Ground Warfare

Turkish Army Receives Upgraded Domestically Built Altay Main Battle Tank for Trials

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Turkish Army Receives Upgraded Domestically Built Altay Main Battle Tank for Trials

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Turkish Army Receives Upgraded Domestically Built Altay Main Battle Tank for Trials
Altay Main Battle Tank

Turkish Army has received what officials dubb one of the most modern main battle tanks in the world that will undergo testing in the period ahead before the country launches its mass production and deliveries. Two long-anticipated domestically built Altay main battle tanks were delivered to the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) on Sunday in a ceremony led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who praised Turkey’s current capability of meeting almost all of its land vehicle needs with domestic resources. Daily Sabah reported that the final trials of the Altay tank are expected to be completed within 2024. Its mass production will be launched in 2025, and South Korean-made power packs will power the first tanks.

The military vehicle manufacturer BMC plans to replace South Korean engines with a domestically developed version in 2026. Turkey is developing a 1,500-horsepower engine, BATU, to power various armored vehicles, including the Altay. The new tank has undergone significant overhauls since its first design in the 2000s who stressed multiple obstacles and challenges faced in developing and manufacturing the vehicle. The next-generation battle tank’s prototype was initially powered by a 1,500 horsepower diesel engine from Germany’s MTU Friedrichshafen GmbH before the production and supply came to a halt following Berlin’s decision to limit arms exports to Turkey, a longtime NATO ally. The embargo followed Turkey’s counterterrorism operation in northern Syria that targeted both Daesh terrorists and the PKK terrorist group and its Syrian branch, the YPG.

Altay main battle tank
Altay is a Turkish modern main battle tank based on South Korean K2 Black Panther to be produced by BMC under design assistance and technology transfer by Hyundai Rotem. (Photo by BMC)

Among the new capabilities added to the new Altay tank are an active protection system, improved armor system, renewed fire control system, renewed vehicle control system, concentrated power group, localized systems (speed reduction, gunner’s second-degree sight system, track and turret ring gear), fuel and hydraulic pumps, mobile concealment net, periscope and rotor. The 12-cylinder, V-type, water-cooled, turbo diesel engine will produce 4,600 nanometers of torque. Eight units of Altay tanks are planned to be delivered a month as part of the initial batch of 100 units. The Altay contract eventually involves the production of 1,000 tanks. BMC won the Altay contract in 2018. It involves the production of an initial batch of 250 units, life-cycle logistical support and the establishment and operation by the contractor of a tank systems technology center.

Altay boasts a firing range of 8 kilometers (4.97 miles). With a crew of four (tank commander, gunner, loader and driver), it weighs 65 tons. It is designed with superior maneuverability thanks to its suspension system. Altay also features weapons such as a 12.7 mm heavy machine gun and defense giant Aselsan-made Stabilized Advanced Remote Weapon Platform (SARP). Thanks to the new computer technology, the fire control system is stated to be superior to standard tanks. Furthermore, the Altay will also boast the domestic Active Protection System (AKKOR) developed by Aselsan, one of the vital tank protection systems. In addition to tank armor, active protection systems are important against anti-tank weapons. AKKOR creates a full 360-degree protection shield and can detect incoming rocket or anti-tank missiles quickly with its high-tech radar.

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