Turkey's future weapons

Sandhi Yudha

Well-Known Member
Are there any plans to order KAPLAN medium tanks for M48 replacement, or is it more for the exportmarket, because Turkey wants the Altay MBT?
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
First prototype of ZMA-15 modernization program has been displayed

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Big_Zucchini

Active Member
The ZMA-15 seems like a very reasonable project, low enough number to not waste a lot of money.
High enough to get some capability to the forces.
 

Feanor

Super Moderator
Staff member
The ZMA-15 seems like a very reasonable project, low enough number to not waste a lot of money.
High enough to get some capability to the forces.
Is it though? How survivable/tactically relevant is an M113 chassis on the modern battlefield? Iirc the original M113 would get penetrated by a .50 cal pretty easily. Even if the latest variant is significant up-armored, how survivable is it in a world where 25-35mm autocannons are extremely common, and even bigger 45+ mm systems are getting fielded? I suspect the project is born out of a combination of politics and necessity. They want a "domestic" IFV but don't want to spend the money/don't have the experience and know how to design a whole new chassis.
 

Big_Zucchini

Active Member
Is it though? How survivable/tactically relevant is an M113 chassis on the modern battlefield? Iirc the original M113 would get penetrated by a .50 cal pretty easily. Even if the latest variant is significant up-armored, how survivable is it in a world where 25-35mm autocannons are extremely common, and even bigger 45+ mm systems are getting fielded? I suspect the project is born out of a combination of politics and necessity. They want a "domestic" IFV but don't want to spend the money/don't have the experience and know how to design a whole new chassis.
Isn't survivable at all.
But the Turkish ground forces are in a dire situation.
With over 2,000 tanks and 5,000 APCs not including MRAPs (obviously a significant portion in reserves and storage), it has a lot of AFVs to maintain and arrange and replacement.

The most advanced MBT in Turkish service is a variant of the M60, which requires upgrades so deep to keep it viable, that it's almost as demanding as buying a whole new tank.

On the APC front, it does have a lot of MRAPs, very advanced ones like the Kirpi, in substantial numbers. But it they're not scalable to an IFV level firepower.
They need to revamp primarily their APCs and IFVs, and increase the share of IFVs in their ORBAT. Tanks can wait for now.

What this new upgrade does is it gives some units access to modern optics, better protection (against 14.5mm AP which is abundant in the region), a more advanced architecture that allows them to adopt new upgrades more quickly, and some way to battle test new tech immediately.

So it's much more of a logistical benefit for the army than a tactical benefit to the ground forces.
I'll always think the M113 as anything but a mortar vehicle (or any kind of support) is a terrible choice. But at least it gives the Turkish army an additional venue to start implementing new tech into the ground forces now rather than 5 or 10 years from now.
If and when the Kaplan arrives, I'll be 100% in favor of dumping any M113 and ACV-15 modernization program to hasten Kaplan acquisition. But for some reason it's still stuck.

The M60 is in its core also obsolete, but it gave Turkey a venue to upgrade tanks in a way that allows local industry to gain enough real life experience to implement new tech on the more modern Leopard 2A4, and the not yet produced Altay.
 

Feanor

Super Moderator
Staff member
Isn't survivable at all.
But the Turkish ground forces are in a dire situation.
With over 2,000 tanks and 5,000 APCs not including MRAPs (obviously a significant portion in reserves and storage), it has a lot of AFVs to maintain and arrange and replacement.

The most advanced MBT in Turkish service is a variant of the M60, which requires upgrades so deep to keep it viable, that it's almost as demanding as buying a whole new tank.

On the APC front, it does have a lot of MRAPs, very advanced ones like the Kirpi, in substantial numbers. But it they're not scalable to an IFV level firepower.
They need to revamp primarily their APCs and IFVs, and increase the share of IFVs in their ORBAT. Tanks can wait for now.

What this new upgrade does is it gives some units access to modern optics, better protection (against 14.5mm AP which is abundant in the region), a more advanced architecture that allows them to adopt new upgrades more quickly, and some way to battle test new tech immediately.

So it's much more of a logistical benefit for the army than a tactical benefit to the ground forces.
I'll always think the M113 as anything but a mortar vehicle (or any kind of support) is a terrible choice. But at least it gives the Turkish army an additional venue to start implementing new tech into the ground forces now rather than 5 or 10 years from now.
If and when the Kaplan arrives, I'll be 100% in favor of dumping any M113 and ACV-15 modernization program to hasten Kaplan acquisition. But for some reason it's still stuck.

