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Analysis: Tracked defense and security combat vehicles of Turkish Industry

The Turkish defense industry offers high-technology and cost-efficient solutions in compliance with NATO standards to armies in the world. Three Turkish companies - FNSS, OTOKAR and BMC - design and manufacture the latest technologies of tracked combat vehicles including main battle tanks, light tanks, APC armored personnel carriers, IFV infantry fighting vehicles, etc.

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Tracked defense and security armored and protected vehicles of Turkish industry SSB (Picture source: Army Recognition)

The ACV-15 is a family of tracked Armored Combat Vehicles (ACV) designed and manufactured by the Turkish company FNSS. The Armored Combat Vehicle (ACV) is the generic designation for a tracked, diesel-engine powered, heavily armored platform in the 13-15-ton class, capable of performing combined arms operations with main battle tanks. The platform design allows the integration of different subsystems for executing a variety of different roles.

The ACV-15 is a full-tracked (5 roadwheels), lightweight, low-silhouette armored vehicle capable of high-speed operations in desert conditions, poor infrastructure, roads and/or highways. The hull is manufactured in a ballistic aluminum plate. Plate thickness varies on the different planes of the hull to meet appropriate ballistic requirements. FNSS produced more than 2,500 ACV-15s for the Turkish Land Forces and users worldwide.

The vehicle modernization packages are aimed at improving survivability, situational awareness, firepower and mobility. For survivability, priority has been given to the enhancement of mine and ballistic protection levels, mine-resistant seats, protection lining applications, dual-stage automatic fire extinguishing and suppression systems, an NBC system, air conditioning for the crew and the RPG protection network. In order to increase situational awareness in accordance with today’s threats, close distance situational awareness system, acoustic gunshot range detection system and laser warning system applications are being evaluated. In terms of firepower, improvements are being made to the Remote-Control Gun System. In addition, important improvements are planned to improve vehicle mobility through alterations to the undercarriage and power pack.

ACV 15 armored combat vehicle FNSS Turkey Turkish defense industry 925 001
FNSS ACV-15 Armored Combat Vehicle (Picture source: Army Recognition)

Another tracked vehicle designed and manufactured by FNSS is the ACV-19, a class of 15-19 ton, modern, high-performance vehicles derived from the highly successful ACV. These vehicles have proven themselves with a number of armies worldwide. The differences between ACV-15 and ACV-19 consist primarily of a stretched hull (6 roadwheels), heavy duty final drives, and more aggressive suspension.

The ACV-19 offers more volume under armor, more payload capacity than the ACV15. Consequently, the ACV-19 chassis can carry heavier payloads such as larger turrets without compromising the mobility offered by the ACV-15. The ACV-19 chassis is provided with a unique, space-laminated armor system combining steel and aluminum technology to provide a high level of armor protection against direct KE threats and provides protection against mines.

ACV 19 armored combat vehicle FNSS Turkey Turkish defense industry 925 001
FNSS ACV-19 Armored Combat Vehicle (Picture source: FNSS)

The ACV AD (Air Defense) Platform has increased powerpack performances and an improved suspension capability compared to the ACV-15 and the ACV-19. Thanks to this feature, the vehicle has the capacity to carry greater payloads such as heavy air defense platforms. The ACV AD Platform also provides ballistic and mine protection. The configuration of the vehicle can be changed to suit the operational requirements of the user.

The ACV AD constitutes an ideal platform in terms of command-and-control, large scale mobile radar systems, artillery fire support, and pedestal mounted artillery and missile systems. The Platform was selected as an Air Defense System platform by the Turkish Armed Forces under the Korkut and Hisar projects. The Weapon System Vehicle and Command-and-Control Vehicle configurations designed under the Korkut Project are fully amphibious and have the capability of propelling themselves in deep and/or fast-flowing water.

