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Interview

IAG - Providing Full Vehicle Armoring Solutions

In an interview with Defence Turkey magazine, Alper ALPAY- General Manager of International Armored Group / Transparent Armor Systems FZE shares insight on the company’s facility in Turkey, their STANAG-4569 Level 2a certification and long list of successful deliveries spanning the globe

Defence Turkey: International Armored Group (IAG) was established in 1996 and has 20 years of experience specializing in the fields of design, engineering, prototyping and manufacturing of armored commercial and tactical vehicles. Could we start our interview with a brief summary of IAG’s position in the global armored vehicles market and its footprint?

Alper ALPAY: That is correct International Armored Group was established in Canada in the 90’s and now has over 20 years of experience in the armoring industry.  Over the years we have grown to become one of the most technologically advanced armored vehicle manufacturers in the world. We invest heavily in R&D making us the market leader in vehicle certifications and breakthrough designs and technologies in the armoring field.  We have a large global footprint with 9 locations worldwide in Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Bulgaria, Italy and Pakistan.  We also have representations in Bangladesh, Iraq and most recently Chile. 

Defence Turkey: IAG Turkey has had a production facility in Bursa since April 2014. What can you tell us about the 2018 performance of the company and its daily/monthly vehicle manufacturing/armoring capacity?  Could you inform us about the current military vehicle production and armoring activities carried out at your facilities in Bursa?

Alper ALPAY: IAG’s Turkey facility has enjoyed steady and sustainable growth since we opened it in 2014. Currently we have an extension project underway to double the production area and production capacity with new machinery and capital investments. With these investments, by the end of 2019, our monthly production capacity will reach 50 vehicles per month.  

In IAG’s Turkey facility we only manufacture concealed commercial armored vehicles such as luxury sedans, 4x4 Off-road vehicles/SUVs, 4x4 pickups, armored busses and minibuses, armored cash in transit vehicles and armored security/sentry booths.

Defence Turkey: What can you tell our readers about IAG’s Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle solutions? You have exhibited the Guardian Xtreme MRAP solution at the IDEX 2019 Fair. Could you inform us about the ballistic and mine protection capabilities it provides to the user? What can you tell us about the certification process and the tests conducted at the TNO test center in the Netherlands?

Alper ALPAY: Our first fully certified vehicle to STANAG 4569, the IAG Guardian Xtreme MRAP, completed its testing at the NATO accredited TNO test center in the Netherlands.  The Guardian Xtreme is certified to STANAG 4569 AEP 55 Level 2a and 2b for mine protection as well as ballistics however it also passed the additional STANAG Level 3a mine testing with flying colors. 

Defence Turkey: The 8.2ton Guardian Xtreme is presented as having superior ballistic and mine/blast protection compared to other vehicles in its class. Recently, it has been tested for STANAG-4569 Level 3a mine/blast protection. Could you inform us about the testing activities?

Alper ALPAY: The IAG Guardian Xtreme MRAP is based on the commercially available Ford F550 chassis with the 6.7 Liter Diesel Super Duty engine. The Guardian Xtreme comes with a wide variety of variants such as 4x4, 6x6, solid axles with 5 link rear coil/shock suspension or fully independent suspension. 

Basing the MRAP vehicles on commercially and globally available brand such as Ford gives a big advantage for easy supply of spare parts and lowering the maintenance cost of the vehicle in operation. 

With its light curb weight of 8.2 tons the IAG Guardian Xtreme is the lightest MRAP vehicle available on the market which has full certification to STANAG 4569 AEP 55 Level 2 and Level 3a.

In addition, the 6.7 Liter Super duty diesel engine and light curb weight gives the Guardian Xtreme an unmatched 49 hp/t power to weight ratio and superior mobility both on road and off-road. 

Defence Turkey: The Rila MRAP, with a carrying capacity of 12 personnel, is the newest and largest member of the IAG’s Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle product range. The vehicle is reported to have similar ballistic and mine/blast protection (Level 4a and 3b). Could you share with our readers the current certificates and the ballistic/blast tests carried out with the Rila MRAP?

Alper ALPAY: Rila MRAP will be the new member of IAG’s MRAP family scheduled to complete its testing within 2019. 

The RILA MRAP is designed to provide protection up to STANAG 4569 AEP 55 Level 3 ballistic and mine protection and additionally we are planning to test it against STANAG 4569 Level 4a for mine protection.  The RILA MRAP is also based on commercially available chassis and it will be adjustable on 3 well know global brands. It is available in 4x4 or 6x6 drivetrain with solid or independent axles which will give more flexibility to our customers when choosing the best option for their mission requirements. 

