By Paolo Valpolini
Otokar did not needed transferring its vehicles from Turkey to Bahrain for BIDEC 2019: two of the vehicles, an Arma 6×6 and a Ural are being exhibited with their Bahraini plates, the former belonging to the Bahraini Defence Forces while the latter belongs to the Ministry of the Interior. “Bahrain is one of the top customers for Otokar,” Serdar Görgüç, the company CEO tells EDR On-Line, underlining that the Gulf country also employs Internal Security Vehicles as well as the Ural 4×4 light armoured vehicle. Although contract are rarely for high number of vehicles, on the other hand they come quite frequently, Otokar providing vehicles to the Ministry of the Interior, the Defence Forces and the National Guard. The latter has received Arma 6×6 fitted with the Otokar Bozok turret armed with a 20 mm Oerlikon cannon and are not amphibious, while those of the Defence Forces are amphibious and are fitted with a 12.7 mm machine gun. Among lessons learned from operations in Yemen, Bahrain is part of the Arab Coalition Force fighting in that operational theatre, one is linked to the amphibious capability; as this was definitely not needed in that operation, it was noticed that carrying that extra-weight might not be necessary, thus Otokar will study a modular solution allowing an easy installation of the amphibious kit only when necessary, something that will be proposed on future versions of the Arma.
As said orders come at a frequent pace, one for a battalion-set of Ural being awaited soon, the budget having apparently been secured. “We have a good footprint in this country,” Mr. Görgüç tells us, “and we are trying to be more systematic in our approach to the logistic support of all three forces that employ our vehicles.” While no request for local content emerged yet from Bahrain, what would be much appreciated is an even better post-sales service, some Otokar employees being already deployed on a permanent base in the country.
Beside the aforementioned vehicles, both theMinister of the Interior as well as the National Guard have scores of Cobra vehicles, all with amphibious capability, the first deliveries having been made in 2005-2006. Now Bahrain would like to renew its fleet, Otokar proposing its Cobra II, a vehicle in the ambulance version being exhibited, that vehicle having recently concluded trials in a country in the area.
Photo by P. Valpolini