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Turkey signs $200m deal with South Korean firm for Altay tank parts

SNT Heavy Industries to supply tranmissions to replace German parts that were agreed in deal that collapsed following Turkey's 2019 Syria offensive
A promotional image of the Altay tank (BMC)
A promotional image of the Altay tank (BMC)
By Ragip Soylu in Ankara

A South Korean firm will supply Turkey's national tank project Altay with transmissions to be used in its engines.

SNT Heavy Industries announced on Monday that it will supply Altay producer BMC with 1,500-horsepower automatic transmission for €200m ($217.9m) until 2030.

The company said the export deal includes €68.9m ($74.9m) worth of supply until 2027 and has an option for further sourcing priced at $141m between 2028-30.

The Altay project has been marred with supply issues after Germany imposed an arms embargo against Turkey after its 2019 offensive in northern Syria.

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BMC, a Turkish-Qatari partnership, said last year that it would deliver the first two tanks in 2023, with plans to later deliver eight units a month for a batch of 100. BMC’s contract with the Turkish government eventually includes 1,000 tanks.

Ankara aims to produce its own engines and transmission but is looking for a stop-gap option to supply tanks until it comes up with its own. BMC won the tender to produce the tank in 2018 for €3.5bn.

Turkish media reported in May that Turkey successfully completed the ignition of its first nationally developed 1,500-horsepower engine, BATU, which will power various armoured vehicles and tanks, potentially including the Altay.

BMC Power developed the 12-cylinder, V-type, water-cooled and turbo diesel power unit. The engine will produce 1,500 horsepower and 4600 N-m of torque.

The South Korean company said the deal was signed after an eight-month-long test evaluation which included an endurance driving test last year.

“It is a valuable achievement through harsh test evaluation, such as completing a night-based driving of about 200km a day even in the local rough terrain and environment,” the company added.

The company also claimed that their transmission could perfectly replace the German parts.

BMC previously signed an agreement with Hyundai Doosan Infracore for the engines, but industry sources say there wasn't much progress on that front.

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