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Tank Hunters: KAPLAN & PARS 4X4 STA First Two Kaplan STA Vehicle Delivered to Turkish Armed Forces

Within the scope of the Anti-Tank Vehicles Project carried out under the contract signed between the Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB) and FNSS Savunma Sistemleri A.Ş., the first Two Kaplan Anti-Tank Vehicles (STA) were delivered to the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF)

Issue 97

December 25, 2019. The first two tracked KAPLAN STA vehicles were delivered at a ceremony held at FNSS Gölbaşı Facilities as part of the Anti-Tank Vehicles (STA) Project carried out for the supply of new generation antitank vehicles to the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF). President of Defence Industries Prof. İsmail DEMİR, FNSS General Manager & CEO K. Nail KURT, Nurol Holding Vice Chairman of the Board Oğuz ÇARMIKLI, Aselsan Chairman of the Board Prof. Haluk GÖRGÜN and several militaries and defence industry officials attended the ceremony. During the KAPLAN STA delivery ceremony, the Subcontractor Agreement for the Supply of Mission Equipment within the scope of the Special Purpose Tactical Wheeled Armored Vehicle (ÖMTTZA) Project was signed between FNSS and Aselsan, and also the Subcontractor Agreement for the Supply of the Indigenous Engine signed between FNSS and TÜMOSAN. The agreement with Aselsan was signed by FNSS Chief Marketing & Programs Officer Aybars KÜÇÜK, Aselsan Chairman of the Board Prof. Haluk GÖRGÜN and Aselsan Defence System Technologies Vice President Mustafa KAVAL with the witness of SSB President Prof. İsmail DEMİR. The agreement between FNSS and TÜMOSAN was signed by FNSS General Manager and CEO K.Nail KURT and TÜMOSAN Chairman Ahmet ALBAYRAK.     

Speaking at the delivery ceremony, FNSS General Manager and CEO K.Nail KURT said the Qualification Tests of the KAPLAN STA vehicles were completed, and they were delivered to the security forces in accordance with the project schedule and added, “The Anti-Tank Vehicles contract signed between the Presidency of Defence Industries and our Company in June 2016 covers a total of 260 vehicles, 184 of which are tracked and 76 of which are 4x4 wheeled, as well as turrets to be used on these vehicles. 64 of these will be equipped with KORNET missiles that are currently in the inventory of the Turkish Armed Forces. Other vehicles will be equipped with OMTAS missiles developed by Roketsan. We have two different vehicles and two different types of turrets. In short, four different types of products are being developed, designed, prototyped and qualified. There is a KORNET turret on our tracked KAPLAN and an OMTAS turret on our PARS 4x4 prototype vehicle. These two vehicles and two turrets were completely designed and manufactured from scratch to cater for our Armed Forces as per the TAF’s requirements. Within this context, two KAPLAN Tracked Anti-Tank vehicles are being delivered today. We are planning to finalize the qualification of the PARS 4x4 in January 2020.” 

FNSS General Manager and CEO K.Nail KURT: “We attended the critical design meeting held in the 16th month, not only with drawings and slides but with a prototype vehicle available in the R&D workshop.” 

Mentioning the value of support given by FNSS solution partners in the Project, KURT said, “Within the scope of STA Project, we have teamed up with Nurol Makina throughout the development phase of the PARS 4x4 vehicles and developed PARS 4x4 STA which is a very distinctive vehicle. We made use of the competence and expertise of our sister company on 4x4 vehicles. They provided critical design input and support. Additionally, the manufacturing activities are performed entirely by Nurol Makina. For antitank turrets, the OMTAS Mission Unit was developed with Roketsan for the preparation of OMTAS missiles on turrets and their launch. In this context, very critical collaboration was made in terms of integration. The SAGER high-performance Electro-Optical Sight System developed and manufactured by Aselsan is used on all turrets. SDT has developed Platform and Gunner Interface Units to provide the operator interface with the turret on the vehicles. They had provided critical support with electronic control units. The STA Project is a very important example where highly effective cooperation has been achieved.”    

Underlining that they have designed an indigenous vehicle, and even though the critical technical requirements need to be bounden, FNSS General Manager & CEO K.Nail KURT emphasized that they attended the Critical Design Review meeting held in the 16th month not only with technical drawings and slides but with a prototype vehicle available in the R&D workshop. “The project requirements were really challenging. Mine and ballistic protection requirements were quite high. There was also a need for amphibious capability; therefore, serious system engineering and optimization efforts were made to meet on common ground for two conflicting requirements. I don't think there are too many countries in the world achieving this. Considering the point we have reached today, the development of 4 different products, the manufacturing of prototypes and the completion of all qualification processes in a short time is a big achievement of the Turkish Defence Industry especially in terms of land systems. I would like to thank the Presidency of Defence Industries, Turkish Land Forces and all of the companies who work with a common understanding in this project as a subcontractor.” 

President of the SSB Prof. İsmail DEMİR: “We will use unique Armor Steel in our Armored Vehicles in a short span of time”

Speaking at the ceremony, President of Defence Industries Prof. İsmail DEMİR pointed out that there are activities being performed on armor steel and engines that will reduce foreign dependency in the field of land vehicles. “There are issues we are closely following regarding one of the most important components of our foreign dependency in the field of armor steel, engine and transmission, especially within the scope of this project. We will use unique armor steel in our vehicles in the near future with the valuable initiatives of our private sector in terms of producing local armor steel. In addition, our engine and transmission development activities are going on. Today, we are proud of adding KAPLAN and PARS 4X4 Anti-Tank vehicles to our inventory, which is the valuable output of our intensive efforts within the scope of our modernization and new generation vehicle projects. In the STA project, great efforts were made to use the engine of TÜMOSAN in terms of using indigenous engines, thanks to our Presidency’s persistence and determination.”

