Turkey has been developing its own intelligence-gathering vessel in a move that could see its maritime and intelligence capabilities increase significantly.
During a handover ceremony at the Istanbul Shipyard yesterday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the unveiling of the TCG Ufuk (A-591), dubbed “Turkey’s ears and eyes at sea”.
The Ufuk, which means ‘horizon’, can sail continuously for 45 days and is designed for use in signal and electronic intelligence (SIGINT/ELINT) missions and will be in service with the security forces and operated by the National Intelligence Organization of Turkey (MIT).
The main contractor for the development of the vessel is the prominent Turkish company STM, with its command control, electronic systems and test and training system equipment provided by the defense company Aselsan. Thanks to its advanced systems, the ship will be able to collect data both at sea and on land around it.
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Erdogan hailed the vessel as a significant step forward in the country’s shipbuilding capabilities, saying “Turkey is currently among the 10 nations in the world capable of designing, building and maintaining warships.”
It is also linked to Ankara’s general expansion of its domestic arms industry, with Erdogan expressing his goal of increasing arms exports to $4 billion this year and revealing that 180 naval platforms have already been exported to 25 different countries.
Üç tarafı denizlerle çevrili ülkemizin gerektiği gibi korunabilmesi, Mavi Vatan’ın en iyi şekilde savunulmasıyla mümkündür.
Bugün hizmete aldığımız, dünyada pek az istihbarat teşkilatının sahip olduğu en modern donanımlara sahip TCG Ufuk Gemimiz ülkemize hayırlı olsun. 🇹🇷 pic.twitter.com/7dgUUeo9Z6
— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RTErdogan) January 14, 2022
“We are now producing vertical launch systems and will use them in three new upcoming corvettes,” the president said. “We will further strengthen our navy with locally produced radars and war management systems.”
The ship is said to have been in production since 2019, and according to defense and naval researcher Kozan Selcuk Erkan who spoke to the Turkish press last year, many countries do not have the technology that the TCG Ufuk has. “Apart from the United States, Russia, China, France, Sweden, Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom, few navies have the same capability,” Erkan said. .
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