Turkey's Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB) announced on 9 November that it had signed the first serial production contract with BMC for 250 Altay main battle tanks (MBTs).
The contract covers life-cycle logistics support for the tanks as well as the establishment and operation of a Tank Systems Technology Center (TSTM), the SSB tweeted on 9 November.
SSB President İsmail Demir said during the signing ceremony that the Altay MBT is among the major projects to develop the Turkish defence industry.
The first Altay MBT is expected to be delivered to the Turkish Land Forces Command (TLFC) within 18 months, he said.
Turkish-Qatari armoured vehicles manufacturer BMC's CEO, Ethem Sancak, said during the signing ceremony that both the SSB and the Turkish Armed Forces had requested that the tanks be 100% locally produced. As a result, the company terminated its partnership with Rheinmetall through the Rheinmetall BMC Savunma Sanayi ve Tic AŞ (RBSS) consortium, without actually naming the German company, for the joint serial production of Altay tanks. The foreign partnership would only provide consultancy services, he added.
Demir said the engine of the first Altay tank would be foreign, adding that locally produced engines were planned at a later stage.
Four Altay prototypes produced earlier by Turkey's Otokar were fitted with German MTU engines.
The MBT contract may eventually lead to the procurement of a total of 1,000 MBTs in four tranches of 250 each.
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