Turkey to produce engines for tanks

Turkey to produce engines for tanks

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey to produce engines for tanks

A mock-up of Turkey’s planned Altay tanks displayed at an arm fair. The country plans to place national engines on the tank. AA photo

Turkey will now manufacture engines for tanks and warships for the first time in the history of the nation’s defense industry, a top procurement official said.

Undersecretary for Defense Industries Murad Bayar said the weakest component of the recently flourishing business was arguably engine-manufacturing, which the nation will now work to eliminate.

Bayar said domestically manufactured engines will be used in the serial production phase of Altay, Turkey’s first national main battle tank.

Since 2007 Otokar, one of Turkey’s largest armored vehicle makers, has been designing the Altay with industrial support from South Korea’s Hyundai Rotem. Under a nearly $500 million contract, four prototypes should be built by 2015, after which serial production is scheduled to begin.

The mock-up of Altay, projected to have a 120 mm gun, was introduced to the public in May at the 10th International Defense Industry Fair (IDEF) in Istanbul.

“We are in touch with a number of companies that design engines but do not manufacture them,” Bayar said.

“We hope to build the engines for the Altay in the serial production stage in the first batch of 250 tanks that will be manufactured domestically after 2015,” he said. “We need to obtain this engine-making capability.” Eventually Turkey plans to build up to 1,000 Altays.

Bayar said another option was to develop the tank’s engine jointly with South Korea.

“Then we need to make engines for our naval platforms, which have a good chance to be exported,” he said. Turkey has begun to produce up to 12 national corvettes, the smallest of major warships, in a program called Milgem that is worth up to $3 billion. The first corvette was delivered to the Navy this fall and a second was put to sea for tests.

Turkey has sold several of the smaller boats to countries in the Middle East and Asia. The country plans to make its own national frigate by 2020 with domestically manufactured engines. Frigates are the largest warships in the Turkish Navy.

“Ultimately, we need to make engines and related transmission systems for other land and naval platforms,” Bayar said.

“Producing engines and power systems is not the most difficult thing to do in the defense industry,” said an Ankara-based defense analyst. “But to make sense, you have to make sure that manufacturing engines is economically feasible. Compared to Turkey’s capabilities in several other sectors in defense industry, Turkey already lags behind in the producing its own engines.”

Turkey is not yet looking at large-scale plans to manufacture its own aircraft engines. Its main engine maker Tusaş Engine Industries (TEI) co-produces engines for aircraft under license of large foreign companies