Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) spokesperson Col. Zipporah Kioko has revealed that the Ministry of Defense is finalizing the deal for the importations of 118 war armoured Hizir vehicles. The vehicles will be procured from Turkish armored vehicles manufacturer Katmerciler.

“The Hizirs will provide the Kenyan troops protective mobility wherever they are deployed,” a Katmerciler official said.

Kenya’s military will primarily deploy the Hizir vehicles for counter-terror operations against the al-Shabab militant group.

The company official declined to comment on how soon the contract would be finalized, but a Turkish procurement source said the deal should be inked in a matter of weeks, if not days.

Sources said Katmerciler defeated South African and North American rivals for the Kenyan contract.

Tested in the Netherlands and certified by North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Hizir can be used in various configurations, such as combat; command and control; chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense; weapon carrier; ambulance; border security; and reconnaissance.

Depending on the operational requirements, remote weapon platform can be equipped with a machine gun or a automatic grenade launcher. The turret has advanced capabilities and options such as a fire-on-the-move capability, day and night imaging, automatic target tracking, laser range finder for accurate ballistics, last-round warning, and manual backup.

The vehicle, which can carry up to nine personnel, is also equipped with a smoke grenade launcher on the top of the vehicle. It is designed on a V-hull monocoque chassis to increase vehicle and crew survivability by deflecting an upward directed blast, such as from a landmine or improvised explosive device, away from the vehicle.