Altay (main battle tank)

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Altay
TankAltayT1 (1).jpg
Altay T1 demonstrator unveiled by the company BMC at the IDEF 2019 in Istanbul, Turkey[1]
TypeMain battle tank
Place of originTurkey
Service history
In service2023 (expected)[2]
Used byTurkish Army[3]
Production history
DesignerOtokar (design and development including prototypes)[4][5]
BMC (main contractor and responsible for further developments)[6]
ASELSAN (sub-systems and fire control system)[7][6]
MKEK (main gun system)[3][6]
ROKETSAN (armour package)[3][8][6]
HAVELSAN[6]
Hyundai Rotem (Transfer of Technology and design assistance)[9]
Designed2008–2016
ManufacturerBMC[6][10]
Unit costUSD $13.75 million[11]
ProducedNovember 2018
No. built10 units. A total of 1,000 MBTs are planned to be produced in four separate lots of 250 units[12]
Specifications
Mass65 tonnes (72 short tons; 64 long tons)[13]
Length7.3 metres (24 ft) (hull), 10.3 metres (34 ft) (gun forward)[14]
Width3.9 metres (13 ft)[14]
Height2.6 metres (8.5 ft)[14]
Crew4 (commander, gunner, loader, driver)[13]

Armor
Main
armament
MKE 120 mm smoothbore tank gun[18]
Secondary
armament
1 × Remote controlled weapon station equipped with 12.7 mm / 7.62 mm machine gun[1]
1 x 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun[1]
EngineTurbo-diesel[19]
BMC Power BATU V12 12 cylinder V type 1,500 hp indigenous engine (serial production)[20] [1]
or 1,800 hp indigenous engine (planned for latter batches) [3]
SuspensionHydropneumatic[21]
Operational
range
450 kilometres (280 mi)(Altay T1 with 1,500 hp engine)[21]
Maximum speed 65 km/h (40 mph) max (Altay T1 with 1,500 hp engine)[21]
70 km/h (43 mph) max (with 1,800 hp engine)[22]

Altay is a Turkish modern main battle tank based on South Korean K2 Black Panther to be produced by BMC under technology transfer and design assistance by Hyundai Rotem.[23][6] It is named in honor of Army General Fahrettin Altay[24] who commanded the 5th Cavalry Corps in the final stage of the Turkish War of Independence. It is one of the most expensive tank designs with a unit cost of 13.75 million dollars.[25] The Altay combines an MKE made 55 calibre 120 mm main gun, Roketsan made advanced armour package along with Aselsan made active protection systems and BMC Power made indigenous engine.

History and development[edit]

The National Tank Production Project (Turkish: MİTÜP – Milli Tank Üretimi Projesi) was an initiative developed in the mid-1990s to establish independent and robust infrastructure for the production, development and maintenance of main battle tanks used by the Turkish Armed Forces.[26][27] In order to improve the current technical capabilities of the Turkish defense industries and increase the amount of domestic contribution towards national defense, the Undersecreteriat for Defense Industries decided that a "National Tank" will serve as a catalyst for uniting certain Turkish defense companies around a common goal and for providing the Turkish military with extra firepower in the form of a modern tank.

The tank design is benefited from transfer of technology and design assistance by Hyundai Rotem.[28] The project was initiated with an agreement signed between Otokar and the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries of the Republic of Turkey on 30 March 2007, when the Defense Industries Executive Committee awarded a contract worth approximately $500 million to Otokar for the design, development and production of four prototypes of a national main battle tank. A contract worth W500 billion (US$1=W938) was signed between Turkey and Hyundai Rotem in 2007 for technology transfer from K2 Black Panther (previously known as XK-2 Heukpyo) along with 30 KAI KT-1 Woongbi trainer aircraft.[29] The Turkish Ministry of Defense allocated a budget of $1 billion for the development of the Altay.[30] This is Turkey's first MBT development program since 1943, when prototypes of a Turkish national tank were produced in Kırıkkale,[31][better source needed] but 1943's program never reached full-scale mass production.

The first 3D image of the MBT was released to the public on 7 April 2010 during a press release by the Undersecreteriat for Defense Industries of the Republic of Turkey.[32]

In 2012, Otokar General Manager Serdar Görgüç has announced that the company is considering the development of an electric engine for the Altay.[33] However, the electric engine probably no longer in consideration.

The military electronics company ASELSAN manufactures and integrates the Volkan III modular fire control system, command, control and information systems, while state-owned MKEK (Mechanical and Chemical Industries Corporation) produce MKE 120 mm tank gun. Another state company ROKETSAN designs an indigenous armor.

The first prototype Altay was ready for use by the end of 2016.[34] Once the prototypes are produced and tested, the Undersecreteriat for Defense Industries of the Republic of Turkey will prepare and execute a separate order for the first lot of 250 tanks. A total of 1000 MBTs are planned to be produced in four separate lots of 250 units. Every delivered lot is expected to have additional upgrades.[35]

Otokar completed all infrastructure planning and programming for mass production. Koç Holding Vice Chair and Otokar Chair Ali Koç said mass production was expected to start 18–22 months after their offer was accepted.[36]

However, on 9 November 2018, Turkish Presidency of Defense Industries signed agreement with BMC for mass production of the tank.[6] In the process, BMC replaced Otokar as the main contractor and responsible for further developments.[1]

The production of Altay has been delayed since 2018, as the programme was rely on German 1,500 hp MTU engines and RENK transmissions,[37] because of the German federal arms embargo on Turkey due to their involvement in the Syrian Civil War.[38]

