Turkey’s flourishing indigenous arms industry has defied a “hidden embargo” on the country for the last 15 years, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on July 3, signaling new projects in the sector.
Speaking at the launch ceremony of the Kınalıada Corvette, domestically manufactured under the Turkish military’s national warship development project (MİLGEM), Erdoğan vowed that the country would not give up on realizing its high ambitions for the defense industry.
“It must be one of our priorities to become a full arms-producing country rather than a consumer in this area. We need to prefer our domestic corporations over foreign ones if they are making products of equal characteristics. If we had not followed this practice over the past 15 years, because of these hidden embargoes we would not have even been able to undertake in our cross-border operations against terror,” he said.
He was speaking in Istanbul’s Tuzla shipyard, where the construction of five naval corvettes was kick-started after the Kınalıada ceremony.
The first weld of the Kınalıada Corvette ceremony was held in June 2016, and officials say it will become operational by 2020.
The indigenous “Ada-class” naval corvettes of 99.5 meters length have been designed to carry out various missions such as surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, air defense, surveillance and reconnaissance, command-control and asymmetric defense warfare missions. The first was the TCG Heybeliada (F-511), launched in 2008.
The ships, which are named after the Princes’ Islands off Istanbul, are designed for search and rescue, patrol and anti-submarine warfare duties and are armed with a 76 millimeter gun, missiles and torpedoes and carry a Seahawk helicopter.
The ships have a displacement of 2,400 tons, a maximum speed of more than 29 knots (33 miles an hour) and a range of 3,500 nautical miles.
Erdoğan also noted Turkey has completed 14 warship projects and is set to finalize 10 further projects in this field.
“We are proud of our ability to build military ships, especially the construction of submarines. Turkey has been among the 10 countries in the world capable of designing and manufacturing military vessels. We will also build our own aircraft carriers,” he said.