Turkey’s Next-Generation Battle Tank: Altay

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Altay is a Turkish modern main battle tank that is expected to be produced in 2021 by Otokar. It is named in honor of Army General Fahrettin Altay who commanded the 5th Cavalry Corps in the final stage of the Turkish War of Independence. It is one of the most expensive tank designs with a unit cost of 13.75 million dollars.

Altay is the third generation+ main battle tank (MBT) of the Republic of Turkey. It was indigenously developed under the Milli Tank Üretim Projesi ALTAY (MITÜP ALTAY) programme (Altay National Tank Project). Altay is the first national MBT developed for the Turkish Land Forces Command (TLFC). Turkey intends to initially build 250 MITÜP Altay MBTs and ultimately produce 1,000 new tanks in four separate lots of 250 units. Altay incorporates the most modern features of a tank. The Turkish MBT has a crew of four, comprising the driver, gunner, loader and commander.

The tank has a conventional layout. The power pack is placed in the rear, driver seating in the front, as well as a fighting compartment in the middle. The loader sits on the left side of the turret, while the commander sits on the right side of the turret. The gunner sits on the same side as the commander but in a more forward and lower position. Altay has the stronger chassis characteristics of the K2 Black Panther MBT. It has a re-designed Turkish turret and heavier armour than the K2. It also has seven tracked wheels and a longer hull.

Altay is equipped with a 120mm L/55 smoothbore gun. It is fitted with a muzzle reference system, a thermal sleeve and fume extractor. The ammunition is stowed in the turret bustle with blow out panels on the roof. The tank also has a 7.62mm machine gun mounted in coaxial to the right of the main armament. A 12.7mm heavy machine gun is mounted on the right of the turret for commander operation.

The front side of the tank has special modular reactive composite armour protection. The tank is designed to resist chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) attacks.

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 will be used in the last two batches of the tank. The tank has a maximum speed of 70km/h and manoeuvrability at water depths of 4.1m.

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