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Otokar Exhibits Two New Armored Vehicles During Press Meeting at Its Arifiye Plant

by İbrahim SÜNNETÇİ Operating in the defence sector since 1987 and providing services to the Armed and Security Forces of 32 allied and friendly nations in five continents besides Turkey with over 30,000 military vehicles (including LandRover Defender tactical vehicles), Otokar revealed the prototypes of Turkey’s first electric drive armored vehicle AKREP-II Armored Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle and URAL Special Operations Vehicle, which is the new version of ENGEREK Special Operations Vehicle to the local media during an exclusive press meeting held on April 24, 2019. The press meeting held at Otokar’s plant in Arifiye, Sakarya was hosted by Otokar’s General Manager Serdar GÖRGÜÇ

In the meeting, stating that Turkey was drawing the world’s attention with its competitive products in defence industry, Otokar General Manager Serdar GÖRGÜÇ said, “The products and vehicles manufactured by our defence industry are being appreciated in global scale. As Otokar - Turkey’s only indigenous land systems manufacturer - we have been increasing our added value to our country with the vehicles and technology we produce in this field. Otokar is the supplier of the NATO and the United Nations and more than 30,000 military vehicles manufactured by Otokar with the company’s own technology, design and implementations are being actively used in Turkey as well as in the world. The reputation of our vehicles exceeded beyond our borders; we reached a competitive level in the world with the help of the vehicles we manufacture. Otokar is no longer a company in defence industry manufacturing and selling products, it reached the level of a company that exports its know-how and conducts technology transfer from Turkey”.

GÖRGÜÇ: “We Steer the Innovations in Land Systems”

Stating that as a result of the changing threats during the last 20 years, the need for the vehicles that could be used in armed patrol, reconnaissance and in military operations on urbanized terrain has increased and that they developed the new generation armored vehicle AKREP-II to this end, Otokar General Manager GÖRGÜÇ said, “According to our observations, a requirement for a low silhouette armored vehicle with high ballistic protection that enables the integration of many weapon systems in addition to the primary tasks of reconnaissance and surveillance has developed in our users. Our AKREP vehicle, which we added to our product range in 1995, secured contracts both in our country and in foreign countries and it was a low silhouette platform operated by a crew of 3. By making use of the know-how and high technology we own, we developed the new generation AKREP-II considering the contemporary expectations and against the future threats and added it to our product range. We expect AKREP-II to be successful particularly in the export markets with its high firepower, superior protection and survivability, its high maneuver capability, low silhouette and agility.”

GÖRGÜÇ: “It was designed in line with the Technologies of the Future” 

Noting that AKREP-II was designed as a modular platform adaptable to different tasks, and that they developed the vehicle in a way to enable benefiting from the technological facilities in maximum extent, GÖRGÜÇ said, “The circumstances of the battlefield and the expectations of the end users are changing constantly. The armies wish to benefit from the operational advantages and the logistical efficiency of technology in the highest level. Therefore, the expectations for new generation vehicles and solutions are increasing in the modern armies. They wish to utilize the technological solutions that would increase the efficiency and performance. By taking all the aforementioned expectations into consideration, we designed AKREP-II in a way to enable integration with all contemporary and future technological infrastructures. For instance, the AKREP-II that fitted with appropriate equipment for the long-lasting reconnaissance and surveillance missions will be able to transmit the data, obtained by onboard advance identification and recognition systems, simultaneously to the digital information systems. With this feature, AKREP-II will be a pioneer in transferring the advanced technologies to the military field as well.”

Underlining that AKREP-II will be displayed at the 14th IDEF ‘19 International Defence Industry Fair this year for the first time, and that they have been working for months to present the vehicle in a special configuration at the event for months, GÖRGÜÇ continued, “When we spoke of technological developments of course alternative fuels remained in our agenda. We designed AKREP-II in line with the alternative powertrains. AKREP-II is equipped with electric motor and improved battery packs will be displayed at IDEF ‘19 as Turkey’s first full electric drive armored vehicle. Offering agility, low thermal signature, high speed and silence advantages all at once compared with the traditional armored vehicles, AKREP-II features the electric motor that is sufficient for fulfilling the challenging specifications set by the armies across the world. Fulfilling the tactical performance expectations in the best way, AKREP-II also provides advantages especially in fuel efficiency, mobility, survivability and in respect of integrated logistical support.”

Noting that AKREP-II would become a milestone for Otokar and Turkey, GÖRGÜÇ added, “With AKREP-II, Otokar gained a unique know-how on the implementation of electric drive vehicle technology to armored vehicles. This development has the characteristic of a first step for the hybrid and autonomous armored vehicles of the future. Our target is to render AKREP-II a leading product in the technology exports of Turkey.”

