Otokar to make armored vehicles in Kazakhstan
by Ümit Enginsoy
Turkish defense and civil industry firm Otokar is set to launch a facility in Kazakhstan, its market for Cobra type armored vehicles. This is the first time a Turkish armored car firm will have produced abroad.
Turkey’s leading armored vehicles manufacturer Otokar is set to establish a production line in Kazakhstan, the company has said in a statement.
Under the deal, Otokar will launch a joint venture with NK Kazakhstan Engineering to produce Otokar’s 4x4 Cobra armored vehicles. The number of vehicles and the size of the contract have not yet been announced.
Otokar, based in the northwestern province of Sakarya, said a memorandum of understanding for the venture had been signed in Istanbul on Oct. 12 during the Turkish-Kazakh Investment and Commerce Forum. The deal was witnessed by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Kazakhstan’s visiting president, Nursultan Nazarbayev.
The agreement is a follow-up deal on an earlier contract Otokar won last May to sell scores of vehicles to the Kazakh army.
Otokar, a privately-owned Turkish company listed on the Istanbul Stock Exchange that is also the maker of the country’s first main battle tank, has sold over 25,000 armored vehicles to nearly 30 countries, but this is the first time a Turkish armored car company will produce abroad.
NK Kazakhstan Engineering has been tasked with building the production facility for the Cobra vehicles, while Otokar will transfer production know-how and deliver all parts and components for production, officials said.
The Cobra is a wheeled armored vehicle developed by Otokar, using some components from the American High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Drive, produced by AM General.
The Cobra forms a common platform which can be adapted for various roles and mission requirements including armored personnel carrier, anti-tank vehicle, reconnaissance vehicle, ground surveillance radar vehicle, forward observation vehicle, armored ambulance, armored command post, turreted vehicle for 12.7-mm machine gun, 20-mm cannon, anti-tank missiles such as the TOW missile/Spike missile or surface-to-air missiles. It can also be used as an amphibious vehicle in combat.
Otokar has also been tasked by Turkey’s Undersecretariat for Defense Industries to develop Turkey’s first main battle tank, the Altay, under guidance by South Korea’s Hyundai Rotem. The agreement, worth $500 million, calls for the manufacture of four prototypes by 2015.
The company is subsequently expected to produce a first batch of at least 240 tanks for the Turkish Armed Forces.
The company also produces the Arma 6X6 and Arma 8X8 wheeled armored vehicles.