MİLGEM Project Passes Critical Milestones

13 Kasım 2019
TCG KINALIADA will be the first platform to use ADVENT – a network-enabled integrated combat management system, and ATMACA, a guided munition.

You can read the special coverage published in the October 2019 Issue of MSI Turkish Defence Review here:

 

Ceremonies to mark the delivery to Turkish Naval Forces Command of TCG KINALIADA (F-514), the fourth and last of the ADA class corvettes, and to celebrate the cutting of the sheet steel for the first ship in the Pakistan MİLGEM Corvette Project were held on September 29 at Istanbul Shipyard Command. This is thus recorded as the date on which the first phase of Turkey’s first indigenous modern warship project was completed; on which ADVENT, a network-enabled combat management system, was added to the inventory; and on which a major step was taken in Turkey’s exportation of modern warships.

TCG KINALIADA will be the first platform to use ADVENT – a network-enabled integrated combat management system, and ATMACA, a guided munition.

TCG KINALIADA will be the first platform to use ADVENT – a network-enabled integrated combat management system, and ATMACA, a guided munition.

 

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

The current phase of the MİLGEM project – considered a milestone project in the history of the Turkish defence and aerospace sector – comprises the supply of four ADA-class corvettes and four İ (ISTIF) class frigates. With the addition of TCG KINALIADA (F-514) to the fleet, the last of the ADA-class corvettes has been added to the inventory, bringing this phase of the project to a successful conclusion. All eyes are now turning to ISTANBUL, the first class İ frigate to be constructed.

TCG KINALIADA marks a number of beginnings for Turkey, being the first platform to be integrated with ADVENT – a network-enabled integrated combat management system developed by HAVELSAN and the Naval Forces Command – which will enter into operation aboard TCG KINALIADA. In addition, the ATMACA, guided munition developed by Roketsan will be used on this vessel for the first time.

The construction of ADA-class ships, however, will not end with TCG KINALIADA, as a contract was been signed between ASFAT A.Ş. (Military Factory and Shipyard Operation Inc.) and Pakistan’s Ministry of Defence Production in Islamabad on July 5, 2018 for the sale of four MİLGEM corvettes, including technology transfer and joint production elements. The first two ships will be built at İstanbul Shipyard and then delivered to Pakistan. Accordingly, on the day TCG KINALIADA was delivered to its end user, the first sheet steel was cut for Pakistan’s first MİLGEM corvette.

 

Manifestation of Determination

The ceremony was attended by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of the Turkish Republic; Mustafa Şentop, Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assemble (TBMM); Fuat Oktay, Vice President of Turkey; Hulusi Akar, Minister of Turkish National Defence; General Yaşar Güler, Commander of the Turkish Armed Forces; Admiral Adnan Özbal, Commander of the Turkish Naval Forces; Prof. Dr. Ismail Demir, President of Defence Industries; and Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, Commander of the Pakistani Naval Forces along with many guests from the Turkish and Pakistani armed forces and the defence sector.

Addressing the ceremony, President Erdogan pointed out that Turkey was one of the 10 countries in the world capable of designing, building and maintaining warships by using national resources, reminding of the launch of TCG HEYBELİADA (F-511) under the same project in 2011, followed by TCG BÜYÜKADA (F-512) in 2013 and TCG BURGAZADA (F-513) in 2016.

Noting that up to 70 percent of the ships can now be built using national resources thanks to the experience gained in the MİLGEM project over the years, Erdoğan said: “The necessary design, research, development, supply and service procurement was carried out by the Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB) using domestic and national capabilities. The platform and design systems of our ships were supplied by STM, the weapon and sensor systems by ASELSAN, and the warfare and management system by HAVELSAN. More than 50 local firms served as subcontractors under the supervision of those firms.”

Following his speech, President Erdoğan performed the first weld on the first ship in the Pakistan MİLGEM Corvette Project, accompanied by Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, Commander of the Pakistani Naval Forces.

Following his speech, President Erdoğan performed the first weld on the first ship in the Pakistan MİLGEM Corvette Project, accompanied by Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, Commander of the Pakistani Naval Forces.

 

President Erdoğan stated that the construction of the first of the class-İ frigates, the fifth ship in the MİLGEM project had begun under an agreement signed between the SSB and STM.

Pointing out that the corvettes that have entered the inventory have undertaken and completed missions in many national and international military exercises to date, he went on to say that these corvettes, which have captured attention of many countries, have outperformed ships of similar classes around the world in their mission performance.

A model of a class-İ (ISTIF) frigate at IDEF 2019.

