Contributed Content – Edited for Clarity and Length
FNSS is a globally recognised land systems engineering company designing and producing armoured combat vehicles on wheeled and tracked chassis, as well as weapon systems. It makes a notable difference by generating significant value for its international users, through localisation packages that include employing local labour, establishing domestic supply chains, and providing in-country training and technology transfer.
The company’s proven history of transferring technology and know-how, helping to build local industrial capabilities and supporting economic development, has already been demonstrated domestically and in several international markets. The Middle East/Gulf region stands out as an important market for FNSS. The company opened up the United Arab Emirates market to Turkish participation in 1997, and has maintained its presence for over 20 years with its Integrated Logistics Support services – a programme that has gone down in history as the first complete defence system export for the Turkish defence industry. From 2003, armoured vehicle modernisation programmes have been conducted in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. In the latter kingdom, FNSS has serviced Royal Saudi Land Forces (RSLF) requirements for modernisation of M113 APCs and the supply of tracked combat vehicles, operating the Automotive and Upgrade Centre (AUC) in Al-Kharj for over 15 years. Over 200 employees have conducted the M113 modernisation – most being Saudi nationals, in keeping with RSLF and MoD policies. Over 1,000 M113s have been modernised and delivered to RSLF. In addition, FNSS has delivered a number of Armoured Command Post Vehicles based on its ACV-19 tracked platform.
Southeast Asia – particularly Malaysia – is another important market for FNSS. Starting its in-country activities in 1994, the first procurement project, for the Adnan ACV armoured combat vehicle was signed in 2000. The company delivered vehicles in various configurations to the Malaysian Army between 2000-2009, in cooperation with DRB-Hicom Defence Technologies (Deftech).
In 2011, FNSS signed an agreement on the AV-8 Gempita project that covers design and development of 8×8 armoured vehicles in 12 variants, and calls for production of 257 in Malaysia, in partnership with Deftech. The project has been successfully executed as a result of the dedicated efforts of both parties, with the majority of the vehicles now delivered to the Malaysian Army. The project remains the largest single land defence export contract concluded by the Turkish defence industry.
Today, as delivery of the Kaplan medium tank (MT) to Indonesia edges closer, FNSS has successfully applied the same technology transfer model to its relationship with PT Pindad, once again proving the validity of the ‘globally trusted Turkish partner in defence’ of the company’s vision statement. The first project initiated under the Defence Industry Cooperation Agreement between Indonesia and Turkey, and Turkey’s first export contract in the medium tank class, it covers co-production of a medium tank platform – some by FNSS, others by PT Pindad in Indonesia from knock-down kits provided by FNSS – and is the result of joint efforts and cooperation in design, development, production, testing and integration.
Following design completion and passing the endurance and firing tests conducted in both Turkey and Indonesia during the prototype phase, a serial production contract was signed in 2019 after the prototype phase and production of 18 was completed. Kaplan MT’s unique design incorporates the lowest silhouette and highest power-to-weight ratio in its class. Designed for optimum weight and high mobility performance, the latest technology powerpack is combined with advanced electronic control systems, an Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) and a heavy-duty suspension, providing reliable, continuous high power during battlefield manoeuvres in day and night operations.
Kaplan MT’s design architecture provides a superior level of battlefield survivability, consisting of advanced ballistic, best-in-class mine protection systems and adequate firepower against battlefield threat, enabling very rapid response times. The vehicle interior is engineered with careful consideration given to crew ergonomics, and various tactical and battlefield conditions, including driving, firing and ammunition loading/unloading.
The tank features day and thermal cameras for the driver, a multi-functional digital driver dashboard and a 3rd-generation high performance sight system for gunner and commander. In addition, a battlefield management system and a laser warning system are also available to provide tactical and situational awareness for the crew.
Kaplan MT’s unique anti-armour punch centres on the latest-generation CMI Defence Cockerill 3105 turret, equipped with a high-pressure 105mm Cockerill gun – the most advanced and capable light 105mm turret in its class, ideal for infantry support and medium tank roles. The C3105 has a unique indirect firing capability that allows engagement in urban and multi-complex terrain.
FNSS presented the finished serial production configuration of the Kaplan MT to representatives of the Indonesian Army and Defence Ministry in March, immediately prior to shipping the platforms to Indonesia for turret assembly and final acceptance. As the vehicle is far ahead of all its competitors in technical features, performance and maturity level, the next stage of the project is to support local production by PT Pindad through the existing technology transfer model, with after sales support to be delivered to the army in cooperation with PT Pindad.
The Kaplan Medium Tank is the result of joint efforts and cooperation in design, development, production, testing and integration.