However, BMC Power, a subsidiary of BMC, replaced MTU as engine subcontractor for 1,500 hp engine. BMC Power is the designer and manufacturer of the serial production BATU V12 1,500 hp indigenous engine.[20][1][39]

Contractors and subcontractors[edit]

Subsequently, in accordance with the later Defense Industries Executive Committee ruling, subcontractors were selected as follows:

  • Design and development including prototypes: Otokar[4][5]
  • Transfer of Technology and design assistance: Hyundai Rotem[9]
  • Main contractor, manufacturer and responsible for further developments: BMC (replaced Otokar as main contractor)[6][1]
  • Engine subcontractor: BMC Power (replaced MTU as engine subcontractor for 1,500 hp engines)[39][1]
  • Fire Control System, Active Protection Systems, Command Control Communication Information System, Laser Warning System, Driver's Vision System, Navigation System, IFF system subcontractor: ASELSAN
  • 120 mm 55 caliber primary weapon subcontractor: state owned MKEK (Mechanical and Chemical Industries Corporation)[8]
  • Armour subcontractor: ROKETSAN[40][8]
  • Approximately 200 subcontractors[6]

Prototypes[edit]

On 29 April 2009, the Subsecretary for Defence Industries of Turkey, Murad Bayar has confirmed at the 9th IDEX International, Defense Industry Fair in Abu Dhabi, that the Turkish tank will be manufactured using only Turkish resources. He added that the research started last week and that he expected to create an authentic tank model specially designed for the needs of the Turkish Armed Forces within 3 years.[40]

As of September 2010, with approval of the tank subsystems and software by Undersecretariat for Defense Industries, Conceptual Design Phase of the Altay project has been completed. Thus, the project advanced to Detailed Design Phase scheduled to last 30.5 months. The scope of the Detailed Design Phase is to design and integrate interfaces for the selected tank subsystems.[citation needed]

On 15 October 2010, Otokar signed a contract with MTU and Renk for the supply of power pack.[citation needed]

On 15 December 2010, Defence Industry Executive Committee decided to start the development of national power pack.[41]

On 10 May 2011, Aselsan was contracted by the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries to design and develop two Battlefield Target Identification Device (BTID) prototypes.[42]

On 11 May 2011, the mock-up of the Altay was introduced to the public in IDEF2011.[43][44]

On 18 October 2012, the first Altay was put on trials although lacking side skirts and using a mock-up turret to simulate a real turret.[45]

On 16 November 2012, two Altay prototypes successfully passed initial acceptance tests, paving the way for serial production 2 years earlier than expected, with two more prototypes to be built by 2013 or 2014.[46][47]

On 7 November 2016, all Otokar made prototypes had been delivered to the Turkish Land Forces, and their acceptance tests were expected to finish in the last quarter of 2016 or early 2017.[48]

In May 2019, BMC made latest prototype (demonstrator) of the Altay T1 was unveiled by the company during the IDEF defense exhibition.[1]

Design[edit]

Altay T1 tank info

The tank is projected to have a 120 millimetres (4.7 in) smoothbore gun and will include CBRN defense elements, to protect it from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons. The planned maximum speed of the first batch is set at 65 kilometres per hour (40 mph), provided by an 1,500 hp (1,100 kW) engine and the MBTs will be able to function under 4 metres (13 ft) of water.[21]

The tank will benefit both from indigenously developed systems and from technologies of the South Korean K2 Black Panther, accorded by an agreement signed with South Korea.[37][8][9] The serial production tanks will be powered by the 1,500 hp (1,100 kW) BMC Power BATU V12 indigenous engine[1][20] whereas the latter batches may powered by an indigenous 1,800 hp engine.[3]

While moving at high speeds, to evade ATGM attacks, sudden braking and manoeuvering at severe angles are capabilities that were taken into consideration from early developmental stages. An isolated ammunition compartment (turret bustle) is designed to protect tank crew, alongside fire and explosion suppression systems which are to activate when hit or when the tank is involved in an accident. The tank is to be equipped with sensors for the detection of contaminated air from chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.[5] The tank also has hunter-killer engagement capability.[37]

Variants[edit]

  • Altay T1 – Baseline serial production variant.[6][37]
  • Altay T2 – Improved serial production variant.[6][37]
  • Altay T3 – Planned variant with unmanned turret.[6][37]
  • Altay AHT – Altay-AHT "urban operations tank" was showcased by Otokar at the IDEF'17 defense and aerospace show in Istanbul on May 9–12. The tank is equipped with a directional dozer blade.[49][50] The tank is probably related to Altay T2.[37]

Foreign interest[edit]

According to reports, a military envoy from Colombia was present at the 2010 press meeting hosted by the Undersecreteriat for Defense Industries of the Republic of Turkey to obtain more information about the tank.[32]

In April 2013, officials of the Saudi Arabian Army reportedly became interested in the Altay main battle tank,[51] and at IDEF-2013, the Azerbaijan Army expressed interest in the Altay tank.[52]

Additionally, Otokar placed a bid for 77 Altays for a tender in Oman in August 2013.[53] In January 2016, Turkey reported that the Altay had received interest from Pakistan and Gulf Arab countries.[54]

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have shown interest in procuring the Altay for their armed forces.[55]

In March 2019, A senior Turkish politician stated an order for 100 tanks was placed by Qatar and that the first 40 of these would be delivered in the coming two years.[56][57]

Sales[edit]

The Altay won the Turkish army contract, estimated at $3.5B and signed on 9 November 2018 for a batch of 250 tanks. Three more similar batches are expected.[58][59]

Qatar has purchased 100 Altay tanks along with an estimated 20 T-155 Firtina SPH.[60]

Operators[edit]

Future Operators[edit]

 Turkey
 Qatar

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]