A model of a class-İ (ISTIF) frigate at IDEF 2019.

President Erdoğan remarked: “We have many other projects underway that aim to strengthen our navy. Works are also under way in a diesel-electric submarine project, aimed at meeting the needs of our country, as well as those of friendly and brotherly countries. We are upgrading Izmir shipyard with infrastructure and floating drydocks so that it can better serve our navy.  The first floating drydock will be entered into operation next November.”

He said that the dependence on other countries in the field of national defence had diminished from 80 percent to 30 percent, while research and development spending in the defence sector has increased to $1.5 billion. President Erdoğan said that 700 defence industry projects are currently underway in Turkey, noting that the total value of the projects in the sector was $60 billion. President Erdoğan said: “This figure will increase to $75 billion when those in the tender stage are added to the list. Today, five Turkish companies rank among the top 100 defence companies in the world, and I hope that this number will keep rising. Our goal is to totally fully eliminate the dependence of the defence sector on other countries by 2023.” He said that Turkey was using the results of its endeavours in the field of defence to meet its own needs, but was also sharing them with brotherly and friendly countries, stating that defence and aerospace exports reached approximately $2.5 billion last year.

President Erdoğan congratulated the teams who had contributed to the construction of the KINALIADA vessel. “I hope that our ship will sail safe routes and calm seas with a clear stem view.”

Following his speech, President Erdoğan made the first sheet steel cut for the first ship in the Pakistan MİLGEM Corvette Project, along with Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, Commander of the Pakistan Naval Forces.

Hulusi Akar, Minister of National Defence

Hulusi Akar, Minister of National Defence

 

Defence Industry is Indispensable

Hulusi Akar, Minister of National Defence, also delivered a speech at the ceremony: “It is vital to have a navy that is equipped with high technology and well-trained personnel in order to protect the assets of our blue homeland. History tells us that those with a strong navy always ascended, while those who lose their naval superiority are debilitated. Accordingly, we needed a powerful navy in the past, we need one now and we will need one in the future.

He said that modernizing armies through outsourcing was an option, but entailed many drawbacks, adding: “Unfortunately, we have seen examples of this on numerous occasions in our history. The ships that were not delivered during World War I and the unfair treatment we have received related to the supply of weapon systems and ammunition since the Cyprus Peace Operation has left deep marks on our national memory. The experience we have gained has shown us clearly that development of our domestic and national defence sector and its progress was of vital importance for the survival of our country, and for the peace and security of our noble nation. In brief, we no longer want to be a market. Inspired by our achievements in our glorious history, and the lessons we have learned from our mistakes, we keep moving forward. We have accomplished a great deal in the national defence sector, where local contribution has reached 70 percent under the leadership and support provided by our President, although we strongly believe that we can accomplish more.

With the addition of TCG KINALIADA (F-514), the number of ADA-class corvettes in the inventory has risen to four.

With the addition of TCG KINALIADA (F-514), the number of ADA-class corvettes in the inventory has risen to four.

 

While noting that the Turkish nation was proud of its current progress in the defence sector, Minister Akar said: “We firmly believe, however, that we can go far beyond this point. This is what our nation expects of us. Based on this approach, public and private sector institutions, as well as foundations and the academia, are working together in full harmony.”

Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, Commander of the Pakistani Naval Forces, signed the visitor’s book aboard TCG KINALIADA, which he visited with Hulusi Akar, Minister of National Defence.

Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, Commander of the Pakistani Naval Forces, signed the visitor’s book aboard TCG KINALIADA, which he visited with Hulusi Akar, Minister of National Defence.

 

Commenting on Pakistan’s purchase of MİLGEM corvettes, Minister Akar stated: “I would like to point out that sharing this project, which has strategic value, with friendly and brotherly Pakistan, which provided us with financial and moral support during the National Independence War, is a source of pride for us. Sharing the experience that we gained initially through the MİLGEM project with friendly and brotherly countries, and creating synergy with a common business model, will be one of the most critical gains of this project. Our Pakistani friends and ASFAT, a company operating under the Ministry of National Defence, as well as public agencies, foundation-owned companies and our stakeholders in the private sector will successfully complete the project by drawing upon the experience of their qualified human resources.”

Addressing the commander and crew of TCG KINALIADA, Minister Akar said: “I hope you will sail on calm seas with a clear stem view and a bright future.”

 

TCG HEYBELİADA (F-511) was the first of the ADA- class corvettes.

TCG HEYBELİADA (F-511) was the first of the ADA- class corvettes.

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