The first 5 ZMA-15 Armored Combat Vehicles, which were modernized within the scope of the ZMA-15 armored combat vehicle modernization project initiated by the Turkish Defense Industry Agency on December 31, 2019, were delivered to the Turkish Land Forces Command with a ceremony held at the facilities of ASELSAN in Ankara. The ceremony was attended by FNSS Marketing and Programs Group Head Aybars Küçük, Aselsan General Manager Haluk Görgü, Defense Industry President Prof. Dr. İsmail Demir, other military and defense officials.
The President of the Turkish Defense Industry, stated during his speech at the ceremony:
“the ZMAs currently in our Land Forces Command’s inventory were supplied with the most comprehensive contract signed following the establishment of our Agency and have been operational for many years. We have elevated their duties to a whole new dimension with this addition. With the ZMA Modernization Project, we improved the vehicles’ firepower, threat detection and warning systems, survivability, and operational capability by integrating modern unmanned turrets into our vehicles, which had 134 old generation gun turrets.”
On December 31, 2019, ASELSAN and the Defense Industry Agency (SSB) signed a contract as part of the ZMA-15 Modernization Program. The goal of this framework was to first and foremost equip 134 ZMA vehicles in the Turkish Land Forces Command’s inventory with modern weapon systems and high-tech mission equipment in order to extend the capability and service life of the vehicles against changing threats. The first prototype was delivered within the scope of the project in October 2020, with live-fire and driving tests completed in 2021.
The project’s main contractor is ASELSAN, and the project’s subcontractor is FNSS. According to the SSB and ASELSAN, ASELSAN provides the 25mm NEFER Weapon System, Laser Warning System, Close Range Surveillance System, Driver Vision System, Direction Finding and Navigation System, Commander, Gunner, Personnel, and Driver Display Panels integrated into the vehicles. The 25mm NEFER weapon systems, which will be integrated into the vehicles as part of the project, will also be added to the Turkish Armed Forces inventory for the first time. Air conditioning, heating, fire extinguishing and explosion suppression systems, mine-proof seats, and particle shields are integrated into the ZMA platforms thanks to the work done by FNSS, raising the armor and mine protection levels.
Five different Mission Equipment configurations to be produced by ASELSAN will be used in the refitting of one hundred vehicles under the terms of the signed contract. Combat troops’ command and control needs will be met by the related Mission Equipment, and efficient reconnaissance operations will be ensured by Remote Controlled Turrets, Navigation, Electro Optics, and Ground Radar systems. The Land Forces Command will receive Command, Radar, Sensor, and Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) vehicles, while the Gendarmerie General Command will receive Armored Combat Vehicles from FNSS.
Within the scope of the project, the remaining 129 armored vehicles, which are still being modernized, are scheduled to be delivered to the Turkish Armed Forces by 2024. With the modernization, these vehicles, which have been extensively used by Turkish Land Forces in the operational field since the early 1990s, are expected to be used effectively for another 10-15 years.