Turkey seeks to develop local engines for UAVs and tank
Burak BEKDİL ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Koç Holding’s Otokar has developed a prototype for what will become Turkey’s first indigenous new generation battle tank, the Altay. The country plans to place national engines on the tank. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜRELScores of Turkish defense programs in recent years have either stalled or delayed due to one component: engine. Wary of engine troubles, Turkey’s defense procurement planners are pondering to give pace to local solutions.
A local armored vehicles maker, Otokar, has developed a prototype for what will become Turkey’s first indigenous new generation battle tank, the Altay. It will be an “entirely Turkish tank.” So will be the Anka, an “entirely Turkish” unmanned aerial vehicle developed by TAI. And so will be the TF-X, a future fighter aircraft Turkey intends to develop. The trouble is, Turks do not have an engine to power any of these Turkish platforms.
“Engines are increasingly becoming a hurdle if we want to go ahead with our national solutions and build our own platforms as planned,” a defense procurement official said. “We are in contact with potential partners to give pace to our efforts to develop engines.”
A defense industry source said that Turkey may still be several years away from developing a reliable engine for any of the platforms it plans to build. “For any sensible project, the Turks would need serious levels of foreign know-how,” he said.
Murad Bayar, head of the Turkish defense procurement agency, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM), has said that Turkey has programs to locally develop engines.
“Currently we are assessing bids in a program for the local design and development, prototype production, test and qualification of a diesel engine for our national tank,” Bayar told U.S. weekly Defense News.
In February 2012, SSM signed a deal with Kale Havacilik and state scientific research institute TUBITAK for the development of a cruise engine for our first indigenous cruise missile SOM.
“This project will be completed in 48 months and will form the basis for a complete national engine,” Bayar said.
As part of its technology acquisition roadmap, SSM signed in December 2012 a contract with national engine maker TUSAS Motor Sanayi (TEI) for the production of five prototype engines for the Anka. The design, production and certification tests will take four years.