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Armored Cars: Otokar Kale

April 5, 2018

Via Otokar.

Turkey’s emergence as a serious player in the global arms market still hasn’t been sufficiently recognized. A recent underdog in the mine-resistant trucks sector came from no less than Otokar, the local automotive giant whose fabled catalog almost doesn’t need an introduction. In 2014 the firm unveiled a new MRAP that wouldn’t be out of place anywhere in the Middle East.

The Kale (pronounced kah-leh) is hardly a departure from contemporaneous MRAP designs and its familiar appearance gives away its origin. The Kale shares the same cab and chassis as the Kaya, a Unimog truck Otokar converted into a troop carrier during the late 2000s.

Via Otokar.

The Kale is recognizable for its monolithic windshield and the elongated exhaust pipe that stretches to the back of the vehicle. According to Otokar the Kale’s gross weight reaches 16 tons and there’s enough space inside for seating 10 passengers, who climb aboard and enter via swing doors, and three crew that includes one person standing inside the roof turret. The Kale runs on a Cummins ISLe 300 turbo diesel engine producing 296 horsepower. It isn’t surprising to learn its transmission system, like so many other armored trucks, is an automatic seven gear Allison 3000 SP. An MRAP isn’t complete without an independent suspension system and when traveling off-road, the Kale easily manages wading across at least three feet of water.

Via Otokar.

Otokar hasn’t published any details about the Kale’s protection level although it’s apparent the truck is built on a monocoque steel hull that can usually survive roadside bombs. Most MRAPs are built to withstand automatic gunfire but there’s no proven armor type for defeating either large calibers or shaped projectiles. As a variant of the older Kaya/Kaya II MRAP, the Kale should have welded steel armor that’s reinforce-able with applique sheets, cage or slat panels, or even RPG nets.

The Kale doesn’t have any firing ports on its windows but there are at least three roof hatches for its passengers. Otokar guarantees bespoke features like blast-resistant seating, blackout lamps, runflat tires with an inflation system, electrically controlled windows, a towing winch, a filtration system, and external cameras at the front and back. Other than a single machine gun on its roof, there are no optional weapons available to the Kale yet.

The Kaya II MRAP. Via Otokar.

Like its predecessor the Kaya it seems the Kale has gone under the radar despite persistent demand for MRAPs in Africa, Central Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. To be fair, the competition today is quite challenging and in Turkey alone there are at least five manufacturers selling MRAPs. The Kale still has a fighting chance, however, if it can be spun off into other variants like an ambulance or a mortar carrier. The deployment of Turkish forces abroad and friendly ties with both longstanding allies (Pakistan) and neighboring countries (Azerbaijan) might lead to the Kale’s revival as an export.

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