Turkey’s TCG Istanbul (F-515), the country's first I-class frigate to be produced as part of the National Ship (MILGEM) project, which was created to build domestically produced warships, will be launched on Jan. 23.
The 113-meter-long (43-foot-long) frigate is expected to be delivered to Turkey's Naval Forces Command (DzKK) in 2023 and will perform advanced air defense, surface warfare, submarine defense warfare and patrol activities.
The vessel will be equipped with indigenous infrared search and tracking systems developed by the Turkish defense corporation ASELSAN. It will also be integrated with a Turkish-made electronic assault system, according to officials. The ship will also feature locally made guided missiles and anti-torpedo shields.
The MILGEM project is a national warship program by Turkey to develop multipurpose corvettes and frigates that can be deployed in a range of missions, including reconnaissance, surveillance, early warning, anti-submarine warfare, surface-to-surface and surface-to-air warfare and amphibious operations.
Four Ada-class corvettes have joined the navy’s inventory so far. Turkey also has a deal with Pakistan for the construction and export of three corvettes. It recently signed a separate deal with Ukraine.
Along with ASELSAN, Turkey's leading defense company Havelsan is a main business partner in the frigate project. The project also has around 80 subcontractors producing more than 150 systems. Around two-thirds of those subcontractors are domestic.
Domestic suppliers will provide the Istanbul’s weapon and electrical systems, along with auxiliary machinery systems, including diesel generator sets; integrated platform control and monitoring systems; chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear (CBRN) threat units; detection and diagnosis systems; coveralls; valves; electrical power systems; cables; tables and panels; air compressors and fire extinguishing systems.
Local firms will also supply the necessary equipment for life onboard, including the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, freshwater production systems, living space furniture, service areas and hot water system equipment.
The majority of domestic suppliers working on the projects, other than the manufacturing company STM Defense Technologies Engineering and Trade Inc. and its main business partners, are small and medium-sized enterprises (SME). Two-thirds of these are industrial producers and the rest are technology-oriented suppliers.