The last Leopard-1 Tank modernized by ASELSAN

The Pr

Issue 20

The last Leopard-1 tank, modernized with the Volkan Fire Control System by ASELSAN was delivered to the Land Forces Command at a ceremony to mark the occasion at the First Main Maintenance Center Command’s General Ali Fuat Cebesoy Barracks in Arifiye County of Sakarya Province.

The ceremony was attended by Minister of National Defense Vecdi Gönül, the Undersecretary for Defense Industries Murad Bayar, Land Forces Logistics Command Lieutenant General Eyüp Kaptan, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ASELSAN Lieutenant General Mehmet Cavdaroglu (Rt..), and military officials.
In his opening remarks the Minister of National Defense Vecdi Gönül stated that the significant role of Turkey in international politics and its geographical location makes it compulsory to possess strong and deterent armed forces. Minister of National Defense Vecdi Gönül added that the modernization of the Leopard-1 tanks would make an important contribution to the operational and deterrent capabilities of the Turkish Land Forces Command.

Minister Gönül further added that he was pleased that the project to modernize the Leopard-1 tanks to increase the strength of the operational and deterrent capabilities of the Turkish Land Forces Command had been completed successfully.

Pointing out to the significance of the unique design model applied to this tank modernization project in which the domestic value added has reached 68 %, Mr. Gönül said, “By integrating this system to the Leopard-1, a tank fleet that will display a much higher performance in the combat zone has been obtained.”

Stating that the knowledge and experience gained from this project are important in developing it in a manner that will meet the future needs of the Armed Forces, Gönül said that, “Advancing to becoming a world class defense industry trademark, ASELSAN, starting from this product and converting the modern tank fire control systems and other tank electronic systems it has developed into export projects thereby contributing to our country and to our industry is my sincere wish.”

Undersecretary for Defense Industries Murad Bayar indicated that at the beginning the project’s domestic contribution was targeted at 40 % but that this figure had later increased to 68 % and that this, Bayar stated, is an indication of the level of the industrial development of the country.

Mentioning that this project had drawn the attention of many countries throughout the world, Bayar went on to say, “Going forward with this accomplishment, we have been developing the main combat tank together with the Otokar company and had assigned the development of the next generation fire control system to ASELSAN. Within the coverage of this contract we have passed the critical design stage of the modern tank’s fire control system and the first prototype has been produced. At this time production activities of the second prototype are underway. Due to this successful undertaking together with our Land Forces Command we have also integrated the fire control system we have developed for the modern tank to the Leopard-2 A4 tank.”

Chairman of the Board of Directors of ASELSAN Mehmet Cavdaroglu said that the most difficult scenario of the project of firing from moving tank to a moving target had increased threefold the firing performance of the Leopard-1 tank with this project.

The sighting device and barrel stabilization achieved on the tanks has led to an automatic target tracking capability that has reached a performance level that most modern tanks do not possess stated Çavdaro?lu, and added that ASELSAN has spent over 500 thousands of manpower hours in the development of the Leopard-1 fire control system. He further stated that over 5,000 different components were used in the production of the fire control system of Leopard-1.

To assess the success this project has achieved at a project level would only indicate not seeing the complete benefits obtained said Cavdaroglu and went on to say,” With this project, Turkey has obtained the required technologic power to modernize tanks. Through this strength, ASELSAN has now undertaken larger responsibilities like the Altay Project and is rapidly having a voice on a world scale in tank modernization.”

The knowledge and self-reliance gained from this project has led to greater targets said Çavdaro?lu and that the annual one billion USD export target has been wholeheartly adopted and that the tank modernization projects would be the locomotive engine in attaining this goal.

ASELSAN’s Group Director of Defense Systems and Technologies Division Fuat Akçayöz provided technical information on the project. According to Akçayöz over 200 engineers took part in the project, over 3,000 fire tests were conducted, 3 million programs and 250,000 information and documents were created. The total project cost was realized as 163 million USD. The project commenced in 2002 and mass production started in 2006.

After the opening speeches, Minister of National Defence Mr. Vecdi Gönül presented a shield to ASELSAN Chairman of the Board of Directors Mr. Mehmet Çavdaro?lu, Undersecretary for Defence Industries Mr. Murat Bayar and those who contributed to the project. Thereafter an exhibition was carried out to display the performance of the Leopard-1 tank. Mr. Gönül responding to another question said that he was very impressed with the exhibition and said, “Up to now these modernization projects were contracted foreign countries but now these projects can be performed in Turkey and good results are being obtained.” Whatever the tanks that developed nations may have, Turkey has the same level of tanks said Mr. Gönül and emphasized the importance of the stabilization features of the Leopard-1 tank. Mr. Gönül stated that due to these features the tank can hit on all moving targets at different angles and slopes.

An MoU was signed between the Chilean Army Plant and ASELSAN in the use of the Volkan system for the Leopard-1 tanks of the Chilean Army during the IDEF 2009 Expo.