The Undersecretariat for the Defence Industries of Turkey (SSM) has contracted Otokar with the designing of the first National Main Battle Tank of Turkey. The signing ceremony for the ALTAY Project was realised at Otokar plant.

A Koc Group company Otokar, is contracted as prime contractor for ALTAY Project, conducted by SSM. The Company shall be the exclusively responsible party to SSM regarding the design, development, integration, prototype production, testing, qualification of the first Turkish National Main Battle Tank (ALTAY Tank) and all activities contained in the Project.

Prime Minister Erdogan attended the ceremony
The signing ceremony was held with the attendance of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish Prime Minister, M. Vecdi Gönül, the Turkish Minister of National Defence, Mustafa Koc, chairman of the Koc Holding, Kudret Önen, President of Koç Holding Defence Industry and Other Automotive Group and Chairman of Otokar, and Serdar Görgüç, General Manager of Otokar.

Sanghee Lee, the Minister of National Defence, representing the Republic of Korea, the country to provide technical support and assistance for the Project and the upper management representatives of Aselsan, Hyundai-Rotem, Makine ve Kimya Endustrisi Kurumu and Roketsan were also present at the ceremony.

Mr Kudret Onen, President of Koç Holding Defence Industry and Other Automotive Group and Chairman of Otokar, stated that backed with its engineering power, R&D facilities, experiences and technical facilities, Otokar is ready to design new generation tank which will fully meet the requirements of the Turkish Armed Forces, and said: “We pride ourselves on being charged for such a large-scale national project of strategic importance. As it was always the case, we will work hard to deserve this confidence in our Company, in order to attain the result befitting our country. For 45 years, we have introduced many firsts to the automotive industry. We have designed the first military armoured vehicle and we realised export of armoured vehicles for the first time.

“Since 21 years we are operating in the defence industry. 25 thousand military vehicles we produced are being used by Armed Forces of more than 15 countries, primarily by the Turkish Armed Forces, and UN duty units in several regions of the world. With ALTAY Project, we will break new ground.”

Mr Mustafa V Koc, Chairman of Koc Holding, stated that he is pleased that an affiliate of the Koc Holding is preferred for the completion of ALTAY Project, which is of utmost importance for Turkey’s national defence industry strategy, and said: “It is certain that this Project will bring enormous acceleration to the land platform development and production field of the defence industry. In order to become leader in its region, Turkey requires stable government, growing economy and strong armed forces. Considering the prevailing threats and contemporary battle area conditions, it becomes evident that modern equipment, tools and devices which of hi-tech products and capable to dispose of potential threats must be available further to manpower in order to have contemporary and strong armed forces. We have to develop its own resources and capabilities and to develop our own technology also in this field. Only in this way we can cope with the modern era and attain sustainable growth in the national industry.

“Our national defence industry will have great contributions to and responsibilities for enabling us to reach the targeted point, regarding the development of their competence and capacity. Long-term approach, vision and leadership are factors required to attain success. We, as the Koç Group of Companies, make great efforts and use large resources for the defence industry for a long time and consequently we accomplish very successful projects. With our companies Otokar, RMK Marine, Koç Bilgi and Defence Technologies we aim to be able to export our products to the geographical region in the long term, as part of the international competition, beyond being able to meet the requirements of the national defence industry.”

Murad Bayar, Undersecretary of SSM, talking at the ceremony, said that it’s very important that the ALTAY Project reached to the contract signing phase. He also added that this Project will supply Turkish Armed Forces, the third generation modern main battle tank. He said further: “The studies on the modern tank project firstly started on 1996 and was targeted on a production under licence of an existing tank in the world. But this project stopped on 2004 because of the high costs. In 2005, we started working on Turkish National Main Battle Tank Project and in 2007 Otokar had been chosen as the prime contractor of the Project. And the project is called ALTAY. The first 7 years of the Project will enclose the prototype production and testing functions. After the prototype tanks completed the serial production will start for the first 250 tanks.”

All intellectual and ownership rights of the ALTAY tank belongs to Turkey. As result of the contract signed, the ALTAY Tank to be developed under prime contractorship of Otokar will bring our country’s dependency on external resources to end. The Republic of Turkey shall own all design and intellectual property rights vested on the ALTAY tank.

The technical data package, which contains all information and documents related with the design, development, integration, test and production of the ALTAY tank and which will constitute the basis for mass production, shall be owned by the Republic of Turkey, without any restriction and with all rights pertaining there to.

The estimated budget for design, prototype production, tests and qualification of the ALTAY tank, which will provide new technologies and skills to the Turkish defence industry, is declared to amount to $500 million.