ACV AD air defense armored combat vehicle FNSS Turkey Turkish defense industry 925 001
FNSS ACV AD Air Defense tracked armored vehicle (Picture source: Army Recogn

The Altay is a main battle tank fully developed in Turkey by the local defense industry. Altay Main Battle Tank Serial Production Program, including development, prototype manufacturing, test and serial production of T1 and T2 configurations, was developed to meet the requirements of present and future battlefields. It was initiated on November 9th, 2018 with the Serial Production Agreement of Tank Altay signed between the Presidency of Defense Industry and BMC. Within the scope of the program, BMC as the main contractor, will produce 250 Altay MBTs and deliver them to the Turkish Armed Forces with respect to the agreed schedule.

Approximately 200 subcontractors, most of which are local, such as ASELSAN, ROKETSAN, MKEK and HAVELSAN will particularly be taking part in the project. Based on the future needs of the Turkish Armed Forces, Altay will be produced in two configurations as T1 and T2, with the highest level of maneuverability, survivability and firepower according to the new protection concept. Within the scope of the project, Altay T3, which is “Altay with unmanned turret”, will also be developed.

Altay MBT main battle tank FNSS Turkey Turkish defense industry 925 001
Turkish-made Altay MBT Main Battle Tank. (Picture source: Army Recognition)

The Kaplan is a family of tracked armored vehicles that can be configured from armored fighting vehicles to light/medium tanks. The Kaplan-10 is a new generation of armored fighting vehicle that has the ability to move along main battle tanks. The Kaplan-10 has a low silhouette with 5-roadwheel tracks. It has the ability to operate in hot/cold weather conditions at high speed. The advanced suspension track system is designed to reduce vibrations and improve road holding.

The Kaplan-10 is one of the very few combat vehicles to be amphibious. In addition to this, the driver is able to enter the water without preparation. The hull is manufactured and integrated using a ballistic welding technique. There are also laser-protected glass periscopes that allow the driver to see outside with a wide field of view providing high situational awareness. Integrated night vision systems are standard in all variants.

Kaplan 10 AFV Armored Fighting Vehicle FNSS Turkey Turkish defense industry 925 001
FNSS Kaplan-10 tracked AFV Armored Fighting Vehicle. (Picture source: FNSS)

The Kaplan 20 NG-AFV architecture includes protection systems against mines, rocket-propelled grenades and kinetic energy threats. In addition, up-to-date electronic subsystems are also integrated together with a high-performance power pack, heavy-duty suspension and tracks which enable the vehicle to carry heavy loads such as 35 mm gun systems. The Kaplan 20 NG-AFV has the ability to move along main battle tanks. It benefits from an excellent 23 Hp/ ton power-to-weight ratio.

The Kaplan 20 NG-AFV is one of the very few vehicles that have amphibious characteristics. It can perform pivot turns in the water and move backward. In addition to this, it allows the driver to enter the water without any preparation. The hull of Kaplan 20 NGAFV is manufactured and integrated using a ballistic welding technique. Survivability provisions such as reduced thermal signature, laser warning system and sniper detection and CBRN protection systems are also employed.

Kaplan 20 AFV Armored Fighting Vehicle FNSS Turkey Turkish defense industry 925 001
FNSS Kaplan-20 tracked AFV Armored Fighting Vehicle. (Picture source: Army Recognition)

Kaplan 30 NG-AFV is a new generation of armored fighting vehicle that taking the ability to move together with main battle tanks and has a 20 Hp/ton power-to-weight ratio. The Kaplan30 NG-AFV platform design and up to date integrated subsystems enables all kinds of missions. KAPLAN 30 NG-AFV is highly protected and has 6 road wheeled tracks. KAPLAN 30 NG-AFV aims to ensure the safety and health of its personnel through its ballistic and high anti-mine protection features.

The ground clearance of the vehicle, the floor surface, the seating layout and height are designed according to the level of mine protection needed. Specially designed mine-resistant seats provide ease of use with modular construction. The Kaplan 30 NG-AFV hull is manufactured and integrated using a ballistic welding technique. KAPLAN 30 NG-AFV enables the user to carry more mission equipment and ammunition to the vehicle thanks to the increased useful internal space.

