Discover latest variant of Turkish-made Altay MBT Main Battle Tank

The Turkish newspaper "Daily Sabah" published pictures of the latest version of the Altay MBT (Main Battle Tank). The upgraded Altay tank, now in mass production, is set to be delivered to the Turkish Armed Forces for testing on 23rd April 2023. With new capabilities added to its original design, the Altay tank has commenced serial production, featuring a Turkish-made power pack.
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The latest variant of the Turkish-made Altay MBT Main Battle. (Picture source Daily Sabah)

The Altay is a modern main battle tank (MBT) developed by Turkey as part of its efforts to modernize and strengthen its armed forces. The tank is named after Army General Fahrettin Altay, a prominent military commander during the Turkish War of Independence.

The development of the Altay MBT was initiated in 2007 when Turkey's Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) signed a contract with the Turkish company Otokar to design and develop a national main battle tank. The project aimed to reduce Turkey's reliance on foreign sources for its military equipment and promote self-sufficiency in the defense sector. The tank's design was influenced by the experiences and technical expertise of both Otokar and the South Korean company Hyundai Rotem, which has developed the K2 Black Panther MBT.

The first prototype of the Altay MBT was unveiled in 2012, followed by extensive testing and evaluation. In 2018, the Turkish defense company BMC won the contract for mass production of the Altay tank, marking the transition from the development phase to the production phase. Since then, the tank has undergone various upgrades and refinements to enhance its capabilities, leading to the latest version set to be delivered to the Turkish Armed Forces for testing.

Since the beginning of its development in 2007, the Altay tank has greatly evolved in terms of mobility, protection, and firepower. One could say that it is one of the most recent main battle tanks in the world.

The Altay MBT is a modern main battle tank designed for high-performance combat in various environmental conditions. The design of the tank is conventional with the driver at the front of the hull, a turret in the middle, and the powerpack at the rear. It is operated by a crew of four: a tank commander, gunner, loader, and driver.

Discover latest variant of Turkish made Altay MBT Main Battle Tank 925 002
The upgraded Altay tank, now in mass production, is set to be delivered to the Turkish Armed Forces for testing on 23rd April 2023. (Picture source Daily Sabah)

The Altay's firepower comes from a 120mm L55 smoothbore main gun, compatible with STANAG 4385 ammunition and capable of firing laser-guided tank munitions. It has 40-round ammunition storage. The fire control system features a 360° panoramic stabilized commander's periscope, hunter-killer capability, precise optical stabilization, automatic target tracking, and TV/thermal sights with a laser rangefinder. The turret and gun are driven by an electrical system.

The second armament of the Altay MBT includes one remote-controlled weapon system that can be armed with 12.7 mm and 7.62 mm machine guns or a 40 mm automatic grenade launcher. A 7.62mm coaxial machine gun is mounted coaxially on the left side of the main armament.

The Altay MBT features advanced armor protection designed to withstand a variety of threats on the battlefield. Although specific details about the armor composition are not publicly available due to security reasons, it is known that the tank utilizes a combination of composite armor and reactive armor systems. These armor technologies provide enhanced protection against a range of threats such as anti-tank guided missiles, rocket-propelled grenades, and kinetic energy penetrators.

The tank's survivability is further improved by additional features such as a spall liner, which helps reduce the risk of injury to the crew from shrapnel in the event of a hit, and an active protection system that can detect and intercept incoming threats. The Altay also includes upgraded mine protection, laser detection and warning systems, battlefield target identification devices, and nuclear and chemical threat detection systems.

The latest version of the Altay MBT is powered by a BMC Power BATU V12 12-cylinder V type engine developing 1,500 hp coupled to an automatic transmission with 5 forward and 3 reverse gears. It can reach a top road speed of 65 km/h and 45 km/h off-road, with a 30% reverse speed. The tank is capable of handling a 60% gradient and can ford up to 4 meters underwater or 1.2 m in unprepared conditions.