Aselsan: Mission Completed – First deliveries of modernized M60T tanks

Does the main battle tank reach its end as a successful player as it was during the Cold War era? The answer is yes if you stay conventional and do not keep up with the times. Yet, in an era where debates on the functionality of the tank and its weakness against UAVs in modern warfare are ongoing, the end of the traditionally armoured tank is unavoidable. However, ASELSAN believes that this end is just the beginning of the coming successful and strong tank. However, lessons taken from the battlefield in the last years, showed intense developments in areas of tank survivability, network-centric operations and self-protection.

The delivery ceremony of the first M60T tanks modernized by ASELSAN was held on the 10th February 2024.  During the event President of Defence Industry Agency Prof. Dr. Haluk Görgün mentioned that “Tanks turned into a large walking computer containing high technological sensors and systems.”

Commander of the Turkish Land Forces General Selçuk Bayraktaroğlu considered at the same event:

“Tanks are one of the important manoeuvre items of land operations, with its fire, speed and armour power it continues to be one of the main weapons on the battlefield. Thanks to ASELSAN’s modernization of M60T tanks, we will earlier detect the enemy, hit more precisely and destroy from further distance. I am proud to raise this tank making us more powerful, to our military inventory.”

ASELSAN’s President & CEO Ahmet Akyol underlined that ASELSAN is the only company capable to produce all systems in-house used on a tank and continued as followed:

“As ASELSAN we have become today an ambitious company in the world when it comes to tank modernization. We proved this by undertaken the modernization project of the Leopard tanks owned by Chilean army. We also fulfilled the modernization of the T-72 tanks. We provided all electronic systems with success for the Turkish Main Battle Tank Project (ALTAY). Within the scope of modernization projects, we had the chance to apply these sub-systems to other armoured vehicles.”

2024 Type M60T – ASELSAN’s tank upgrade and modernization capabilities

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Providing Additional Capabilities to Tanks – M60-T Project which was initiated as a follow-up of the modernization activities – is carried out within the scope of FIRAT-M60T Project. The Fire Control System – defined as the brain of the Main Battle Tanks – was localized by ASELSAN and lead to the final stage of the modernization. At this stage, all electronical systems containing on the M60T tanks are all producible with domestic capabilities and except power group, external dependence has been eliminated.

Activities were carried out to provide more effective protection of the Main Battle Tanks against anti-tank and asymmetrical threats to provide additional capabilities to existing systems. Within the framework of FIRAT-M-60T Project, all modernization activities of M60 tanks owned by the Turkish Army to M60T configurations have been completed.

M60 tanks, modernized in frame of the FIRAT-M60T Project, successfully performed their duties in Turkey’s cross-border operations. Considering the requirements of the Turkish Land Forces Command, VOLKAN-M Fire Control System was developed within the scope of the FIRAT M60T Project instead of the foreign-origin one. TİYK-M60T Project agreement was signed between Defence Industry Agency of Türkiye and ASELSAN on the 04th July 2022 which is related to the serial integration of VOLKAN-M Fire Control System.

Following sub-systems will be integrated on a specific number of M60T tanks:

1- VOLKAN-M Fire Control System

2- Tank Command, Control and Communication System

3- Additional Armour Protection

4- Crew Seats

At the current situation two modernized M60T tanks were raised to the Land Forces Command inventory. In the further stages of the project, it is foreholded that the relevant modernization project will be extended to other M60T tanks in the Land Forces Command’s inventory.

Beyond dispute, tanks guide the technology developers to seek alternatives and countermeasures to new threats as it has in the past. Replacing a platform altogether could be costly and suboptimal at a time where the role of tank is shifting from 20th century heavy firepower era towards the role of supporting ground operations. Instead of replacement, modernization and upgrade kits are looking technically and financially more viable. These would maintain strategically significant army equipment technologically up-to-date, increasing their effectiveness and protection in the battlefield against modern day threats.

Without doubt, ASELSAN gives with its state-of-the art technologies highest priority to modernization and prepares the tank to the modern battlefield with a focus on its smart opponent. The company is ready to carry out its power in this field abroad. By giving the highest priority to local needs, ASELSAN keeps investing in its global engineering, manufacturing and maintenance centers in order to timely support its users in all over the world.

ASELSAN aims to produce sustainable solutions with critical capabilities that ensure every decision-making moment safer, faster and more secure. With its client centric approach, ASELSAN’s solutions are being successfully used by 86 different countries today and with its adopted “local to business” consciousness the company enhance its presence all over the world day by day.

Photo courtesy Aselsan