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Qatar to buy Turkish Altay main battle tanks.

| 2019

An agreement between Turkey and Qatar for the purchase of Turkey's first domestically made main battle tank, the Altay, has been inked, officials said on 12 March, Daily Sabah reports.

Qatar to buy Turkish Altay main battle tanks
Altay MBT (Picture source: Army Recognition)

Vice Chairman of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Ali İhsan Yavuz said that, according to the agreement, Qatar will buy up to 100 Altay main battle tanks from Turkey and 40 of them will be delivered to the Gulf country in the first phase. Yavuz noted that, after the first delivery, domestic engines will start to be used in the tanks. Currently, the Altay's prototype is powered by a 1,500 hp diesel engine from Germany's MTU Friedrichshafen GmbH.

The Altay, which is set to become the Turkish Armed Forces' most important frontline tank, was named after Army Gen. Fahrettin Altay, who commanded the Fifth Cavalry Corps during the Turkish War of Independence.

The Altay is the third-generation of main battle tank (MBT). The first prototypes designed and manufactured by Otokar, the biggest privately owned company of the Turkish Defence Industry, was unveiled at its facilities in Sakarya on November 15th, 2012.

The Turkish Company Aselsan was assigned to design and manufacture the prototypes of electronic sub-systems like Tank Fire Control System and Tank C3I System. In December 2014, Otokar made the announcement that the Altay could be exported to Oman. In April 2018, it was announced that the Turkish Company BMC, a manufacturer of wheeled armored and tactical vehicles, has won the contract to continue the development and production of the Altay. In November 2018, BMC officially received the contract to produce the tank for the Turkish army. In November 2018 also, the Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) inked a contract with BMC to start the mass production of Altay for a total of 250 tanks, a figure expected to gradually raise to 1,000 tanks.

Many Turkish defense companies are involved for the manufacturing of the Altay, including Roketsan, Aselsan, Havelsan and the Machinery and Chemical Industry Institute (MKEK). According to a picture released in November 2018 by the Turkish Newspaper Gazete Vatan website, the Altay will be produced in three configurations with the same armament. A first batch of 40 units designated T1 will be equipped with APS (Active Protection System) and Add-on-armor produced by the Turkish Company Roketsan, the second batch of 210 units will be the T2 version, which will include many improvements, as a new armor, isolated munitions configuration, Laser-guided firing capability, Crew training mode and mobile net camouflage. The T3 variant will be fitted with an unmanned turret and automatic loading system.

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