Turkey operates the second-largest submarine fleet in NATO. Currently all of them are imported designs, but that is set to change. The program to build the first indigenous submarine has been formally launched. Known as MiLDEN (Milli Denizaltı), six of the new boats should join the fleet in the 2030s.
The move comes at a time many defense deals with Turkey are under the spotlight, with the U.S. cancelling sales of F-35 fighter jets to the country and taking away its production role in the program over Turkey's decision to acquire Russian S-400 air-defense missiles. Turkey also has ambitions to be more self-sufficient in defense, building indigenous frigates and main battle tanks. It even has a railgun project.
The new submarines will have Air Independent Power (AIP), which will allow them to remain submerged for much longer than traditional non-nuclear submarines. Contrary to popular belief, AIP is used to power the electric motor which turns the propeller, not to charge the batteries. The batteries are reserved for silent running and high-speed dashes when the AIP alone is not enough.
Turkey’s 12 current submarines are all based on the German Type-209 family. The plan has been for these to be partly replaced by six of the more advanced Type-214TN model, also from Germany. The Type-214TN submarines will be known as the Reis Class and, unlike previous Turkish submarines, will be built locally. The project has suffered from serious delays however and is not expected to join the fleet until the 2020s.
The MiLDEN program will take years more of research and development. In the meantime, the local shipbuilding industry is gaining experience by upgrading three of Pakistan's submarines. These were built in France so, together with the construction of German-designed boats, Turkey is gaining a broad awareness of submarine design. (end of excerpt)
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Last year Erdogan announced Turkey had started work on its first long-range air-defence missile [Getty]
Date of publication: 18 October, 2019
In recent years, Turkey has developed a variety of air, land and naval systems for its military in a bid to make it more indigenous so the country can rely less on foreign suppliers.
“We will accomplish to make our own fighter jets, just like we did with our attack helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles and armed unmanned aerial vehicles,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan boasted this September.
Our aim is to completely remove foreign dependence in the defence industry, by 2023, he added.
That year will coincide with the centennial of Turkey's independence in 1923 when Erdogan plans to showcase Turkey's various achievements under his presidency.
In September 2018, the Turkish president said that in its military operations 65 percent of the weapons Turkey uses are indigenous. Turkey, he said, would have faced more obstacles when undertaking military operations if we had not reached this level.
As long as we remain only a user of technology, we cannot guarantee our freedom in any area, he added.
Erdogan's recent comment about building a fighter jet came after the suspension of Turkey from the US F-35 Joint Strike Fighter programme. Turkey was removed from the programme for buying Russian S-400 air defence missile systems, which Washington insists could compromise classified information on the F-35's capabilities if they are both operated together in the same military.
Ankara denied there was any risk of this.
Turkey's suspension from the programme means it will not be able to take delivery of the 100 F-35 jets it ordered and also will not have a lucrative role manufacturing hundreds of the fighter's parts for other members of the programme.
Ankara has been working on its own indigenous fifth-generation stealth air superiority fighter jet, the TAI TF-X. It hopes the TF-X will gradually replace the country's F-16 fleet and also give Turkey fighter jets it can export.
However, it hasn't made progress on developing indigenous engines for the jet. Rolls Royce had submitted a tender but withdrew it after fears that its intellectual property would be passed on to a third party. For now, Turkey plans to use General Electric engines for the TF-X prototypes and the first batch of the aircraft.
However, this means that Ankara will have to compromise on the stealth capabilities of the TF-X.
Turkey has been much more successful in building a formidable drone programme.
"I don't want to be sarcastic but I would like to thank [the US government] for any of the projects that was not approved by the US because it forced us to develop our own systems," said İsmail Demir, the Undersecretary for Turkey's Defence Industries, back in May 2016, referring to Turkey's success in building the type of drones the US refused to sell it. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Al Araby website.