Türkiye on Friday commissioned new maritime platforms, including the country’s first sea drone boasting electronic warfare capabilities, as it maintains the drive to bolster the capabilities of its naval forces.
A ceremony in northwestern Yalova province saw the delivery of the replenishment combat support ship TCG Derya, TCG Istanbul frigate, TCG Lt. Arif Ekmekçi logistics support ship, and the armed unmanned surface vessel (AUSV) named Marlin.
“Today, we are not only delivering ships but also our navy’s first unmanned surface vehicle with electronic warfare capability in the world,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told the ceremony at the Sefine Shipyard.
“Our naval strength is increasing with our ships. I wholeheartedly believe that we will achieve new successes in the coming period,” Erdoğan said.
Dominance at sea
TCG Derya holds the distinction of being the nation’s second-largest vessel after TCG Anadolu, the multipurpose amphibious assault ship that was commissioned in April last year.
TCG Anadolu made Türkiye one of the few nations in the world with a domestically built aircraft carrier. More than the nation’s first aircraft carrier, the ship will also be the world’s first vessel with an air wing mainly consisting of unmanned aircraft.
With the commissioning of TCG Derya, the rapid refueling and replenishment of essential supplies, such as fuel and water, for combat units will be ensured,” said Erdoğan.
“The fueling and water needs of combat elements will be easily met in areas close to the operational zone, contributing to the operational efficiency of the fleet.”
TCG Istanbul, the fifth ship of MILGEM, a national warship program, is Türkiye’s first frigate produced through completely domestic means.
“We have integrated different radar, close air defense and electronic warfare systems into this ship using our own capabilities,” Erdoğan said.
“One of the integrated systems on TCG Istanbul is the national vertical launch missile system.”
The logistics support ship TCG Lt. Arif Ekmekçi will provide for the fuel, fresh water and food needs of combat elements.
Approximately 15 meters (49 feet) long, the Marlin autonomous surface platform will be capable of performing intelligence, reconnaissance, surveillance, surface warfare, electronic support and electronic attack missions.
“With its superior technical features, the Marlin AUSV will support our dominance at sea, instilling confidence in friends and causing fear in adversaries,” Erdoğan said.
The Marlin has been named after a fish species that can move quickly in the open seas. It can reach a speed of 36 knots and is capable of maneuvering and performing missions even in extremely rough sea conditions.
Erdoğan highlighted the ground the Turkish defense industry has covered over the last two decades, which was crowned with record exports in 2023.
The drive has aimed to reduce external dependency on Western products through innovative engineering initiatives and domestically developed technologies.
The development of a range of homegrown air, land and marine platforms eventually helped lower Türkiye’s foreign dependency on defense from around 80% in the early 2000s to some 20% today.
Exports reached an all-time high of $5.5 billion in 2023, while companies agreed on new contracts worth $10.2 billion, said Erdoğan.
Türkiye has reached a level where its companies export more than 230 defense products to about 185 countries, he added.
“We have implemented numerous projects to ensure the security of the Blue Homeland,” he noted.
“Some of our projects include the multipurpose amphibious assault ship, the replenishment combat support ship, the stack-class frigate, and the new type submarine, which are pride monuments in the sea.”
Erdoğan said the industry is today running about 850 projects, compared to only 62 in 2002. The budget size of the projects has reached approximately $90 billion, marking a 16-fold increase from $5.5 billion more than 20 years ago.
“Our defense industry has become one of the sectors contributing the most to the Turkish economy, with over 3,500 companies and more than 80,000 employees,” said Erdoğan.
“We have become a country that not only meets its own needs for land and sea vehicles but also fulfills the requirements of friendly and brotherly countries.”
Source: Daily Sabah