Kenya’s Ministry of Defence has awarded Katmerciler a contract to supply 118 Hizir armoured personnel carriers, the company has announced.
“Our Hizir 4×4 Tactical Wheeled Armoured Vehicle has been hailed all over Africa. Our expansion in the African market continues,” Furkan Katmerci, the deputy chairman of the company, told Anadolu.
The company said Kenya will be the third country in the world to acquire Katmerciler’s armoured vehicles, adding that the firm aims to complete the delivery over two years. “We believe our exports will continue to rise as more of our vehicles are used in Africa and their visibility increases.”
In January, Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) spokesperson, Colonel Zipporah Kioko, told Kenyan publication The Star that the Department was finalising the deal for the vehicles at a cost of around Sh7.7 billion ($69 million).
Kenya has been seeking the procurement of new armoured personnel carriers since at least 2020, apparently attracting bidders OTT, The Armoured Group and International Armoured Group. The Star reported that three firms had applied for the tender but only Katmerciler met the user specifications.
According to Capital News, the acquisition was approved on 12 January during a procurement board meeting at the Department of Defence after the board reportedly approved the single sourcing of the vehicles.
“It is recommended that the Ministry procures Qty 118 Hizir MRAPs for the Kenya Army through direct procurement from M/s Katmweciler ARAC USTU in accordance with Section 103 (2) (a) of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, 2015. This recommendation is based on the fact that only Hizir MRAP APC met the USSR criteria,” reads the recommendation by the procurement board.
The new vehicles are set to be used to replace those lost in combat and “to mitigate shortcomings in force protection, firepower and mobility in a changing security environment.” Kenya has lost a number of APCs in Somalia to al Shabaab militants. It mainly operates Puma M26, Bastion, and WZ-551 APCs.
Kenya’s order comes after Uganda received Hizir vehicles last year. At least 15 vehicles were exported to the country in 2020 in the type’s first export sale.
The Hizir recently entered service with Turkey’s military. It can carry nine personnel, including driver and commander. The vehicle has a gross weight of 16 tons and has a V-hull for landmine and improvised explosive device protection. It is powered by a Cummins six-cylinder diesel developing 400 hp, giving a top speed of 110 km/h and range of 700 kilometres.
The Hizir can be built in a number of configurations, including combat, command and control, CBRN, weapon carrier, ambulance, reconnaissance and border security. It can be fitted with an Aselsan SARP turret with machineguns or an automatic grenade launcher.
Katmerciler was established in 1985 and has developed 30 vehicles, ranging from fire trucks to armoured vehicles and riot control vehicles. Its defence and security portfolio includes the Khan 4×4 armoured personnel carrier with seating for eight, the Nefer 4×4 armoured command and patrol vehicle, Toma riot control vehicle, a 4×4 armoured ambulance built on a Ford F550 chassis, Ates armoured border security vehicle, and Kirac criminal investigation vehicle. It also offers an armoured backhoe loader, remote controlled armoured tracked excavator, armoured fuel tanker, armoured water tanker, armoured tipper, armoured trailer, armoured remote controlled bulldozer, remote controlled firefighter, armoured telescopic forklift and a riot control shield.
Katmerciler exported a total of 989 vehicles and related equipment around the world last year.