Technological problems cause delay for Turkey’s tank programme – Defense News

Technological snags have caused a delay in the development of the Altay tank, one of Turkey’s flagship indigenous weapons projects, Defense News reported on Thursday.

The first phase of Altay tanks had been slated for completion in 2020, but a senior shareholder in the Qatari-Turkish firm that is in charge of the project said it was more likely they would be in the military’s inventory by late 2021.

“I am hoping that the Altay would be at the battlefield within 24 months,” Defense News quoted BMC senior shareholder Ethem Sancak as saying in a speech in October.

A procurement official told Defense News the hold up was being caused by “major problems concerning critical parts, like the engine and transmission.”

Phase one of the Altay project, which covers the design, development and construction of the first 250 of the tanks, was due to be completed just 18 months after BMC signed a multi-billion dollar contract with the Turkish government in 2018.

But “that target is ‘more than over-optimistic,’ according to an industry source, who spoke to Defense News on condition of anonymity.”

The source said the production would be more likely to take several years.

The decision to award the Altay contract to BMC drew criticism from opposition circles in Turkey, who accused the government of doing favours to Qatar, a close ally of Turkey’s, and Sancak, who sits on the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s executive board.

Sancak acquired BMC for a cut price from Turkey’s Savings Deposit Insurance Fund after a previous owner ran into financial trouble.

The company has received a steady stream of contracts from the Turkish government since then, and won the contract to build the Altay tanks last year in a tender auction against Koç Holding, the conglomerate that built the prototype of the tanks.