Two of Turkey’s top domestic defense programs, the Altay MBTs and T-129 ATAK helicopter gunships, can be dramatically delayed as partner European companies do not provide engines. The Altay tank will surely be delayed as the German MTU has delivered only four engines to the Turks.
“Without a solution for the engines, production cannot begin,” said Turkey’s Defense Industry Directorate chief Ismail Demir. But the same is true of the ATAK helicopter – of which Pakistan has ordered 30 for $ 1.5 billion – with the Turks starting work on their own LHTEC T800-4A engine, but not receiving the necessary US authorization.
The Altay tank program, a joint effort of Turkey and Qatar, is the most ambitious of the Turkish army. The original order was for 250 tanks, but will not be executed so much due to a lack of engines, but also of a lack of German RENK drive systems.
Turkey is considering alternative engines for Altay and ATAK. The latter concerns the TS1400 engines, but is expected to be launched in 2024. Can Pakistan wait that long? Turkey’s defense agreements with European defense industries are collapsing one after the other after the purchase of the Russian S-400.