The M60 is in its core also obsolete, but it gave Turkey a venue to upgrade tanks in a way that allows local industry to gain enough real life experience to implement new tech on the more modern Leopard 2A4, and the not yet produced Altay.
Perhaps the Kaplan is suffering from being overly ambitious and complex, for a country without the experience. After all, a certain northern neighbor had similarly optimistic plans about next-generation armored platforms that hasn't worked out so far. Which would explain why they're going for the M113 upgrade. They're available. Overall, I don't know, it doesn't look good. A mechanized force of upgraded M113s and M-60s in 2025 seems extremely vulnerable to even fairly primitive anti-tank weapons.
 

Big_Zucchini

Active Member
Turkey's defense industry has gone a long way in a very short time. I'm sure the Kaplan will succeed eventually, but engine tech is one considered especially time consuming to deploy from scratch. That's the bottleneck for some other projects like the Altay.

The M60TM with the Akkor-Pulat APS (Akkor and Zaslon hybrid) gives the Turkish army some capabilities against infantry that most modern armies still lack. It may not survive a KEP, but it does give it good protection against ATGMs and a slew to cue capability.

Take the Akkor Pulat and install it on an upgraded ACV-15 with the new turret, give it some light ERA (weight-wise it can take it) in critical areas, and now you have an IFV that can shoot accurately and with decent protection that will not be overwhelmed by ATGMs and RPGs.
Create a brigade worth of such vehicles, and attach them to an armored unit using M60TM, and voila - you have a mechanized brigade doing quick reaction missions in hot spots like Syria or Libya, with fairly high protection and firepower.

I agree, their capabilities by 2025 and even 2030 aren't too impressive. But they're still more impressive than a certain country that can deploy 1 maneuver brigade by 2025, or most of their neighbors that are also struggling with modernizing their ground armed forces.
 

Feanor

Super Moderator
Staff member
Turkey's defense industry has gone a long way in a very short time. I'm sure the Kaplan will succeed eventually, but engine tech is one considered especially time consuming to deploy from scratch. That's the bottleneck for some other projects like the Altay.

The M60TM with the Akkor-Pulat APS (Akkor and Zaslon hybrid) gives the Turkish army some capabilities against infantry that most modern armies still lack. It may not survive a KEP, but it does give it good protection against ATGMs and a slew to cue capability.

Take the Akkor Pulat and install it on an upgraded ACV-15 with the new turret, give it some light ERA (weight-wise it can take it) in critical areas, and now you have an IFV that can shoot accurately and with decent protection that will not be overwhelmed by ATGMs and RPGs.
Create a brigade worth of such vehicles, and attach them to an armored unit using M60TM, and voila - you have a mechanized brigade doing quick reaction missions in hot spots like Syria or Libya, with fairly high protection and firepower.

I agree, their capabilities by 2025 and even 2030 aren't too impressive. But they're still more impressive than a certain country that can deploy 1 maneuver brigade by 2025, or most of their neighbors that are also struggling with modernizing their ground armed forces.
You don't think they will have problems putting in ERA on such thin armor? The Soviets ran into that problem with the BMP-2, and had to develop specialized light ERA for the BMP-3. On an M113 chassis? Their APS is impressive, mostly on account of how quickly they got it into service, but it raises some questions. An M-60 could be in for a bad day if it runs into even something as old as a T-72A. I guess it remains to be seen. The main problems they faced in Syria were ATGMs, that's true, (well the ATGMs around al-Bab and Russian airstrikes in Idlib, but I'm certainly not advocating bolting MANPADS onto MBTs North Korea-style). So I see what you're getting at, it just seems odd to see them so far behind in some fundamental areas while simultaneously fielding such high-tech solutions in other areas.
 

Big_Zucchini

Active Member
What's done to mitigate the problem is to either install the ERA on special mounts, create a thicker and stronger back cover plate, or make the ERA less volatile.
Each has its drawbacks, but for the desired result, options 1 and 3 are viable.
Remember, it doesn't have to stop an RPG. It only has to absorb the deformed copper plasma jet from the HEAT warhead that detonated a good distance from the vehicle.
 
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