New deliveries have been made within the framework of the Weapons Carrier Vehicles Project (STA), according to the Turkish Presidency of Defense Industry Presidency (SSB). The statement made on the official Twitter account of the Presidency of Defense Industries said, “New deliveries have been made. Within the scope of our Weapons Carrier Vehicles Project, we continued the delivery of FNSS Defense production KAPLAN and PARS STA with OMTAS missile carriers developed by Roketsan to the Turkish Armed Forces.”
Under the terms of a contractsigned with FNSS Defense Systems in 2016, development work for the KAPLAN-10 and PARS 4×4 Tactical Wheeled Armored vehicles were completed in 2018. Tracked vehicles were designed as wholly new mission-specific vehicles due to the project’s stringent ballistic and mine protection requirements, weight and size constraints, and amphibious necessity. The prototype qualification process was completed on October 18, 2019, and the first deliveries to the Turkish Armed Forces began on January 19, 2020, as part of the project. By the end of 2019, mass production had begun, and several vehicles had been delivered to military stations across the country and had begun to be employed by the Turkish Armed Forces.
A total of 260 vehicles will be procured from FNSS Defense as part of the Weapons Carrier Vehicles project, 184 of which will be KAPLAN’s and 76 PARS 4×4 STA’s. Later, the procurement of additional Weapons Carrier Vehicles in line with the demands of the Turkish Armed Forces was approved, after a decision made at the Defense Industry Executive Committee meeting on December 2, 2020. In this context, representatives from the Defense Industry Presidency and the Ministry of Defense signed the amendment to the contract for the procurement of additional vehicles within the scope of the Weapons Carrier Vehicles (STA) Project at the IDEF 2021 event. As of April 2021, 113+ vehicles have been supplied to the Ground Forces Command within the scope of the STA Project, with a total of 344 vehicles anticipated to be delivered under the coverage of the project.
According to the information given on the official website of FNSS Defense, the KAPLAN-10 is a next generation armored combat vehicle capable of moving alongside main battle tanks. It is the newest and lightest member of the Kaplan vehicle family. The Kaplan-10 offers rapid and flexible mobility in rough terrains akin to combat conditions, in cold – hot weather conditions, and on asphalt, thanks to its tracked, 5-way wheels, automated transmission, 21 HP/ton power, and diesel engine. It measures 5.6 meters in length, 3 meters in width, and 3.1 meters in height. FNSS state that the Kaplan-10 has a top speed of 65 km/h on the road. For weight balance and personnel safety, two armored fuel tanks are situated at the rear of the vehicle, isolated from the vehicle interior and separated by armor plate. The power pack cabinet and extended driver’s compartment are positioned in the front of the vehicle, while the sniper and commander quarters are in the middle. The assistant sniper and supplementary staff area is located at the back.
The Kaplan-10 also incorporates laser dazzle-protected glass periscopes that allow the driver to see outside and around the vehicle from inside. A driver thermal camera system is also available. The Remote Controlled Anti-Tank Tower, which was developed to have modern fire and command and control capabilities, is the striking power of KAPLAN-10. On the tower, KORNET-E or OMTAS guided anti-tank missiles can be fired, as well as a coaxial 7.62x51mm machine gun.
The PARS 4X4 is a Tactical Wheeled Armored Vehicle designed for special-purpose missions such as forward surveillance, anti-tank operations, and command control. The 25 HP/tonne vehicle has a low profile and amphibious capabilities, according to the information given by FNSS Defense. The vehicle, which has a crew of four, is capable of climbing a 70% steep slope and maintain a 40% side slope, can easily pass 40cm tall obstacles. It is also said to have the capability of self-recovery in the event of an emergency, with a hydraulic rescue winch located in front of the vehicle. Ballistic-protected glass, which is designed to meet ballistic regulations, also give the driver and everyone else inside the car an extremely broad viewing angle. The PARS 4X4 delivers ease of use to the driver and commander in dark environments thanks to its integrated day and night cameras.
Like the KAPLAN-10 the PARS has a remote weapon system equipped with KORNET-E or OMTAS guided anti-tank missiles can be launched from the Remote Controlled Anti-Tank Tower, which also has a 7.62x51mm machine gun.
The OMTAS is an anti-tank weapon system with a medium range that is effective against armored threats on the battlefield. The missile is said to be able to function day or night and in any weather conditions as it has an infrared imaging seeker head. The missile can lock on to a target before or after firing, and it offers target/hit point selection in fire-forget flight modes. The OMTAS Missile is an effective weapon system against armored targets thanks to its precision guidance-control capability and armor-piercing tandem warhead.