ANKARA, Turkey — Five Turkish companies have responded to the government’s request for proposals for the development of a power pack for the Altay, an indigenous Turkish tank in the making.

The power pack program involves the design, development and production of hundreds of engines and transmission mechanisms for the new-generation main battle tank.

The bidders are BMC, Figes, Istanbul Denizcilik, Tusas Engine Industries (TEI) and Tumosan.

TEI is Turkey’s state-controlled engine maker and a sister company of Turkish Aerospace Industries, the country’s aerospace powerhouse.

BMC is a Turkish-Qatari armored vehicles manufacturer and one of the bidders in the competition for the serial production of the Altay. The program involves an initial batch of 250 units, but the number of tanks Turkey could purchase will likely go up to 1,000 units. In the Altay serial production race, BMC will be competing with FNSS and Otokar, the maker of Altay’s prototypes.

Turkey’s defense procurement agency, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries, insists bidders submit proposals “with maximum local input and minimum foreign technology.” The office says the program aims to end Turkey’s dependency on foreign power technology in the Altay program.

One of the bidders in the engine competition, Tumosan, won in 2015 a $100 million contract to develop an engine for the Altay. It then signed up a know-how deal with Austria-based company AVL List. But in 2016, this key technical support contract was canceled as part of Austria’s arms embargo on Turkey.

Last month, Turkish procurement officials said they were in talks with the British-based European division of U.S. company Caterpillar over a plan to produce and supply an engine for the Altay. Caterpillar and its U.K.-based partner, engine-maker Perkins, have expressed interest in the power pack for the Altay program.

Industry sources say the engine contract may be as high as $1 billion when it covers the entire Altay program for all 1,000 units.

Burak Ege Bekdil was the Turkey correspondent for Defense News.

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