Turkey's Defense Minister Fikri Işık has said Turkey will mass produce "Altay," its main battle tank, starting this May. Speaking at the opening ceremony of a hospital in northwestern Turkey's Sakarya Tuesday, Işık revealed that "Altay," successfully passed all the important tests in February. "We will push the button on mass production in May, if nothing goes wrong," he said.
Referring to Turkey's homegrown attack helicopter "Atak," the minister said, "We have handed over the 20th 'Atak' helicopter to Turkish Armed Forces in Konya." "Most of the weaponry on the helicopter is made in Turkey. We have watched it in action," Işık said, adding that the ability to manufacture attack helicopters was a source of pride for Turkey.
He said Turkey was also producing its own infantry rifle, which has passed NATO's 42 tests successfully.
"Turkey makes its own drones, ships and satellites. The country will maintain its path to progress," the minister said.
Altay is the third generation of the MBT, Turkey's first indigenous tank development program. The tank is named after Army General Fahrettin Altay, who commanded the V Cavalry Corps during the Turkish War of Independence.
SSM awarded Otokar the $500 million contract, which includes design, development and integration of the Altay and qualification of the tank through prototypes and testing in 2007; the first prototype was publicly revealed in 2011.
Under the Altay project, Aselsan, a Turkish defense industry giant, will be producing the new generation fire-control system and the command and control information system of the tank, while with technology transfer from South Korea's Hyundai Rotem, the Turkish Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation (MKE) will develop the 120-millimeter gun and ROKETSAN, the modular armor of the tank.
The Altay Project 2nd Period Mass Production Project involves the mass production of 250 tanks and their integrated logistical support activities. The Altay tank project, in which national resources and opportunities were used, was designed in relation to the Turkish Armed Forces'(TSK) needs.In mid-March, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman signed a memorandum of understanding in a meeting, determining that Turkey's domestically manufactured, main battle tank the Altay will be powered with an engine provided by Ukraine.
A deal for the manufacturing of the engine that had previously been made with the Turkish Engine Industry and Trade Corporation TÜMOSAN was called off at the end of February this year after the company announced that Austria had banned the type of technology support that will be used for engine production. After the deal was scrapped, a period of uncertainty ensued that ended with the signing of the memorandum with Ukraine.