Otokar launches prototype of Turkey’s first tank


Turkish defence company Otokar has publicly unveiled the nation’s first indigenous tank, the Altay, which weighs 55 tons and is armed with a 120 mm gun. Production could begin in 2015.

The Altay was unveiled at Otokar’s facilities in Sakarya on November 15. The ceremony was attended by a number of high profile dignitaries, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Design of the Altay began in 2009. The first prototype will be used for testing the Altay’s mobility while the second prototype will be used to test firing performance. Two more prototypes are planned to be manufactured following the evaluation of the data gathered from first two prototypes. The first Altay prototype had already covered more than 2 000 kilometres during tests.

The Altay tank will be ready for mass production by 2015, according to Otokar. “550 engineers are working in order to complete the Project, 260 of which are Otokar employees. Together with the Altay team, and nearly 100 subcontractors, we aim to make the best of our time and prepare Altay for mass production by 2015,” said Kudret Onen, Head of Koc Holding Defence Industry Group and Chairman of the Board of Otokar.
“Today armoured tactical vehicles of Otokar are exported to almost 20 countries. With more than 25 000 vehicles used by the armies in the world, we represent our engineering and production capability. Up to now, we accomplished all our projects in time and perfectly, and we tried to fulfil all our commitments successfully,” Onen said.

Mustafa V. Koc, Chairman of the Board of Koc Holding, stated that the Altay had been a prestige project not only for Turkey but also for the Koc Group. “Altay will provide great acceleration to land platform area of our country’s defence industry in terms of design, development and manufacturing not only with its existing power but also with its investments, developing labour force and technical know-how. With its power to withstand possible threats of today and the future, Altay will further enhance the strength of our armed forces as the most modern battle tank in the world. With stable management, growing economy and strong army, our country will reinforce its power and leadership within the region, and Turkey will take its place among the special main battle tank manufacturers of the world.”

The design of the Altay has been tailored to the demands of the Turkish Armed Forces. Its crew consists of four: a tank commander, gunner, driver and loader. In order to provide the tank with the intended performance in rough terrain, it is equipped with a 1,500 horsepower engine. The main armament is a 120 mm smoothbore gun suitable for various kinds of rounds.

A new-generation fire control system has been specially designed for the Altay in order to control the main and secondary armaments, Otokar said, allowing the tank to shoot moving targets with a very high first round hit probability. The vehicle is equipped with modular composite armour and subsystems that give the crew protection from Chemical, Biological, Radioactive and Nuclear (CBRN) threats.

Other features include 12.7 mm and 7.62 mm machineguns; a laser warning system; auxiliary power unit; fire-extinguishing and explosion suppression system.

The Altay is named after Turkish General Fahrettin Altay, the commander of the V Cavalry Corps who achieved great success during the Turkish War of Independence between 1919 and 1922.

The main battle tank project began in 2005 when the Undersecretariat of Defence Industries assigned a consortium consisting of three companies to conduct a feasibility study. In 2007 it was decided to start contract negotiations with Otokar as the prime contractor candidate. A contract was signed in July 2008. In May 2011 Otokar finalised the tank’s design and in October this year concluded manufacture of the first prototype at its facilities in Sakarya.

In addition to Otokar being assigned as the prime contractor for the Project, Aselsan was assigned to design and manufacture the prototypes of electronic sub-systems like Tank Fire Control System and Tank C3I System; MKE was assigned to manufacture the 120 mm 55 calibre main gun by technology transfer from Hyundai Rotem of South Korea; and Roketsan was assigned to develop the Modular Armour Package by technology transfer also through Hyundai Rotem.