Land Platforms Seminar Gathered Industry

Issue 72 - March 2017

The 3rd Annual Land Platforms Seminar was held with the support of the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries in Ankara on 7-8 November 2016 with the participation of 870 participants.

Navy Captain(Ret.) Zafer Betoner, who also organized the event, gave the opening remark of the seminar. Stating that they aimed to contribute to the developments in the sector through this seminar, Betoner mentioned that 33 different presentations would be given throughout the two-day event and that 36 companies would be presenting their products and capabilities to the participants at the foyer area.

Following Zafer Betoner’s speech, TOBB Defense Industry Assembly Vice President Mr. Haluk Bulucu took the floor. Noting that Turkey had gained very important ground since 1960s, Bulucu added that the Turkish army will continue to become one of the most important armed forces in the world within the next 20 year period.

Making a presentation on behalf of the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries, the SSM Head of Land Platforms Mr. Fatih Yakıcı shared that this seminar was very useful as it allows exchange of ideas by gathering the main contractors with the subcontractors and made important statements on the achievements accomplished during the last two years and on the strategies that would interest the subcontractors and the main contractors within the next period.

Mr. Yakıcı: “We will be delivering 1300 vehicles in 2017”

Stating that the year 2016 was quite intense and restless, Mr. Yakıcı said, “As the Land Platforms Department we signed 9 contracts in 2016 and we plan to sign 2 more contracts by the end of this year. Moreover, we issued 8 RFPs this year. Along with these projects we also received urgent vehicle procurement requests quite intensely this year and we exerted intensive efforts for rapidly fulfilling such requests. A total of approximately 700 more vehicles are planned to be included in our inventory by the end of this year. Taking our existing projects into consideration, a delivery of 1300 vehicles in total is planned to take place next year. Especially due to the urgent requirements of General Directorate of Security and Gendarmerie General Command a demand for vehicles through direct procurement has emerged. Without doubt, we exerted efforts to finalize our development projects along these direct procurement projects this year. We signed the contracts for our Anti-Tank Vehicle project and Fuel Tanker project, in particular. We plan to sign the contract for our armored amphibious assault vehicle by  the end of this year as well. We reached the final stage within our special purpose tactical wheeled armored vehicle project and will be signing it in the first quarter of 2017. Without doubt, the “Altay” Main Battle Tank is a crucial project. We plan to complete the prototype production and qualification period of the Altay MBT in the first quarter of 2017 as well. Surely, we will be finalizing the serial production activities again in the first quarter of 2017. Moreover, concerning the studies for our new generation light weight armored vehicles project for the future, which will also be conducted by our Undersecretariat, we will be gathering with you to discuss the model we will build and speed up and finalize this project too.”

Mr. Yakıcı stated that this intensity will be continuing during the next decade and added, “Currently there is excessive demand towards direct procurement, especially by our General Directorate of Security and our Gendarmerie General Command, these projects will create an important level of intensity in the next few years but taking the future development projects into consideration, we may claim that the next 5-10 years will be quite intensive. In line with this intensity and towards immediate deliveries, our companies went for increasing the demand and investing in capacity increase and made new investments. More investments are required for the realization of the projects I have just mentioned. Unfortunately, with the new investments this year we experienced certain deficiencies in immediate deliveries due to the project management and quality management of our companies. Regardless of the amount of the delivery, rule number one in the defense industry is achieving the best quality in a given product. So, the immediate delivery should not result in the decrease in quality. Especially concerning our armored vehicles, the quality and control of the features in relation with the survival, firing and mobility capabilities are of great importance. Our companies should always attach the required importance to the quality management activities and pretests at the stage of the execution of the projects to this end”.

