Officials from Turkey's Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB) have revealed details of the three variants to be produced for the Altay main battle tanks (MBTs) programme by local company BMC.
The total contract, which was announced as signed on 9 November, is for 251 units of the Altay MBT in three variants and includes lifecycle logistics support. Of this number, 40 will be the T1 variant, which is similar to the four prototype models that have completed testing, and is scheduled to be in service with the Turkish armed forces in 2021.
The next 210 vehicles will be of the Altay T2 standard, featuring increased protection and improved situational awareness systems. The T2 variant is expected to begin deliveries shortly after the tranche of T1 standard tanks have been handed over.
A single T3 variant is to be built and will feature an unmanned turret with a bustle-mounted autoloader. This T3 variant, scheduled for qualification in 2024, is understood to be intended for further trials and technical evaluation rather than for service with the Turkish Armed Forces.
Turkey is also planning to procure 60 armoured recovery and 50 mine clearance variants of the Altay, which will be based on the T1 variant's chassis.
SSB officials said all development phase testing for the Altay has been completed using the prototype vehicles. For the mass production phase, additional trials will examine vehicle durability, firepower, and survivability. This testing phase is scheduled to run approximately six months.
German companies MTU and Renk remain the preferred powerpack providers for the Altay, with the same powerpack used as on the four prototype models. However, Turkey eventually plans to create domestic engines for its armoured vehicles, and has signed a development contract with BMC as an initial step in this direction.
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