ÜMİT ENGİNSOY April 29, 2011
Otokar, a top Turkish armored vehicle maker, plans to export a large number of eight-wheeled armored vehicles it has just developed, said a top company executive on Friday.
“The Turkish Armed Forces needs no such vehicles in the very short term. On the other hand, many militaries in the world are in need of such vehicles, so we are in this business,” said Serdar Görgüç, the Otokar general manager. He was speaking at an event to mark the unveiling of Otokar’s new product, the Arma 8x8, in Adapazarı, western Turkey.
Otokar will display the Arma 8x8 at the IDEF 2011, a defense fair in Istanbul to be held May 10-13.
“In the next 10 years there will be a huge market in the world for 8x8 vehicles, and we are seeking cost-effective and good solutions to all requirements,” Görgüç said. “All countries not producing 8x8 vehicles are our potential customers.” The company is in touch with several potential customers.
The Arma 8x8 will be competing with rivals for contracts in at least two countries in the next two months. Otokar said Thursday it had signed a contract with Turkish security officials worth 56 million Turkish Liras for the sale of armored personnel carriers and upgrades for them.
Görgüç said the contract includes the procurement and upgrade of nearly 400 Cobra light armored vehicles, Otokar’s signature product.
The company also signed contracts worth $9.3 million for exports of several vehicle types earlier this year and in December another contract worth more than $10 million for the first exports of its Arma 6x6 vehicles to an unnamed country.
Otokar, owned by Turkey's top business conglomerate Koç Holding, produces a family of seven armored vehicles. It’s sales, civilian and military, reached 517 million liras (approximately $340 million) in 2010.
The Arma is an amphibious tactical wheeled armored vehicle. It has a high degree of ballistic and mine protection, thanks to its high steel hull.
Otokar is the Turkish prime contractor for a multi-billion-dollar program for the design, development and manufacturing of Turkey's first domestically produced main battle tank, the Altay.
Under a $500 million contract, Otokar and its partners have been tasked to deliver four prototypes for the new generation tank by 2015. In agreement with South Korea's Hyundai Rotem, Otokar is obtaining technology transfer from the company that produced South Korea's K1 and K2 main battle tanks. After 2015, serial production of the Altay is expected to start.