Con­tract for mass pro­duc­tion of do­mes­tic tank signed

The first do­mes­ti­cally de­vel­oped main bat­tle tank will soon be mass pro­duced af­ter a deal was signed with Turkish de­fense firm BMC on Fri­day. The first tank will be de­liv­ered to the Turkish mil­i­tary within the next 18 months

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page -

THE Pres­i­dency of De­fense In­dus­tries (SSB) inked a con­tract with do­mes­tic ar­mored ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­turer BMC for the mass pro­duc­tion of the Al­tay, a next-gen­er­a­tion bat­tle tank. The first Al­tay tank will roll off the as­sem­bly line within the next 18 months and will be de­liv­ered to the Turkish Land Forces. The con­tract in­cludes mass pro­duc­tion and life-cy­cle lo­gis­ti­cal sup­port for 250 units. The fi­nan­cial value of the con­tract was not re­vealed. Within the scope of the mass pro­duc­tion process, 40 tanks will be pro­duced in the first phase, af­ter which 210 more with im­proved ar­mor sys­tems and sub­sys­tems will be pro­duced, ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion pro­vided by the SBB. Fur­ther­more, the Al­tay tank with an un­manned fire tower is likely to be de­vel­oped and pro­duced within the scope of the project.

A NUM­BER OF lead­ing lo­cal de­fense con­trac­tors such as Roket­san, Asel­san, Havel­san and the Ma­chin­ery and Chem­i­cal In­dus­try In­sti­tute (MKEK) are among the stake­hold­ers of the project.

Ad­dress­ing the sign­ing cer­e­mony, De­fense In­dus­tries Pres­i­dent İs­mail Demir said a cost-ef­fec­tive tank emerged as a re­sult of the ne­go­ti­a­tions about the mass pro­duc­tion process.

Turkey’s fi­nal tar­get is to achieve do­mes­tic pro­duc­tion in many projects and sys­tems in the de­fense in­dus­try, Demir con­tin­ued: “We have to over­come the ob­sta­cles in front of Turkey’s in­de­pen­dent move­ment. Of course, we are not clos­ing the door to for­eign part­ners, our door is open to those who want to co­op­er­ate.”

The di­rec­tor said that the en­gine to be used in the Al­tay tank will be pro­vided from abroad since en­gine de­vel­op­ment ac­tiv­i­ties have only re­cently started. “The en­gine will not be de­vel­oped within the next 18 months when the first tank is pro­duced. There­fore, we are go­ing to use an en­gine pur­chased from our for­eign part­ners,” he said.

Cur­rently, the Al­tay’s pro­to­type is pow­ered by a 1,500 hp diesel en­gine from Ger­many’s MTU Friedrichshafen GmbH. Demir said that the Ger­mans have not ob­jected to pro­vid­ing the en­gine for the tank.

BMC Board of Directors Chair­man Ethem San­cak said while par­tic­i­pat­ing in the ten­der, they part­nered with an in­ter­na­tional com­pany, but that they post­poned the part­ner­ship and that the for­eign com­pany will serve as a con­sul­tant as part of the part­ner­ship.

San­cak did not make any state­ment about the com­pa­nies they would work with on the project, but the BMC has a com­pany called Rhein­metall BMC De­fense In­dus­try (RBSS), in which the BMC is a part­ner with the Ger­man heavy in­dus­try com­pany Rhein­Metall.

The Al­tay, Turkey’s first main bat­tle tank de­vel­op­ment pro­gram, in­cludes elec­tronic com­mand and con­trol sys­tems, a 120 mm gun and ar­mor, all made by Turkish com- pa­nies. The pro­to­type for the Al­tay was un­veiled at a 2011 de­fense show in Is­tan­bul.

In a ma­jor de­vel­op­ment for the de­fense in­dus­try, Is­tan­bul-based BMC on April 24 won the con­tract to mass pro­duce the coun­try’s next-gen­er­a­tion main bat­tle tank. BMC also signed a deal with SSB in June to de­velop a 1,500-horse­power diesel en­gine and other sys­tems for the Al­tay tanks.

The tank was named af­ter Army Gen. Fahret­tin Al­tay, who com­manded the Fifth Cav­alry Corps dur­ing the Turkish War of In­de­pen­dence.

Stud­ies for a mod­ern bat­tle tank to serve the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) be­gan at the end of the 1990s. The first stage fo­cused on the pro­duc­tion of for­eign tanks in Turkey with lo­cal part­ners and searches in that di­rec­tion con­tin­ued un­til 2004.

In May 2004, how­ever, the De­fense In­dus­try Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee changed di­rec­tions and made a key de­ci­sion to cre­ate new sup­ply mod­els based on do­mes­tic pro­duc­tion and orig­i­nal de­sign, with the max­i­mum use of na­tional re­sources and fa­cil­i­ties for a se­ries of projects, in­clud­ing a mod­ern main bat­tle tank.

Al­tay, which is set to be­come the TSK’s most im­por­tant front­line ve­hi­cle, will con­trib­ute to the coun­try’s de­fense and its de­fense in­dus­try.

Start­ing off with 250 ve­hi­cles, the num­ber is ex­pected to be grad­u­ally raised to 1,000, boost­ing Turkey’s ground forces in­ven­tory to great ex­tent.

Mean­while, pre­vi­ous re­ports said the eco­nomic size of the project, spread over more than 20 years, is ex­pected to reach $25 bil­lion to $30 bil­lion.

Clas­si­fied as a “third-gen­er­a­tion ad­vanced” tank, Al­tay will be equipped with state of the tech­nol­ogy, ca­pa­ble of pro­vid­ing all kinds of tac­ti­cal sup­port for a 21st-cen­tury army. Al­tay holds an edge over other new-gen­er­a­tion tanks in the fact that it was de­vel­oped from a con­cep­tual de­sign stage by tak­ing the present and fu­ture com­bat sit­u­a­tions into con­sid­er­a­tion. The tank is ex­pected to be­come a crit­i­cal el­e­ment for the Turkish mil­i­tary in the fu­ture thanks to its ex­cel­lent mo­bil­ity, su­pe­rior fire­power and dura­bil­ity. Al­tay will have a 120 mm 55-cal­iber smooth­bore gun as its main weapon. Its next-gen­er­a­tion fire con­trol sys­tem will al­low the user to shoot tar­gets in mo­tion with a high ac­cu­racy rate. The tank will also fea­ture a 12.7 mm re­mote-con­trolled tur­ret and a 7.62 mm tower-mounted firearm for res­i­den­tial ar­eas and fire sup­port. It will also fea­ture com­pos­ite ar­mor to with­stand the im­pact of shrap­nel, bul­lets, mis­siles or shells, pro­tect­ing its crew from en­emy fire.

Mean­while, a life sup­port sys­tem, ad­di­tional mine pro­tec­tion kit, aux­il­iary power group, laser warn­ing sys­tem and a 360-de­gree sit­u­a­tional aware­ness sys­tem are among the other im­por­tant el­e­ments of the Al­tay.

As part of the deal to mass pro­duce Turkey’s first lo­cally de­vel­oped main bat­tle tank, Al­tay, 40 units will ini­tially be made, fol­low­ing which a fur­ther 210 tanks will be built.

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