Turkish defense giant Otokar expands presence in UAE, Gulf
Turkish defense giant Otokar, which exports its vehicles to over 40 countries, is set to expand its presence in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with new versions of its Rabdan 8×8 vehicles.
These vehicles serve as a key component for ground troops.
Otokar is showcasing six vehicles, including the Akrep II Armored Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Weapon Platform Vehicle Cockerill CSE 90LP with a 90-millimeter turret, the Arma 8×8 Armored Combat Vehicle with a 30-millimeter Spear turret system, and the Tulpar Tracked Armored Combat Vehicle with a 30-millimeter Spear turret, at the IDEX International Defense Industry Fair held in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE.
With these new offerings, Otokar is positioning itself to play an even greater role in the UAE’s defense industry.
At the Otokar booth, visitors were offered a close-up look at a range of vehicles, including the Cobra II Armored Personnel Carrier, Cobra II MRAP Mine-Proof Armored Vehicle, and Arma 6×6 Armored Personnel Carrier.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Otokar General Manager Serdar Görgüç noted that the company had been exhibiting at the fair since the late 1990s and was among the first participants this year. He added that Otokar’s Cobra vehicles were particularly popular in the region and that the company was currently pursuing major projects in the area.
Görgüç highlighted the significance of the IDEX, stating that it is among the most important defense events worldwide. According to Görgüç, IDEX brings together delegations from various regions, including Far and Central Asia, Africa, Europe and South America, creating a productive environment for international users to discuss potential projects and purchases.
Görgüç also noted that Otokar had a subsidiary called Otokar Land Systems in the UAE and operated in the country through Al Jasoor company. He explained that Al Jasoor had delivered an 8×8 vehicle project in four years, and that the first phase had been completed in the previous year. Being in the UAE allowed the company to engage with users and discuss potential variants, applications and other needs related to their existing 8×8 project.
According to Görgüç, the 8×8 vehicle project for the UAE was not only significant within the country and Türkiye, but also on an international level. With a total of 400 vehicles, this was a major project, and Otokar was successful in winning the contract in 2017, he said.
As the user gained confidence in the vehicle’s performance, Otokar began exploring different uses and variants to meet various needs. Currently, the company is in contact with the user through Al Jasoor, as they discuss the tools needed for a battalion-level organization.
During this stage of the project, Otokar is working to incorporate technological innovations and changes into the vehicles.
Looking ahead, Görgüç expressed hope that there would be further projects related to Rabdan vehicles in the coming days.
Accordingly, Görgüç stated that they aim to bring the 8×8 ambulance vehicle they exhibited at the fair to the country, and stated that the ambulance version of the Rabdan vehicle was tested by the medical units in the UAE and was successful.
Otokar Land Systems is currently operating in Bahrain and Kuwait, providing Arma, Ural, Cobra and Cobra 2 vehicles for four different forces in Bahrain and two different users in Kuwait, Görgüç went on to say. In addition to supplying these vehicles, Otokar has also established maintenance facilities in both countries, and negotiations are ongoing for new products to meet emerging needs.
Görgüç emphasized that Otokar Land Systems is closely monitoring the needs of all Gulf countries, and is committed to providing high-quality products and services to meet those needs.
With 78% of its 2022 turnover coming from exports, Otokar is focused on diversifying its offerings beyond exports to include a wider range of products and expand to new markets worldwide, he said.
“At present, one of Otokar’s key goals is to add at least one, and ideally two, new countries to its user base every year. To achieve this goal, the entire Otokar team is working hard to identify emerging market trends and develop innovative new products that meet the evolving needs of customers worldwide.”