AKREP-II Armored Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle

Developed by Otokar as a private venture the AKREP-II Armored Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle is intended to meet both export and local customers’ requirement. It is worth mentioning that a number of countries, including the ones in Africa, operate thousands of ageing scout cars, produced the 1960s. So the AKREP-II seems as a good replacement. The AKREP-II is intended for surveillance and force recon/combat reconnaissance missions. But when equipped with 90 mm gun it can also provide close fire support to combatants. Otokar has a plan to make AKREP-II be ready for the sale to the export customers in next one year.

Various weapon options are proposed for the low-silhouette AKREP-II Armored Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle. The Technology Demonstrator version of the AKREP-II that revealed to the media at the Anechoic Chamber in EMI/EMC Test Centre (as part of its currently ongoing test program AKREP-II will undergo EMI/EMC tests during next days) is fitted with Otokar’s new BOZOK remotely operated turret system armed with a 25 mm automatic cannon and a coaxial 7,62 mm machine gun. The second prototype to be displayed during IDEF ‘19 Fair is fitted with a low-weight two-person turret armed with a 90mm low-pressure gun (such as either CMI Cockerill® CSE 90LP). Otokar General Manager Serdar GÖRGÜÇ disclosed that they are currently in negotiations with an undisclosed potential customer who has requested the 90mm gun armed version. Live firing tests of AKREP-II with 90 mm gun is planned to take place in 2019.

The AKREP-II in surveillance and force recon/combat reconnaissance configuration has a crew of three; Driver, Gunner and Commander. However, all the main functions of this vehicle can be implemented by the crew of two. The Driver sits in the center of the vehicle upfront and has access to a modern re-programmable sports car like three large flat-panel multi-function displays. Commander (left) and Gunner (right) sits behind the Driver and can control sensors, radios and 25mm gun the AKREP-II is carrying. Both Commander and Gunner have a large multi-function display and Gunner can control the 25mm remotely operated gun via control stick with multi-function buttons. Vehicle is also fitted with a mast-mounted long-range day/night observation system with 360-degree surveillance capability.  

Two propulsion options are proposed for the AKREP-II Armored Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle. The version revealed to the media at the Anechoic Chamber at Otokar plant in Arifiye is fitted with novel full electric drive/propulsion technology including a pair of alternators/DC motor (procured from a undisclosed foreign company and each generating 180kW, around 250hp) and ALTINAY’s battery packs (can be mounted both in the front and in the rear of the vehicle) that generates around 500hp. With existing ALTINAY’s battery packs AKREP-II has a range of 250km on a single charge and the battery packs can be recharged within 3 hours. The second version, which is currently under development, will be fitted with a 450hp diesel engine. An ongoing development effort for this version is scheduled to be completed in a year. Thanks to its full electric drive technology AKREP-II has an extra punch in performance (compared to diesel propulsion version) when needed and could also execute its mission silently in high-threat environments without radiating any thermal and acoustic signature. The AKREP-II can be airlifted by the C-130 Hercules and A400M military cargo aircraft. This means the AKREP-II can be flown directly into the area of operations and can roll off their transports ready to go to work.

Having a weight of around 11 tones the AKREP-II offers similar ballistic protection capability with COBRA-II (according to open sources the baseline vehicle is STANAG 4569 Level 3 compliant). Its armored monocoque hull is fabricated from high-hardness armor steel. The AKREP-II also uses several common subsystems with COBRA-II and being considered as a first step of Otokar to unmanned combat vehicle field.

URAL Special Operations Vehicle (ENGEREK-II)

The prototype of URAL Special Operations Vehicle, which is the new version of ENGEREK Special Operations Vehicle that based on LandRover Defender 110 tactical vehicle was also displayed during the media tour that took place after the press meeting at the Otokar Arifiye plant along with company’s other vehicles; TULPAR Light Tank, URAL Internal Security Vehicle with BAŞOK 7,62 mm turret system, COBRA-I Armored Personnel Carrier (APC), COBRA-II APC UN version with open cupola, COBRA-II APC with ÜÇOK 12,7 mm turret system, ARMA 6x6 with BAŞOK 7,62 mm turret system, ARMA 8x8 with 30mm remote controlled MIZRAK-30 RCWS and RABDAN 8x8 (without any turret, it is going to be fitted with a BMP-3 turret in the UAE). 

The URAL Special Operations Vehicle is an open-topped light armored vehicle operated by a crew of five and can be used for long-range reconnaissance and special operations. The vehicle offers cross-country mobility with high off-road performance and well-balanced power-to-weight ratio. It features a 4x4 wheel drive layout and an open architectural design configuration. 

