During his address at the introduction ceremony for the Altay tank, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stated, "I am saying right off the bat that we have absolutely no hostility to any country neighboring us in our region or throughout the world. However, when necessary, we would not hesitate for even a second in using all of our capabilities, and one of the world's strongest most equipped militaries in order to respond in the name of peace security and stability.
Named after General Fahrettin Altay who commanded the 5th Cavalry Corps in the Turkish War of Independence, the second prototype for Turkey's first national main combat tank the Altay was completed at Otokar's Arifiye facilities for 500 million dollars.
Speaking at the ceremony also attended by Chief of General Staff Gen. Nejdet Özel, National Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz, Information, Industry and Technology Minister Nihat Ergün, Land Forces Commander General Hayri Kıvrıkoğlu, Prime Minister Erdoğan stated the following:
A HISTORICAL STEP
"Four years ago on July 29th, 2008 we held a signing ceremony for the Altay project in what was a historical step for our defense industry. With the Altay Project, Turkey has joined the ranks of the few countries that are able to design and manufacture combat tanks.
We have to ask why it is that for the past 81 years Turkey has not taken the steps necessary in the defense industry. Why is it that the initiatives started by Veteran Mustafa Kemal failed? Why is it Turkey has been kept so far from producing its own weapon, plane, helicopter, tank or ship.
We have realized a quiet revolution in the defense industry over the past ten years. Turkey now produces its own national infantry rifle, war ship, combat boots and helicopters and exports them throughout the world.
After the United States and Israel, we are the top third country in the world when it comes to unmanned aerial vehicles. We have strengthened our military especially through the development of these capabilities over the past ten years, increasing the deterrence factor. We will continue to offer our support to the defense industry in the upcoming period.
We do not harbor any hostility towards our neighbors, our region or any country in the world. We believe that peace, stability, and an environment of harmony and security is not just important for one country but is vital for the entire region. We want the same things that we want for ourselves to also exist for regional nations without discrimination. However, no one should mistake our good intentions for passivity or reservation. Everyone and every nation should know that our patience does have a limit. We would not go into the bog that some desire to draw us into. However, when necessary, we would not hesitate for even a second in using all of our capabilities, and one of the world's strongest most equipped militaries in order to respond in the name of peace, security and stability."
TURKEY'S NEW NATIONAL TANK HAS 55 CALIBER GUN
Serial production is planned for 2015.
The Altay tank will operate with a four-member crew, a commander, a shooter, a driver and filler, has a 1,500 horsepower engine.
The tank carries a 120 millimiter, 55 caliber gun.
The modules are made of composite armor.
The Altay contains an electrical cannon tower power system, command control battle combat system, a battlefield recognition system and nuclear and chemical threat detection system as well as fire extinguishing capabilities.
With its long distance remote weapons system (12.7 and 7.62 mm), the tower machine rifle, laser warning system and life support system, the tank has the ability to operate in areas posing chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear threats.
This is a translation of an article originally written by Mesut Er.