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Turkey invites five companies to bid on Altay MBT engine development
November 20, 2018
Altay. Photo source: Otokar

Turkey invites five companies to bid on Altay MBT engine development

Turkey’s government procurement agency the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) announced that five Turkish companies have responded to the SSM’s bid to develop an indigenous powertrain for the Otokar Altay main battle tank (MBT).

The Daily Sabah reports that BMC Automotive Industry and Trade Inc., TÜMOSAN Engine and Tractor Industry Inc., Istanbul Marine Shipbuilding Industry and Trade Inc., Figes Physics and Geometry Computer Simulation Trade Inc., and TUSAŞ Motor Sanayii A.Ş (TEI) responded to the SSM’s request-for-proposals (RFP).

This is the SSM’s second attempt at a national diesel engine program for the Altay MBT. Initially, the SSM had contracted TÜMOSAN to secure the requisite expertise and technical support to execute the program.

Notes & Comments:

TÜMOSAN had contracted the Austrian firm AVL List GmbH, but that contract fell through because of the Austrian government’s push to place conditions on its exports to Turkey. TÜMOSAN was unable to secure an alternate partner, citing the reluctance of supplier governments to provide transfer-of-technology and, in some cases, also requiring export licenses on subcomponents available commercially-off-the-shelf.[1]

In March, the SSM had cancelled its contract with TÜMOSAN. Subsequently, the SSM decided that it would be prudent for any future engine development program to guarantee that all subcomponents are free of external intellectual property and regulatory restrictions. The renewed powerplant program will see the Turkish industry develop critical components, such as the hydrostatic steering unit, turbocharger, cooling package, alternator, transmission pumps and others.[2]

Defense News reports that the Altay MBT engine program could be worth over $1 billion U.S. (the given figure likely includes the cost of serial production as well). Currently, the Altay is powered by a 1,500 hp diesel engine from Germany’s MTU Friedrichshafen GmbH. The MTU engine is to equip the Turkish Army’s first 250 Altay MBTs. The SSM has yet to issue the serial production contract for these tanks, but Otokar (which designed the Altay), FNSS Savunma Sistemleri A.Ş. and BMC are competing for the contract.

The national tank engine program is integral to the SSM’s goal of exporting the Altay MBT. Slotted as the next-generation MBT of the Turkish Army, the SSM believes the Altay is a sophisticated and capable asset for high-value exports. The Altay has been pitched to Turkey’s key markets, such as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states and Pakistan. Weighing 65 tons, the Altay is armed with a 120mm smoothbore gun and two secondary weapons, including 12.7mm heavy machine gun and remote-controlled turret.

[1] “Contract for National Powerpack Development Project Terminated.” MSI Turkish Defence Review. March 2017

[2] Ibid.