Indigenization in Sub-Systems is the Target

Stating that the design, development, production and integration activities of the land platforms were being successfully carried out by the Turkish companies, Yakıcı underlined that the foreign dependency in the sub-systems had to be decreased from now on. Mr. Yakıcı said “Our foreign dependency in engine, transmission, running gear, suspension, weapons and ammunition continues. The indigenization of the sub-systems particularly the weapon and ammunition systems is of great essence due to recent incidents. Especially, in order to abolish the limitations we will be facing and for the indigenization of the sub-systems, we are working in coordination with our Industrialization Department and Sub-Systems Department. However, here we are facing an important resistance by our main contractors against indigenization within the scope of our projects. As they do not wish to alter the immediate delivery processes and change their supply chain, they procure the available imported systems. Our request from our main contractors is that they prefer the domestic substitutes of the qualified products, especially imported products. Their planning of their supply chain accordingly is of great importance to us.”

Mr. Yakıcı mentioned that according to their assessment the sub-systems are qualified to compete with their rivals in the world in respect to quality and price and added that they were exerting great efforts to that end. Mr. Yakıcı stated that the development programs regarding the critical technologies such as the engine and transmission continued and that they expected to acquire the first results soon. Expressing that the development of running gears, shafts and suspension systems were being conducted with the Sub-Systems Department, Yakıcı announced that they will be initiating the development projects for the production of the 7,62 mm and 12,7 mm machine guns through domestic resources with the Department of Weapon Systems.

Pointing out that the main contractors’ collaboration with the universities and sub-systems manufacturers for conducting studies on new technologies was very important to them, Mr. Yakıcı expressed that they aimed to utilize all the sub-systems indigenized in the new generation light weight armored vehicle project and that they expected sub-system projects full of technology from the companies. 

Mr. Yakıcı underlined the importance of the maintenance and logistic support regarding vehicles in the operation field and added that the formation of authorized services in charge of immediate and on-site response to the breakdown of the vehicles was critical. Mr. Yakıcı continued: “Most of our vehicles are being utilized in the Southeast Anatolia and in cases of breakdown an immediate provision of maintenance and spare parts are required. Our companies continue to build authorized service networks within this context. The indigenization of the sub-systems we procure here is one of our significant priorities. In cases of the breakdown of the sub-systems particularly ones procured from abroad, we are losing grave amount of time during their replacement with the new ones. Therefore, we attach great importance to indigenization. Moreover, I would like to mention that the main contractor with  which we collaborated previously for many years will be in charge of the maintenance of the system throughout its life cycle, and that we will be starting to implement the life cycle logistic support system especially within the development programs.” 

 Noting that they were designing new systems for the faster evaluation of the direct procurement projects and their immediate delivery, Yakıcı added that they aimed to implement the concept employed by many countries in the world, that is expediting the prototype products of the companies. Yakıcı emphasized that they will be implementing this concept within the scope of the pilot projects and continued, “We plan to make regulations for enabling the effective implementation of this method in land platforms sector within the scope of the feedback we will be receiving.”

The presentations of the main sponsors of the event began following the opening remarks.

FNSS – Business Development and Programs Director Mr. Aybars Küçük made a presentation on the products developed by FNSS since its establishment and on their projects and studies for the future. Mr. Küçük shared that they manufactured 1700 Armored Vehicles for the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) within the scope of the ZMA project they signed in 1988 and successfully completed their first domestic defense industry project and added that following the delivery of these vehicles in 1996, they signed a second contract with the TAF in 2000. Küçük stated that following this achievement, they started to develop and manufacture their licensed indigenous design vehicles in 2005. 

Mentioning that they developed and manufactured the Armored Amphibious Assault Bridge namely the “Samur” for the Turkish Armed Forces, which is one of the indigenous design projects in land platforms area, Mr. Küçük noted that 52 vehicles to be procured as part of the program have already been included to the TAF’s inventory. Mr. Küçük stated that the Armored Amphibious Assault Bridge and AACE Amphibious Armored Combat Earthmover “Azmim” were developed through the contracts signed during the same period and added that the 12  “Azmim” vehicles they manufactured and delivered to the TAF were fulfilling their tasks successfully.

