Turkey seeking South Korean engine, transmission for indigenous tank - report

Turkish officials have begun negotiations with South Korean manufacturers to source an engine and transmission system for the country’s troubled Altay battle tank programme, Defense News said on Thursday.

Initially conceived in the 1990s, and rebooted in 2018, the Altay aims to be Turkey’s first domestically produced battle-tank but has run into repeated obstacles.

Plans to use the German-made MTU engine and RENK transmission to power the tank were recently blocked by German federal authorities, Defense News said.

In 2019, Germany was one of several European Union countries to impose an arms export ban on Turkey over its military intervention against Kurdish-led forces in northeast Syria.

According to Defense News, an alternative is now being sought through South Korean firms Doosan and S&T Dynamics, which produce engines and automatic transmission systems.

“Ideally a Doosan-S&T power pack will power the Altay if we can iron out differences and licensing issues,” the news outlet cited a Turkish source as saying.

However, a similar system developed by the companies for South Korea’s K2 Black Panther tank had failed durability tests, raising questions over its viability, Defense News said.

Defence News said Turkey now also faces issues in sourcing the Atlay’s planned armour from France.

Relations between Ankara and Paris have been strained in recent months by differences over the conflicts in Libya and between Azerbaijan and Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as Turkey’s dispute with Greece and Cyprus for drilling rights in the eastern Mediterranean.