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BMC says it won Turkish Government bid for Altay MBT engine
February 22, 2018
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

BMC says it won Turkish Government bid for Altay MBT engine

The Chairman of Turkish auto-manufacturer BMC, Ethem Sancak, reportedly stated that BMC won the bid to develop the diesel engine for the Altay main battle tank (MBT). Sancak made the announcement at a conference organized by MÜSİAD (Independent Industrialists and Businessmen Association).

According to Sancak, BMC is working on an engine series from 400 hp to 1,500 hp, but it is attempting to develop an engine with an output of 5,000 hp.

In November 2017, the Turkish Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) received bids from five local companies to undertake Altay MBT engine development following the collapse of a previous effort, then led by TÜMOSAN Engine and Tractor Industry Inc.

Besides BMC Automotive Industry & Trade Inc., Turkish companies TÜMOSAN, TUSAŞ Motor Sanayii A.Ş (TEI), Istanbul Marine Shipbuilding Industry and Trade Inc. and Figes Physics and Geometry Computer Simulation Trade Inc. also responded to the SSM’s bid.

The SSM had originally contracted TÜMOSAN to develop the engine. In turn, TÜMOSAN had signed on the Austrian company AVL List GmbH to provide technical support.

However, Austria sought to impose certain conditions – i.e. effectively curbing the prospective of transfer-of-technology and third-party export licenses – and had prompted TÜMOSAN to terminate the contract. TÜMOSAN was unable to secure another partner, forcing SSM to cancel that program.

Under the new engine development program, the winner – i.e. BMC – will be tasked to internally develop a series of critical components, such as turbocharger, cooling package, alternator and hydrostatic steering unit.[1] If successful, this engine will supplant the MTU powerplant currently being used by the Altay.

However, with BMC apparently developing an entire series – i.e. from 400 hp to 1,500 hp – of engines, it appears that the aim is to end reliance on all foreign powerplants, such as those used for infantry fighting vehicles, armoured personnel carriers and armoured fighting vehicles.

Considering that this is a SSM program (contracted to BMC), development of the engine need not mean serial production. For example, the SSM had contracted Otokar to develop the Altay MBT, but it has yet to award any Turkish company the serial production contract for the Altay.

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

  • kaster

    What is the 5000 hp engine for?

  • kadet

    This job was very long. That’s why soldiers are dying in the Leopard tanks in Afrin. The Altay tank will be produced with all the technologies of the next generation and retain this feature for a long time. But it has a characteristic that separates it from other tanks, which will lead him to the success of being the first in the world. This feature is the new armour technology produced by “boron carbide”. As an example; The anti-tank ammunition, such as RPG-7, cornet, etc., heats up the copper metal in the moment of contact with the armour to 1500 °c, which is 3 times faster than the sound speed and drilling metal and metal alloy composite armour. Boron carbide armour coating is easily against this type of anti-tank ammunition with high melting temperatures. Boron carbide provides highly superior success to reactive ammunition with low reaction properties.

    • Mike

      Will see, but In my opinion they should already start with the Altay 2 project or a modified design of the Altay, since russia showed how a NG tank should be layed out (seperated crew compartment, automatic loader). A manned turret is not the way to go, it would also be hard to fit bigger caliber guns in these.

  • Wasim Baig

    Any chance of us getting in on the action, we’re looking for a powerplant for our MBT too, right?

    • There’s that option of asking the SSM if they’d consider a co-funding and co-production partner.

  • Mike

    The K2 and Altay are fundamentally diffrent. Its not a license product rather than a tank design by Otokar strongly influenced by korean engineers, which gave technical assistance. Some know-how transfer also took place especially on the fields of materials. the Altay is longer, wider, heavier, stronger armored therefore has 7 instead of K2s 6 wheels (per side). It had the same engine and transmission (I think Korean engineer sugested it since they had already experice with it) and canon (rheinmetal licensed by korea), which was modified slightly, perhaps with koreans. perhaps to undermine intellectual property rights, I asume that because I read a media article where rheinmetal stated that they have no 120mm license agreement with turkey.
    Other sub systems are turkish. They ditched the K2s auto loader because of NATO standards as far as I know. So no hope for an autoloader :/ I hope they dont miss the train and start with the (re)design work of the Altay 2 soon.