Defence Turkey: IAG also provides low-profile armoring solutions for civilian/commercial vehicles used as VIP transports without compromising the appearance of the vehicles. The most well-known of these vehicles are the Toyota Land Cruiser and the Lexus LX570, the more comfortable version of the same chassis. Could you inform us about the ballistic protection level of these vehicles after the armoring process?

Alper ALPAY: We are producing over 100 different brands/models of concealed armored low-profile vehicles with over 500 different variants and protection levels.  Our concealed armored vehicles production includes luxury vehicles, 4x4 off-road vehicles and pickups, trucks, buses and minibuses, Cash in Transit vehicles, armored ambulances and many other special purpose armored vehicles. We are adding new brands and models to our portfolio every month. 

Concealed armored vehicles protection level varies from EN1063 BR2 against 9 mm hand gun threat to EN1063 BR7 against 7,62x51 AP (armor piercing ammunition) threat depending on the customers’ requirements and required vehicle engine/carrying capability. Additionally, we offer fully certified commercial vehicles to VPAM BRV2009 VR7 with add on protection to STANAG Level 2a for blast and enhanced side blast protection to 15kg of TNT detonated 2 meters away from the vehicle as opposed to the standard 4 meters away.

Defence Turkey: You have become one of the few companies with STANAG-4569 Level 2a certification as a result of your studies to increase the level of protection for these vehicles. Could you tell us about the tests carried out at the TNO center in the Netherlands? 

Alper ALPAY: We tested our VPAM BRV 2009 VR7 certified Toyota Land Cruiser 200 series vehicle against the Stanag 4569 AEP55 Level 2a mine threat. Level 2a refers to 6 kg of TNT placed under the front driver side tire of the vehicle. During the test Hybrid 3 test dummies were placed on the driver and rear seat which take 25 different measurements with sensors during the blast. All measurements from the dummies were in the acceptable range indicating that the occupants would not suffer any life-threatening injuries.  This earned us the Stanag Level 2a mine protection certification. It is worth noting that our certification was carried out on the driver side front wheel where there are lots of openings in the firewall for pedals, steering column and passthroughs.  This is a very difficult certification to pass as it takes extreme engineering and know-how to be able to protect these areas during a large blast.

Defence Turkey: Could you inform us about your ballistic glass production capabilities and their protection levels?

Alper ALPAY: The Transparent Armor Systems ® is part of the IAG family specializing in ballistic glass, frame systems and doors production. The ballistic glass that we produce are certified for all of the protection levels below:

EN1063 from BR2 to BR7

NIJ – from NIJ1 to NIJ IV 

STANAG 4569 from STANAG 1    to STANAG 3

UL – UL10

Our ballistic glass production facility is located in the United Arab Emirates and our 2nd production facility in already under construction in the United States which will be serving the markets in the US, Canada and South America. 

Defence Turkey: Could you tell us about your customer portfolio? 

Alper ALPAY: Our architectural ballistic glass solutions customer portfolio consists of government organizations, international aid and peacekeeping organizations such as NATO and UN, Police, Military, private security companies, international oil companies, banks and construction companies.

Defence Turkey: How long does it take to armor a vehicle? Is there a specific timeframe for the process? What is IAG’s capacity for the production for armored vehicles?

Alper ALPAY: The armoring timeframe differs depending on the size of the vehicle, armoring level and complexity of the armoring process. We calculate the armoring timeframe of a B6 Armored Toyota Land Cruiser 200 series vehicle as 1 unit and calculate our monthly capacity accordingly. Currently our combined monthly armoring capacity is 350 units/month and with new investments in the UAE, the US and Turkey by the end of 2019 our total combined armoring capacity will reach 400 units/month. 

Defence Turkey: What can you tell us about IAG’s participation in the IDEF-19 Fair? How many products will you bring to the exhibition? Will you introduce new products at the fair?

Alper ALPAY: We will display the following vehicles: the IAG Guardian Xtreme MRAP, the STANAG certified Toyota Land Cruiser 200, as well as, the Jaws APC and a Guard Booth. All vehicles and the Guard Booth are armored using TAS ballistic glass. 

Defence Turkey: Is there a message that you would like to convey to our readers?

Alper ALPAY: We would like to thank Defence Turkey for giving International Armored Group the opportunity to share our company history, story and product line with your readers.  We are honored to be featured in your publication and we look forward to working together in the future