Otokar to produce armored vehicles for security forces

Otokar to produce armored vehicles for security forces

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Otokar to produce armored vehicles for security forces

Cobra model wheeled armored vehicles are developed by Turkish manufacturer Otokar which will produce vehicles for the Turkish security forces. Company photo

Turkish defense and civil industry firm Otokar has inked an agreement to provide tactical armored vehicles to the security forces amid the government’s problems with BMC, which promised to deliver Kirpi armored carriers but has been unable to deliver orders on time.

Otokar said yesterday that it planned to deliver the order, which is worth 82 million Turkish Liras, in 2013. The agreement encompasses the provision of various types of tactical wheeled armored vehicles.

Turkey’s defense procurement body, the Turkish Defense Industry Undersecretariat, gave BMC a one-month deadline on March 20 to deliver 175 Kirpis and 105 trucks that the company has failed to deliver thus far due to financial problems.

Levent Şenel, the head of the Defense Industry Undersecretariat’s land vehicles department, had said Turkey was not dependent on BMC for developing such vehicles and that the body could easily consider other options, including Otokar, for the construction of the carriers if the problems persisted.

“During the tender process, we chose the Kirpi on the basis of its advantages but Otokar went on to create its own prototype. After testing the first one, it also produced another one in a different size. If we want to buy a ready-made one, there is a proper vehicle available.”

He said in addition to Otokar, FNNS was another company that could also develop this kind of vehicle. The National Defense Ministry had signed a deal in 2009 with BMC to produce 468 Kirpis and trucks in a range of sizes, to be delivered by the end of 2012. BMC is currently 175 armored carriers and 105 2.5-ton-capacity trucks behind the agreed schedule. Along with the military, police forces are also waiting for 468 Kirpi with past-due delivery dates.

The company has been in a tight squeeze since last May, when the company first failed to pay salaries on time, and production at BMC factories have halted several times in the intervening period. As a last resort, unpaid workers have protested against the company by marching to Ankara and Istanbul from İzmir, where BMC production is located.