  • Joseph

    I heard the statement about tactical nukes are useless against armed columns but he did not exactly give a detailed explanation, even when I watched the full version.

    But the guy gives an interesting narrative about the history of relationships between India, Pakistan, China and US.

    The bit about Indian industrialists control Indian government is kind of funny, I think it shows this is a guy speaks his mind.

  • kadet

    Last news. According to the explanation given by Otokar to the Istanbul stock exchange, BAFO (Best And Final Offer) was presented to the Undersecretariat of Defense Industry on 08.02.2018.
    At the tender, companies are receiving proposals for mass production of 500 units of combat tanks, including 250 options.

    • Mike

      Which ones ? The tender just ended yesterday

  • Mohammad Bin Farrukh

    A very informative video. Thank you brother. Also a person called Nasir had posted some very useful information in his comments on quwa, explaining how our tactical nukes could prove to be ineffective against India’s large scale armored thrust under the perceived cold start doctrine. That was worth a read! Some sentimental and ill-informed people still chose to counter his arguments, but i firmly believe that we should always be aware of the changing security situation in our neighborhood rather than being egoistic and overtly proud of ourselves. I have always enjoyed reading his comments on quwa and his valuable inputs alongwith that of Bilal on this topic as well would be highly appreciated.
    Recently it was reported that US has offered India a co-development opportunity of an advanced variant of the stryker APC alongside Israel. Also India has been reportedly showing interest in the acquisition of the russian T-14 armata for its future MBT program. All these combined alongwith their huge fleet of T-90 tanks and acquisition of modern SAM systems could further bolster their deterrence against our tactical nukes.
    Foreign help and collaboration with the Indian private sector is helping India create a solid domestic Military Industrial Complex. Private sector participation in Pakistan is also absolutely necessary. Pakistan needs to work sincerely in forming joint ventures with Chinese and Turkish companies for co-development and manufacture of defense hardware. Collaborating with Otokar on Pakistan’s future MBT project would be a nice way to start.

    • Joseph

      Actually Nasir was the one saying tanks can’t possibly withstand tactical nukes, in his own words “the era of Tank battles (a brilliant weapon during WWII) is over.” and “A single battlefield Nuke can take out an entire formation of a Tank regiment or even a division.”.

      And I was the one saying “ground invasion always starts with tanks and it is not that difficult to counter nuclear weapons if you spread them out. ”

      You can find our arguments here: https://quwa.org/2018/01/08/norinco-vt4-in-pakistan-for-trials/

      But I do agree he is “sentimental and ill-informed”.

      • Syed Hasan

        the point is that the guy is saying that indian forces entered into Pakistan steal a tactical nuke and went exactly like the fake surgical strike they did in Azad kashmir then he says that forces destroyed a transport erector launcher near Faridkot which killed 50,000 people..what a joke

        • Violet

          Syed Hasan…i cant stop but feel amused reading your comment. For starters, you bring a totally irrelevant topic into the picture…that is personal views of an Indian analyst in a thread which supposedly talks about Turkey’s Altay MBT program and about which no one cares. Not only this, you even go to the extent of claiming it as a “must watch” and “not time wasting”. What is truly amusing is that in the same breath you go on to claim that he is a liar!
          I am at a loss here Mr. Syed. Please explain to me sir, why even discuss this issue in the first place and give him so much importance when you are so confident that he lies? Why brand this video as a ‘must watch’ and even ask Bilal Khan to take a look at it when you realise he is indeed “joking”? Having said all this, I am not sure if he is the only one here who is making a joke of himself.

          • Syed Hasan

            because he is lying and giving a wrong image of pakistan like Pakistan is so easy to be entered what he is saying is what we have done in 1999 in kargil and they could not even found it out and the reason i choosed this topic because this is a topic which attracts most pakistanis due to pak-turkey relationship of defence and ongoing debate that whether pakistan will participate in it or not so it will attract people and if somebody would know detailed answer than he can counter it

      • TZK

        And I was the one saying “ground invasion always starts with tanks and it is not that difficult to counter nuclear weapons if you spread them out. ”

        If they spread out they will have less impact and threat of TNW has worked. Also don’t forget tanks go hand in hand with infantry. A 1KT devise exploding at 200m height will cause first degree burns and acute radiation syndrome at a range of 1.2km. TNW yield range from 1 to 10 KT.

