Turkish Naval Programs: Here Is What To Expect In 2022
The Turkish Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) released a new video on January 31 highlighting the country's defense industry's 2022 goals. The video includes the activities planned for 2022 with regard to Turkey’s naval projects.Tayfun Ozberk 06 Feb 2022
The SSB, like it did last year, published a 4-minute video highlighting the Turkish Defense Industry’s goals for 2022. The movie includes civil project targets in addition to naval, air, and land projects. In this story, we will look at the naval programs mentioned in the video, and outline which key projects or milestones are missing.
Naval, Amphibious, and Naval Air Platforms
– Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) Anadolu:
The LHD Anadolu’s drone launching/securing system integration upgrade will commence in 2022.LHD Anadolu (Credit: Author)
After being dropped from the F-35B JSF program, Ankara decided to convert its future LHD into a drone carrier, as previously reported by Naval News. Baykar, a Turkish drone manufacturer, has been building TB3 drones exclusively for Anadolu. A roller mechanism will be installed on the LHD to launch drones, while security netting will be used to secure landing drones, according to recent reports.
The most surprising aspect of the video is the commissioning of LHD Anadolu, which was reportedly scheduled for 2022. The commissioning of the future flagship of the Turkish Navy was revealed in the 2021-video. Following multiple delays in outfitting the ship due to the COVID outbreak and sanctions, the LHD was expected to enter service in 2022, according to officials. As a result, the absence of Anadolu’s commissioning was noted as an unexpected feature.
– I-class frigates:
The contract for the construction of three I-class frigates will be signed in 2022.Rendering of the future TCG Istanbul (STM image)
In late December, SSB published a “Request for Proposal” for the last three I-class frigates (6th, 7th, and 8th ships in the MILGEM program). Three frigates will be built simultaneously in one or perhaps more shipyards. TCG Istanbul, the leading ship of the class, is planned to enter service in 2023.
– Reis-class AIP submarines:
The future TCG Hizir Reis, the second Reis-class (Type 214 TN) submarine, will dock in 2022.The launch of TCG Pirireis (Turkish MoD photo)
Taking the second AIP submarine into the dock will be a significant development of Turkey’s Reis class submarine project. However, TCG Piri Reis, the lead ship of the Reis-class, was launched in 2019, and according to the SSB’s 2021 projection video, it was scheduled to be commissioned in 2022. However, no information on this submarine was revealed in this year’s video by SSB. Despite the fact that the latest reports indicate that TCG Piri Reis‘ outfitting progress is on schedule, SSB has not declared it ready for duty this year. The initial plan was to put the first boat into service in 2022, followed by one AIP submarine per year until 2027.
– Turkish Type Fast Attacking Craft:
The construction of Turkey’s future indigenous FACs, which will replace aging Dogan and Ruzgar-class FACs, will begin in 2022.Illustration of FAC-55 design of STM
The contract for the design phase of the FACs was signed on August 31, 2020, and the primary contractor, STM Defence, aimed to deliver the first FAC 30 months after the design phase was completed. STM officials stated during the Naval Systems Seminar on November 15 and 16 in Ankara that the design phase would be completed in 2022. As a result, the start of prototype construction in 2022 was an expected development.
– ATR-72 Maritime Patrol Aircraft:
Two ATR-72 MPAs will be delivered to the Turkish Naval Air Command (TNAC) in 2022.Turkish Navy picture
The Meltem-III program, covering the procurement of a total of 6 ATR72-600 aircraft and their modification into Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) configuration, will be completed by delivering the remaining 2 ATR-72 (designated P-72 in Turkey) to the TNAC. Within the scope of the project, which has been led by the Italian corporation Alenia Aermacchi / Leonardo, with significant support from the Turkish defense sector, four MPAs were delivered to the TNAC so far, the first one was in March 2020, the other three in 2021.
– ZAHA Amphibious Assault Vehicle:
The first ZAHA armored marine assault vehicle will be delivered to the Turkish Navy in 2022.ZAHA MAV (FNSS photo)
The Zaha Marine Assault Vehicle (MAV), which debuted at the International Defence Industry Fair 2019 (IDEF 2019), is being built by Turkey’s FNSS under contract to the SSB to meet the Turkish Navy’s amphibious operations requirements. Following the successful completion of mine and ballistic tests, it entered its last round of trials in the middle of December 2021. ZAHA will be deployed from the LHD Anadolu.
– Bayraktar TB3:
Shipborne unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) Bayraktar TB3 will make its maiden flight in 2022.Illustration of folding-winged TB3 (Screenshot from Baykar video)
Bayraktar TB3, a medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UCAV) capable of short-range landing and take-off built by Baykar, will debut in 2022. TB3 is based on the combat-proven TB2, which has been exported to 16 countries around the world. SSB unveiled this project in early 2021, describing the new drone as an enhanced model of the TB2, which is planned to be deployed on Turkey’s future LHD Anadolu.
The TB3 will be fitted with a TEI-developed indigenous engine called the PD170, and it will be capable of carrying and launching a variety of armaments, including precision-guided MAM family munitions, L-UMTAS and CIRIT laser-guided missiles, and various guided bombs.
– Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs):
New USV projects will begin in 2022.ULAQ Base/Harbor Protection Variant (Ares Shipyard image)
The Turkish defense sector has made remarkable progress in developing USV capabilities. In this regard, Turkish defense companies have been working on four (known) USV projects. The first project, ULAQ, which passed all tests and has been sea-proven, is now in mass production. Last month, the joint venture of ARES Shipyard and Meteksan Defence introduced the ULAQ to NATO countries, and it is regarded as a strong prospect to dominate this field. Another project announced by Turkey’s leading defense corporation Aselsan in July 2021 is the NB57 ASW and RD09 ASuW USVs. Sefine Shipyard, Aselsan’s project partner, cut the first steel for the vessels this summer.
Aside from these projects, Aselsan unveiled its USV Swarm concept, dubbed “Albatros-S,” during the IDEF-2021 defense show in Istanbul in August 2021. While Albatros-S is a technological development project, it is interoperable with other USV programs as well as Albatros-S unmanned surface vessels. The fourth project came from Dearsan Shipyard, which unveiled a new family of armed unmanned surface vessels (USV), the USV 15, on its social media accounts on 23 December.
Turkey’s well-known boat-maker Yonca Onuk Shipyard is also set to announce its USV project soon.
– Atmaca anti-ship missile:
Turkey’s first indigenous Atmaca missile will enter service for the Turkish Navy in 2022.Atmaca launched from Ada-class corvette TCG Kinaliada (Turkish MoD photo)
Turkish Navy’s fourth Ada-class corvette, TCG KINALIADA, carried out the final test-firing of the Roketsan-made Atmaca anti-ship missile on 19 June in the Black Sea. After this test, Atmaca obtained initial operation capability, and mass production began. The Atmaca will replace Turkey’s existing inventory of Harpoon missiles gradually. With its operational range more than 220 kilometers, it will be the main surface-to-surface missile of the Turkish Navy’s surface combatants.
The Turkish engine manufacturer Kale Arge will deliver the KTJ-3200 indigenous turbojet engine that will power the Atmaca missiles.
Kale delivered the first KTJ-3200 engine to Roketsan and TUBITAK to be used in the tests of Atmaca and SOM missiles in September 2021. The KTJ-3200 engines will replace the French-made TR40 engines, which are currently used in Atmaca missiles.
– Gokdeniz Close-in Weapon System (CIWS):
Turkey’s first indigenous close-in weapon system, which will be deployed on the future TCG Istanbul in 2022.Gokdeniz CIWS onboard Turkmen-class corvette Deniz Khan (Screenshot from Turkmen TV footage)
The Gokdeniz has already passed all acceptance tests, and Turkmenistan will be the first to utilize it aboard its first Turkmen-class corvette, “Deniz Khan.” Gokdeniz is a 35 mm weapon system capable of firing 1100 rounds per minute. It uses Aselsan ATOM 35mm airburst ammunition, which is efficient against air threats like missiles, UAVs, helicopters, and so on.
The missing programs of Turkish Defence Industry’s 2022 projectionDespite the fact that several project targets were announced in the video, there are other advancements that were projected to reach milestones in 2022 but were not. The first and second issues are the delivery of the LHD Anadolu and the first Reis-class submarine, both of which have already been mentioned. Despite the fact that the latency of LHD Anadolu was somewhat foreseen, the commissioning of TCG Pirireis was a noteworthy milestone to occur in 2022. It is unknown whether or not the delivery will take place in 2022.
The AKYA heavyweight torpedo project, which is currently in low-rate initial production, was not mentioned by SSB. According to Turkish media, the first prototypes have been delivered to the Turkish Navy and will enter service this year. AKYA passed all of its tests, and it is anticipated to begin service in early 2022.
AKYA heavyweight torpedo on the left during IDEF 2021 expo (Credit: Author)
Another expected advancement is Turkey’s first vertical launch system (VLS), known as MiDAS or MIDLAS. Following the disruption of original purchase plans for the Mk 41 VLS by American sanctions, Turkish defense company Roketsan is developing a vertical launching system for the future TCG Istanbul. The MiDAS will be able to launch both the indigenously developed Hisar family (Hisar-O / Hisar-O+) of air defense missiles and the ESSM. MiDAS will be the most important weapon of the future TCG Istanbul, so, MiDAS was expected to be installed on TCG Istanbul to complete the scheduled delivery of the first indigenous frigate on time.
The announcement doesn’t include any detail about the TF-2000 air defense destroyer project. At the IDEF-21 exhibition, two significant advancements related to the TF-2000 ADD project occurred. The first of these was the tender for the destroyer’s sonar equipment, which was awarded to the Aselsan-Armelsan joint venture. The other development was Turkey’s top procurement official, Ismail Demir’s comments about the project during the fair’s final press conference. He stated that TF-2000 is a high priority for the Turkish Navy, and that the project was green-lighted. Turkish Navy officials declared during Naval Systems Seminar that it is projected to complete the design phase of TF-2000 in 2022.