Indonesia to certify Kaplan medium tank
The Indonesian Army (TNI-AD) publicly displayed a prototype of the Kaplan medium tank for the first time at a 72nd anniversary parade of the armed forces in Cilegon.
The vehicle is one of two known Kaplan prototypes, although it now sports TNI-AD three-colour camouflage and markings. Interestingly, it was also seen labelled ‘Harimau Hitam’ (Black Tiger), but it is unclear if this will be the official Indonesian designation.
An FNSS spokesperson told Shephard that the jointly developed prototype will be tested and ‘qualified’ in Indonesia and series production will also take place there.
The medium tank is being developed under a joint venture between Turkey’s FNSS and Indonesia’s state-owned PT Pindad.
The tank’s design was completed last November, and the first prototype was displayed at the IDEF 2017 exhibition in May. On that occasion it was revealed it was due for further trials and ballistics testing. Reports later highlighted that the Kaplan was to be despatched to Indonesia in September.
PT Pindad announced it would begin production of the tank in 2018. Abraham Mose, president director of PT Pindad, said in September that his company would produce 100 units to fulfil the TNI’s first-stage requirements, but the TNI-AD could require as many as 300 tanks in the future.
‘The participation of this medium tank [at the parade] shows that the domestic defence industry is very capable to produce innovative high-tech products in support of independent defence equipment to maintain the sovereignty of Indonesia,’ he said in a PT Pindad press release after the parade.
The Kaplan’s main armament is the CMI Cockerill 3105 105mm gun, with an autoloader for 12 rounds in the turret and 30 stored in the hull.
CMI has expressed optimism that demand for such weapon system in Asia-Pacific will increase, as seen on the ST Kinetics Next Generation-AFV proposal for the US Army’s Mobile Protected Firepower programme and South Korea’s K21-105 light tank.
The spokesperson also said that land forces are now looking for fire support vehicles with a high-calibre gun and mobility levels not found on MBTs. He also revealed that the Cockerill 3105 turret is already in volume production for an undisclosed customer.
The Kaplan is able to protect the three crewmen against 14.5mm armour-piercing rounds, while Level 4 mine protection can withstand a 10kg TNT-filled mine and resist 155mm shell fragments at 30m.
Although an AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter was spotted at the parade, sources told Shephard that it belonged to the US Army and had been participating in an exercise prior to the parade.
A Boeing spokesperson said deliveries of the TNI-AD’s Guardian will commence by the end of this year.
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