Yesterday I wrote a post about Saudi Arabia's somewhat mysterious armored semis that looked like they belonged in a 1980s action movie or a GI Joe playset more than on the battlefield. We had some information that pointed toward them being some sort of mobile medical unit, but now we have definitive proof thanks to our Twitter contact @Franmatiasbueno.
The vehicles are indeed mobile battlefield medical facilities and they are designed in such a way that they can be linked in tandem to provide shade from the hot desert sun and accessibility.
Judging by the pictures below, Saudi Arabia has quite a few of them and they have likely been used operationally in the conflict against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. Obviously, there is also a humanitarian mission for such a fleet as well.
Military-Medicine.com describes Saudi Arabia's Armed Forces Medical Services General Directorate (AFMSGD) and their role when it comes to field medicine:
"The AFMSGD has been instructed by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and His Highness the Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence and Aviation, Inspector-General to provide integrated medical service in all specialties and levels. The role of field medicine in the AFMSGD is to provide field medical care nationally and internationally in peace or war by mobilizing hospitals that are equipped with the latest medical preparations and a highly qualified medical staff trained to work in the field. The field hospitals, participate on national events to serve the nation and the citizens and to acquire the skills and training required for the employees involved. In addition, they participate effectively in humanitarian and relief campaigns of the brother and friendly states affected by wars or natural disasters."
The point about supporting the massive international pilgrimage to Mecca on a yearly basis does make The Kingdom's emphasis on retaining a high capacity of mobile medicine capability more logical.
We still don't know what exact abilities these specific vehicles have, but one would think they could provide extreme care considering their ability to be deployed close to the front lines. Being linked together may point to the possibility that they could be set up to perform different functions so that they can collectively provide a fuller spectrum of care. Just being able to triage patients in an air-conditioned space is critical considering The Kingdom's climate.
We will keep you updated once we find out more about them.
Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com