The first two of 10 ships targeted for construction within the scope of the Offshore Patrol Vessel Project, initiated to meet the needs of the Turkish Naval Forces, have been recently launched into the sea, marking a new significant step for the ever-developing defense industry.
Two offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) named TCG Akhisar and TCG Koçhisar were launched during a Saturday ceremony held at the Istanbul Shipyard Command.
The event was attended by Defense Minister Yaşar Güler and Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) head Haluk Görgün.
The newly launched ships are set to play a role in various maritime operations, including intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR), search and rescue missions (SAR), counterterrorism operations, maritime surveillance and special operations.
“With the addition of these ships to our navy, which demonstrates the distinguished level of our domestic and national industry, our naval forces will further increase their operational capability and effectiveness in the Blue Homeland and reinforce their distinguished place among the world’s leading naval forces,” Güler said during the ceremony.
“As the Defense Ministry and the Turkish Armed Forces, we will continue to work day and night for the survival of our country and our noble nation, including the development of domestic and national defense.”
In a separate development at the ceremony, Türkiye delivered the ship named “Babur” to Pakistan under its national warship initiative, Milgem. The shipbuilding project was part of a 2018 contract signed between Türkiye and Pakistan, leading to the sale of four corvettes.
“With this project, which demonstrates the superior level reached by the Turkish defense industry, the strategic cooperation between our countries has become even stronger, and the successful completion of the project will lead to new business opportunities,” Güler noted, expressing his delight for Pakistan’s participation in the Milgem project.
The ships being built under the main sponsorship of Turkish state-owned defense firm ASFAT are expected to start port acceptance tests soon.
Emre Koray Gençsoy, the director of maritime programs at ASFAT, noted in an interview with Anadolu Agency (AA) Sunday that there was a great deal of effort and labor behind the simultaneous launch of the first two HISAR-class offshore patrol ships, emphasizing that this was a significant achievement for the Turkish defense industry.
He also highlighted that, in addition to these two ships, they were simultaneously constructing seven sea platforms in Türkiye and Pakistan.
Developed as a variant of the MILGEM-class corvettes, the HISAR-class OPV has been redesigned with a different main propulsion system and a different structural and general layout concept, allowing it to be built in a shorter time and at a lower cost.
Gençsoy pointed out that simultaneously managing these projects required detailed planning, identifying certain risks, acting accordingly to those risks and having a flexible structure to solve encountered issues.
“The production period of the project is only 26 months. That’s a pretty short period. It is an important target for our defense industry for complex platforms of this size in naval platforms. This is also a first,” Gençsoy explained.
Elaborating on the characteristics of the vessel, Gençsoy further said, “When you look at the ship, you see MILGEM, but the analysis has been done from scratch and it is a lighter ship. A ship whose propeller systems and shaft systems have been changed.”
“In fact, there is a first here too. All analyses of our propellers, from underwater noise to traces, were made in laboratories at Istanbul Technical University (ITU) in Türkiye,” he added.
Gençsoy pointed out that the project also uses the “ready on-site” concept, which will allow the subsequent integration of newly developed national weapon and sensor systems.