|OTOKAR Otobus Karoseri Sanayi A.S.
|Main battle tank
MITUP (an acronym for Milli Tank Üretim Projesi, i.e. National Tank Production Project) baptized as Altay by the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM), is the official name of the Turkish national future main battle tank.
The project was initiated with an agreement signed between Otokar and SSM of the Republic of Turkey on March 30, 2007; when the Defense Industries Executive Committee, chaired by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, awarded a contract worth approximately $500 million to Otokar for the design and development of 4 prototypes of a new national main battle tank. This will be Turkey's first MBT development program since 1943, when prototypes of a Turkish national tank were produced in the city of Kırıkkale, but never reached full-scale mass production.
Otokar, a company owned by Istanbul-based Koç Holding, is authorized to select its local partners or sub-contractors, but the foreign technology suppliers will be selected by the SSM (Undersecretariat for Defense Industries) in line with an assessment report that will be prepared by Otokar.
In order to improve the current technical capabilities of the Turkish defense industries and increase the amount of domestic contribution towards national defense, the Undersecreteriat for Defense Industries decided that a "National Tank" will serve as an excellent catalyst for uniting certain Turkish defense companies around a common goal and for providing the Turkish military with extra firepower in the form of a modern tank.
Three local sub-contractors have already been selected: The military-owned electronics firm Aselsan will integrate the TAKS fire control system which is currently in development by Aselsan; as well as a partnership between Aselsan and STM (a software firm owned by the SSM) for the command, control and information systems; and state-owned ammunition producer MKEK for the integration of the smoothbore guns.
The tank is planned to have a 120 mm smoothbore gun and will be able to protect itself from chemical, biological and radioactive attacks. The planned maximum speed is set at 70 kilometers per hour, thanks to a 1,500 horsepower (1,100 kW) engine, and the MBTs will be able to function under 4.1 meters of water.
The tank will benefit both from indigenously developed systems and from the armor technology of the South Korean K2 Black Panther, thanks to a $540 million agreement signed with South Korea. The final decision about the tank's engine is not clear. The candidates were the German MTU Friedrichshafen or the new South Korean engine which is currently under development. However, on 16 June 2008, it was announced by the Turkish Defence Procurement office (SSM) that it has decided to commission the development of 1,000 hp (750 kW) and 1,500 hp (1,100 kW) indigenous engines for use in the Turkish made armoured personnel carriers and main battle tank.
Once the prototypes are produced and tested, the Undersecreteriat for Defense Industries of the Republic of Turkey will prepare and execute a separate order for the first lot of 250 tanks. A total of 1000 new MBTs are planned to be produced in four separate lots of 250 units. As of January 2008, the complete technical specifications and the prototype designs of the tank were not revealed yet.
The head of the Turkish Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM), Mr. Murad Bayar has confirmed at the 9th IDEX International Defense Industry Fair in Abu Dhabi, UAE, that the Turkish tank will be manufactured using only Turkish resources. He added that the research started last week and that he expected to create an authentic tank model specially designed for the needs of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) within 3 years.
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