The Turkish Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) and armored vehicle maker BMC signed a contract for the production of modern Altay main battle tanks.
According to local media, the contract includes mass production and life-cycle logistical support for 250 units. Under the deal with BMC, the company will initially produce 40 Altay tanks, with the first to be delivered to the military in 18 months.
The financial value of the agreement was not revealed.
The batch of 40 new tanks will be delivered in an Altay-T1 configuration with an active protection system (APS) called AKKOR. The new APS is designed to detect tank-targeting rockets and missiles and hit them in midair. The system is designed by Aselsan.
Alongside BMC, others involved in the project include Turkish firms Roketsan, Aselsan (ASELS.IS), MKE and Havelsan.
BMC also signed a deal with SSB in June to develop a 1,500-horsepower diesel engine and other systems for the Altay tanks.
According to dailysabah.com, the Altay, Turkey’s first main battle tank development program, includes electronic command and control systems, a 120 mm gun and armor, all made by Turkish companies. The prototype for the Altay was unveiled at a 2011 defense show in Istanbul.
The tank was named after Army Gen. Fahrettin Altay, who commanded the Fifth Cavalry Corps during the Turkish War of Independence.
Starting off with 250 vehicles, the number is expected to be gradually raised to 1,000, boosting Turkey’s ground forces inventory to great extent.
Meanwhile, previous reports said the economic size of the project, spread over more than 20 years, is expected to reach $25 billion to $30 billion.
Classified as a “third-generation advanced” tank, Altay will be equipped with state of the technology, capable of providing all kinds of tactical support for a 21st-century army. Altay holds an edge over other new-generation tanks in the fact that it was developed from a conceptual design stage by taking the present and future combat situations into consideration. The tank is expected to become a critical element for the Turkish military in the future thanks to its excellent mobility, superior firepower and durability.
Altay will have a 120 mm 55-caliber smoothbore gun as its main weapon. Its next-generation fire control system will allow the user to shoot targets in motion with a high accuracy rate. The tank will also feature a 12.7 mm remote-controlled turret and a 7.62 mm tower-mounted firearm for residential areas and fire support.
It will also feature composite armor to withstand the impact of shrapnel, bullets, missiles or shells, protecting its crew from enemy fire.
Meanwhile, a life support system, additional mine protection kit, auxiliary power group, laser warning system and a 360-degree situational awareness system are among the other important elements of the Altay.