Land Platforms

Aselsan aims for export market with MBT upgrade packages

08 February 2019

A Russian-designed T-72 MBT upgraded by Aselsan with a new gunner’s sight, turret-mounted SARP, and a new FCS. Source: Aselsan

Aselsan, established as an electronics systems house in Turkey, is aiming to expand to the export market in several areas, including upgrading main battle tanks (MBTs).

The Turkish Army received 170 former US Army General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) M60A3 MBTs that were upgraded to an Israel Military Industries design, the M60T standard, armed with a 120 mm smoothbore gun. Most of the conversion work was undertaken by the Turkish Land Forces Logistics Command (TLFLC) at its Kayseri facilities.

To meet an urgent operational requirement (UOR) as a result of combat operations on the Syrian border, late in 2016 Aselsan rapidly developed a kit to enhance the M60T, a company source told Jane's .

To save time, these kits were fitted in the field rather than at the TLFLC factory. It is understood that more than 150 kits were provided, and the modernised MBT is now called the M60TM.

The UOR included installing Aselsan's Stabilised Advanced Remote Weapon (SARP) armed with a stabilised .50 calibre M2 HB machine gun (MG) mounted on the right side of the turret roof. This replaced the manually operated commander's cupola armed with an unstabilised 12.7 mm MG.

An auxiliary power unit (APU) was fitted at the rear of the hull on the left side, enabling the sub-systems to be run with the main diesel engine switched off to save fuel. Other enhancements include Aselsan cameras for situational awareness through 360° (the images are displayed at the commander's station), Aselsan laser warning system, air conditioning system, and spall liners for increased survivability, the source said.

Separately, the largest Aselsan MBT upgrade so far is its Volkan computerised fire controls system (FCS) for installation in Turkey's former German Army Leopard 1 MBTs. Following trials with two prototypes, a total of 171 production systems were supplied with the actual installation work done at TLFLC's facilities.

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