Turkey’s first intelligence vessel, TCG UFUK (A-591), built by the Turkish Defense Industry Presidency (SSB) at the Istanbul Shipyard under the main contractorship of STM, was delivered to the Turkish Naval Forces on 14 January, during a ceremony attended by senior officials.
President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Minister of National Defense Hulusi Akar, Chief of General Staff General Yaşar Güler, Head of MIT Hakan Fidan, Head of Defense Industry of Turkey Prof. Dr. İsmail Demir, STM General Manager Özgür Güleryüz, and many other guests attended the ceremony held at the Istanbul Maritime Shipyard in Tuzla, Istanbul.
President Erdoğan made remarks at the ceremony about recent developments in the defense industry. “I feel we have had a good start to 2022 by witnessing significant achievements in critical defense industry projects,” Erdoğan said, adding that the Ufuk Corvette will boost Turkey’s might in the seas, on land, and in the air. Erdoğan stated that Turkey’s ability to conduct a variety of acts ranging from counter-terrorism to cross-border operations, despite all overt and covert embargoes, is due to its progress in the defense industry, and that “we will receive good news on this matter in the near future.”
The contract between SSB and STM was signed on 30 December, 2016, and work on the Test and Training Vessel Project began on March 31, 2017. TCG Ufuk was launched on 9 February, 2019, following the completion of construction at Istanbul Maritime Shipyard. The localization rate of the Ufuk vessel, which was built under the main contractorship of STM and to which approximately 194 domestic companies such as ASELSAN, HAVELSAN, İŞBİR, and ANEL YALTES contributed as subcontractors, is said to be 70%.
TCG Ufuk was built as a test and training vessel but can also be utilized for signal and electronic intelligence missions. As a result, it is also recognized as Turkey’s first domestic intelligence vessel, despite the fact that it is a test and training vessel.
The TCG Ufuk, was built utilizing the MİLGEM Ada Class Corvette hull design, it has a crew capacity of 110 personnel and can cruise for 60 days in difficult temperature and sea conditions. The ship is 99.5 meters long, 14.4 meters wide, has a top speed of 18 knots and a displacement of 2,400 tons. It has a draft of 3.6 meters, and a landing deck for a 10-ton helicopter. TCG UFUK (A-591), like its counterparts, does not have any large-scale weapon systems in order to avoid being perceived as a threat in international waters. For self-defense, the ship is armed with machine guns.
TCG Ufuk is expected to be utilized for electronic data monitoring, gathering, analysis, countermeasures, and deception/blocking of enemy electronic signals. It will be employed jointly by the Turkish Naval Forces Command and the National Intelligence Organization (MIT).