As part of the new “openness to the East,” Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s neo-Hortheist nationalist regime in Hungary (Fidesz) is not only engaged in a cultural dialogue with Turkey about a close identity – about the common Turkic historical roots of Hungarians and Turks – but also engaged in concrete military and technical cooperation with Ankara. This cooperation benefits Turkey.
On February 11, 2021, Hungarian Defense Minister Tibor Benkyo received the first ten Gidrán-type armored vehicles from the chief executive officer of Turkish manufacturer Nurol Makina, Eigin Aitzol, in a ceremony in Tata, Hungary. The ceremony took place at the barracks of the 25th Klapka György Rifle Brigade, which has received Turkish-made armored vehicles. Minister Benkö said 40 more vehicles will arrive soon from Turkey.
The Gidrán is the Hungarian version of the Turkish Ejder Yalçin armored vehicle produced in Turkey since 2014. The Turkish prototype of the Ejder Yalçin was improved by the German company Rheinmetall. The Hungarian Gidrán was built by the Turks with the latest combat experience and in accordance with Hungarian requirements. According to Hungarian wishes, the Gidrán received German-made sensors and communication systems. After delivery to Hungary, the armored vehicles were equipped with modern telecommunications equipment by HM ArmCom Kommunikációtechnikai Zrt.
The Ejder Yalçin proved to be a successful armored vehicle that went into production after 2014 for the Turkish Armed Forces and for export. In total, Nurol Makina has produced several thousand units of this model in Turkey. Ejder Yalçin is being exported to Senegal, Tunisia, Qatar, and Uzbekistan. Tashkent has ordered 1,024 units (!) of this Turkish armored vehicle.
Thus, Hungary is the first EU member state and the first NATO member state to take the Turkish system in its arsenal and create a joint production with the Turks. At the ceremony in Tata, Nurol Makina director Aitzol said his company was “ready to invest in Hungary and set up a local company.
The capacity of the assembly line at the plant in Kaposvar is 100 vehicles per year. The project will cost 30-50 billion forints.
In the long term, Gidrán could get improved Rheinmetall towers, which will also be produced in Hungary.
The Kaposvar facility will also produce the NMS 4×4 armored vehicle, also designed by Turkish company Nurol Makina.
Production and R&D related to the Gidrán program will continue to be part of German-Hungarian cooperation, which obviously includes the Turks. Through the Gidrán program, the Turks in joint cooperation with Germany’s Rheinmetall through Hungary are entering the promising development of a new generation of wheeled armored vehicles.
The Turkish Gidrán purchase is part of Rheinmetall’s larger 4×4 project to develop its own family of next-generation armored multipurpose vehicles. After considering various options Rheinmetall settled on the Turkish prototype. The Turkish military vehicles provided the best basis for a new type of project in terms of value for money, surpassing similar developments in the United States in this respect.
The development of the Gidrán platform by a new Hungarian joint venture was announced in Budapest on December 21, 2020. According to a press release, the new company was founded by the Hungarian firm HT Division Zrt. and is a joint venture between the German conglomerate Rheinmetall Defense and the Hungarian government. The Hungarian subsidiary of Rheinmetall Defense is Rheinmetall Hungary Zrt.
After meeting the Hungarian Army’s needs for the Gidrán armored vehicle, Rheinmetall Hungary plans to offer its products through Rheinmetall’s international channels for export.
Rheinmetall is considering discontinuing the production of its RMMV Survivor R and plans to focus further on new joint developments.
Design work will be done by Hungarian engineers at the new Rheinmetall Hungary development and production center in Zalaegerzeg at the same plant where the Lynx KF41HU tracked BMPs and the recently announced 8×8 wheeled infantry fighting vehicles are developed.
The first prototypes are expected to go on trials as early as 2021 and production will start at the new plant in Kaposvar mentioned above. The same plant will also begin production of a new hybrid and possibly unmanned combat vehicle in 2024, which will presumably be derived from the 8×8 Boxer BMPV.
The Gidrán is a family of new Hungarian armored tactical vehicles based on the Turkish Ejder Yalçın armored vehicle produced by the Turkish company Nurol Makina. The vehicle got its name “Gidrán” from the Hungarian breed of racehorses. “Gidrán” or Hungarian “Anglo-Arab” is a breed bred in Hungary from breeding horses, among which was an Arabian horse.
The Gidrán is a 4×4 tactical armored fighting vehicle with a weight of 16 tons. The Gidrán’s hull is made of an all-welded steel armored V-shaped structure that provides ballistic protection against small arms fire and projectile fragments. The structure has integral floating floor plates and energy-absorbing seats to provide protection against road mines and improvised explosive devices.
The Gidrán is powered by a 375-horsepower Cummins diesel engine with a top speed of 120 kilometers per hour and a range of up to 700 kilometers. The wheels are bulletproof and the turret is equipped with a stabilized 12.7 mm machine gun.
The impetus for the development of a class of armored vehicles like the Ejder Yalçın/Gidrán was the Iraqi war with the subsequent American occupation. Operations against insurgents in Iraq demanded American mobility in defending their platforms against small arms and landmines.
The Gidrán is designed to meet the needs of special forces, motorized infantry in conventional and asymmetric combat. The armored vehicle is well suited for military and police operations against guerrillas and insurgents devoid of heavy weapons. In addition, one of the common definitions of the Gidrán prototype – Ejder Yalçın – is “forward observation vehicle”. The armored vehicle can carry a total of 11 soldiers, including the driver and commander, in a 9+2 configuration. That is, we are talking about transporting on the Gidrán platform one squad with standard armament and equipment.
Apparently, the Hungarians are going to equip with their Gidrán derivatives the reconnaissance battalions in their brigades.