Türkiye’s renewed main battle tank Altay ready for army tests
BMC Defense, responsible for developing Türkiye’s long-awaited main battle tank (MBT) Altay, is preparing to deliver the revamped tank, which has reached the mass production stage, to the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) for tests on April 23.
The tests of the Altay tank by the TSK are expected to be completed in 2024. In 2025, mass production of the tank will begin with the Korean power group, and it is planned to continue mass production of the Altay tank with a domestic engine in the second half of 2026.
BMC Executive Board Member and Manager Murat Yalçıntaş, BMC Defense General Manager Mehmet Karaaslan and BMC Power General Manager Mustafa Kaval recently commented on the company’s projects, including the Altay tank.
Stating that BMC Defense, which will produce the Altay tank, is a 100% Turkish company, Yalçıntaş said that the intellectual property rights of the Altay tank and engines made at the factory belong to the Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB).
Yalçıntaş said that the tank had undergone significant changes since its first design in the 2000s, with many parts now localized and improvements made based on lessons learned from battles in the last two decades. As a result, despite some delays due to the localization of specific systems, including the power group, the tank is now fully equipped and approved for mass production.
Yalçıntaş further stated that while a foreign power group is being used, the design work on a domestic power group is complete, and prototypes have been tested. The expected time frame for testing and implementation is 1.5-2 years, with the intention to deliver the new Altay tank with a local power group to the TSK by 2026.
There has been interest from several friendly and allied countries in acquiring the Altay tank, Yalçıntaş said, expressing openness to exporting the tank pending approval from the Ministry of National Defense.
BMC Defense General Manager Karaaslan also said that the new Altay tank with many superior capabilities emerged after the localization and additional capabilities made on the Altay tank prototypes produced in 2014 due to the German export license obstacle.
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, turret ring gear), fuel and hydraulic pumps, mobile concealment net, periscope and rotor.
Driving tests of the new Altay tank were completed by integrating the Korean power group into the Altay tank in the April-December 2022 period.
In April, two New Altay tanks will be rolled off with the Korean power group.
Karaaslan, also speaking on the company’s other projects, said the modernization of the 81 Leopard 2A4 tanks had been started in addition to the work on the Altay tank. He said the pre-contract work for the tank rescue and mine clearance tank projects to be built on the Altay platform continues. Likewise, the production of 140 new-generation Storm Howitzers and, accordingly, the filling vehicle Poyraz is also ongoing.
While the Altuğ 8×8 armored personnel carrier is ready for duty, preparations for the Next Generation Tracked Vehicles Project continue.
Work on the systems that need to be localized on the Altay tank has been completed to a large extent.
The next-generation Storm Howitzer, produced by BMC Defense, gained additional capabilities in terms of survivability and firepower compared to the previous platform. Foreign dependency in domestic and national subsystems has been reduced and it is expected the howitzers will be powered by domestic engines after 2025.
BMC Power’s Kaval, for his part, said that they have self-sourced work on the hybrid power group.
Stating that the SSB has also published an Information Request Document on this subject, Kaval noted that they, as BMC Power and BMC Defense, have prepared a response to this.
Kaval also noted that they are working with Işbir Elektrik to use domestic engines in generators and to meet the engine needs of unmanned surface vehicles with different companies.