Tunisia has ordered more armoured vehicles from Turkish defence company BMC, and is also due to receive eight unmanned aerial vehicles from Aerovironment in the United States.
The vehicle contract covers nine 4×4 medium multi-purpose armoured vehicles, Turkey’s Daily Sabah reported at the beginning of January.
The deal was signed with Tunisia’s Interior Ministry and includes logistics support. The Daily Sabah said the contract was won against stiff competition from American, German, French and Finnish manufacturers.
BMC is one of the largest commercial vehicle manufacturers in Turkey. Its products include buses, trucks, and military vehicles. On the defence side, BMC is developing the Altay main battle tank and manufactures the Kirpi and Amazon armoured personnel carriers, armoured and un-armoured military trucks (2.5, 5 and 10 ton), military logistics vehicles and special vehicles including armoured busses and riot control vehicles.
Tunisia has previously ordered Turkish military equipment, including 70 Ejder Yalcin armoured vehicles from Nurol Makina. In 2014 it ordered 100 Kirpi vehicles from Turkey with deliveries following shortly thereafter.
Elsewhere in Africa, Turkey has delivered dozens of Kirpi II 4×4 armoured personnel carriers to Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA), with the vehicles arriving by ship in May 2019. These have been used extensively in combat against Libyan National Army (LNA) forces, which have destroyed or captured a number of them. The LNA criticised the Kirpi, saying it is underpowered, cumbersome, has poor internal visibility, weak axles and flaws in its armour.
Meanwhile, last year Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and Baykar Makina were bidding to supply the Tunisian military with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). In December 2019 it was reported that TAI ended up being the sole contender for the armed UAV contract, with negotiations underway.
This comes as the United States will supply eight UAVs, which will be delivered by the end of May 2020. The United States Department of Defence on 17 December 2019 announced that Aerovironment was awarded an $8.5 million contract for the aircraft, spares and software.
The United States has previously supplied Insitu ScanEagle UAVs to Tunisia.