Turkey continues to expand the diversity of its domestic combat vehicles. In this context, production activities for Turkey’s first national submarine, the STM500, developed by STM Defense Technologies and Engineering under the coordination of the Presidency of Defense Industries, began on Sunday, June 26. The development was announced by İsmail Demir, head of Turkey’s defense industry with the following statement on social media: “A historical step in our national submarine journey! We are starting the production activities of the STM500 submarine, which was designed by Turkish engineers with domestic resources.”
STM General Manager Özgür Güleryüz commented on the development, saying, “As the first engineering company in Turkey with the capability of constructing and modernizing submarines, we have reached another historical milestone. We are proud to start the durable hull test production of our STM500 submarine, the product of our national engineering. I congratulate all my teammates who contributed to our STM500 submarine, which has a high export potential, and I thank our Defense Industry President Prof. Dr. İsmail Demir for their support.”
Enver Küçükerman, Group Manager of STM Combat Systems, spoke at the 10th Naval Systems Seminar in November of last year. Küçükerman made the conceptual design and technical specifications of the submarine public for the first time during his presentation. During the seminar, it was also announced that construction of the STM500 small submarine will begin in 2022, and that the submarine’s construction activities will take 48 months, with the whole project expected to be completed in 72 months.
Turkey’s first national submarine, the STM500, is a small-sized diesel-electric attack submarine. The STM500 is intended for use in both open seas and shallow waters. The STM500 will be outfitted with a Battle Management System, Navigation Radar, Optronic Navigation and Assault Periscopes, Torpedo Countermeasure-Deceivers, Electronic Support Measures (ESM), Floating Antenna (BWA), and Sonars: CAS, CTA, PRS, MAS, IDRS, and ONA, allowing the submarine to conduct operations like reconnaissance and surveillance, special forces operations, and submarine warfare.
The 42 meters (138 feet) long STM-500 mini-attack submarine will have a submerged displacement of 540 tons and a top speed of 18 knots. The submarine will be able to operate at depths of more than 250 meters for 30 days with a 6-person Special Forces team in addition to its 18-person crew. The submarine will also feature a total of 8 heavy torpedo and guided missile capability with a total of 4 ready-to-fire torpedo tubes, as well as AKYA new generation heavy-weight torpedoes and a submarine-launched variant of the ATMACA missile developed by Roketsan for the Turkish Navy.
Aside from the STM500, Turkey is still working on the National Submarine Project (MILDEN). Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made statements about the National Submarine Project while attending the launching ceremony of Turkey’s second Reis class (Type-214TR) submarine last month. Erdoğan remarked in his statement that preparations for MİLDEN are proceeding at full speed and that construction will begin in 2025.