Speaking to the Turkish media, BMC (one of Turkey’s largest defence and civil automakers) Board Member Yasin Öztürk stated that the company’s Kirpi mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle has seen growing traction in the overseas market with 300 MRAPs sold (Milliyet).
Öztürk added that BMC has also been producing Kirpi MRAPs for Pakistan, though he did not disclose the numbers sold to or the duration of BMC’s dealings with Pakistan. However, Pakistan had been linked to possible Kirpi MRAP deals as early as 2012.
As per Army Recognition, the 4×4 BMC Kirpi utilizes a steel hull capable of providing protection from 7.62×51 mm small arms fire (STANAG 4569 Level-3) as well as grenades and land-mines under the chassis (STANAG 4569 Level-3B).
With its 370 hp engine, the Kirpi can reach a top speed of 100 km/h and a maximum range of 800 km. It can carry up to 15 fully armed personnel. It can also be armed with a remote-controlled weapon station.
Notes & Comments:
Pakistan’s MRAP requirements stem from its decade-plus long – and ongoing – counterinsurgency (COIN) campaign in its Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). From bolstering the Army’s air combat arm to enhancing the training and equipment available to infantry, Pakistan has been improving its capacity for COIN. MRAPs have been viewed as key elements for supporting the armoured transport requirement.
In 2014, Pakistan ordered 160 MaxxPro Dash MRAPs from the United States for use as part of Zarb-e-Azb (its current operation), though it had intended to procure a large number from surplus U.S. stocks.
Since other MRAP designs, such as the BMC Kirpi and Blitzkrieg Defence Solutions Hamza AFV, are being sought, it is apparent that the U.S.-avenue has not been as fruitful as Pakistan had originally hoped. It is not known if BMC had been selected to provide the mainstay of Pakistan’s MRAP needs, but others, such as Denel Group, Paramount Group, and NORINCO could see opportunity in this market.