Turkish wheeled combat vehicle goes to Africa in a deal worth nearly $110M

WARSAW, (BM) – The Turkish Otokar concern has received a contract worth a total of approximately US $ 110 million for the supply of Arma 8 × 8 and Cobra II 4 × 4 wheeled combat vehicles with a training and support package for an undisclosed African state, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Defence24.

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Deliveries of these vehicles, which are one of the newest products in Otokar’s offer, are expected to start in 2021 and be completed by the end of 2022. According to the declaration of the Turkish company, this is the first order for the Arma 8 × 8 transporters in Africa. It also revealed that the transaction was concluded with a state that had already decided to choose its solutions, and the positive experiences gained from their exploitation were to contribute to the re-selection of Otokar’s design. Thus, this information limits the list of potential recipients to a few specific countries. So far, African countries such as Algeria, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mauritania, Nigeria and Rwanda have decided to purchase the earlier version of Cobra II, i.e. Cobra.

The Arma 8 × 8 is one of the two basic versions of the Arma wheeled combat vehicles family in the 6 × 6 and 8 × 8 systems designed and produced by the Turkish Otokar concern. The vehicle was created as a result of a project to create a new wheeled combat vehicle for the Turkish army, which eventually became the competitive FNSS Pars. The first and so far the only user of these vehicles was Bahrain, which purchased 73 copies in 2010-2011 for the amount of approximately USD 74 million.

Otokar, in cooperation with the local arms industry, has also developed a local, heavier and larger version of the Arma 8 × 8 called Rabdan for the United Arab Emirates. These vehicles are to replace the currently used BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles and receive their turret modules as armament. It is expected that the Emirates army will buy up to 700 copies of these vehicles for the amount of approximately USD 661 million.

Cobra II is a modernized version of the Cobra wheeled combat vehicle designed and manufactured by the Turkish Otokar concern. In this version, the ballistic and anti-mine resistance was increased, which resulted in an increase in weight and size. The vehicle was purchased by the Turkish army in the number of 300 copies, supplementing the fleet of over 1,200 vehicles from the Cobra family (based on the HMMWV chassis). Like the previous version, it met with the interest of export recipients, and its purchase is among others Bangladesh, Ghana and Tunisia.

Russia also delivered 10 armored vehicles in Africa

As we reported on October 10 Russia has delivered 10 BRDM-2 armored reconnaissance vehicles to the Central African Republic. The handing over of the equipment strengthens Moscow’s position in Africa and is part of the implementation of a long-term policy of increasing its influence on the continent.

According to local observers via social media, the vehicles were flown on board the Russian An-124-100 Ruslan transport plane to the airport in the country’s capital – Bangui. Photos of BRDM-2 vehicles unloaded from the plane on the tarmac have appeared on the Internet. The supply of new combat vehicles for the Central African army will increase its combat capabilities.

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Information about the arrival of new Russian military equipment was welcomed by the UN’s multi-dimensional integrated stabilization mission in the Central African Republic [MINUSCA]. In the published statement, the head of the mission said that the new armaments will increase the country’s internal security before the planned parliamentary and presidential elections, which are scheduled for December 27 this year.

In accordance with the resolution of the Security Council of April 10, 2014, a new stabilization mission, MINUSCA, was launched in the Central African Republic, which had been engulfed in another installment since 2013. Its main priority is the protection of the civilian population, which is taken care of by approx. 6.5 thousand soldiers (and ultimately up to 12 thousand) and approx. 1 thousand policemen from the UN multinational peacekeeping forces who have been deployed in the main cities of the country.

For many years, the Central African Republic has been regularly supplied with military equipment supplied under purchase agreements with the Russian Federation. At the turn of January and February 2018, ten Russian transport planes delivered the first batch of cargo of weapons and ammunition purchased under a bilateral agreement to the airport in the country’s capital. The second tranche was delivered in 2019. The weapons purchased from Russia go into the hands of the local armed forces and uniformed services.

The supply of this type of equipment, although simple, significantly strengthens the capacity of the armed forces and security services in African countries. They should also be seen as Moscow’s actions to strengthen its influence in Africa. Supplying equipment or, for example, deploying mercenaries (such as the Wagner Group) is cheaper than deploying large military contingents, and from Russia’s point of view, it may have similar effects.

The scale of Russia’s involvement in Africa is evidenced by the fact that, according to U.S. data African Command from June this year. – Russian mercenary / contractor formations are present in 16 countries of this continent.

Turkey`s Otokar has unveiled Tulpar and Cobra armored vehicles last year in DSEi exhibition in London

Otokar, which offers solutions with transfer of technology and local manufacturing models for land system requirements of its customers, exhibits TULPAR armoured tracked vehicle and COBRA II wheeled armoured vehicle at DSEI 2019.

Otokar, serving more than 30 countries with combat-proven products, is participating at DSEI, the world leading defence industry and security event. At its stand, Otokar is exhibiting the TULPAR armoured tracked vehicle with Mızrak-30 turret system and also, wheeled armoured vehicle COBRA II is being displayed with Keskin turret system in the Land Zone Static Display Area. In addition to promoting its broad product range at the exhibition, Otokar will also provide information about its flexible business model which includes transfer of technology and local manufacturing models.

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General Manager Serdar Görgüç emphasized that Otokar has the capabilities and the infrastructure to rapidly design and develop modular products in line with users’ current and future needs, “In the last 10 years, we have allocated 8.5 per cent of our revenues for our R&D activities. We continue to introduce innovative solutions in land systems by taking into account the current and future requirements of modern armies and security forces. Last May, we unveiled one of the best examples of this with our electric armoured vehicle Akrep IIe, which provides an excellent choice for reconnaissance and surveillance missions. Our combat-proven vehicles are actively used in very different geographies, extreme climatic conditions and conflict zones. We analyse the different needs and expectations of our users for land systems, and develop solutions that meet these requirements in the fastest manner thanks to our excellent engineering and superior R&D capabilities. We are ready to meet the different requirements of armed forces, not only by supplying products but also through transfer of technology and local production models. At the exhibition, we plan to share our experience and capabilities in this field with our customers.”

Görgüç stated that Otokar, as a supplier of NATO and the United Nations, brings its know-how and experience in modular land systems to tracked vehicles with TULPAR, “TULPAR is designed to meet todays and future needs of modern armed forces. With its superior mobility and high level of protection, the vehicle can operate in a wide range of challenging terrains and climate conditions. TULPAR, which features a modular design, can be manufactured in a number of variants to meet user needs.”

TULPAR is designed as a multi-purpose vehicle with variants ranging from 28 tonnes to 45 tonnes to fully satisfy the future global requirements. Future-oriented perspective of modularity is to increase operational flexibility by using common components and a common chassis over wide range of vehicle variants. TULPAR comes in several variants that share common subsystems. The common platform can accommodate a medium tank; infantry fighting vehicle; armoured personnel carrier; reconnaissance vehicle; command and control vehicle; air defence; ambulance; repair and recovery vehicle; mortar vehicle and other vehicle variants. TULPAR is a multipurpose platform with high lethality, modularity and growth potential that can be tailored to meet current and future operational requirements.

COBRA II, manufactured by Otokar with the mission of designing and manufacturing globally competitive land systems products, stands out with its superior performance. COBRA II offers high level of protection and payload capacity and large internal volume. In addition to superior mobility, COBRA II also comes with the capacity to accommodate 10 personnel including the driver and commander, offering high protection against ballistic, mine and IED threats. Delivering high performance in the toughest terrain and climate conditions, COBRA II is optionally available with amphibious capability, adapting perfectly to different missions as needed. COBRA II, subjected to rigorous field tests in different parts of the world, travelled thousands of miles.

More importantly, different variants of COBRA II are today operated in various combat operations throughout the Middle East and Africa proving the the vehicle’s adeptness to enhance combat capability of the user. Preferred especially for offering a wide range of weapons integration and mission equipment options, COBRA II is successfully used in border protection as well as internal security and peacekeeping missions. The modular structure of COBRA II also makes it possible to be used as a personnel carrier, weapons platform, ground surveillance radar, CBRN reconnaissance vehicle, command control vehicle and ambulance.

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