IDEX 2019: Middle East a key export area for FNSS, the company CEO says

Paolo Valpolini

EDR On-Line meets Kadir Nail Kurt, General Manager and CEO of FNSS, in the company stand at IDEX that hosts a number of vehicles among which the Anti-Tank Remote Turret (ARCT), developed for the Turkish Land Forces Anti-Tank Vehicles (ATV) programme, the Pars III 8×8 infantry fighting vehicle with the company Saber-25 turret, and the Teber-30 turret system.

“For FNSS the United Arab Emirates are one of our best customers, as looking back they have a special place in our history as they have been our first export customer in the late 1990’s,” Mr. Kurt says. The UAE Army acquired at that time 133 ACV-300 tracked armoured fighting vehicles, which are still successfully used. That contract was important under various aspects, as it was followed by a maintenance contract, which is renewed every three years, setting an effective after sales scheme. “It is that good cooperation that is still ongoing that allows the UAE Army to have in service effective equipment even after 20 years of service,” the FNSS CEO explains.

“Another important regional customers as far as maintenance and upgrade is concerned was Saudi Arabia, to which we provided upgrade packages and spare parts for their M113 armoured personnel carriers since 2004,” Mr. Kurt adds, “however the creation of SAMI (Saudi Arabian Military Industries) in mid-2017 led to a restructuring of the programme, however we hope to restart our business in that country, either for upgrades or for new vehicles.”

FNSS did some small business in the past with Bahrain, while Kuwait “remains a customer we are still chasing,” Kurt says, “and it remains one of our focus in the area although we have not yet signed a contract with this country.”

However the main customers in the Middle East region at the moment remains Oman, which in 2015 awarded the Ankara-based company a contract for 172 Pars III wheeled armoured vehicles in the 8×8 and 6×6 versions, to be produced in a number of configurations, becoming also the launch customer for the Pars 6×6. The first vehicle was delivered in July 2017, “the production having ramped up in 2018, while the current year will see the peak of the production of those wheeled vehicles, programme being completed in 2020,” the FNSS CEO tells us. This might be only the beginning of the story: “we hope there will be more to come,” Mr. Kurt says, “and while the contract includes only a maintenance programme with a limited scope we strongly hope to bag a more comprehensive MRO contract, our proposal including a strong offset scheme that should help Oman to self-sustain its fleet with our help,” the FNSS CEO concludes.