Relaying information on their programs with ongoing development processes, Mr. Küçük continued, “Within the framework of the Self- Propelled Low Altitude Air Defense System - “Korkut” project we signed a contract for the development and production of the vehicle with Aselsan. 3 vehicles were developed and their prototypes were delivered. We moved onto the serial production stage within this project and soon we will be signing the sub-contractor contract.”

Features of the Vehicles Becoming Clearer in the Anti-Tank Vehicle Program

Mr. Küçük continued, “We developed the vehicle of the Hisar Low Altitude Air Defense System. 2 prototypes were produced and currently they are at the acceptance stage. Our latest project has been the Anti-Tank Vehicle program which we recently signed. Within the scope of this program we will be developing and manufacturing 184 tracked, 76 4x4 wheeled vehicles and weapon turrets. The tracked vehicle is an amphibious vehicle in 17 ton category; it will have a very strong weight ratio. Our 4x4 vehicle will be a very special vehicle as well. The engine of this vehicle will be positioned at the rear end and this will enable significant advantages besides a very high cross-country capacity and road holding ability. With its engine at the rear end, the air deflation and cooling water inlet will be positioned at the roof of the vehicle. This will create a more balanced vehicle structure that enables the vehicle’s diving into the water with a higher right angle and lets it to move without sinking. This vehicle will be a vehicle designed especially for the anti-tank operations. As part of this project, we are developing weapon turret systems to integrate into the wheeled and tracked vehicles as well. These weapon turrets will have the main weapon integrated with Kornet and OMTAS missiles and a 7,62 mm collateral weapon”.

Noting that they aimed to develop and manufacture an Armored Amphibious Assault Craft for the LPD vessels of the Turkish Naval Forces, the negotiations of which are continuing, Mr. Küçük added, “Hopefully the negotiations will be fruitful and we will sign the contract with our Naval Forces Command. 27 Armored Amphibious Assault Crafts will be manufactured for this program. We attach great importance to this project. At this point we are speaking of a very different vehicle. These crafts are launched through a vessel, they are capable of sinking into the sea and able get out, they even return to their normal position if they overturn and continue their operation. It is a challenging project in respect to the engineering, yet it excites us very much. We wish to sign its contract this year.”

Stating that they signed domestic contracts amounting to $ 2 billion and $ 2 billion worth international contracts since their establishment Mr. Küçük added, “Over 502 vehicles of our company entered to the inventory in Malaysia.  In addition to this, we accomplished the sale of our 3rd generation 6x6 and 8x8 ‘Pars’ vehicle to a Middle Eastern country last year. Finally, we assumed the modernization of a 121 mm mortar vehicle over $ 100 million.”

Production of the first Prototype as part of the Indonesia Modern Medium Weight Tank Program in the first Quarter of 2017

Sharing that they made significant progress with their Indonesian partners regarding the medium weight class tank project conducted under the auspices of the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries, Mr. Küçük continued, “Here, we are developing a tank in approximately 32-35 tons of weight. The weight will adjust based on the armor configuration over it. We are developing a tank with the weight suitable for the field in the given region. The turret over the tank was directly selected by the Indonesian Ministry of Defense. It has a 105 mm long turret and it has the turret’s own systems over it. We aim to develop our own turret systems with the Turkish Defense Companies and we wish to initiate the serial production with our own turrets. Our turret selected by Indonesia exists over the prototype at the moment. Engineers of our Indonesian partner PT PINDAD have been collaborating with us since the beginning of the project and throughout all development and production stages. We will be manufacturing the first prototype at the FNSS facilities.  Presently we started the production and the production of the first prototype will be completed by the first quarter of the coming year, and subsequently the engineers who were trained here and involved in all the processes will be manufacturing the second prototype with our support at PT PINDAD facilities.  The second prototype manufactured in Indonesia will be displayed in operation at a special day of the Indonesian Armed Forces on 5 October 2017 and afterwards the user acceptance tests will be launched and the Indonesian Army will be receiving the certification.” 