While the ENGEREK was featuring only armored under-protection for the fuel tank and underbody composite armor that provides protection for the crew (5+1) against only anti-personnel mines exploded underneath the vehicle, the URAL Special Operations Vehicle features both side armor (up to waist-high and provides protection from small arms fire) and improved underbody protection for heavier mines explosion as well as a ballistic protection for the engine compartment. 

The URAL Special Operations Vehicle has three weapon mounts; Front (rotating gun mount and weapon adaptor for a 5,56 mm or 7,62 mm caliber weapon), Back (rotating and height adjustable gun mount and weapon adaptor for a 5,56 mm or 7,62 mm caliber weapon and a Main Gun Ring at the roof (gun pintle and weapon adaptor for a 5,56 mm, 7,62 mm or 12.7 mm caliber weapon and a 40 mm grenade launchers). For rapid deployment by air, URAL Special Operations Vehicle can be transported by the C-130 Hercules and A400M military cargo aircraft and by CH-47F Chinook heavy lift helicopters (as an under slung load). The vehicle can, in theory, be transported internally by Chinook, although the weapons mounts have to be removed to allow this. 

GÖRGÜÇ: “TULPAR Light Tank to be Displayed in Turkey for the First Time”

Expressing that the TULPAR Light Tank has been included into their product range during last year will be displayed for the first time at the IDEF ‘19 Fair, GÖRGÜÇ extended the following information: “The light weight class tanks assuming active roles as a reconnaissance and fire support vehicle in modern armies have been standing out as an increasing demand in the sector, especially when the changing battlefield conditions and the differentiating threats are taken into consideration. In accordance with this tendency, and by starting with the expectations of the end users from around the various geographies of the world, we designed the TULPAR Light Tank by combining our experiences, engineering capabilities and R&D facilities. Our light weight tank successfully completed the firing tests it went through in Europe last year and was tested by two different users in 2018.”

Otokar Accomplished an Export of US$ 211 Million in 2018

Sharing information on the developments in the defence industry and Otokar’s export activities in the meeting, Otokar General Manager GÖRGÜÇ told that the world’s defence industry expenses reached the level of US$ 1.7 Trillion in 2017 and 22 percent of this amount was composed of equipment procurement and said, “Our sector’s export performance in the first three months of 2019 increased by 60% compared with the same period of the previous year and the exports per kilogram exceeded US$ 46 in defence industry. Our President of Defence Industries Prof. İsmail DEMİR announced the export target for 2019 as US$ 3 Billion. As Otokar we will be doing our best to reach these critical targets. The light tank TULPAR we introduced in France last year was admired in global scale. On account of the delivery of the tactical wheeled armored vehicles, the orders of which we received last year, we doubled our exports in 2018, and achieved export revenue of US$ 211 Million. 82% percent of our defence industry turnover is composed of the exports”. Noting that URAL, COBRA-II and ARMA vehicles drew intense interest in 2018, GÖRGÜÇ added, “We successfully delivered the armored vehicle orders we received last year from our country and from foreign countries, United Nations being in the first place. Our delivery continues in 2019 as well. Our TULPAR vehicle displayed a successful performance in the firing tests held at two different countries”.

GÖRGÜÇ: “We Invested TL 1 Billion in R&D in 10 Years”

Stressing that their aim was to become a global brand in defense industry and they have proceeded towards this target with courageous steps GÖRGÜÇ said, “Regarding the land systems, we have been manufacturing vehicles in world standards that are capable of competing with the global players. We invested TL 1 billion in R&D in the last 10 years. We offer our R&D center equipped with the latest technologies to the utilization of both the defence industry and other sectors. In addition to the product export and R&D facilities, last year we included the technology transfer into the services we provided. The years 2019 and 2020 will be the years where Otokar shifts up the gear in the exports. We will endeavor to renew the record we broke last year in exports. We have been attending the events organized across the world in order to strengthen our international cooperation and make use of the opportunities regarding our targets identified for opening to brand new markets. This year, our target markets in exports are South America, Africa, Middle East, Eastern Europe and the Far East. We will achieve the targets we identified, with our wide variety of vehicles in defense industry and our technology transfer capability”.

At the 14th IDEF ‘19 International Defence Industry Fair to be held on 30 April - 3 May, Otokar will exhibit its newest platforms and products to the participants and visitors at its stand located Hall 7, in TÜYAP Fair & Exhibition Center. Ambulance version of COBRA-II 4x4 wheeled armored vehicle (already entered Turkish Navy service and delivered to an undisclosed export customer for UN missions) and TULPAR-S (the new member of TULPAR family, a multi-purposed vehicle platform which retains basic features of standard TULPAR whilst maintaining the amphibious capability) will be among 12 vehicles to be displayed at Otokar stand. Serdar GÖRGÜÇ disclosed that an unnamed Far East country has declared its interest to TULPAR-S and officials from that country will pay a visit to Turkey during IDEF to inspect the vehicle.