Advertorial: ARES Shipyard Builds Special Boats for Special Forces
ARES Shipyard (ARES) is becoming increasingly energised as significant developments are imminent regarding two specific boat models.
ARES 80 SAT: the New Ace of the Special Operations Forces
The ARES 80 SAT, ARES’ new boat addressing the requirements of underwater attack (SAT) teams, is built on the platform that was beginning to be developed in the context of the procurement process for new SAT boats. The related process was launched to meet the need of the Turkish Naval Forces Command (TNFC) but was then cancelled. Configured on the hull that was originally designed by ARES for the ARES 80 boat with serious investments and intense technical work, the ARES 80 SAT is a distinctive concept. Having developed one of these boats for an important overseas customer, ARES is instigating the relevant promotional activities during IDEF 2017.
The company started to work on this boat class nearly five years ago. A hull form with advanced seakeeping and performance features was designed in the context of the project that was launched in preparation for bidding in Turkey. Kerim Kalafatoğlu, Chairman & Executive Director of ARES, explains this form as being: “unique with its extremely high seakeeping and speed capabilities pushing the limits”. In addition to the conventional pulling tests, ARES has tested this form both empirically and through the self-propelled sea-keeping method. Its hull form is capable of reaching speed levels of around 50 knots; even at sea state 5. Ultimately, a multi-role platform that is capable of successfully carrying out special operations and patrol duties requiring longer endurance has emerged.
The length overall and beam of the ARES 80 SAT is 24 m and 5.8 m respectively and it can reach a maximum speed of 54 knots with 5,200 HP. Propulsion is provided with Rolls-Royce water jets connected to two MTU main diesel machines with 2,600 HP and 16 cylinders each. The boat, which can be equipped with numerous different weapons and sensors, can carry one or two RHIB(s) and two jet skis at a time. In the boat, which can cruise up to 600 miles, seven crewmembers can perform their duties for a week and without replenishment. In addition, the boat can also accommodate 9 to 16 fully equipped commandos. We have also been informed that a 30 mm stabilised gun can easily be installed on the platform.
In the boat, which has an entirely aluminium hull, 5383 sealium is used. This has more superior features than those of standard marine grade aluminium, namely 5083. Kalafatoğlu summarises their approach concerning this issue, as follows: “Though we are sure that composite is the best material to be used in commercial and paramilitary boats, we think that its use in combatant military craft is limited. As metal can easily be repaired anywhere, we find it more appropriate to use metal materials in platforms taking part in special operations; operating under heavy conditions; becoming a possible target or being subject to deformations, which may result from different types of clashes and crushes. ARES 80 SAT makes a difference with its operation capability in shallow waters and its landing capability. The boat can operate in shallow waters and can directly land on shores to disembark and embark personnel. And while doing this, the teams can run through the ship’s bow ramp and land directly on the coast without going to the ship’s rear or side decks.
ARES 150 HERCULES is Coming
In accordance with the contract signed with the Qatar Ministry of Interior, ARES is building a total of 17 boats for Qatar’s Coast Guard Command. Having delivered a total of eight boats, five with 24 m and three with 35 m length overall, ARES is 13 months ahead of schedule. There are seven 35 m and two 48 m boats that have not yet been delivered within the context of the project. ARES is planning to deliver four more 35 m boats by the end of this year.
Recently, the company has completed building the composite hull of the first ARES 150 HERCULES Offshore Patrol Vessels that have a length overall of 48 m. At the same time that this vessel proceeded to the outfitting line, construction of the second vessel’s hull began. ARES is planning to launch the first vessel in August or September and deliver it by the end of the year. Meanwhile, the second vessel will be delivered mid-2018. Accordingly, when the three 35 m boats are delivered in 2018, the project will have been completed nearly 22 months earlier than scheduled in the contract.
The ARES 150 HERCULES, with a length overall of 48 m and a beam of 9 m, is being constructed with fully advanced composite materials, such as e-glass, carbon fibre and epoxy resin. ARES asserts that the vessel’s hull will not require any maintenance for 30 years and that routine hull cleaning along with antifouling paint application will be sufficient. On the other hand, the vessel offers semi-displacement feature in terms of its hull form. Thus, it has superior seakeeping capability as well as high-speed capabilities. For example, it can reach a speed of 37 knots with 260 ton displacement and with only 9,000 HP engine power. While the contract requires a speed of 29 knots and a cruising range of 800 miles, ARES 150 HERCULES offers 37 knots and 1,600 miles, respectively.
In addition, ARES 150 HERCULES is a platform offering diving support and carrying two high-speed ARES 25 HARPOON interceptor boats on its aft deck. 35 m ARES 110 HERCULES series boats also have one of these interceptor boats on them.
ARES integrates ASELSAN made 30 mm MUHAFIZ (SMASH) and 12.7 mm STAMP weapon systems in all the boats it delivers. The shipyard purchased 12 MUHAFIZ (SMASH) and 29 STAMP systems in the context of the contract signed in the recent months.
Kalafatoğlu shared the following information about ARES’ ongoing projects in the country and abroad: “We have an efficient and successful business development department and we allocate a serious amount of resources to marketing. ARES has already become a respected brand. We are able to cope with the fierce global competition in our field. We are successfully competing with the world’s largest brands all around the world. This is a very favourable situation and is evidence of the fact that we are bearing the fruits of our labour. We have started to receive orders from regions we would never have thought of. We are not being arrogant about this. We are very well aware of the fact that we know very little. We are still trying to learn and this will always be so. Our aim is to develop and offer totally customer oriented platforms, addressing real needs and operational requirements. In the domestic market, we have competed in the tenders for the New SAT Boat and the Fast Patrol Boat. Now, we are waiting for the results. We are extremely interested in SSM’s projects and have made serious investments and regulations in this regard. We, as ARES, are a contender for becoming one of the most important actors, especially in the Turkish Type Assault Boat project to be conducted in the future. I should mention that we are distinguishable from other local suppliers with this important feature: all our local competitors have grown and thrived by means of selling their products to SSM, in other words to the local market. They have opened to export markets after being successful in the local market. Conversely, ARES has been involved in exports from the very beginning and it is in fact coming from abroad into the local market. More precisely, the shipyard is trying to add the local market aspect to its existing export operations. It means that it is probably the only national shipyard that earns abroad and spends in the country. Though we are currently competing in two local tenders with relatively low budgets, the procurement programmes, for which we are competing abroad, especially in the Gulf region, have record level budgets. You will soon be hearing some significant and very good news about us.”
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