The first Golden Unit vehicles were delivered in 2018. The Golden Unit term is used for the unit that matches the requirements and will be the same as the vehicle to enter the inventory. The vehicles participated in 16 exercises in five years. Some are within the army, and some are organised as joint force exercises. The vehicles took part in international practices as well.
Otokar General Manager Serdar Görgüç told TurDef that they have been one of the main participants of the fair since the first time it was organised and that they have been participating in IDEX since 1995. The company wants to increase its presence in the country with new versions of Rabdan 8x8 vehicles; on the other hand, it continues to seek new collaborations with regional governments.
Görgüç stated that they exhibited two vehicles at IDEX then and always aimed to increase their existence in the region. Cobra vehicles were preferred in the country, and they started pursuing big projects.
Görgüç underlined that they do not consider the IDEX limited to UAE and said, “IDEX is one of the most important fairs in the world. There are visiting delegations from South Asia, Central Asia, Africa, Europe and South America. The fair is a productive environment where we meet international end users and discuss possible projects and purchases.”
Görgüç explained that Otokar established a company called Otokar Land Systems in the UAE. The Edge Group (Tawazun) set up the Al Jasoor company. Görgüç said:
“We have an 8x8 vehicle project that Al Jasoor company has delivered in four years. We completed the first phase of this project last year. We want to discuss the continuation of our 8x8 project with users and other needs, possible variants and applications of the existing 8x8 with users.” Görgüç added that the Rabdan project was not only a big project for UAE or Turkiye but also significant internationally. Görgüç stated that the UAE military is very disciplined and well-trained. “As Otokar, we contact the user through Al Jasoor. A battalion-level organisation in the project needs tools that can do different tasks. We are discussing these tools with them. In the meantime, we are trying to put technological innovations and changes in these vehicles. In the coming days, I hope there will be suitable projects related to Rabdan’s vehicle.”
In this context, Görgüç stated that they aim to bring the 8x8 ambulance vehicle they exhibited at the fair to the country and noted that the ambulance version of the Rabdan vehicle was tested by the medical units in the UAE and was successful.
Görgüç also stated that Arma, Ural, Cobra and Cobra 2 vehicles in four forces are working in Bahrain, have established a maintenance facility, and that negotiations continue for new products that will meet different needs.
Görgüç said that they have vehicles and maintenance facilities that serve two different users in Kuwait and that their negotiations for new needs continue here.
Serdar Görgüç underlined that Otokar Land Systems closely follows the needs of all Gulf countries. Regarding the contribution of export activities to Otokar, Görgüç said:
“Otokar’s turnover has shifted considerably over the years. Today, 78 per cent of our 2022 turnover is from exports. This will continue. Exports are important, but we want to create as much diversity as possible. We want to expand to the whole world as much as possible. One of our goals at Otokar is to add at least one, if possible, two new countries to our end users’ portfolio every year. Our entire team works in this direction.”
Otokar showcases six vehicles from its armoured vehicle range during the exhibition. The company showcases the AKREP II Armoured Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Weapons Platform Vehicle with the Cockerill CSE 90LP 90mm turret system. ARMA 8x8 Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle with 30 mm MIZRAK turret system; TULPAR Tracked Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle with 30 mm MIZRAK turret system; COBRA II Armoured Personnel Carrier; COBRA II MRAP Mine-resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle; and ARMA 6x6 Armoured Personnel Carrier.
In a separate press release, General Manager Serdar Görgüç stated that IDEX is particularly important to Otokar as the company elevates its position in the global defence industry to higher levels every year, “In addition to being a NATO and United Nations supplier, we currently have nearly 33 thousand military vehicles in the inventories of close to 60 users in more than 40 countries. We reflect the experiences we gain in different climates and geographies worldwide on our vehicle development activities. As a result, we stand out in the global defence industry with our products, world-class know-how, engineering success, R&D, and technological capabilities. IDEX provides us with an invaluable opportunity in line with Otokar’s objective of reinforcing international partnerships, especially in the Gulf Region, and opening new markets.”
Serdar Görgüç noted that many variants from Otokar’s broad range of military vehicles have successfully served different forces in the Middle East and Gulf Regions since the early 2000s, “The Middle East and Gulf Regions are important to us. Otokar Land Systems, the company we established in 2016, has brought us closer to our clients in the region. The company enables us to observe better the needs and expectations of our existing and prospective users. We accomplished major projects with Otokar Land Systems in the last seven years. In 2017, we signed an important contract to procure 8x8 tactical wheeled armoured vehicles, and in 2021, we successfully completed deliveries despite the pandemic. Thanks to our superior design, testing and manufacturing capabilities, we quickly respond to our users’ constantly evolving needs and expectations. Today, Otokar stands out with its technology transfer and local production capabilities.
We look forward to a productive exhibition period and hope to build on our relations with our existing users at IDEX.”