran vehicles.
The Kirpi (Hedgehog) is manufactured by Turkey’s BMC and is in service with the Turkish armed forces. It is based on the Israeli Hatehof (Carmor) Navigator protected vehicle. Ten soldiers and three crew can be carried. A V-shaped hull provides protection against landmines, while the armoured hull provides ballistic protection to STANAG 4569 Level 3. According to BMC, the Kirpi has a top speed of 100 km/h, range of 800 km and is powered by a Cummins diesel engine delivering 375 horsepower. Gross weight is 19 tonnes.
The Vuran is 4×4 tactical armoured vehicle unveiled in May 2015. It features a V-shaped hull for landmine and IED protection. The engine is located at the front of the vehicle, with the crew in the middle and troop compartment in the rear. A total of nine people can be carried.
It appears that all the Kirpi and Vuran vehicles delivered to Libya have been fitted with Aselsan’s Stabilized Advanced Remote Weapon Platform (SARP), with the vehicles armed with 12.7 mm heavy machineguns.
Earlier this month, a Tripoli government spokesman said his administration was talking to its ally Turkey to obtain “anything that is needed to stop the assault,” by forces allied to the Libyan National Army against Tripoli, including military and civilian help.
The LNA, which is allied to a rival administration in eastern Libya, launched an offensive to control Tripoli in early April.
Since 2014, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt have provided the LNA with military equipment such as Panthera T6, Typhoon and Caiman armoured vehicles, MiG-21 fighter aircraft and Mi-24/35P helicopters, helping Haftar to gain the upper hand in Libya’s eight-year conflict, according to UN reports. Such deliveries are in violation of the UN arms embargo against Libya.
The Libyan National Army on 20 May announced it would impose a naval blockade on ports in west Libya to prevent any more shipments of military equipment reaching GNA forces.