Koç Holding Vice Chairman and Otokar Chairman Ali Koç has announced that they are ready to participate in a mass production of Turkey’s main national battle tank Altay. Speaking at the Otokar display stand for the defense industry and business development platform High Tech Port at the Independent Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association (MÜSİAD) EXPO this year, Koç said despite ongoing turmoil in Turkey and surrounding countries, the country continues to be ranked among the world’s leading countries in terms of its economic performance.
Stressing that Turkey needs to continue improving its innovative and technological power in order to strengthen its global position and eliminate economic threats, Koç said they are continuing investments in a decisive manner to improve Research and Development (R&D) as well as innovation capabilities while fostering trust and belief in Turkey’s potential future.
Koç said national defense projects are a key contribution to the development of the Turkish defense industry. Emphasizing that Altay, Turkey’s biggest land system project designed and developed by primary contractor Otokar, which has accelerated Turkeys’ defense industry developments extensively, Koç said the Altay project is proof that Turkey’s defense industry has developed its own resources and capabilities within a brief seven-year period, adding that Otokar as well as subcontractors have provided considerable knowledge and tremendous experience allowing the industry to create its own technology.
Koç said about 30 military vehicles produced by Koç are used today in close to 30 friendly and allied countries, primarily by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and U.N. military units in various regions of the world, stressing that they have the competence to successfully complete the mass production of Altay.
Noting that they are prepared to fulfill all obligations that fall upon them if appointed, Koç said in addition to meeting the requirements of the defense industry in Turkey, their main objective is to reach the point where they will also be able to export Altay. “I believe that friendly and allied countries will gain interest in Altay which will have positive contributions to Turkey’s defense industry exports in the long run,” Koç added.
The competition for the mass production of the tank is continuing. On March 30, 2007, OTOKAR, BMC and FNSS defense and civil industry companies bid against each other during the tender, which was held by the Defense Industry Undersecretariat on the development of Altay battle tanks as part of the National Tank Production Project (MİTÜP). As a result of the tender, OTOKAR, which has vast experience and facilities specializing in armored vehicles production, undertook the design development phase of tanks. OTOKAR developed a prototype and made it ready for mass production. On Jan. 18, the company put forward a proposal to the Defense Industry Undersecretariat for commencing mass production. Now, OTOKAR, BMC and FNSS are competing for the mass production tender. The winning company will be producing 250 Altay battle tanks which will cost around $3.5 billion.