BMC (Turkey), Etika (Malaysia) and Rheinmetall AG (Germany) will partner together to form a new vendor, which will design, develop and produce armoured solutions targeted to prospective markets in Asia and the Middle East (Defense News).
Comment and Analysis
BMC is one of several prominent Turkish vendors involved in offering armour solutions – such as armoured personnel carriers (APC) – to the Turkish armed forces. Its main rivals include Otokar (the developer of the Altay main battle tank or MBT) and FNSS Defence Systems. The latter is working with Malaysian and Indonesian firms to produce 8×8 wheeled APCs and medium-weight tanks, respectively.
BMC is also competing with Otokar for the Turkish Army’s requirement for the Altay, a next-generation MBT design that may accrue export orders, particularly in the markets this new firm is aiming to enter. According to Defense News, this firm will not only focus on the Altay, other solutions may emerge as well.
If light armoured vehicles (LAV) are included in this new company’s catalogue, then it may compete with NIMR Automotive, a firm belonging to the United Arab Emirates-based Tawazun Precision Industries (which has a number of partnerships with the South African defence giant Denel). NIMR already has a number of APC and LAV designs under production.
In any case, Rheinmetall AG’s inclusion from the onset is a positive indicator for this joint-venture firm. The firm is an industry leader (if not the leader) in the development and production of guns for use on tanks, and can count the Leopard and Abrams series of MBTs in its ranks (along with the Otokar Altay and Hyundai Rotem K2 Black Panther). If there were any doubts in Rheinmetall AG’s interest in having its guns exported along with the Altay, its inclusion in this firm may be a step towards removing that ambiguity.
For the short and medium-term, it is likely this firm will focus on the Turkish and Malaysian markets first and foremost, before branching into more ambitious export initiatives (especially in markets with well established incumbents, such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE).