Turkey’s new-generation MBT is almost at the end of its detailed design phase, with manufacturer Otokar awaiting approval of the final design.
The company has now completed the critical design review (CDR) of the Altay MBT and hopes to begin the prototype development and qualification phase shortly.
Speaking at the IDEF exhibition in Istanbul, where the Altay was the centrepiece of Otokar’s stand, a spokesman told Shephard that the company is waiting for the Defence Industries Undersecretariat (SSM) to approve the critical design before formally moving into the next phase of development.
Alongside its development of the vehicle, the company is already eyeing prospective export opportunities for what is the only new MBT programme among NATO member countries.
The spokesman said Otokar had purposely avoided involving a foreign partner on the project, so that it can freely offer the MBT to customers in the Middle East and Asia without having to seek outside approval.
Aselsan is developing the MBT’s fire control system and C3 information system; MKEK the 120mm L55 smoothbore main gun; and Roketsan the modular armour package. In addition, MTU Turkey has provided its MTU MT 883 diesel engine for the Altay prototypes.
‘We are currently looking at the Middle East and as there are no export-licencing problems, we think [the Altay] is going to be attractive to them. They also get the advantage of the new-generation design,’ the spokesman said.
He noted that the vehicle had been designed to be easily reconfigured between high intensity warfare and operations other than war, while the open nature of the vehicle’s electronic architecture allowed for easier integration of new systems.
Otokar was selected as the prime contractor to design and qualify the Altay in 2008. It has already developed two preliminary prototypes – a Mobile Test Rig (MTR) and a Firing Test Rig (FTR) – both of which underwent a series of tests at the end of last year. The vehicle on display at IDEF featured the FTR’s chassis and a representative turret.
The MTR has now done 3600km of testing across a variety of surfaces, including terrain, tarmac and secondary roads.
Once the SSM approves the vehicle’s detailed design, the company will move into the qualification phase during which it will produce a further four prototypes.
According to the company spokesman, negotiations for a production contract will then begin in a year’s time and are expected to take some 12 months to conclude.
Turkish Land Forces Command has an initial requirement for 250 MBTs with a stated total requirement of more than 1,000 to be produced in later batches.
One of the most modern non-nuclear submarines in the world has been named during a ceremony at the shipyard of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems GmbH, a company of ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions AG. This marks another important milestone in the ongoing shipbuilding programme for the German Navy: U36 is the second boat of the second batch of HDW Class 212A submarines destined for operation in the Navy. The German town of Plauen has assumed sponsorship for U36. The ultra-modern submarine was named by Silke Elsner, companion to the Mayor.
The contract to deliver a second batch of two HDW Class 212A submarines was signed on 22nd September 2006 in Koblenz with the German Office for Military Technology and Procurement/BWB (now the German Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Employment of the Bundeswehr/BAAINBW). The submarine building activities are taking place at the shipyards of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems in Kiel and Emder Werft- und Dockbetriebe in Emden.
The two additional units will be largely identical to their sister ships from the first batch. They are also equipped with the HDW air-independent fuel cell propulsion system which has already given excellent results in operations with the boats of the first batch. The German Navy submarine U32 gave renewed proof of this in April 2013. On the way to participate in naval exercises in the USA the boat produced a new record for non-nuclear submarines with 18 days in submerged transit without snorkelling.
To meet changes in operational scenarios and to take constant technological advances into account, a number of modifications have been made in the second batch:
Integration of a communications system for Network Centric Warfare
Installation of an integrated Sonar and Command and Weapon Control System
Installation of a superficial lateral antenna sonar
Replacement of one periscope by an optronics mast
Installation of a hoistable mast with towable antenna-bearing buoy to enable communication from the deep submerged submarine
Integration of a lock system for Special Operation Forces
Tropicalisation to enable world-wide operations.
The Italian Navy has also decided in favour of a second batch of two HDW Class 212A submarines, which are being built under licence by the Italian shipyard Fincantieri. That means that the Italian Navy will soon also have four boats of this class available for operations.
U36 – Technical Data:
General boat data:
Length over all: approx. 57 m Height including sail: approx. 11.5 m Maximum hull diameter: approx. 7 m Displacement: approx. 1,500 t Crew: 28 Pressure hull built of non-magnetic steel
Propulsion system: Diesel generator SIEMENS Permasyn® motor HDW fuel cell system [SIEMENS PEM fuel cell] Low-noise skew-back propeller
In August 2012, reports emerged that Indonesia had made a deal with Germany to buy heavy tanks and infantry carriers, after the Dutch had demurred. The Indonesian Army has a long record of human rights abuses, which sparked considerable opposition in the Netherlands. In contrast, Germany has been pushing hard for defense exports as a way to keep its defense industrial base busy, and of preserving jobs amidst Europe’s economic slowdown.
In May 2013, those reports were finally confirmed. What is the exact shape of the deal? How will the new vehicles fit with, and compare to, Indonesia’s existing equipment? And how did we get to this point?
Indonesia’s order covers 104 Leopard 2 tanks, 50 Marder 1A2 infantry fighting vehicles, 4 Armored Recovery Vehicles to tow tanks out of trouble, 3 mobile bridge-layers, and 3 AEV armored engineering vehicles. The IFVs are from German Army stocks, and reports suggest that the tanks will be second hand as well. This may be why previous reports have mentioned the Leopard 2A4 and 2A6 variants for Indonesia, even though recent sales to Qatar and Saudi Arabia have involved the 2A7 variant. Rheinmetall’s Leopard MBT Revolution kit has also been mentioned, with extra armor, 360 degree visibility from mounted sensors, and other changes designed to adapt the tanks for urban warfare and counter-insurgency. The ARVs, AEVs, and bridge-layers are expected to be based on the Leopard 2 chassis, and the used Marders are likely to see a few upgrades before shipment.
The new vehicles will represent a big upgrade in both firepower and defensive protection. Indonesia currently fields about 100 British FV101 Scorpion 90 light tanks, and 70 or so related Stormer APCs and specialty vehicles. 300 aged French AMX-13 light tanks accompany the Scorpions as high-caliber firepower, and they’re accompanied by 200 AMX-VTT armed personnel carrier derivatives. The AMX-13 tanks are a 1950s era design, but they’re also uniquely light at just 14.5t, which improves waterborne carriage options and helps in soft terrain. Indonesia is the tank’s largest user, and its neighbor Singapore remains the 2nd largest. By comparison, the Marder infantry carriers Indonesia is receiving are double the AMX-13′s weight, and Leopard 2A6s are more than 4x heavier at 62.3t.
French VAB wheeled APCs are used for foreign deployments, and over 150 locally made Pindad “Anoa” wheeled APCs are used at home. A range of about 200 lighter armored cars round out its mechanized forces.
There are some concerns within Indonesia that the new heavy armor will be too heavy for Indonesian roads and infrastructure, and questionably suited to its terrain. Indonesia’s fragmented geography is a challenging place to use tanks in any event, and the TNI-AD is forced to scatter its armored battalions across multiple islands. The Leopards and Marders don’t have to be suited to all of them, as long as they can find useful employment in a couple of places.