Turkey has domestically produced a vertical launch system (VLS) for naval platforms that will replace the ones procured from abroad while the systems will also equip warships to be constructed in the near future, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Friday.
“Until now, we had been outsourcing the VLS, which is the main weapon group of our frigates. Now we have a national and locally produced one,” the president said.
Erdoğan was speaking during the delivery ceremony of the country’s first intelligence collection ship in Istanbul Shipyard.
Defined as a test and training ship, TCG Ufuk (A-591) was also developed and built with national resources and capabilities and was delivered Friday to the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) for the joint operation with the Naval Forces Command.
Erdoğan, further speaking on the domestic VLS, said it will equip the Istanbul Frigate, the fifth vessel being built under the MILGEM (National Ship) project and was launched last year.
Under the MILGEM, Turkish shipyards have delivered four corvettes to the navy so far while also constructing warships for friendly and allied countries, namely Pakistan and Ukraine.
The country has most recently launched tenders for three new MILGEM corvettes to be built under public-private cooperation. Those three corvettes will also be equipped with the domestic VLS, Erdoğan said.
“We now design and manufacture many weapons, sensors, radars, management systems within the country, such as our Atmaca anti-ship missile or the Gökdeniz close-in weapon system (CIWS),” he said.
Dependent on abroad for VLS procurement, Turkey was set to purchase the MK41 VLS from the United States for the Istanbul Frigate but this changed due to the U.S. embargo preventing the purchase, accelerating domestic efforts to develop such systems within the country.
Ankara aims to be fully independent in critical systems in the defense industry, pushed by several official or unofficial embargoes and sales restrictions experienced in the country’s recent history and the naval industry is one of the main branches that come forward as the steps taken have developed the navy by leaps and bounds.