Turkish weapon in Tunisia – Africans prefer armored vehicles and UAVs
TUNIS, (BM) – Turkish weapon in Tunisia – these are the preferences of the African country as the Turkish Daily Sabah reported. The Turkish arms industry has exported various types of military equipment to Tunisia with a total value of USD 150 million. Among them, there are several models of armored cars and unmanned aerial vehicles, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Defence24.
The Tunisian Ministry of Defense was to decide to buy in Turkey, among others, 100 MRAP Kirpi 4×4 armored vehicles and 9 Vuran 4×4 from BMC, 71 Ejder Yalcin 4×4 armored cars from Nurol Makina, as well as 6 Anka long-range unmanned aerial vehicles from TAI or also various types of optoelectronic systems from Aselsan. These armored vehicles were delivered in 2014-2019 and are already in the Tunisian land forces’ line service. Turkey is currently delivering unmanned aerial vehicles [UAVs] to the Tunisian Air Force.
Kirpi is a Turkish MRAP type armored vehicle designed and manufactured by the Turkish company BMC. This vehicle can carry up to 13 people, including the driver, weapons operator and commander, and ten soldiers. The car is available in two versions: 4×4 and 6×6, as the first is driven by a 271 HP Cummins diesel engine, and the second by a 345 HP Cummins diesel engine. Thanks to this, both vehicle versions achieve a maximum speed of 105 km / h with a combat weight of 20 and 26 tons, with a full range of 800 KM. Apart from Turkey, countries such as Qatar, Somalia, Tunisia, and Turkmenistan have also decided to purchase this vehicle [not counting cars supplied by Turkey to militants of the Government of the National Agreement in Libya as part of military aid].
The Vuran 4×4 is a Turkish MRAP armored vehicle designed and manufactured by the Turkish company BMC. This vehicle can carry up to 9 crew members, including the driver, commander, and seven soldiers. The drive is a Cummins engine with a power of 375 HP, thanks to which the vehicle with a combat weight of 18.6 tons can reach speeds of up to 110 km / h with a maximum range of 600 km. Apart from Turkey, only Libya has so far decided to purchase this vehicle [not counting Turkey’s cars to militants of the Government of the National Accord in Libya as part of military aid].
The Ejder Yalçın 4×4 is a Turkish multipurpose armored car designed and manufactured by Nurol Makina – a Turkish company. The vehicle can carry 12 people, including the driver, commander, and ten soldiers. The drive is a Cummins diesel engine with a capacity of 300 HP at 3100 rpm with a fully automatic gearbox, thanks to which the vehicle with a combat weight of 14 tons can reach speeds of up to 110 km / h with a maximum range of 600 km. The vehicle is also available in an enlarged, heavier 6×6 version. Apart from Turkey, countries such as Qatar, Senegal, Tunisia, Uzbekistan, Hungary, and Georgia [6×6 version] have decided to buy this vehicle.
Turkish tank, Altay, ‘got stuck’ and seeks help from South Korea
Turkey already had to have a “local” main battle tank, but this has never happened in recent months. The Turkish Altay tank is stuck in a quagmire of technological problems and is panicking for help from South Korea to provide technological solutions. BulgarianMilitary.com has learned that the situation with the Altay program is not rosy at all and the Turks face big problems with it.
Realistically, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2019 in one of his speeches included Altay in the weapons plans for 2020, and this remained on paper. Currently, according to Turkish sources, both program leaders and various suppliers are in talks with South Korea to provide technology support. Altay is very late, and the Turks have not solved three main problems: engine, armor and transmission.
According to the US military online publication Defense News, a Turkish source who is an employee of the Altay program told reporters that Turkey does not really have access to the three important components described above and it is not known when the program will restart and when Turkey will be ready for the serial production of the tank. And as a final – if until a year ago Erdogan was talking about a new Turkish tank, then Altay is not even included in the country’s investment program for next year.
A Turkish source says his country is currently in talks with South Korea to resolve the three main technological problems. Turkey and South Korea have a very good relationship, and in recent years South Korean companies have built key public infrastructure projects in Turkey. Now the Erdogan administration is once again seeking help from the Asian side, but the idea of an all-Turkish tank, which is clearly not going to be such, but is likely to have South Korean engines, transmission and armor, is being lost.
The Turks hope that the coming months will be crucial and that an agreement will be reached with South Korean producers in this area. If this happens, there will no longer be an obstacle for Altay to get on the assembly line and enter serial production. Currently, two South Korean companies are quoted in the public space – Doosan and S&T Dynamics, and as a mediator of the talks, again according to sources, is a third South Korean company – Hyundai Rotem.
The first two South Korean companies are more than familiar with the production of tanks, especially considering that they are the basis for the creation of the South Korean tank K2 Black Panther. This tank is very good. This tank is a next-generation tank and some time ago we even put it in second place in the world in the ranking of next-generation tanks [first place went to the Russian tank Armata – ed.]. but to become what it is today, South Korea’s “black panther” has gone through exactly the same problems as Turkey’s Altay.
South Korea initially chose a 1,500-horsepower Doosan engine as well as an S&T Dynamics automatic transmission. But four years ago, the automatic transmission failed tests, forcing South Korea to look for another solution, finding it in a hybrid powertrain but with a German transmission.
Now, however, the real question for a few million dollars arises – how do the Turks expect to power their tank with a powerful and proven engine, but use a transmission that has failed? Of course, South Korea is not Altay’s first choice. Initially, the Turks wanted a German engine with a German transmission, but the moment came when Berlin imposed an arms embargo on Turkey and the possible deal went in the trash.
Of course, the third main problem of Altay remains – the armor. There are rumors that it will be produced locally, through a public-private partnership. And it didn’t have to be that way. Turkey has been negotiating with French producers, but again problems – tensions between France and Turkey in recent years have thwarted a possible future deal.
The Turks already had to have their own “tank“, although this statement is also no longer possible. Otokar was the company that won the tender years ago, and Altay tanks were to be produced on the production line, with Ankara expecting at least 250 units – that was the contract. In reality, according to Erdogan’s plans, Turkey should have at least 1,000. “Turkish” tanks Altay. When this will happen – is not clear at all.
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