Image: Turkish Army Leopard 2A4 tank upgraded by Aselsan to Leopard 2NG version (Aselsan).
By Victor Barreira
Turkey goes with modernization of battle tanks.
The armament procurement directorate of the Turkish Ministry of Defence, the Savunma Sanayii Müsteşarlığı (SSM) recently launched a local competition aimed at to improve the protection and situational awareness capabilities to 200 of the main battle tanks in the inventory of the Turkish Land Forces Command (TLFC).
Several Turkish armoured vehicles including M60Ts and Leopard 2A4s have been hit by ISIS fighters with anti-tank weapons during Ankara’s incursion into Syria.
Local state-controlled companies Aselsan and Roketsan and privately-owned firms BMC Savunma, FNSS Savunma Sistemleri and Otokar Otomotiv ve Savunma Sanayi have showed interest to undertake the job.
The program covers the modernization of 120 M60T, 40 M60A3 and 40 Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks.
Aselsan previously modernized one Leopard 2A4 of the TLFC to the company’s Leopard 2NG version, installing new sighting systems, SARP remotely-controlled weapon station, mine and ballistic protection modules, turret drives, navigation equipment, as well as other key sub-systems.
Otokar developed and built four prototypes of the Altay main battle tank according to a contract from the SSM. A tender was issued for serial production of first tranche of the indigenous tank, which will gradually replace a diverse fleet of battle tanks, but it is yet to materialize.
Along the M60T, M60A3 and Leopard 2A4 tanks, the TLFC also fields Leopard 1T, Leopard 1A3, M60A1 and M48A5 battle tanks.