        • Joseph

          That is why I am quite interested in a more detailed explanation on why tactical nukes would be ineffective against tanks and armed vehicles.

          After all I am just a military enthusiast and Mr. Abhijit Iyer-Mitra worked as a program coordinator at national security initiative of Observer Research Foundation, an Indian think tank providing advice to Indian policy makers. His focus was on military nuclear dynamic in south Asia, surely he knew more about this subject than I do.

          He did say later Indian army factored in certain level of soldier death (3000 ~ 4000) if they used tank divisions (breaking down to tank bridges, likely to spread them out) to circle around and attack major Pakistan cities and tactical nukes were used against them. Those could be the infantry you mentioned.

          But in a full on India & Pakistan war 3000 ~ 4000 soldier loss in combat is unlikely to be that significant.

          • TZK

            Typically cold start could mean a massive artillery barrage followed by Tanks and troops in APC’s crossing the border and securing a foothold. To prevent more armour pouring into the breach I would expect Pak commanders to use TNW on bottle necks which they could easily create by conventional means. I would expect the initial units into Pak to be fully kitted with NBC but not so the following units. Armoured units cut off from their supply are as useful as a wooden can opener.

            http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2016/12/23/indian-army-will-soon-have-nbc-protection-suits-to-counter-pakis_a_21641098/

          • Joseph

            The guy said Indian army’s plan was to try their best to make sure Pakistan won’t be able to use tactical nukes because once Indian army closed in a Pakistan city the civilians in the city would be killed by the nukes as well.

            I guess that statement depends on how quickly Pakistan armed forces can react.

            And about supplying their troops, I think if India could gain air dominance, then they could always air drop the supplies. Nuclear radiation on the ground probably won’t affect airplanes.

            Anyway, if Indians are buying these suits then that could mean they still think their attack plans would work even tactical nukes are used against them.

            Even if nukes could be reasonably effective still we are talking about detonating nuclear devices on Pakistani soil. Even after Indians left it could take decades to clean up the affected areas.

            Maybe anti-tank clustered munitions are better alternatives, though I have no idea how effective they are.

            I watched a couple of videos about those clustered munitions since there was an article here about clustered munitions a while back, but none of them showed how much damage they did to the tanks. I mean they looked like fire cracker shows. And what would happen to those little parachuted bombs if there were strong winds that day?

          • TZK

            What you describe is an all out war with the specific aim of getting as close to major population centres as possible to avoid TNW. A deep thrust into a relatively weakly defended part of border is different to attacking a city that will be heavily defended by conventional forces. With modern surveillance techniques commanders will have intelligence to make a quick decision whether to use TNW. To reduce contamination would mean using TNW close to border which is effectively left empty and using high yield TNW closer to border and low inland.

          • Joseph

            If they are preparing for nukes that means they probably aiming for a large target. You don’t prepare to lose 3000 ~ 4000 soldiers for nothing.

            I think it is possible that India could attempt something similar to salami tactics to avoid large nuclear bombs landing on their cities. That was an idea from the classic BBC TV show “Yes, prime minister”, episode one “The grand design”. It means attacking incrementally but never put your enemy in a position to push the nuclear button.

            Of course that is just a TV show and I am just a military enthusiast. I have no idea how effective it will be if this tactic is tried.

            And the peace has been maintained for quite a while now, it doesn’t seem the situation is going to change any time soon.

            Here is a link to the TV show if you are interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHP_LOtx6Ik&feature=youtu.be&t=479

          • TZK

            I found the comment below on internet and would like to share it with others as it summarises the whole of India Pak nuclear deterrence in a few paragraphs.