Otokar Altay Tank Program Director Mr. Mehmet Karaaslan gave a presentation following Mr. Aybars Küçük’s presentation.

“Altay” MBT to be Ready for Serial Production in March 2017

Mr. Karaaslan stated that they reached the end of the acceptance tests conducted on the prototypes manufactured as part of the “Altay” program and that they were getting prepared for the serial production. “Two preliminary prototype tanks were built as part of the project. These were mobility capability and firepower test preliminary prototypes. Subsequently we manufactured the prototypes we refer as the PV1 and PV2 for the test determining the acceptance. There was a fuselage - turret (ballistic test fuselage turret) prototype prepared for the final survivability tests. Presently, we reached the final stage of the tests regarding this vehicle. We wish to complete the tests by the end of this year and deliver the project with all tasks accomplished with all the documentation and including the technical data package in March 2017. We plan to close the design period in this way. There is a preparation stage for the serial production. If we manage to complete the serial production activities in January 2017, delivering the first tank out of the serial production line in 2018 to our Undersecretariat and to our user seems quite possible,” said Mr. Karaaslan. 

Otokar Plans to Deliver the first 250 lot of “Altay” MBT until 2023

Sharing the tests run with the Altay tank so far with the participants, Mr. Karaarslan said, “The tests were conducted with the MTR tank over 4,000 km under all types of field and climate conditions. With the firepower preliminary prototype named FTR, we accomplished over 1,000 firings and the tests were successfully completed in line with the predetermined scenarios. With the PV1 tank subject to the acceptance, we left 9,500 km behind in the durability test identified as 10,000 km and we aim to complete this test within November. Firepower tests are being run with the PV2 tank again. We aim to complete these tests in December 2016. Ballistic protection and mine tests are aimed to be finished within this month too.” 

Mr. Karaaslan stated that the production of the first 250 tanks were planned for the serial production and continued, “With the production of the first 250 tanks planned for serial production data package, the integrated logistical support is expected to be provided. If the contract is signed in January 2017, the deliveries of the tanks will be starting within 2018 and the first party of 250 tanks is planned to be actualized by 2023. We submitted our final proposal to the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries on 29 August and the evaluation process continues. As Otokar, we have already identified all infrastructural and organizational requirements for the serial production, accomplished all the necessary studies and plans and we remain on call.” 

 Deputy General Manager of Nurol Makina, Mr. Melih Şahin noted that as Nurol Makina, with their over 500 employees and staff of powerful engineers they delivered modern and indigenous solutions regarding the demands of the Turkish Armed Forces and General Directorate of Security and continued: “We accumulated a strong design engineering know-how. We take the development and existence of the qualities of the critical product technologies that will materialize the design within this structure very seriously. Our product range, that we set forth in respect to platforms, is growing day by day. The Ejder “Yalçın” Armored Combat Vehicle and “Ilgaz” Internal Security Vehicle Family are thriving each day. The Ejder family will be presenting better surprises soon. We will be introducing the new products of our family at the IDEF and other events that we will attend abroad”.

Throughout the event, lasting for two days, 26 different works of 21 institutions and associations were presented within 5 sessions to the participants. During the sessions, the following presentations stood out amongst the many presentations, specifically titled ‘An Assessment of Hybrid Warfare and The Future of Armored Combat Vehicles, Self-Righting Analysis of an Amphibious Armored Vehicle, New Generation of Military Vehicle Driver Sight Periscope, Air Defense against the Air to Ground Missiles, Innovative Solutions on Surveillance, Identification and Recognition Systems, Versatile Approaches in Armored Vehicles 

The 4th Land Platforms Seminar is planned to take place on 5-6 November 2018 in Ankara.