TCG İstanbul (F 515) frigate, TCG Derya (A 1590), TCG Arif Ekmekçi (A 575) logistic support ship and Marlin USV will be accepted into Turkish Navy service with a ceremony to be held in Yalova. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Defence Minister Yaşar Güler, Navy Commander Ercüment Tatlıoğlu, and President of Defence Industry Agency Haluk Görgün will attend the ceremony.
TCG İstanbul (F 515) is the first frigate of the MİLGEM national warship programme under the İ-class. Three more ships in this class are under construction, and four will be built according to the decision taken during the SSİK meeting. Even though it is not declared, TurDef expects the second batch to have a larger capacity for air defence missiles.
TCG İstanbul (F 515) will use the new naval systems from the Turkish defence industry, such as:
- ASELSAN CENK AESA 3D multi-beam naval radar, optimised for medium-to-long-range high-altitude air and surface surveillance and target designation (to replace Thales Nederland’s SMART-S)
- SAPAN fire control system for anti-aircraft warfare
- ROKETSAN MİDLAS vertical launch system (To replace Lockheed Martin’s Mk41 VLS)
- ROKETSAN HİSAR-D medium-altitude air defence missile (In place of RIM-162 ESSM)
- SİPER long-range air defence missiles
- ASELSAN GÖKDENİZ 35 mm CIWS (In place of Phalanx CIWS)
- ALTINAY Helicopter Recovery/Transfer System (to replace Canadian subcontractor)
CENK S-band AESA radar has a range of 400 km, beyond that of SMART-S used on many Turkish frigates and Ada-class corvettes. Longer range will allow the frigates to monitor a larger portion of the airspace. This is also important for using SİPER missiles, which are more demanding regarding target acquisition range.
TCG Derya (A 1590) was built under the DİMDEG Project. TCG Derya (A 1590) will serve as a force multiplier for the Naval Forces. The range and logistics power the Turkish Naval Forces can reach without visiting a port will increase significantly. This ship has multiple uses, as it can act as a command and control ship in wartime. TCG Derya (A 1590), the second largest ship of the Navy, stands out with its ability to conduct joint operations with USVs. TCG Derya (A 1590)and TCG Ütğm. Arif Emekçi (A-575) will boost the logistics capabilities of the Turkish Navy.
It was shown during SEFİNE Shipyards’ Strategic and Unmanned Systems Manager Mustafa Civelek’s presentation at the first DLSS summit that TCG Derya will be able to operate USVs to protect the mothership or extend the reach of logistic support by carrying supplies to remote distances. SEFİNE Shipyards is also responsible for the development of MARLIN USVs (Jointly with ASELSAN). Thus, MARLIN is most likely to be used on the ship. TCG Derya’s command-control systems will play an essential role in this capability as the ship can act as a command ship upon need.
MARLIN A/USV is a multirole USV that stands out with its modularity, which is swappable between mono-hull or trimaran configurations in a Lego-like manner through detachable hull extensions. So far, MARLIN is the largest USV to be developed in Turkiye, with a displacement of 21 tons and a length of 15 m.
The way MARLIN was developed is another essential part as the engineers from SEFİNE and ASELSAN frequently inspected each others’ parts to optimise the design accordingly. This brings improved coordination, reducing the possibility of design flaws and development time.
Over its testing phase, MARLIN has been fitted with two types of payloads. The first is the electronic warfare system mounted on the back, capable of electronic support and jamming. The system debuted with MARLIN during NATO’s Dynamic Messenger 2022 exercise.
MARLlN was later on fitted with TÜBİTAK SAGE’s KUZGUN-KY surface-to-surface missiles. KUZGUN KY offers a range of 40 km at supersonic speeds in a package of 1.8 m in length and 180 mm in diameter. The missile will be available with different warheads and seekers (mmW radar, IIR, semi-active laser).
A scaled model of a prototype erector launcher for KUZGUN KY was seen in the IDEF’23 exhibition holding ten missiles, but the finalised launcher will have two-axis movement.
In the future, MARLIN will be outfitted with other systems such as towed sonar, air defence missiles, torpedoes and sonobuoys.