Top armoured vehicle makers compete for Kenya’s contract

The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) is exploring several options in its plan to acquire new eight-wheel-drive (8×8) armoured vehicles by next year from several potential suppliers. The procurement department is expected to formalise the request with a bidding round from July on.

Europe’s armoured manufacturers Excalibur and Mowag are keen on netting the lucrative contract to keep their order logbook buoyant.

Meanwhile, Turkish armoured vehicle giants are eyeing a possible mine resistance and ambush protected (MRAP) deal with Kenya’s military.

Last year, Kenyan Army leadership announced that it was in need of several class of armoured vehicles to strengthen its capabilities, and to better handle the war against Al Shabaab in Somalia.

This vehicles includes a fleet of MRAPs to counter improvised explosive devices attacks by Al Shabaab and eight-wheel-drive (8×8) armoured vehicles to boost its troops firepower and protection.

Regarding the MRAPs, Otokar from Turkey has indicated interest in supplying its Cobra II and Kaya MRAPs.

Otokar Cobra II APC (Credit: Otokar)
Otokar Arma II (foreground) and Cobra II (background)

The Cobra II was built upon the experience gained from the Cobra APC. The Cobra II boasts high mobility, with a modular structure suitable for different missions, just like the previous generation of Cobra vehicles. While the KAYA II MRAP is specially designed to provide high protection against mine and ballistic threats besides its superior mobility.

Otokar Kaya II MRAP (Credit: Otokar)

For the eight-wheel-drive armoured vehicle contract, Otokar is offering its all-new next generation Arma 8×8 amphibious wheeled armoured combat vehicle

Also another Turkish defense company Katmerciler, announced mid-last year thst it was set to deliver the first batch of it’s HIZIR 4×4 armoured vehicles to an African customer. According to Katmerciler, the export agreement was signed between Katmerciler and the African country in a $20.7 million deal. Initially, the company did not supply the name of the country making the orders.

However further on, Kenya’s military announced in January this year that it had placed an order for 118 Hizir four-wheel drive personnel carriers from Turkish armored vehicles manufacturer Katmerciler.

Kenya Defence Forces spokesperson Col. Zipporah Kioko told local press that the Ministry of Defence is finalizing the deal for the mine-resistant, ambush-protected Hizir vehicles through Turkey’s Export Credit Agency.

“The Hizirs will provide the Kenyan troops protective mobility wherever they are deployed,” a Katmerciler official said.

Three companies had applied for the contract to supply MRAP vehicles to Kenya, including firms from South Africa and North America but only Katmerciler met the user specifications.

Katmerciler Hizir 4×4 armoured vehicle (Credit: Katmerciler)

“The Hizirs will provide the Kenyan troops protective mobility wherever they are deployed,” a Katmerciler official said.

Last year, at least 15 vehicles of the same type was exported to Uganda, which was used during their just concluded election in January 2021. This was the types first export sale.×4-armoured-vehicle-ahead-of-election

Meanwhile, Switzerland’s Mowag is hoping to get a slice of Kenya’s 8×8 armoured requirement. The company is pitching its PIRANHA-series 8×8 armoured wheeled vehicles to Kenya.

The Pirahna has enjoyed some limited success with Africa clients including Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and recently Botswana which ordered for 45 of the Pirahna IIIC 8×8 variant.

Contesting also is Czech’s Excalibur, pitching its Pandur II modular all-wheel-drive wheeled armoured vehicle.

Excalibur Pandur II 8×8 armoured vehicle (credit: Excalibur)

The Pandur II was developed as a private venture by the Austrian company Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeuge, whicj is part of General Dynamics European Land Combat Systems, the parent company of MOWAG of Switzerland and Santa Bárbara Sistemas of Spain.

Both European rivals hope to clinch the 8×8 contract after bids commenced in mid-july this year.

Whichever vehicle Kenya chooses will complement the countries plethora which comprises of Puma M26-15, WMZ 551BSI, Mamba MK5, Bastion and CS/VP 14, all introduced into service between 2010 and 2019.

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