Altay tank enters production on Jan 9, Turkey orders the first 100

ANKARA, TURKEY — The information of BulgarianMilitary.com that at the beginning of 2023, Turkey will start serial production of its main battle tank Altay has been confirmed. According to the Turkish media Soz Sakarya, on January 9, the country’s president, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will visit the tank factory to attend the official ceremony. It will also be attended by the Emir of Dubai, Mr. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Successful tests of Korean DV27K engine in the Turkish tank Altay
Photo: Wallpaper Flare

Soz Sakarya writes that during the ceremony, Mr. Erdogan will sign a contract for the purchase of 100 Altay tanks from BMC. Turkey intends to purchase a total of 1,000 tanks, with the first tranche expected to be 250 tanks. Qatar is the second country to place an order for Altay. According to unofficial information, more than 100 tanks will want to acquire the ground forces of the Qatari army. The information has been known for several years.

According to Turkish sources, only pilot units of the tank will be produced in 2023. They will have to go through a series of tests. The Turkish side informs that by the end of January, the so-called Korean tests. South Korea is “involved” in the project, as Altay is based on the South Korean K2 Black Panther.

The engine

South Korea also solved Turkey’s problem regarding the engine that will power the tank. According to preliminary information, the Korean DV27K 4-long stroke, 12-cylinder water-cooled diesel engine will be integrated into the first 100 units produced. Ankara will then integrate its locally developed engine.

Light at the end of the tunnel for the Turkish Altay tank
Photo credit: Mesut Er

Due to arms embargoes against Turkey by some of its partners, Ankara was forced to develop its own engine. 2025 is the year the South Korean engine will stop being installed on the Turkish tank and will be replaced by its Turkish competitor. This was announced last August by Dr. Ismail Demir, President of the Turkish Defense Industry.

Dr. Demir says designing and manufacturing the Turkish engine is “not an easy job”. According to him, the tests are continuing, but the engine will be very popular, Demir promised. He compared the Korean and Turkish engines, declaring that the differences between the two were small. “The Korean engine is similar to ours,” Demir said in an interview.

The main battle tank Altay is a project in which a part of the Turkish defense industry is involved. BMC, Aselsan, Roketsan, Otokar, MKEK, and Havelsan are the Turkish participants in the project. On the South Korean side, the companies Hyundai Rotem, Hyundai WIA, and Samyang Comtech are participating.

Hyundai Rotem is deeply committed to Altay design. But Turkey is ready to provide this opportunity to the Korean company, as Hyundai Rotem will provide technology transfer to the Turkish defense industry. Thus, the short-term “loss” on the Turkish side turns into a long-term “gain”, since this technology transfer will expand the Turkish portfolio of future artillery systems of a new design.

Power and armament

It can be said that the Turkish Altay tank is the next generation in the development of Turkish land military equipment. Its characteristics are memorable. Power is 1,500 horsepower with an integrated Korean engine. More than 1,000 horsepower is expected to be the power of the second tranche of produced Turkish tanks with the local engine. A tank will move at a maximum speed of 65 km/h on an asphalt road and 45 km/h on an off-road road or in highly rough and difficult-to-access terrain.

The Turkish company MKE is engaged in the installation of a 120mm cannon. It is a 55 caliber smoothbore gun based on the CN08 120 mm gun. For close defensive combat, secondary armament includes a Remote controlled weapon station equipped with a 12.7 mm / 7.62 mm machine gun. A 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun is added to this configuration.

Armor and dimensions

South Korea will help Turkey with engines for the Altay tank
Photo credit: Wikipedia

Rocketsan will fabricate and install the tank’s armor. There is also South Korean involvement and technology transfer in this development, as the Altay’s armor will include composite armor. This composite armor was developed based on the Korean Special Armor Plate [KSAP]. The active protection system is Turkish. Asesan has tackled this equipment by offering its product AKKOR. AKKOR is equipped with both hard kill and soft kill functionalities along with electronic warfare [EW] computers.

The general parameters of the Altay tank are a weight of 66 tons, a length of 7.3 meters, a width of 3.9 meters and a height of 2.6 meters. A tank will be operated by a tank crew consisting of four people – commander, gunner, loader, and driver. Currently, it costs nearly 14 million USD per unit, but it is assumed that with the entry into serial production and the start of export of the tank, the price will be drastically reduced.

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