Contract signed for mass production of Turkish battle tank
A landmark deal was signed on Nov. 9 for the mass production of Turkey’s first domestically made main battle tank, Altay.
The state Defense Industries Presidency (SSB) and armored vehicle maker BMC signed a contract for the Altay, a next-generation battle tank in Ankara. The financial value of the agreement was not revealed.
The contract includes the mass production and life-cycle logistical support for 250 units.
The first Altay tank will roll off the assembly line within 18 months and will be delivered to the Turkish Land Forces, SSB President İsmail Demir said.
“BMC won this tender with a competitive price. The tender was concluded after the prices were renewed in a competitive manner,” he added.
Regarding the engine of the tank, Demir said Turkey’s main aim was to maximize the local production rate in such defense projects.
“We need to overcome obstacles that obstruct Turkey to move independently. We are, of course, closing the doors to foreign partners. Our doors remain open to any firms which want to cooperate with us. However, we will not allow any limitations,” he said, referring to Turkey’s demand to obtain the intellectual property rights of the final defense products.
The company will however use foreign engines in the first Altay tanks due to “time limitations,” Demir noted.
Meanwhile, at the ceremony, BMC chair Ethem Sancak said a partnership was made with a foreign company when making the bid, but they later “ceased the deal to an end” while continuing to benefit from the consultancy services of this company.
Sancak did not mention the name of the company, as reported by Reuters.
The Altay, Turkey’s first main battle tank development program, includes electronic command and control systems, a 120-mm gun, and armor, made by Turkish companies, including Roketsan, Aselsan and Havelsan.
The prototype of the tank was developed by Koç Holding’s Otokar in line with an agreement, which came into effect in 2009. Otokar later on made a bid for mass production.