The Turkish Ministry of National Defence (MND) is set to acquire armoured vehicles and weapon carriers under two separate multi-million dollar contracts, the country’s defence minister Ismet Yilmaz has revealed.

Yilmaz was quoted by Agence France-Presse as saying that the defence ministry is currently looking for a new supplier for 175 Kirpi mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles, which a domestic company had failed to deliver.

”In coordination with the armed forces, we will look into a new model that will substitute for the undelivered Kirpis,” Yilmaz said.

Unnamed procurement officials were quoted by the news agency as saying that the Turkish Police Force is also likely to procure 20additional Kirpi vehicles under the contract, which may also include follow-on orders from both the army and the police.

Around 468 Kirpi vehicles were ordered by the MND from Bmc as part of a wider order for 1,859 tactical vehicles for the Turkish Armed Forces in March 2009.

"We will look into a new model that will substitute for the undelivered Kirpis."

However, the company could only deliver 293 locally manufactured MRAPs, citing economic problems, which prompted the Turkish government to terminate the contract in May this year.

Meanwhile, the Turkish Undersecretary for Defence Industries (SSM) has also launched a two-way competition for the purchase of 184 tracked and 76 wheeled-armoured weapon carriers by issuing the requests for proposal (RFPs) to two local manufacturers, Otokar and FNSS, late last month.

The contract value is estimated to be between $150 to $200m by the procurement officials.

Similar RFPs were sent by SSM to Otokar, FNSS, Hema, Nurol and BMC for the procurement of 1,075 four-wheel-drive weapon carriers in 2008, but the competition was cancelled after proposal submissions in 2010.

The Turkish Army currently uses ageing M113 armoured carriers, Land Rovers and Willys jeeps for weapon transport missions.

Defence Technology