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At an official ceremony held at the 2nd Turkish Army Depot at Kayseri, the last upgraded M-60A1 was presented to the Turkish Army. Israel Military Industries was the prime contractor for the $687.5 million project, considered to be one of the world's largest tank upgrade programs, bringing the M60A1 tank to the level of the world's leading main battle tanks.In 2002 Turkey and Israel embarked on the multi-year program to modernize 170 Turkish tanks. The project also included establishment of training and logistic support infrastructure and transfer of technology to local industries, enabling local production of part of the systems. The modernization of the 1960 vintage M-60A1, transformed the tank into a modern weapon system, integrating modern and combat proven protection, firepower, propulsion and vectronic systems. The design implemented in the Turkish program utilized systems already proven in modern armored vehicles in service with the IDF, such as the Merkava Mk 4 main battle tank.Through the upgrade program the tank's original 105mm rifled gun was replaced with a new 120mm smooth bore gun, all-electric turret drive, sophisticated optronic and fire control systems. The armor suite was enhanced with an advanced hybrid armor system protecting the crew. A modern powertrain was also introduced, including a more powerful 1000 hp MTU diesel engine with matching transmission and final drive from Renk, both from Germany, and advanced suspension system derived from the Merkava design. The modernized tank has undergone extensive testing and qualification performed in Israel and Turkey.The Turkish Army has over 1000 tanks in its arsenal, including German Leopard 1 models, which will require modernization. For the future acquisition Turkey has embarked on an ambitious program to develop and produce the Altai, a modern main battle tank, based on South Korea's latest Black Panther MBT design.Future cooperation with IMI will no doubt depend on improved political relations between Tel Aviv and Ankara. But, in spite of the ongoing crisis, relations in the military and defense sector have remained surprisingly stable.Credit: IMI
ar99, Israel, Turkey
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