            The India-Pakistan sides of Asia’s nuclear triangle are extremely weak. Premised on imaginary behaviour estimates, the deterrence between them is ultra unstable. The three short fuses attached to the horror are: (1) A mere three-minute warning of an incoming nuke, (2) Religiously zealous leaders regularly pumping up passions and (3) The very likely miscalculations in crises and under mob pressure.
            Deny it as some will, the Kashmir Dispute lies at the heart of a possible nuclear winter on the subcontinent. Taken to the U.N. by India’s PM Nehru 69 years before, with the pledge to hold a plebiscite for self-rule in Kashmir, the U.N. has been rendered helpless by India insisting the problem no longer exists. Quite wrong, say the U.N., the world press, and many studies in India. And despite the media manipulation, the seventy-year rebellion in Kashmir has no convincing connection with terrorism of the post-9/11 era. And it refuses to die.
            A resolution of the Kashmir Dispute will restore much stability to the India-Pakistan deterrence and may even lead to a no-nuclear attack treaty between the two neighbours.
            It is time for leaders of both countries to realise that the disillusioned people of both India and Pakistan need some measurable improvements in the life of their children, not talk of how fewer of them would be barbecued, compared to the kids living on the other side of the border.

    • TZK

      I am assuming the military will not just launch TNW at the enemies direction and would target bottle necks along with a variety of other weapons systems, that is use them intelligently in an overall defensive plan. All this is subject to the other side gaining complete air superiority having knocked out all ground based air defences etc. Logic is not his strong point and in relation to terrorism, on one hand he is suggesting that Pak is responsible for terrorism in India such as Bombay attacks ( that it was counter productive for Pak) but then says that following the electrified fence the terrorists have targeted Pak itself . I am sure if Pak had a hand in terrorism they would not want it inside their own country.

    • J.Arandas

      I don’t think stryker platform strictly fits into the APC category. It is more of a hybrid between APCs and IFVs. As APCs and IFVs are primarily differentiated on the basis of the main gun (20 mm or more) they have. Moreover it is still premature to say that India is only looking for certain alternatives. Evaluation process has started and some are leading the race but Indian army has still not made the final choice.
      Also your observation regarding Nasir is spot on. His comments are really informative and above all free from any jingoism or false bravado. As you might have noticed from this thread itself, some commentors have a bloated ego who would not rest until they force their ludicrous ‘conspiracy theories’ down other people’s throats. When they are challenged with facts which they simply cannot refute, they would resort to ad hominem attacks, start taking jibes on your nationality and try to run away from the discussion with threats of ignoring/avoiding your comments as if anyone cares. One commentor specifically, who falsely claims of belonging to ‘neutral’ nationality has been called out by not only nasir but by numerous other commentors as well. He has a habit of getting into childish debates with everybody and anybody who chooses to talk sense into him or argue based on facts. I have blocked him on disqus and i urge you to do the same. Egoistic trolls like them destroy the sanctity of defense forums like these with their funny theories and wikipedia references.

      • Mohammad Bin Farrukh

        The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe defines an infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) is “an armoured combat vehicle which is designed and equipped primarily to transport a combat infantry squad, and which is armed with an integral or organic cannon of at least 20 millimeters calibre and sometimes an antitank missile launcher”. On the other hand an armored personnel carrier (APC) typically carries a canon of less than 20 mm. However i am still not sure why stryker is classified as an Intermediate or hybrid between the two. I humbly request Bilal to shed some light on this and clear this concept.
        Also thanks for informing me about that feature on disqus. I was not well acquainted with the features of disqus before. After reading the said person’s comments on numerous other threads i have reached the same conclusion as well. Not everyone’s comment on forums is worth according importance to…and certainly not his. Blocked him as well.

      • Joseph

        “they would resort to ad hominem attacks, start taking jibes on your nationality”

        That is Nasir all right, in fact that was exactly what he did, personal attacks and attack on my nationality, even he admits it “I do that, and I have always ended up with shaming the frauds.”. And now clearly we can see he is a fraud.

        After I posted the discussion between Nasir and me, the fact your two are still saying this is kind of embarrassing. Don’t your guys have any shame?

  • To be honest, I’m still reading and listening on this subject (i.e. the value/utility of TNWs against armour). I’m not in a position to argue for or against.

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