Altay Main Battle Tank, Turkey
Altay is the third generation+ main battle tank (MBT) of the Republic of Turkey and is being indigenously developed under the Milli Tank Üretim Projesi ALTAY (MITÜP ALTAY) programme (Altay National Tank Project). Altay will be the first national MBT developed for the Turkish Land Forces Command (TLFC).
The Turkish National Main Battle Tank Project began in 2005. In September 2010 the conceptual design phase of Altay was completed. The tank is currently in the detailed design phase which is planned to take about 30 months. The first prototype is expected to be ready by 2015.
Turkey intends to build 250 MITÜP Altay MBTs initially, and ultimately produce 1,000 new tanks in four separate lots of 250 units. Altay will incorporate the most modern features of a tank. The Turkish MBT will have a crew of four – driver, gunner, loader and the commander.
Altay main battle tank development
The Undersecreteriat for Defense Industries (SSM) embarked on the National Tank project to improve the technical capabilities of Turkish defence and to increase the domestic contribution towards national defence.
The tank is named after the Army General Fahrettin Altay, who commanded the V Cavalry Corps during the Turkish War of Independence. Development of the Altay tank will be completed in three phases.
The Defence Industrial Executive Committee (SSIK), the Turkey's defence industrial procurement decision-making body, selected the contractor Otokar in March 2007, through a competition.
The $500m contract includes design, development and integration of Altay and qualification of the tank through prototypes and testing.
Work on the Altay project began in August 2008 at the Otokar factory and is projected for completion in 2016. Otokar will develop four prototypes for testing. Altay will use the technology systems developed for the South Korean K2 MBT by Hyundai Rotem. Serial production will begin after successful testing of the prototypes. Turkey will own the design and intellectual property rights.
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Altay main battle tank design and features
A 3D image of Altay was revealed to the public in August 2010.
The tank will have a conventional layout. The power pack will be in the rear, driver seating in the front and fighting compartment in the middle. The loader will be on the left side of the turret, while the commander will sit on the right side of the turret. The gunner will sit on the same side as the commander but in a more forward and lower position.
Altay will have the stronger chassis characteristics of the K2 Black Panther MBT. It will have a re-designed Turkish turret and heavier armour than the K2. It will also have seven tracked wheels and a longer hull. A decision on the suspension system and other systems has yet to be finalised.
The tank will use an advanced computerised Volkan-III modular (or National Cannon Fire Control System For Naval Platforms (TAKS)) fire-control system (FCS). It is being developed by Aselsan, which has partnered with STM, the software division of SSM, for developing the command, control and information systems.
Altay will be equipped with a 120mm L/55 smoothbore gun. It will be fitted with a muzzle reference system, a thermal sleeve and fume extractor. The ammunition will be stowed in the turret bustle with blow out panels on the roof. The tank will also have a 7.62mm machine gun mounted in coaxial to the right of the main armament. A 12.7mm heavy machine gun will be mounted on the right of the turret for commander operation.
The front side of the tank will have special modular reactive composite armour protection. The tank will be designed to resist chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) attacks.
Both the gunner and the commander will be provided with stabilised day/thermal sights. They are expected to be incorporated with a laser range-finder having hunter-killer capability.
The first two batches of Altay tanks will be powered by MTU Friedrichshafen 1,500hp (1,100kW) diesel engines. The engine will be coupled to a Renk transmission. An indigenous 1,800hp (1,300kW) engine is currently under development in Turkey and will be used in the last two batches of the tank. The tank will have a maximum speed of 70km/h and manoeuvrability at depths of 4.1m in water.
Koç Group company Otokar is the main contractor for the Altay MBT development programme. The technology systems transfer licensing will be provided by Hyundai Rotem, which will also offer technical support and assistance in the tank development.
Aselsan will be responsible for the sub-systems and fire control system. The state-owned ammunition producer Makine ve Kimya Endustrisi Kurumu (MKE) will produce the main gun system, while Roketsan will develop and produce the armour package. The subcontractors will be responsible for integration of the respective equipment in the tank in cooperation with Otokar.