Turkey and South Korea Sign a Declaration of Intent for Altay Tank Engine

Concerning the ALTAY Tank’s engine, a declaration of intent was signed by South Korea and Turkey. As part of the declaration of intent turning into a contract, South Korea will supply engines for the ALTAY Main Battle Tank. The statement on the subject came from the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

During his official visit to the Republic of Korea, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşolu shared a post on the ALTAY tank’s engine on his social media account on October 22. The post included the statement: “we are an important partner in the South Korean defense industry.” Kang Eun-ho, the Minister in Charge of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), announced today that he had signed a declaration of intent to supply Altay Tank engines. In the context of the project, it’s an important step.”

“Our strategic partnership with South Korea is deepening,” Çavuşoğlu said of his meeting with Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum, announcing that the two nations had also signed cooperation agreements in the fields of science and technology. “We discussed investments, balancing our trade and cooperation in the defense industry with Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum,” Çavuşoğlu said. “South Korea is our second trade partner in the Asia-Pacific. It is the only country in East Asia that we have a free trade agreement with.”

Previously, a senior BMC official told Defense News that Turkish armored vehicle manufacturer BMC has reached an agreement with two South Korean companies to work on the power package of the future domestic Altay tank. The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, stated that the company signed agreements with Doosan and S&T Dynamics to supply Altay’s engine and transmission mechanism.

The Altay Main battle tank / From the official website of the Turkish Defense Industry Presidency

The first contract for the Altay tank was signed in 2008, and Otokar produced two prototypes within that scope. The serial production contract for the Altay project, however, was later granted to BMC. The Altay Tank Mass Production Contract was signed on November 9, 2018, and it was stated at the ceremony that serial production of 250 Altay tanks was planned in the first stage. The first tank was supposed to be delivered to the Ground Forces Command after 18 months, according to the project’s timeline. Due to subsystem supply contracts and Turkey’s Peace Spring Operation in northern Syria, German companies MTU and RENK opted to “not approve the export of defense industry products that can be used in Syria” for the tank’s engine and transmission supply. There were delivery delays as a result of the embargo.

Due to engine supply issues with Germany, Turkey decided to develop domestic engines and, as a result, began developing the 1500 horsepower BATU engine designed by BMC Power for tanks, armored vehicles, and machinery. The engine, which was successfully run for the first time in April 2021, is still being tested and qualified at the BMC Power Test Center. The target date for commercialization is 2024.

It is planned for the production process to be carried out with products supplied from South Korea until the domestic BATU engine and transmission are ready, in the case of the transition of the declaration of intent signed between South Korea and Turkey into a contract.