ASHGABAT -- The Turkmen military has introduced a Saudi-made armored vehicle into service. At a recent military parade, Turkmenistan revealed its acquisition of Al Shibl armored vehicles from Saudi Arabia.
Eight vehicles were seen in the parade, though the total number procured -- or when they were ordered -- is unknown. Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov traveled to Saudi Arabia in 2016 and met with King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud to discuss a range of bilateral issues, including defense cooperation.
The purchase adds to Turkmenistan's arms imports from Gulf countries; Ashgabat has previously purchased the Ajban 440 from the United Arab Emirates.
Al Shibl is reported to be able to travel up to 120 kilometers per hour on ideal road conditions. The vehicles have a crew of two, with room for around a half dozen passengers. The vehicles in Turkmen service have manned turrets with machine guns on the roof.
Turkmenistan has stepped up its procurement of armored vehicles in recent years, buying hardware from the Gulf as well as Turkey. The military has continued to make these purchases even as the government's financial situation is believed to have tightened amid a challenging economic environment.