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Turkey - Land Forces - Modernization

Turkey's Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) has defined their 2012-2016 Strategic Plan for over 280 projects which were initiated in 2011. The first prototype of Altay, Turkey's third-generation national tank will be completed by the end of 2015. The design for the Low and Medium altitude Air Defense Missile systems will be finalized by the end of 2016.

In the late 1970s, Turkey expressed interest in obtaining US assistance in rebuilding a large number of its M48 series tanks into the M48A5Tl configuration. Turkey and the United States entered into a Defense Industrial Cooperation (DIC) agreement involving tanks and other defense materiel in 1980. As a result of the DIC agreement, FMS cases were signed with Turkey for conversion kits to initiate the initial phase of its Tank Rebuild Program. The ?rst kits were shipped to Turkey in 1982 and the ?rst tank was converted in May 1983. The US Government also provided a substantial quantity of machinery and tools from excess Defense Industrial PlantEquipment Center (DIPEC) and Anny stocks to update two tank plants in Turkey involved in the conversion program. Turkey converted a substantial number of tanks each month at both plants and increased its monthly rebuild quantity at each facility in 1987. Eventually Turkey's M48A5Tl rebuild effort exceeded the U.S. Army's tank rebuild program.

With the end of the Cold War the Turkish Land Forces Command (Turkish Army) or TLFC undertook an effort to modernize its forces from what was basically a 750,000 man dismounted infantry to a mechanized, armored force that was the largest in the region. In response to the external threat posed by the military build-up of its neighbors over the 1980s, TLFC underwent a period of transition that began about 1990 and most of the decade to complete. It simultaneously modernized and reorganized its force structure from one based on light infantry divisions to one founded on mechanized and heavy brigades. While all units have been reorganized on paper by 1995, equipment shortfalls were signi?cant, and training and doctrine to embrace the new force structure lagged.

Accompanying the reorganization of the land forces in the early 1990s was a significant upgrading of weapons systems, armor, and transport. Under the NATO harmonization program adopted under the CFE Treaty, considerable equipment subject to removal from the central front was passed on to other NATO armies, notably those of Greece and Turkey. Turkey's share included more than 1,000 United States M-60 and German Leopard main battle tanks and some 700 armored combat vehicles, as well as self-propelled howitzers and United States Cobra attack helicopters.

Under the CFE Treaty, NATO and Soviet Union/Warsaw Pact countries also were to reduce the size of their conventional forces. Russia has sought to change this commitment on the grounds that it needs forces for "police" actions and to assist former member states of the Soviet Union, such as Armenia, where Russian troops are stationed. Turkey has endeavored to prevent Russia's backing out on its commitment because, among other reasons, Turkey shares a border with Armenia.

In addition to the arms received as a result of the CFE Treaty, Turkey's arsenal of more than 3,000 M-48 tanks was upgraded with advanced fire controls. By 1994 deliveries had begun of armored infantry fighting vehicles, large numbers of which were to be supplied under a Turkey/United States coproduction program. Procurement of a multiple-launch rocket system was proceeding under a similar program.

Turkey acquired 300 Russian BTR-60 APCs for use in the struggle against the Kurds because weapons of NATO origin were not approved for this purpose. In spite of the fact that the engines and transmissions of the BTR-60s had to be replaced after brief use, Ankara announced in 1994 that it had acquired 110 BTR-80s. These APCs were assigned to the gendarmerie, who were actively engaged in the war against the Kurds.

In November 2005 Reuters reported that Germany had finalized a long-delayed deal to sell 298 surplus Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Turkey. German defense group Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) would modernize the tanks and prepare them for sale. On 05 August 2005 the German Defence Ministry announced an estimted EUR 270 million contract to deliver 183 Leopard 1 and 150 Leopard 2 tanks to Greece, with refurbishment and other supplementary costs included in the price. BMC 350-16 ZFighting mines with "walking fortresses" will equip the Turkish Armed Forces with “Mine Resistant Ambush Protected MRAP” armored vehicles. The project came in as a very important one from the perspective of the casualties inflicted on the Turkish Armed Forces by the detonating mines laid by the terror organization PKK. The purchasing of 468 of the armored vehicles which is also called “Walking Fortresses” was decided at the Defense Industry executive committee meeting in November 2008. Nurol, BMC, FNSS, Mercedes – Banz and Otokar were among the companies expressing interest in the project. Vehicles similar to those to be purchased by the Turkish Armed Forces are being used by the American forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

A request for proposals was released in December 2007 for a total of 468 mine-protected vehicles. Selection of MRAP vehicles made in December 2008 led to the start of the contract negotiations with the BMC Company of Turkey. Contract negotiations were completed and signed in April 2009. The 19-ton BMC 350-16Z KIRPI (Hedgehog) was selected by the SSM in to meet Turkish Land Forces's requirements. Valued around Euro 116 Million, the contract deliveries started in February 2011. With the production rate of between 40 to 60 vehicles per month, by the end of 2011 around 400 vehicles were delivered to the TLF. The BMC 350-16 Z is a high mobility, all wheel drive 4x4 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle featuring STANAG 4569 Level 4 mine and Level 3 ballisticprotection. It has been designed to carry up to 13 fully equipped troops including the three-man crew (driver, commander and gunner).

