The Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) is up to complete an order from the Turkish Army for the Kirpi mine-resistant vehicles after the institution seized the producer of the vehicle, BMC, from indebted Çukurova Holding in early May.
In a recent letter to the Undersecretariat for the Defense Industry (SSM), TMSF said it can continue the production of the first national mine-resistant vehicle, Kirpi (hedgehog), for the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). The Kirpi production came to a halt due to economic problems of BMC. If the TMSF move is accepted, a state institution will be undergoing production to meet the needs of another state institution.
SSM and BMC had signed an agreement for the production of 468 Kirpi vehicles in 2009; however, the production stopped after only 278 of the vehicles were delivered to the TSK. Fifteen more vehicles were later delivered to the armed forces and BMC received a loan from a private bank to complete production, but the operation failed and BMC was eventually seized by the TMSF.
Prior to the TMSF move, the SSM had partially terminated its contract with the BMC. If the SSM agrees with the proposal, the TMSF will produce the remaining 175 Kirpi's for the TSK as well as 20 such vehicles for the National Police Department. The Kirpi can hold a crew of 13 and has proven to be better than competing mine and bullet-proof vehicles due to its integrated system of chairs that absorb pressure generated by a mine blast. Moreover, it is equipped with run-flat tires, which means that in the case of a tire blowout the vehicle can continue to drive at a certain speed for a certain distance. The same equipment also adjusts the air in the tires according to various surface conditions.