Armor: Turkish Delight

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September 16, 2021: In mid-2021 Turkey donated eight of their Kipri 2 MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) armored vehicles to Somalia for use by army commandos trained by Turkish trainers stationed there. Turkey also donated 14 Turkish 6x6 heavy trucks from the same manufacturer. A year earlier Turkey gave the Somali army twelve Kipris and a dozen pickup trucks.

The Turkish MRAPs impressed southern neighbor Kenya, which has long provided peacekeepers in Somalia. In early 2021 Kenya ordered 118 Turkish Kripi 2 MRAPs. These are mainly for Kenyan peacekeepers in Somalia. Kenya already has 250 South African MRAPs plus a hundred armored vehicles with less protection than MRAPs. The Kipri 2 is a more modern and affordable MRAP.

Kripi 1 was ready for service in 2009 and the Turkish Army ordered 468. The original Kripi 1 was a 4x4 18-ton armored truck similar to those made in several other Western countries. Kirpi has a turret, a crew of three, and can carry seven troops or a ton of cargo. Turkey has stressed buying more and more locally made military equipment.

The Kirpi was successful with its first users and the national police also bought Kripi fir use in eastern Turkey where PKK (Kurdish separatists) are still active. From 2012 to the present Kripi was used in Syria and in 2020 was sent to Libya where Turkey had intervened in the civil war there.

In 2018 Kripi 2 entered service, with several improvements based on user feedback. The Turkish security forces immediately ordered 529 of the new version. The 20-ton Kripi 2 has an improved suspension for a smoother ride and a two-ton payload. Kripi 2 can be equipped with additional composite armor panels and improved resistance to mines as well as improved air conditioning. Top speed is 60 kilometers an hour and a range of 1,000 kilometers on internal fuel. Kripi 2 can also be equipped with an RWS (Remote Weapons System) instead of a manually operated 7.62mm or 12.7mm machine-gun turret. In addition to a crew of 3 there is room for ten troops using mine-protected seats, or two tons of cargo. There are gun ports so the troops can fire their weapons from inside the vehicle.

So far over two thousand Kipris have entered service or are on order. Besides Kenya and Somalia, other foreign users include Kosovo, Libya, Pakistan, Qatar, Tunisia and Turkmenistan. Sales to other Moslem majority nations are always easier if you are offering something competitive. The Turks have long been able to do that with manufactured goods, especially complex systems.

 


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