The Turkish Naval Forces are preparing for the most extensive maritime drill in the Republic's history. The drill, "Blue Homeland," will put on display an array of new naval weapons and warships.
Frigates, submarines, MİLGEM corvettes, amphibious crafts, marines as well as Turkey's indigenous Bayraktar and ANKA Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), and jet fighters will participate in the drill. It will take place between Feb. 27 and March 8 in the seas surrounding Turkey.
As in all the other sectors within the defense industry, the Turkish Navy has taken significant steps in recent years to modernize its fleet, increase combat capability and become stronger in the face of growing intimidation and national security threats.
The Turkish shipbuilding industry has also made significant progress in the area of military shipbuilding recently, carrying out design and engineering services, as well as exporting sub-industry products.
The MİLGEM corvette project was initiated in 2000, to locally design and builds a fleet of multipurpose corvettes and frigates. It looks a major project to replace older ships and strengthen the navy.
Within the framework of the program, Turkey has built four corvettes so far, namely TCG Heybeliada, TCG Büyükada, TCG Burgazada and TCG Kınalıada, while a fifth vessel is under construction.
The 99.56-meter-long and 14.42-meter-wide corvettes have a sea endurance of 15 days and have a maximum speed of 26 knots.
During the drill, coordination exercises between the naval forces and air forces, including F-16 fighter jets and the UAVs, will be on display. Also, Bayraktar and ANKA UAVs will take part in a naval drill for the first time.
Battery command posts and radar sites will also participate in the joint operation exercises. Along with the command echelons of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar is also expected to follow the drill.