The Turkish defense industry has seen great expansion over the last decade with the development of land, maritime and aviation systems. In land systems, Turkey has been producing its own tanks and armored vehicles with the cooperation between the country’s public and private sectors. Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli recently announced the manufacturing of new domestically developed tank ammunition.
Developed last year and qualified this year during extensive testing, Turkey has started production of indigenous 120 mm HE-T ammunition for tanks, Minister Canikli announced on his social media account, and emphasized that the system is profoundly effective at aiming and destroying targets protected by a trench.
The test firing of the tank ammunition, which is manufactured through the capabilities of the domestic industry, have been successfully completed and 3,000 new tank ammunition systems will be delivered to the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) this year, after mass production operations are complete.
“With this new production project, the first of its kind in Turkey, the 120 mm HE-T tank ammunition which the Turkish army will be supplied by the local industry,” the minister said, adding that importing the tank ammunition systems poses certain difficulties.
The new HE-T tank ammunition will be entirely produced by domestic means and all parts will be indigenous. The 120 mm HE-T High Explosive Cartridge provides a devastatingly powerful high explosive warhead that greatly improves infantry support capability.
Considered to be an effective weapons system, tanks were previously deployed against armored targets during military operations. The Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation (MKEK) has so far mainly manufactured armor-piercing tank ammunition.
MKEK prepared a new research and development project in accordance with the changing nature of targets during Turkey’s Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch Operations, which were launched in order to fight against terror threats from northern Syria by terror groups like Daesh and the PKK’s Syrian affiliate Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing the People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Turkey has almost completed the production of the 120 mm tank ammunition family with the development of the 120 mm HE-T ammunition. 155 mm artillery rounds called “Mod274” have been manufactured and delivered to Turkish Land Forces for the Fırtına and Panter/Yavuz howitzers. The HE-Mod274 shell has a range of over 40 kilometers. Turkey’s leading defense firm ROKETSAN developed technologies such as base bleeds, which increase the pressure at the base of the projectile through the combustion of the propellant grain. ROKETSAN’s Base Bleed Unit increases the maximum range by about 30 percent for 155 mm MOD 274 Extended Range Artillery Ammunition.
MKEK is mobilizing its capabilities and works to manufacture defense products that are hard to import from abroad through domestic means. Some 92 percent of the products manufactured by MKEK are indigenous. The company prioritizes the manufacturing of guided ammunition systems and invests in smart ammunition systems.
The state-run MKEK has also worked vigorously for the development of domestic engines that can be used in land vehicles of the Turkish defense industry.
The project to meet the power group requirement for the tracked configuration of the new generation of light armored vehicles has been initiated, while the tender process for the development of the power group to be used in the Altay tank continues.
Meanwhile, MKEK is working on technology transfer from abroad for the development of electric engines that can be used in military vehicles. MKEK will also work on increasing export potential. Seeking to expand the sale of ammunition in exports, MKEK is also looking to establish production facilities abroad.
In this context, studies will be carried out to develop the production lines needed in various countries and to provide the necessary technological support. Facilities established by the institution currently operate in several countries. In addition, various expansion proposals have been presented and are being evaluated as well.