Turkey is modernising some of its 354 LEOPARD 2 A4 MBTs, which it acquired from Bundeswehr stocks between 2008 and 2013. The tanks, designated as LEOPARD 2 A4 T1s, will receive improvements in command and fire control equipment as well as increased protection against threats in current combat environments.

After the first modernised MBTs were publicly unveiled in February 2021, the head of Turkey’s Defence Industries Bureau (SSB), Ismail Demir, has announced via Twitter that mass production of the kits for the increased armour protection has begun at Aselsan. The new protection package has been developed at the Roketsan Ballistic Protection Centre, which has just come into operation. Building on the existing ballistic protection of the LEOPARD 2 A4, protection is increased with add-on modules for turret and hull, with complementary roof protection, heavy track skirts and cage armour. With liners in the hull and turret as well as mine-resistant seats and equipment arrangement, the crew is better protected against the effects of ordnance. A halon-free fire suppression and extinguishing system also contributes to this.

Because of the attitude of the German government after the sale of the main battle tanks, Turkey has been looking for a way to increase the number of tanks. As a result, the ALTAY MBT was developed, the introduction of which is still awaited.

Gerhard Heiming