9 May 2019
By Paolo Valpolini
Reading through the press release concerning the Altay, the Turkish main battle tank which prototype was developed by Otokar and which is now being finalised by BMC, which will soon start producing it, we can read that the T2 configuration will also have the capability to fire a laser guided ammunition. This could be found, in its early stage of development, in the Roketsan stand, at the other end of the IDEF premises, and has been named Tanok.
The round weighs 11 kg and is 984 mm long, his calibre being obviously 120 mm as it has to be fired from the Altay main gun. In the front part the laser seeker is visible, which will allow the round to follow the encoded laser beam reflected by the target; the tank gunner maintains its crosshair on the target, allowing the laser illuminator to hit with its coded laser beam that bounces back and is picked up by the round seeker. Theoretically the target can be illuminated by another source, but usually a confrontation between a tank and a target takes place in a quite dynamic way, so using an external illumination source does not have much sense.
The guidance wings are at the back and deploy once the round leaves the gun barrel, the guidance system allowing to have a high accuracy up to the limit of the ammunition trajectory, that is between 1 and 6 km. Roketsan started the design work on the Tanok at the beginning of 2019; the delivery of the first Altay at the T2 standard being planned for December 2022, it is to assume that the development of the new round should be finalised two-three years, keeping one year for qualification purposes. The Tanok features a tandem hollow-charge warhead, capable to defeat armoured vehicles fitted with explosive reactive armour, the round being capable of hitting targets either in direct mode or following a top-attack profile, the latter option permitting to reach the enemy vehicle on what is usually its less protected area, increasing the chances of destroying it. The round can also be used against buildings, fortifications and bunkers.
It is to note that Roketsan is also providing part of the armour solutions for the Altay MBT; on 1 May at IDEF the Altay main contractor, BMC, signed the contract with the four main subcontractors for the tank, Aselsan for the fire control system and active electronic protection systems, Roketsan for the armour system, MKEK for the main weapon system, and Havelsan for the training simulators.
Photo by Paolo Valpolini