Home / Ankara / Exclusive: Turkish Naval Forces: In Search Of Indigenous Navy

Exclusive: Turkish Naval Forces: In Search Of Indigenous Navy


Alim Kahraman

The arms embargo imposed by the US due to the Cyprus Peace Operation has been a milestone for the Turkish Naval Forces Command. This embargo created an unexpected benefit to Turkey: The Establishment of the National Shipbuilding Industry.

Prior to the Cyprus Peace Operation, the Turkish Navy was dependent on the United States, especially in terms of combat ships and associated equipment. These vessels, most of which were built in the Second World War and surplus, had been used by the Turkish Navy. These vessels, supplied at very low cost, had hampered the development of the national shipbuilding industry. In the 1960s, destroyers, patrol boats and small landing crafts were built by national means, but these efforts were not long-lasting.

The arms embargo, imposed after the Cyprus Peace Operation, enabled the taking of radical decisions for the establishment of the national defense industry. In this context, the Turkish Navy began joint projects with German companies and began to procure new built modern warships. Thanks to this partnership, German designed warships (surface units and diesel-electric powered attack submarines) were built in Turkey, thus enabling the establishment of local developments and workload. 8 frigates, 19 patrol boats, 14 submarines and 6 mine hunting craft were procured during this period covering approximately 1975-2010. Most of these vessels were mainly built at Gölcük and Istanbul by state-owned naval shipyards.

The Turkish Navy has moved to a new stage since the beginning of the year 2000: Establish a new navy consisting of indigenous ships built in naval and private shipyards. In this context,

–  16 heavily armed Tuzla Class advanced patrol boats were built by DEARSAN Tersanesi between 2011-2015.

–  8 rapid Landing Craft Tank (LCT) built by private shipbuilder Anadolu Deniz İnşaat Kızakları Sanayi ve Ticaret (ADİK).

–  The first two MILGEM corvettes of ADA Class, TCG HEYBELİADA and TCG BÜYÜKADA were built by Pendik-based state-owned shipyard İstanbul Tersanesi Komutanlığı (Istanbul Naval Shipyard Command) and commissioned by Turkish Navy in 2011 and 2013 respectively. The project was implemented and technically run by STM (Savunma Teknolojileri Mühendislik ve Ticaret). They are armed with 76mm artillery, 12.7mm STAMP remote weapon stations, torpedoes and anti-torpedo systems, Harpoon surface-to-surface anti-ship missiles and RAM surface-to-air missiles. Other main equipment include HAVELSAN G-MSYS (GENESIS MİLGEM Savaş Yönetim Sistemi) combat management system and SMART-S Mk 2 search radar, hull-mounted sonar, fire control system, electro-optical unit, command management system, electronic warfare system, laser warning system, navigation radars, and accommodation for one S-70B Seahawk multirole helicopter.

– The eight Oliver Hazard Perry frigates of Gabya Class were locally modernized with HAVELSAN GENESIS (Gemi Entegre Savaş İdare Sistemi) combat management systems and command and control electronics  and communications, and four also were equipped  Thales Nederland/Aselsan SMART-S Mk2 3D search radar system, Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile, vertical missile launcher and fire control system was upgraded.

– The four Barbaros Class Frigate were equipped Thales Nederland/Aselsan SMART-S Mk2 3D search radar system, ESSM, vertical missile launcher and fire control system was upgraded.

– The Ay Class U209/1200 submarines TCG Doğanay and TCG Dolunay were modernized with a wide range of new equipment including electronic warfare systems and electro-optical systems, as well as with capability to launch Raytheon Mk48 ADCAP Mod 6 AT heavyweight torpedoes.

–  On 28 January 2017, Submarine Rescue Mother Ship (MOSHIP) TCG ALEMDAR (A-582) built by privately-run İstanbul Shipyard was officially delivered to Turkish Navy.

Ongoing projects:

–  Construction by İstanbul Tersanesi Komutanlığı of Ada Class corvettes TCG BURGAZADA and TCG KINALIADA.

–  Construction of TCG İSTANBUL, the first indigenous frigate of Istif Class based on the MILGEM concept, had begun on 18 January at İstanbul Tersanesi Komutanlığı.

–  Construction by Gölcük Tersanesi Komutanlığı (Gölcük Naval Shipyard Command) with assistance of German ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) since October 2015 of
TCG PİRİREİS, the first of six Reis Class attack submarines equipped with Air Independent Propulsion system according to a contract of July 2009. They will be armed with heavyweight torpedoes, Harpoon surface to surface missile and potentially with IDAS (Interactive Defence & Attack System) missile developed by TKMS, Diehl BGT Defence, Kongsberg Defense Systems, Roketsan and Nammo.

–  Construction of LST class amphibious ship TCG BAYRAKTAR and TCG SANCAKTAR in ADIK Shipyard,

–  Construction of the first LHD multipurpose amphibious assault ship TCG ANADOLU by privately-run Sedef Gemi Inşaatı. The contract was placed by SSM in May 2015 to Spanish shipbuilder Navantia and will see delivery in September 2021. Navantia is responsible to transfer technology to private shipbuilder SEDEF Gemi Inşaatı, as well as to supply diesel engines and integrated platform management system. The ship will include several main sub-systems from Turkish companies such as state-controlled Aselsan and HAVELSAN. Local content will include GENESIS-Advent combat management system, search and navigation radars, electro-optical sensors, information systems, electronic warfare systems and remote-controlled weapon stations. The boat, the biggest surface unit ever built in Turkey, will be able to carry out roles such as troop and cargo transport, aviation support missions, humanitarian aid and disaster relief. They will be armed with weapon system for self-protection. One similar ship is currently fielded by the Spanish Navy and two are in service with the Royal Australian Navy.

–  Construction of TCG AKIN and TCG IŞIN rescue and towing ships, in privately-run Istanbul Shipyard is undergoing.

– An upgrade program for Yavuz Class MEKO 200TN Track-I frigates is planned, mainly aimed at to replace existing electronic warfare suite, electro-optical systems and self-protection equipment by locally developed technologies.


TCG ALEMDAR MOSHIP was ordered on October 28, 2011 and built by private Istanbul Shipyard and she was launched on April 29, 2014. The surface ship was commissioned by Turkish Navy on 28 January 2017. She is designed to perform subsea and surface search and rescue missions under various sea conditions. Her main task is to rescue submarines that cannot resurface by their own efforts. She is able to provide life support to the stranded crew of a distressed submarine at a maximum depth of 600 m (2,000 ft). She is equipped with remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROV) and atmospheric diving suits (ADS). A modern vessel with complex equipment on board, TCG ALEMDAR will help maintain an appropriate level of salvage and recovery capability for the Turkish Navy’s fleet of fourteen diesel-electric submarines

General characteristics

Length : 91 m

Beam : 18,5 m

Draft : 7,8 m

Speed : 18 knots

Range : 4,500 nautical miles at 14 knots

Crew : 131


Additional Reporting by Victor M. S. Barreria

Check Also

The 5 fears of Erdogan Government

THE 5 FEARS OF JUSTICE AND DEVELOPMENT PARTY (AKP) Turkish journalist Erdem Gül, evaluated the …