BMC also has a contract to sell 329 Kirpis to the Turkish military in 2017. The Kirpi is a mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle developed and manufactured by BMC. It features a 375 PS engine; a
4-wheel drive configuration; a fully automatic transmission; a transport capacity of up to 15 fully armed personnel; protection against mine, ballistic and improvised explosive device threats; a manual turret/remote-controlled weapon station; a central tire inflation system; and an automatic fire extinguishing system. It can run on flat tires.
BMC is in talks with Turkmenistan for the sale of 10 ambulance versions of the Kirpi. That's in addition to nearly 300 Kirpis to foreign governments.
"Our next targets include the Middle East, Middle Asia, South Africa and Europe," a senior company executive said.
Locally, BMC and its partners also have an eye on a multibillion-dollar Turkish contract for the serial production of an eventual batch of 1,000 new-generation main battle tanks. The Altay will be Turkey's first indigenous battle tank.
The Altay's prototype was built by Otokar, a rival Turkish armored vehicles producer. In January, Otokar submitted its best offer for serial production, but procurement authorities asked the company to also submit its "best and final offer." That was submitted in September..
Now the Turkish authorities will decide whether to award the contract to Otokar on a solo-bidder basis or launch competition, which, then, will include BMC or RBSS. Most defense bureaucracy expect competition rather than single-source purchase.
"RBSS is trying to create an armor powerhouse with sustainability. There are many reasons why they can and many why they cannot," one London-based Turkey specialist observed.
Burak Ege Bekdil is the Turkey correspondent for Defense News.