Turkish commercial and military vehicle manufacturer BMC has reportedly reached an agreement with two South Korean companies for the supply of new engines to power Ankara’s future indigenous Altay tanks.
Defense News quoted a senior BMC official as saying that the company had signed deals with Doosan and S&T Dynamics for the supply of the engines and transmission system for the Altay tanks.
“These [deals] are the result of a strategic understanding between our companies and countries,” the official said.
The Altay is a modern main battle tank based on the chassis of the K2 Black Panther.
The K2 Black Panther is a next-generation South Korean main battle tank designed by the South Korean Agency for Defense Development and manufactured by Hyundai Rotem.
The Turkish Altay tanks have been named in the honor of Turkish Army General Fahrettin Altay who commanded the 5th Cavalry Corps in the final stage of the Turkish War of Independence.
With a unit cost of around $13.75 million, the Altay is one of the most expensive battle tanks. The news of Turkey finally finding the engines for the tanks was confirmed by a senior defense procurement official from Ankara, who said that “there was a breakthrough agreement” between BMC and South Korean defense companies.
However, the official did not elaborate on any further details regarding the deal for the engines and transmission.
According to reports, the Altay tank program has experienced delays due to a lack of access to significant components such as the engine, transmission, and armor.
In 2019, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office had included the indigenous Altay tank as part of the military’s 2020 inventory in a government document.
However, the 2021 investment program of the president did not mention the Altay, let alone the tank entering service with the Turkish military.
If the deal goes through, it will be a huge boost to the Turkish military, which had expected to roll out the tanks this year.
According to reports, the tank has a 120 millimeters (4.7 in) smoothbore gun and will include CBRN defense elements, to protect it from chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons.