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Turkey's Altay MBT project hit by engine technology transfer issues

20 January 2017
Tümosan has cancelled a contract with AVL List to help develop a local engine for Turkey's Altay MBT, after the imposition of technology transfer restrictions by Austria. Source: Otokar

Turkey's plans to build its Altay main battle tank (MBT) have hit a snag after Tümosan, the planned engine provider, cancelled a key technical support contract with Austria's AVL List GmbH.

The cancellation comes after Austria's parliament unanimously adopted a non-binding motion that imposed an arms embargo against Turkey in November 2016. As a result conditions were placed on the transfer of technology to Turkey. Austria made the move in response to Turkey's increasing violation of human rights since the failed military coup attempt in July 2016.

Tümosan has been tasked by the Turkish Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) with developing a local engine for the Altay MBT. The company brought in Austrian firm AVL List in 2015 to provide technology transfer and support in the development and integration of engines into the Altay tank. Due to the imposition of conditions on technology transfer, Tümosan cancelled the contract with AVL List on 17 January.

"Due to the adoption by the Austrian government [of measures] to insist on export licences that include conditions that interfere in Turkey's domestic politics … the contract as recorded and revenue guarantee given by the company will be cancelled," Tümosan stated in a document published on Turkey's Public Disclosure Platform (KAP) on 17 January.

"It has been understood that there will be serious hurdles that (the company) will face in the transfer of technologies concerning critical sub-components because of sanctions being imposed against Turkey recently in particular by the European Union countries," it added.

The statement noted that instead, "Tümosan will go ahead with local suppliers as much as possible in the development of the engines".

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