Armor: February 11, 2000

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Turkey wants to produce (under license) 1,000 new modern Main Battle Tanks (total cost $7 billion) while upgrading its 1,000 M60s and its 112 Leopard-1s. It is evaluating the American M1, German Leopard-2A6, French Leclerc, and Ukrainian T-84. The contractors are demanding that the entire lot of 1,000 vehicles be ordered at once, while Turkey is insisting that it will order the tanks in batches of 250 and may consider upgrades or new technology for each batch. The contractors doubt Turkish sincerity, suspecting that after buying the first batch or two the Turks will spend their tank budget on a new missile defense system. It is generally expected that Israel will get the contract to upgrade the old M60s, and that the competition for this $1 billion program is merely to drive down the Israeli price. Several companies are bidding to upgrade the Leopard-1s, but Turkey might decide that it would be logistically simpler to sell them off and replace them with the new tank. --Stephen V Cole


 


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