Turkey’s timetable for its Altay main battle tank hopes to have a winner selected by mid-2018, with bids from BMC, Otokar and FNSS expected for this November. The initial phase of the indigenous Altay tank program aims to initially serial produce a batch of 250 units, with military officials hoping that the program would eventually reach 1,000 units. Earlier this year, Otokar’s Altay prototypes successfully completed qualification tests including mobility and endurance testing on rough terrain and climatic conditions, firing tests with various scenarios, and survivability testing. However in June, the government procurement agency SSM, citing an unsatisfactory offer from Otokar for the serial production of the tank, canceled the contract and decided to go for an open competition.
Turkey’s new tank is named after Gen. Fahrettin Altay, a cavalry commander in Turkey’s War of Independence. The tank will use a 120mm smoothbore gun, with the usual 7.62mm coaxial machine gun and a pintle-mounted 12.7mm machine gun up top. Compared to the ROK’s K2 Black Panther, the Altay is reportedly longer, with an added road wheel and a slightly modified turret. It may also carry heavier armor.
Turkey’s tank fleet is currently made up of American M-48s and M-60s, some of which have been modernized with Israeli cooperation into M-60 Sabra tanks, plus a large contingent of German Leopard 1s and Leopard 2s.