ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s state-controlled military electronics company Aselsan has unveiled the first of what will become an upgraded armored combat vehicle used by the military.

The upgraded vehicle was launched at the 3rd Productivity and Technology Exhibition in Turkey, held June 9-12.

In the first phase of the upgrade program, Aselsan will modernize 133 vehicles, lengthening their life span and survivability, a company official told Defense News on June 18. The official said the upgraded vehicles will be delivered between 2021 and 2023. He was not authorized to say how many of the first batch was already delivered.

The first batch of vehicles is part of a whole convoy of more than 2,000 produced by FMC Nurol Savunma Sanayi between 1989 and 2003 under license from the U.S.-based company FMC Corporation. The vehicles came in four different configurations.

In December 2019, FNSS (formerly FMC Nurol Savunma Sanayi) signed a contract with Turkish defense procurement agency SSB — or Presidency of Defense Industries — to upgrade the armored vehicles, most of which are still in service. Under the program, dubbed ZMA-15, the vehicles will be fitted with high-tech equipment.

One of the new features is the NEFER, an unmanned turret system, which was unveiled with the armored combat vehicle during the exhibition this month.

The NEFER is designed to use both NATO-grade and Russian weapon systems. Turkey is currently facing U.S. sanctions for its purchase of the Russian-made S-400 air defense system. As part of the sanctions, Turkey was kicked out of the U.S.-led, multinational consortium that builds the fifth-generation F-35 fighter jet.

Other upgrades on the ACV include automatic target tracking, a laser warning system, a close-distance surveillance system, a modern cruise system, mine-protected seats, increased ballistic protection and anti-mine protection.

Burak Ege Bekdil is the Turkey correspondent for Defense News.

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