Kaplan 30 AFV Armored Fighting Vehicle FNSS Turkey Turkish defense industry 925 001
FNSS Kaplan-30 tracked AFV Armored Fighting Vehicle. (Picture source: Army Recognition)

Joint Development Kaplan MT design architecture comprises advanced ballistic and mine protection with a broad range of firepower, from the support of infantry to anti-armor. New generation Kaplan MT’s precision direct fire capability ensures sufficient lethality coupled with outstanding tactical and strategic mobility. Kaplan MT owes its advanced mobility capability to its 6 wheeled anti-shock suspension system, built on torsion bars with double pinned tracks that provide optimum performance on both urban infrastructure and cross country.

Kaplan MT is fitted with CMI Cockerill 3105 turret which integrates the Cockerill 105mm high-pressure gun with an advanced autoloader to deliver high lethality at very lightweight. A special type of driver's seat allows the operator to benefit from an enhanced field of view and convenient access to dashboard and other driving instruments. Kaplan MT provides high ballistic and mine protection compared to its weight class.

Kaplan MT Medium Tank tracked armored FNSS Turkey Turkish defense industry 925 001
FNSS Kaplan MT Light/Medium tank. (Picture source: Army Recognition)

Aselsan is a company of the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation established in 1975 in order to meet the communication needs of the Turkish Armed Forces by national means. Currently, 74,20% of the shares are owned by the Foundation whereas the remaining 25,8% runs in İstanbul Borsa stock market.

In the field of artillery tracked vehicles, the company Aselsan has developed the Poyraz, an artillery support vehicle. To maintain the firepower of the self-propelled howitzers (SpH) in the battlefield, a fast supply of ammunition is very crucial. Poyraz Ammunition Resupply Vehicle is capable of loading ammunition in the supply area and transferring ammunition to the Firtina SpH within the required time and location in all kinds of terrain and battlefield.

Poyraz Ammunition Resupply Vehicle has the necessary mobility and survivability capabilities to operate within the tactical operational environment of Firtina SpH. Therefore, Ammunition Resupply Vehicles enhances the Firtina SpH’s mobility and provides the capability for rapid deployment without being exposed to enemy counter-firing thus enables higher firing rate and shoot and scoot tactical requirements. Ammunition Transfer System which has been indigenously developed by ASELSAN performs loading and unloading of ammunition automatically by means of a four stage mechanism. Control of the mechanism is performed via a servo control system.

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Aselsan POYRAZ Ammunition Resupply Vehicle (Picture source: Aselsa

The Turkish company Otokar designed and manufactures a family of combat tracked vehicle including Tulpar and Tulpar-S. The Tulpar is designed as a multi-purpose modular vehicle platform with superior mobility, significant firepower, outstanding ballistic and mine protection. Tulpar’s high power-to-weight ratio, all-terrain high-performance suspension, and automatic track tensioning system offer superior mobility in diverse terrain and climatic conditions.

Tulpar is the future of armored combat vehicles with its technical and tactical characteristics that include ease of maintenance, large internal volume and infrastructure that allow the integration of different mission equipment and weapon systems, modular protection structure suitable for integrated active protection system, electronic infrastructure, low silhouette and transportability by Airbus A400M Atlas. Thanks to its large internal volume, high payload and flexible architecture, Tulpar has sufficient growth potential to meet future protection needs and mission requirements.

Tulpar tracked armored vehicle Otokar Turkey Turkish defense industry 925 001
Otokar Tulpar combat armored vehicle (Picture source: Army Recognition)

Tulpar-S is a multi-purpose vehicle platform that retains basic features of standard Tulpar whilst maintaining the amphibious capability. Tulpar-S is compliant with different weapon systems and can serve for various missions over a rugged terrain under a wide range of climates while enjoying superior mobility capabilities. Tulpar-S is a new generation of armored combat vehicles with its basic technical and tactical characteristics such as protection, structure, electronic infrastructure and low silhouette. Tulpar-S offers all mission types of equipment required on the battlefield. Thanks to its large internal volume, high payload and flexible architecture; Tulpar -S has sufficient growth potential to meet the future operational and mission needs.

Tulpar S tracked armored vehicle Otokar Turkey Turkish defense industry 925 001
Otokar Tulpar-S combat tracked armored vehicle (Picture source: Army Recognition)

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