Turkey and South Korea have signed a letter of intent regarding the supply of Korean engines for Turkey’s Altay tanks.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu called it an “important step” for the Altay project.
The development comes months after tank manufacturer BMC reportedly signed “preliminary deals with South Korea’s Doosan Group and S&T Dynamics” to purchase engine and transmission for the tank.
#GüneyKore savunma sanayiinde önemli bir ortağımız. Savunma Tedarik Programından (DAPA) sorumlu Bakan Kang Eun-ho, Altay Tankı motoru tedarikine ilişkin niyet beyanını bugün imzaladığını söyledi. Proje bağlamında önemli bir adım.🇹🇷🇰🇷 pic.twitter.com/CNJ8qY8Eii
— Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (@MevlutCavusoglu) October 22, 2021
The Altay project, which began in 2007, faced significant delays in securing critical components such as engines and transmissions. Ankara began talks with German companies MTU and RENK for the required parts. However, talks failed after Berlin imposed an arms embargo on Ankara, accusing it of being involved in the Syrian civil war.
Similarly, Turkey was initially hoping for a French armor solution for the tank, but political tensions over Cyprus scuttled that possibility.
In 2018, the Turkish Presidency of Defense Industries, one of two co-developers on the project, signed a contract with BMC to mass-produce the tank, replacing Otokar. The contract involved the production of 250 tanks.
In 2019, it was reported that Ankara had been in talks with Doosan Group and S&T Dynamics for Altay’s engine and transmission. The Altay project involves two phases in which 250 tanks will be produced in the first phase, followed by an improved version in the second. A total of 1,000 tanks were initially planned for production.
The tank is fitted with a 120mm Rheinmetall main gun, a .50 caliber heavy machine gun, and a 7.62mm medium machine gun.