Highlighting the export potential of the STA project, Prof.DEMİR said, “We consider that our domestic products that are to be used on the turrets, weapon systems and other systems to take part in the vehicle in the STA project will be important export items. Together we will witness how effective such vehicles will be in the future. Most probably, by diversifying the turrets and weapon systems on our vehicles, these vehicles will become much more functional and will be a crucial combat elements that will reduce the workload of our tanks at the theater with various optical imaging and control systems.”

Following SSB President Prof. İsmail DEMİR's speech, scaled-model of the STA and the vehicle key were presented by Nurol Holding Vice Chairman Oğuz ÇARMIKLI.

During the ceremony, the Subcontractor Agreement for the procurement of Mission Equipment within the scope of the Special Purpose Tactical Wheeled Armored Vehicle (ÖMTTZA) Project was signed between FNSS and Aselsan, and also the Subcontractor Agreement for the procurement of the unique engine signed between FNSS and TÜMOSAN. Within the scope of the ÖMTTZA agreement signed between the SSB and FNSS, FNSS will complete the manufacturing of a total of 100 8x8 and 6x6 vehicles in 5 different types, via a domestic development model, and deliver them to the Turkish Land Forces Command and Gendarmerie General Command. Within the scope of the ÖMTTZA project, 30 6x6 command vehicles, 45 8x8 sensor and reconnaissance vehicles, 15 6x6 radar vehicles, 5 8x8 CBRN vehicles, 5 units of 8x8 Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFV) will be delivered.

All Platforms and Turret Systems Under the STA Program will be Delivered in 2022

STA Project tender that adopted the local Production and Integration model was firstly started 11 years ago. At that time, the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) had issued an RFP (Request for Proposal) on March 7, 2008 for the procurement of 1,075 tactical wheeled armored vehicles and an Integrated Logistics Support System to meet the need of carrier vehicles for TOW, Milan and 40mm Automatic Bomb Launchers that were available in the inventory of the Turkish Land Forces Command, and for KORNET-E ordered by SSM under the OMTAS Direct Procurement Project, and for Medium Range Antitank Weapon (OMTAS) Missile Systems developed by Roketsan. The breakdown of the vehicles had been determined as 350 TOW, 344 Milan, 229 40mm Automatic Bomb Launchers and 152 OMTAS Carriers. On December 15, 2008, BMC, FNSS, HEMA Industry, Nurol Makina and Otokar companies had submitted their bids, soon afterwards the number of vehicles was reduced to 846 vehicles that excluding 229 40mm Automatic Bomb Launcher Vehicles and then to 260 vehicles as per the request of the Land Forces Command.  

Within the scope of the STA Project, on June 21, 2013, an RFP had been issued to FNSS and Otokar Companies for a total of 260 vehicles (184 tracked & 76 wheeled), FNSS Savunma Sistemleri A.Ş. had become the successful bidder and the signing ceremony was held on June 27, 2016 at the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries with the participation of FNSS, SSM and MoND officials. Following the signature of the contract, the project kick-off meeting was held on October 14, 2016 in accordance with the decision of the Defence Industry Executive Committee (DIEC/SSIK) dated March 9, 2016, FNSS will develop a total of 260 vehicles, 184 of which are tracked and 76 of which are wheeled, as well as 64 KORNET-E Weapon Turrets and 196 OMTAS Weapon Turrets. 

The detailed design of the vehicles was approved by SSM and the Turkish Land Forces in the 15th month of the project and qualification tests started on December 3, 2018. 

The KAPLAN STA and PARS 4x4 STA successfully passed the Mobility and Durability, Environmental Conditions, EMI / EMC, Mine and Ballistic Protection and Amphibious Capability Tests. Within the frame of qualification tests, KAPLAN STA successfully completed the 10,000 km durability driving test including performance tests on snowy terrain and KORNET Turret qualifications.

Within the scope of the STA Project, the integration test of the OMTAS antitank missile developed by Roketsan onto the KAPLAN STA Anti-Tank Vehicle was verified by the firing test performed with the participation of the teams of the Presidency Defence Industries and Land Forces Command in Karapınar, Konya on February 13, 2019. During the firing test on 6 April 2019, that was performed with the OMTAS missile launched from the Remote-Controlled Anti-Tank Turret integrated successfully onto the KAPLAN STA, the firing test towards the moving target from the stationary vehicle was successfully performed. The video of the firing test with the OMTAS missile integrated onto PARS and KAPLAN vehicles (from the moving vehicle towards the stationary target) was made public on November 25, 2019,  on the SSB’s official twitter account.  In the video the OMTAS missile is shown successfully hitting the target.

The PARS 4x4 STA also successfully passed the 20,000 km durability driving test, while the OMTAS Turret qualifications are expected to be completed at the end of December 2019 in accordance with the FNSS statement. The qualification tests of the PARS STA 4x4 vehicle are planned to be finalized in January 2020 and in pursuit of the acceptance tests, first vehicles are planned to be included in the inventory of the TAF.

All tracked & wheeled platforms and turret systems are expected to be included in the inventory of Turkish Armed Forces by 2022