FNSS A Leader Company in Armored Combat Vehicles / Interview

Dear Kurt, we would like to first wish you success

Issue 10

FNSS has started its life as a project company. The company was established in order to cover the Armed Battle Vehicle needs of Turkish Armed Forces in 1989. 1 package ZMA agreement executed between FNSS and Turkish government for the production of 1698 Armed Battle Vehicle (ZMA), Developed Armed Staff Carried (GZPT), Armed Tow Vehicle (ZTA) and Armed Mortar Vehicle (ZHA) has come into force on 15 August 1989. Productions and deliveries under the scope of 1. package have been completed in 2000.
FNSS plants, which are located on a field of 280.000 m2 in Golbasi, Ankara, were completed in August 1991, and the production was launched.
FNSS, which had a very trustable past since its establishment, has followed a line of progress which reached to future under the leadership of Mr. Huseyin Esenergul. After my takeover of the task, we target a rapidly accelerating speed in this line. In addition to becoming a production company in the coming five years, FNXX will become one of the pioneering “land defense systems design and development” enterprises of the world in Land Defense Systems.
What are the capabilities and products of FNSS and the superiorities of technologies presented by it, being an organization which has undersigned many significant successes in international platforms? Can you give some information about programs and works performed in this direction?
Despite being a joint venture company having the status of a private company, FNSS has demonstrated a totally different performance and its ideal has been to serve Turkish Armed Forces and become a world company that can export its production.
In the years when FNSS was established, it was in the agenda to transfer technology and thus produce the systems. FNSS, which has put great emphasis on product development and export works immediately following its incorporation, has started to invest systematically in Research and Development as a significant part of its budget. Developing its engineering capacities in a short period of time, FNSS has also invested in supplier industry and developed it strongly through training. Today, FNSS has acquired a knowledge accumulation and experience which enable it to design and develop any armed vehicle, with pallets or wheels, and to integrate most complex sub systems to these platforms.
Up to date, FNSS has undersigned many first steps in Turkish Defense Industry. To list these:
- The first private defense industry company
-The first largest project of Defense Industry Undersecretriat (SSM)
-The first defense project in Turkey with a value of 1 billion USD.
-First production of Armed Battle Vehicles in Turkey
-Establishment of the first ballistic test laboratory
-the first defense firm which fulfills its offset undertaking
- export of complete defense system in private defense sector as the first time
- the first Turkish firm to export defense system to United Arab Emirates
-The first complete defense system export of Turkey has been realized within the frame of the Contract concluded with United Arab Emirates covering the production of Armed Battle Vehicles.
-The first Turkish firm to export defense system to Malaysia. It has realized the biggest defense system (various Armed Battle Vehicles) export in one single delivery as the first time in Turkish Defense Industry.
-First defense technology export: Technology transfer has been made to Malaysia within the scope of Malaysia project.
-the first Turkish firm to export defense system to Saudi Arabia
-the first Turkish firm to export defense system to Philippines
-the first Turkish defense firm to execute a long termed logistics support contract with foreign customers
- abroad production by a Turkish defense firm as the first time
-FNSS holds AQAP-2110, which is the highest quality assurance system of NATO, and ISO 9001- 2000 certificates issued by British Lloyd firm.
Can you provide us with information about programs realized by FNSS?
FNSS, which has launched its activities with 1698 ZMA produced for Turkish Armed Forces, has completed this project with a great success; and realized the rate of domestic production in vehicles as 81 %.
Vehicles manufactured by FNSS have been used by Turkish Troops which are assigned within the body of Peace Force of the United Nations in Somali, Bosnia Herzegovina and Kosovo, under battle conditions for thousands of kilometers and were appreciated by Turkish Soldiers.
In addition to providing service to Turkish Armed Forces, a significant purpose of FNSS is to provide export opportunities for Turkey. FNSS has established its first export link in 1997 with United Arab Emirates (UAE). A total of 133 Armed Stronghold Squad Vehicle, Armed Rescue Vehicle, Armed Artillery Advanced Monitoring Vehicle within the scope of the agreement signed, which were delivered to USA. The first delivery has taken place at the beginning of 1999, and the delivered were completed in February of 2001.

As a product of intense foreign marketing activities, FNSS has executed its second export project with Malaysia in August 2000. Under the scope of this Contract, production and deliveries of 211 vehicles of various types were completed at the end of 2004. Besides, technology transfer has been realized to said country within the scope of the project. This export is the is the biggest defense system export realized under one single delivery in Turkish Defense Industry sector. Besides, the company has produced and delivered Armed Rescue Vehicle to Philippines army.

In October of 2000, FNSS has signed 2. package Armed Battle Vehicle contract with Defense Industry Undersecretriat, which covers the production of 551 Advanced Armed Staff Carried. Vehicle production and deliveries under the scope of this Contract have been realized at the beginning of 2005.

A pilot project has been launched under a contract signed at the end of 2004 within the frame of M113 ZPT modernization works towards covering the need of Saudi Arabian Armed Forces for Armed Battle Vehicles and Armed Staff Carriers, and this pilot project was continued with the Contract signed at the end of 2004, and in the second half of 2007, the contract covering the modernization of 300 Armed Staff Carrier was signed and executed.
Besides, 10 Raider - ZMA Command Site Vehicles were produced for Saudi Arabian Land Forces, which are currently being delivered. Our another project which is in force is the production of Raider - ZMA 120 mm Mortar Vehicle for Malaysia Land Forces Commandership.
As you know, we have an ongoing project for developing and producing Mobile Swimming Attach Bridge within the scope of the contract we have signed with SSM in Turkey in 2007.