Since late 1980s Turkish Land Forces Command (TLFC), Gendarmerie General Command (GGC) and the Security General Directorate (Turkish police) have been the main customers of the armored vehicles of the Turkish land platforms indsutry. This enabled the industry to develop by 2010 a comprehensive range of products ranging from tactical wheeled vehicles (4x4, 6x6 and 6x4), wheeled armored vehicles (4x4, 6x6 and 8x8), armored reconnaissance vehicles (tracked and wheeled), armored internal security vehicles, mine protected vehicles, amphibious assault bridges, riot control vehicles, amphibious armoured combat earthmover and ALTAY MBT, as well as modernization and upgrade solutions for APCs, ACVs and MBTs. Locally produced armored vehicles, especially the Otokar's 4x4 Cobra, and BMC's KIRPI MRAPs have been playing important role in Turkey's war against terrorist organization PKK.

Otokar is the leading supplier of 4x4 tactical and armored vehicles for the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF). Otokar (a sub-division of Koç Holding) is a Turkish manufacturer of buses and military vehicles. Otokar manufactures Land Rover Defender models under Land Rover-UK license and have utilised the Defender chassis in the design of Armoured Patrol Vehicles.

Otokar has supplied the Otokar APC, Akrep and worldwide known Cobra 4x4 to the TAF and Security General Directorate since the late 1980s. Otokar has been designing and producing tactical vehicles since the late 1980s, and since then its military vehicles have provided the Turkish Armed Forces with successful service. Abroad, over 25,000 Otokar military vehicles, including both tactical and armored wheeled vehicles, are actively used in more than 20 countries. By 2012 the Company had produced around 3,000 wheeled armored vehicles in various configurations and almost half of this figure has been exported. In addition to US$126.6 Million valued defence exports in 2011, the company also secured TL125.6 Million (around US$94 Million) contracts from domestic users.

In April 2011 Otokar signed a TL56.4 Million contract for the delivery of Armoured Internal Security Vehicles based on Otokar's 4x4 APC and the upgrade of existing APCs to the Armored Internal Security Vehicle level. The total number of the vehicles (covering also modernized vehicles) is announced as 400. Deliveries started in the second half of 2011 and were scheduled to be completed (modernization of existing APCs) in 2012.

FNSS has signed an agreement with the German company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann for local manufacture of the Fennek 4x4 reconnaissance vehicle to meet the potential requirements of the TLFC. In addition it has signed an agreement with BAE Systems Land Systems OMC of South Africa to manufacture and market the RG-31 4x4 mine-protected vehicle to meet the potential operational requirements of the TLFC.

KAYA, the latest product of Otokar's design and development studies, is specially designed to provide mine and ballistic protection for the troops on all terrain conditions, while offering high mobility, ease of handling and outstanding crew comfort. Otokar's know-how and experience in mine protected vehicles played an important role in the design and development process of the KAYA.

In order to provide excellent cross country capabilities, the KAYA was developed on the Daimler Chrysler Unimog 5000 running chassis. Armored Cab and Crew Compartment are designed as two separate units to utilize and maintain the Unimog 5000's ultimate cross country capability. KAYA 4x4 mine protected vehicle with its flexible body configuration can easily be configured for different missions along with varying user needs.

Aviation Modernization

More effective employment of commando and infantry units would become possible with the United States UH-1H Iroquois (of which Turkey had ninety-six in 1994) and other modern troop-lift helicopters entering the army aviation inventory. The addition of missile-armed Cobra AH-1 (Bell 209) assault helicopters and five Super Cobras promised by the United States was expected to improve antitank capabilities.

Defense Industry Executive Committee (DIEC) cancelled the TSK Helicopter Program and authorized SSM to initiate the UH Program on the basis of establishing long term business model with Contractor on December 05, 2007. Bidder Evaluation Document (BED) was issued by SSM on January 31, 2008 to AgustaWestland (AW) and Sikorsky (SAC) to procure 84 helicopters for Tukish Land Forces, Turkish Navy, Turkish Air Forces, Turkish Gendarmerie, Director of General Forestry, and TAI was announced as Main Contractor of UHP on July 15, 2008. TAI issued RFP to AW and SAC on August 01, 2008. AW and SAC proposals were submitted to TAI September 29, 2008. TAI submitted its proposal for UHP on November 24, 2008. With the participation of the National Police (20 helicopters) and Special Forces Command (11 helicopters) to UH Program first revision related with RFP was issued on February 15, 2009 by TAI. By taking into consideration of the volume of UH Program with the procurement of 115 helicopters; selection of powerfull and reliable Utility Helicopter platform which would be able to meet the needs for eight users for future twenty years, increase the local industry capability and global partnership with the selected company are essentials of the Program.

Under the Turkish Multirole Helicopter program, Turkey negotiated with Sikorsky and Agusta Westland companies to establish a helicopter production line in Turkey at TAI. The final decision on the Program was planned to be made in June 2009.

Heavy lift helicopters are one of the basic requirements of Turkey, and Turkey intended to acquire the CH-47. The Government worked in coordination with the US Government and Boeing Company for the procurement of CH-47F helicopters. As of 2009 the helicopters were expected to be in service around 2012-2013. On 07 December 2009 the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified the UC Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Turkey of 14 CH-47F CHINOOK Helicopters, as well as associated parts, equipment, training and logistical support for a complete package worth approximately $1.2 billion. The Government of the Turkey requested a possible sale of fourteen CH-47F CHINOOK Helicopters, 32 T55-GA-714A Turbine engines, 28 AN/ARC-201E Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Systems (SINCGARS), 14 AN/APR-39A(V)1 Radar Signal Detecting Sets, support equipment, special tools and test equipment, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, site survey, personnel training and training equipment, ferry services, U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support.

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Page last modified: 30-06-2014 18:31:46 ZULU