Government and military agree to upgrade armored vehicles
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULAug 22, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Aug 22, 2015 12:00 am
Following the terrorist PKK's attack with landmines in Siirt and killing eight Turkish soldiers on Wednesday, the government and military have compromised on upgrading armored vehicles, including the Kirpi (Hedgehog), in the latest security meeting chaired by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on Thursday.
The defense industry was on the agenda in the meeting in which Gen. Hulusi Akar attended the meeting as Chief of Staff for the first time.
Sources close to the Prime Ministry say that Davutoğlu instructed officials about increasing the speed of production in necessary equipment for the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), unmanned aerial vehicles and taking measures regarding border security while terror activities have been on the rise in the last month.
Among the most important matters, it is reported that the number of Kirpi vehicles, a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle, will be increased immediately following the lack of protection of the armored Kobra, which is less resistant to mines. Kobras are more often used by the army during the transportation of personnel.
However it is expected that with the rise in numbers of Kirpis, those will replace Kobras in the transportation of military staff. Kirpis can accommodate up to 13 personnel and can move over any ground condition at a maximum speed of 105 kilometers per hour.
The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and BMC previously agreed on a deal to produce 614 Kirpis as Turkey's first mine-resistant vehicle in 2009. Although BMC was fined in 2013 after failing to meet the requirements of the deal and the company stopped production after making 278 Kirpis due to financial difficulties for a while, all vehicles were delivered later in 2014.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the annual IDEF defense fair in May this year, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that 614 Kirpis had been delivered to the TSK. Also, the purchase of more MRAP vehicles, used by the U.S. army to withstand improvised explosive device (IED) attacks and ambushes, was reportedly also discussed in the meeting. These vehicles were widely used in Iraq and Afghanistan by the U.S.
MRAP vehicles have a V-type body in order to protect personnel against possible roadside bomb blasts. The vehicles can either be 4x4s or 6x6s and have the ability to provide safe shipment in regions where fierce clashes take place.