At IDEF 2023 BMC Power Engine and Control Technologies, 100% owned by BMC Automotive Industry, exhibited its full range of engines and transmissions, unveiling also some solutions aimed at the naval domain
Established in March 2017 with the clear aim of providing Turkish vehicles manufacturers, BMC first, with national engines, The first results will soon materialise as in September the 20 first Vuran 4×4 MRAPs produced by BMC will be delivered to the Turkish military fitted with the newly developed Tuna 375 hp engine, becoming the first armoured vehicles powered by a nationally designed and produced engine. Until now the Vuran in service were powered by a Cummins ISL e3 375 hp engine. A 4-cylinder inline Common Rail engine with a 8.34 litres displacement the Tuna is equipped with a turbocharger and charged air cooler, the Tuna is fitted with a 350 A alternator providing a good electric supply to power subsystems installed on the vehicle. A total of 90 engines have been ordered for the time being.
Foe heavier vehicles BMC power developed the Azra, a 6-cylinder that maintains the same 128 mm bore of the Tuna but with a longer stroke, its displacement being 12.82 litres. Also fitted with Common Rail injection and turbocharger, it provides between 577 and 600 hp and has a maximum torque of 1,600 Nm between 1,100 and 1,400 rounds per minute. The Azra is designed for powering 6×6 and 8×8 vehicles, such as the BMC Altuğ 8×8. It is however to note that the first prototypes are powered by a Caterpillar C13 providing 711 hp. According to BMC Power the Azra will be fitted on some vehicles in 2024, trials involving not only armoured vehicles but also 8×8 tank transporters as well as self-propelled howitzers.
Looking at heavy vehicles BMC Power designed a family of engines with a 144 mm bore respectively in V-8 and V-12 configuration. The former, known as Utku, provides between 905 and 1,005 hp, with maximum torque of 2,900 Nm at 1,900-2,200 rpm for the lower output and 3,100 Nm at 2,000 rpm for the higher one. According to BMC Power the Utku as well as the more powerful Batu are fitted with a new generation Common Rail, without further specifying. The Utku displacement is 18.24 litres, that of the V-12 Batu being 27.36, the stroke being the same. Aimed at powering the Altay main battle tank, under production at BMC, the first two having been delivered to the Turkish Land Forces in April 2023, fitted with a South Korean powerpack. The Bata provides 1,500 hp, with a maximum torque of 4,600 Nm at 1,900-2,200 rpm.
Beside the Utku the company exhibited the transmission, aimed at 40 tonnes vehicles, this powerpack being destined to equip the Firtina 2 tracked self-propelled howitzer. The Utku transmission has six forward and two reverse speed, integrated wet brakes, the steer system being hydrostatic. The Batu transmission is designed for 70 tonnes vehicles, and compared to that of the Batu has a hydrostatic and hydrodynamic steering system. David Brown Santasalo is providing technical support to BMC Power in the development of those transmissions. The two powerpacks, fitted with their cooling systems, have respectively a mass of around 5 and 6.5 tonnes.
At IDEF 2023 the full powerpack that will in due time equip the Altay MBT was hidden to the visitors eyes but was visible to selected guests in the hospitality.
Prototypes of the two powerpacks have been finished, and the Batu has already being fitted into an Altay. However all the initial testing is done on rigs, BMC Power having invested 30 million US$ in building eight fully equipped test rooms. These also allow to test powerpacks fitted inside vehicles. EDR On-Line was told that field tests will commence “very soon” and will end in late 2025, with some 10,000 under the tank tracks, part of them cross country. The Altay powerpack should be qualified by 2026, when serial production will start.
This was confirmed to EDR On-Line by the Altay programme manager; she told us that serial production will star in 2025, the two prototypes delivered to the Army being used for firing tests, mobility tests with the South Korean powerpack having been completed in 2022. It is clear that the initial production tanks will be fitted with the South Korean solution, the intercept point for the initial production of the all-Turkish solution being still unknown.
As anticipated in the headline, BMC Power is also looking at the marine environment, and at IDEF it exhibited the marine version of its Azra. The company is working with Sefine Shipyard to install thisengine on the Marlin unmanned surface vessel. Developed in cooperation by the shipyard together with Aselsan, which is providing the autonomy elements, the Marlin is 14.75 metres long, has a beam of 3.85 metres and a draught of 0.85 metres, displacement being 26 tonnes. Fitted with two diesel engines, it can exceed 36 knots while cruise speed is 10 knots, at which range is 700 nautical miles. It can be armed with machine guns, torpedoes and missiles. EDR On-Line understood that sea trials of the Marlin fitted with two Azra Marine should start before year-end.
When the whole BMC Power portfolio will be ready for production, Turkish land and naval industry will definitely gain an extra degree of freedom on the export market, as only national export regulations will then be applied to vehicles and ships.
Photos courtesy BMC Power and P. Valpolini