Turkey unveiled its version of the Leopard 2A4 tank
ANKARA, (BM) – The Turks presented an updated version of Turkey’s main Leopard 2A4 battle tank to the Turkish Defense Minister during a Turkish armored vehicle plant visit. The tank is a hybrid between the German Leopard and the Turkish Altay. I.e., The hull is on a German machine to which a locally made tower is attached. According to preliminary information, the tower belongs to Altay.
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Turkey has approximately 340 Leopard 2 tanks and about 400 Leopard 1 tanks. Turkey had planned a significant program to modernize Leopard 1, but the financial crisis in 2009 abruptly ended. Thus, Ankara managed to update 170 of the 400 Leopard 1 tanks. From the Leopard 2 series, Turkey managed to modernize 84 tanks out of a total of 340.
The Leopard 2 tank, presented to the Turkish Minister of Defense, has a 120 mm smoothbore cannon. This tank also has Turkish laser warning systems and a locally produced active protection system. Altay is a Turkish government project to produce a new generation of local tanks. The program has been facing difficulties over the years, and it is not yet clear when Turkey will have it.
Altay Tank: What problems does Turkey face?
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised the Turkish army a new main battle tank to be the Turkish Altay in one of his speeches. This promise happened in 2019 when Erdogan said that Ankara would arm the Turkish military with this tank within 24 months.
This tank is currently only on paper. Turkish production’s main problem is its engine and the lack of a machine to be imported. Altai 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 Altay program employee told reporters that Turkey does not have access to the three essential components. Nobody knows when the program will restart and when Turkey will be ready for the tank’s serial production. And as a final – if until a year ago Erdogan was talking about a new Turkish tank, Altay is not even included in the country’s investment program this year.
There are more things to fix on the Turkish tank Altay
The three main reasons we wrote about above are not the only problem with the Turkish tank – sooner or later, when this tank is ready [if it is prepared to – ed.], The Turks will try to sell it abroad.
Not yet produced, still, with an uncertain future, Altay weighs more than 60 tons per drawing. For example, this fact is a problem for the Pakistani army, which expected the Turkish project’s development because it is a real buyer. But excessive delay and a vague vision led Islamabad to turn to Beijing and order the Chinese VT-4 tank. He did it in the middle of last year.
According to Pakistani military experts, Altay has another drawback – too low mobility of the tank. As an example, Pakistanis compare it to Pakistan-produced Al-Khalid and Al-Zarrar tanks and Chinese equivalents. For Pakistan, this is essential, given that Pakistani forces often operate in desert and mountainous terrain.
Some military experts have already argued that delaying and failing to address the Altay program’s main problems will lead the tank to too high a price, which will not compete with other manufacturers, which are supposed to offer better quality at a lower price.
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