Otokar pushes for Turkish Army Altay MBT production
December 6, 2023
The Altay main battle tank is at the center of Turkey's armour modernization roadmap. With up to 1000 units planned for the Turkish Army, the Altay is shaping up to be a very advanced and capable system. Photo credit: Otokar

Otokar pushes for Turkish Army Altay MBT production

Otokar, Turkey’s privately owned heavy vehicle manufacturer and developer of the country’s first locally produced main battle tank (MBT), the Altay, announced that it had submitted its final offer for the Turkish Army’s initial requirement of 250 Altay MBTs (Daily Sabah).

The submission was made to the Undersecretary of the Defence Industry (SSM) on 30 August as a follow-up to the company’s initial offer from January.

Notes, Comments & Analysis:

Although Otokar was contracted in 2008 to design and develop the Altay MBT platform (which it had with assistance from numerous foreign vendors, such as South Korea’s Hyundai Rotem), it must compete with rival Turkish manufacturing companies – such as BMC and FNSS – for the Turkish Army’s operational needs. In fact, BMC even committed to investing upwards of $430 million U.S. in a new manufacturing plant, which will be raised in Sakarya in western Turkey (Defense News).

Manufacturing is expected to commence in 2017. The Turkish Army could potentially procure as many as 1,000 Altay MBTs over the long-term.

The Altay will also likely undergo numerous iterative improvements and changes, especially in terms of its subsystems and armour technology, in the coming years as well. For example, the private firm TUMOSAN was contracted in 2015 to develop a new and domestically producible engine for the Altay.

As with many of its programs, Ankara is also keen to export the Altay MBT to foreign armed forces clients. In January, the Undersecretary of the Defence Industry Ismail Demir informed the Turkish parliament that numerous countries, including the Gulf Arab states and Pakistan, were interested in the Altay MBT (Defense News). Securing exports will generate more opportunities for Turkey’s armour manufacturers.