Qatar pens deal to buy Altay MBTs from Turkey

Qatar signed an agreement to purchase 100 Altay battle tanks with Turkey, according to the Turkish daily Daily Sabah.

As stated by Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali İhsan Yavuz, Qatar will buy 100 Altay battle tanks, of which 40 will be delivered within two years, but without mentioning when they will begin production of these tanks.

This order comes shortly after Qatar ordered from the Turkish defense industry 20 155 mm / 52 T-155 Firtina-II self-propelled guns.

According to the Turkish Deputy Chairman, Altay’s first chassis will be equipped with the German 12-cylinder MT-883 Ka-500 engine made by MTU Friedrichshafen GmbH, followed by the second phase of the production that will be equipped with a Turkish made engine.

The production of the tanks will be carried out by the Qatari-Turkish manufacturer BMC, which has no experience in the construction of tracked vehicles despite the fact that Altay was designed and developed by Otokar in cooperation with the South Korean company Rotem.

What is odd in this order is the fact that the Qatar Army has 62 Leopard 2A7 tanks and 24 PzH 2000 self-propelled guns and a new order of different types of vehicles is inconsistent with the small size of the Qatar Army which has only 26,500 men including the Royal Guard.

It is noted that the composition of the Qatar Army includes 3 Infantry Battalions, 4 Mechanized Infantry Battalions, 1 Light Armored Brigade, and 4 Artillery Battalions.

Perhaps according to Turkish military analysts, the Turkish Altay tanks and the T-155 Firtina-II self-propelled howitzers are destined not for the Qatar Army but for the Turkish force that has been sent to Doha and which Turkey continues to strengthen.

This particular force is gradually developing in Qatar and aspires to cover the potential gaps in the defense of the Arab country, so its equipment with Turkish tanks and self-propelled guns is a logical explanation of the recent order.

According to the plans of the two states, Turkey will send to Qatar, over the next few years 3,000 men, who will remain permanently in the Arab country and will actually supplement the Qatar Army. Possibly this military force is the second zone of protection of the Emir after the Royal Guard, which numbers 7,500 men and that is why it is envisaged to strengthen it with military equipment of Turkish origin.