At what stage are the product and technology development process, final test results and other works related to the development of Pars Wheeled Armed Vehicle vamily? What sort of technical differences and superiorities does PARS Technical Wheeled Vehicle demonstrates?
FNSS has also developed the new Tire Wheeled Armed Vehicle Family, which is called "PARS". PARS is a wheeled armed vehicle system, which has a modular structure presenting accurate vehicle platform that could adapt to task conditions and any needs for all users.
PARS vehicle family comprises of 4X4,6X6, 8X8, and 10X10 vehicle configurations using high level of common parts and sub-systems. This wheeled vehicle system, which has a developed design, high load carriage capacity and common parts, has been designed for being used under the hardest task conditions.
The specialty of this vehicle family which makes it superior to its competitors is its high motion capacity, tactical utilization advantages which it presents for the staff, and its modular structure.
The vehicle is being tested under hard natural conditions both in Far East and in Middle East, and the vehicle design is being updated. PARS family, which has been designed in order to accomplish many tasks such as discovery, battling, staff carriage and many other tasks, is the first land defense system designed and developed in Turkey in its class.
In what direction are your works in the field of weapon systems?
FNSS is an expert company on the field of land defense systems. In this frame, 25 mm Sniper tower has been developed by FNSS. This system is being sold to foreign countries, and works are ongoing for developing other weapon systems having same specifications.
In this frame, the project for developing 25 – 30 mm unmanned weapon tower is being conducted with Aselsan. We are convinced that this product, which is planned to be completed by the end of 2009, will be highly appreciated in domestic and foreign market.
FNNS will continue to develop and market manned and unmanned weapon systems owned by it in line with market requirements.
What are your R&D activities and works? Can you provide us with information on your infrastructure, quality standards, targets and plans established in relation to these works?
In addition to armed battle vehicle production, FNSS engages in works for producing weapon and vehicle systems of various types thanks to its Research and Development section.
Having the most advanced computer hardware and software systems, FNSS uses CAD /CAM (Computer Supported Design /Computer Supported Manufacturing) and direct numeric control system in accordance with modern defense technology.
When considered on the basis of project, currently product development activities are ongoing actively for some countries in the Middle East and Far East .
Concept design works have been launched for Mobile Swimming Attack Bridge (SYHK) project.
Every year FNSS allocates a significant amount of its budget to Research and Development, and its faces with significant benefits of this strategy in addition to its risks. New products, which are developed in line with needs without causing the customer to wait, attracts high level of attention and finds customers.
What is the level of activities of FNSS in relation to Special Purpose Tactic Wheeled Armed Vehicle and Tactic Wheeled Vehicle projects, which are currently in the agenda, and how do you elaborate the position of FNSS in these projects?
FNSS has been taking significant steps in acquiring specific design capabilities in the last ten years. Apparently FNSS is undergoing a conscious transformation. FNSS is transforming to a “Land Defense systems design and development organizations” rather than being a production company.
In this scope, we will enter in the tenders with our specific systems in both projects.
One of our alternatives in Mine Vehicle project is to undertake a solution which is based on RG31 vehicle, which is known as the most reputed mine protected vehicle of the world, produced by our sister organization OMC in South Africa. However, FNSS has the capacity to develop better than these vehicles. For this reason, we intend to enter the tender with our specific vehicle even in the mine vehicle project.
In the discovery vehicle tender, our 6x6 PARS vehicle is the most advanced platform in its area.
You also engage in technology transfer in your international works with production facilities in Saudi Arabia and Malaysia. In that sense can FNSS be considered as a firm which is able to invest and transfer technology for the markets which it exports to, and which could provide extra advantages for the customers in those regions? Does this carry you to a distinct position among your international competitors?
FNSS has undersigned a first step taken in defense industry. Witnessing the domestic production requirements of its customers in the market, FNSS has started to act in line with their requirements, and adopted the philosophy of on-site production and technology. Based on this point, FNSS operates in a friend country. Employing domestic staff, FNSS operates with its own management staff in the military production facilities delivered to it.
What are your targets towards increasing export in middle east and close regional markets? Do you have new investment ideas and joint production plants through technology transfer in these regions? What are your assessments in relation to this issue?
In its philosophy, FNSS sets sales targets in line with the requirements of the customer, and prepares its strategies in this frame. In addition to direct sales from Ankara, on site production and sales concepts, examples of flexible marketing methods of FNSS include increasing sales through technology transfer method. FNSS will continue to implement flexible marketing strategies on these issues.
What are your export based targets and strategies in the coming period? With which of your products and capacities do you consider that you have a great competitive power in the international platform?
FNSS has focused on developing and producing land platforms (with pallet / tire wheel, light /heavy). FNSS has the capacities to produce all vehicle systems required on this issue in the best manner. It has established a perfect plant, completed its investment and created its supply industry network. It has a production appreciated and approved by the world on this issue; it engages in Research and Development and develops new systems itself, it has active licenses to manufacture various successful /original systems in Turkey. It has the position to provide most advanced solutions in technical terms within earliest period, with more domestic contribution, at a cheaper price.
The company will continue to develop new products in accordance with the needs of Armed Forces, namely its customer, and expand its export market area while continuing with sales to its current customers.
Besides, there is a wide area of distribution for FNSS covering Canada, USA, Chile, Australia, Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan in terms of sub systems and part export. Can you provide us with information on your works on this issue?
In addition to vehicle sales, FNSS provides spare part, kit, sub systems supply and logistics support services.
It provides long termed logistic and technical support to M113 and ZMA vehicles, which are in the inventory of Belgium Army. Besides, we have after-sales service agreement for the logistics and technical support of vehicles which have delivered to the army of the United Arab Emirates.
We have exported spare parts and sub systems to Canada, USA, Chile, Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain and NAMSA.
We will continue with our spare part sales to all countries having similar vehicles.