Tunisia Purchases Turkish Light Vehicles and US drones

Tunisia’s Interior Ministry have announced a deal with Turkish manufacturer BMC to supply nine 4×4 Multi-Purpose Armoured Vehicles (or MPAVs) after winning the International Armoured Vehicle Tender. In a separate announcement, US firm AeroVironment will provide eight unarmed unmanned aerial vehicles to the Tunisian military.

The unidentified MPAV (likely the Amazon) joins a wide range of light armour and personnel carriers employed by the Tunisian Land Army in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorist operations. Tunisia has faced terrorism from its shared border with Libya and a regional insurgency in the north west of the country propagated by two groups; Katiba Uqba ibn Nafi (KUIN) which pledges allegiance to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and the Islamic State (IS) aligned Jund al-Khilafah (JAK).

BMC Kirpi in Libya (Supplied by GNA)

Two Turkish light vehicle designs are already in-service with the Tunisian Land Army; the Nurol Makina-produced Ejder Yalcin 4×4 Armored Combat Vehicle and the 4×4 BMC Kirpi MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) which has attracted significant recent criticism from the Libyan Government of National Accord who claim the Turkish government supplied platform is not fit for purpose (see this Twitter thread for details).

The Amazon MPAV, already in use by the Qatari and Turkish militaries, is a traditional MRAP V-shaped hull design with threat-dependent applique up-armour packages available. Along with its three-man crew, the Amazon can carry an infantry fire team of four. Intriguingly a fully remotely controlled variant, the Amazon RCS or Remote Control System is also offered by BMC.

The Amazon RCS (Courtesy BMC)

The new $8.5 million USD deal with AeroVironment comes soon after the announcement of the completion of a competitive tender for armed UAVs. Both Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and Baykar Makina were contenders along with unidentified firms from France and the US with TAI eventually winning the contract. No details have yet been released on commercial contracts arising from the tender nor have the exact models to be purchased from AeroVironment been disclosed (the firm have supplied a number of ScanEagle UAVs to Tunisia in the past).