Turkey’s FNSS Savunma Sistemleri has signed an export agreement with Malaysian manufacturer DRB-Hicom Defence Technologies (Deftech) for the design, development, production and logistic support of 257 8×8 Pars (leopard) wheeled armoured combat vehicles (ACVs) for the Malaysian army. South Africa was last year earmarked to provide turrets for the fleet.
Janes Defence Weekly reports the project is worth about US$600 million (R4.1 billion). It is the largest single arms export yet for the Turkish defence industry and was one of several accords signed in Ankara on 22 February during a visit by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak
“We have decided to elevate our relations to a strategic level,” said Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, adding that the two countries would seek to finalise an agreement to that effect by the end of the year, coupled with a free trade accord. French news agency AFP records Razak, on an official visit to Turkey, addressed a televised press conference along with Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The Anatolia news agency reported other Turkish firms signed deals with Malaysian partners to modernise Malaysian military aircraft and their electronic warfare systems, the agency said, without elaborating on the financial terms.
It was reported last April Deftech had earmarked Denel as its technology partner for systems integration and the joint manufacture of turrets for the vehicles. Malaysian Minister of Defence Abdullah Bin Ahmad Badawi handed over a Letter of Intent (LoI) to Deftech for the supply of the vehicles at a ceremony at the 12th Defence Services Asia (DSA) Expo in Kuala Lumpur. Denel, in a media statement, said the letter serves to confirm Malaysia’s intention to buy the vehicle over seven year period.
Denel said Deftech had “in turn handed over a LoI to Denel as a technology partner for the joint manufacture of turrets and for the systems integration of the programme. Accepting the LoI on behalf of Denel, Stephan Burger, CE of Denel Land Systems, said the company was honoured to be selected as technology partner for the turrets and as system integrator for the programme. “This is an indication that Deftech has confidence in Denel’s capabilities. This is also good news for the Denel Group as the programme extends to other Denel business entities such as Denel Dynamics for the Ingwe Missiles and PMP for ammunition.”
The programme has synergies with the South African Badger [Project Hoefyster] programme and is thus beneficial to the SA defence industry, the SA Army, as well as the Malaysian defence industry and armed forces, Burger said.