A-591‘Ufuk’ - Test and Training Ship Launched

Date: Issue 90 - February 2019

Turkey’s first Test and Training Ship A-591 ‘Ufuk’ was launched at Tuzla Shipyard with the participation of President Recep Tayyip ERDOĞAN, Minister of Defence Hulusi AKAR, Minister of Industry and Technology Mustafa VARANK, President of Defence Industries Prof. İsmail DEMİR and many officials from the defence industry and the military.

Taking the floor at the ceremony, STM Chairman of the Executive Board İhsan KAYA stated that they are very proud to make a significant contribution to the strength of the Turkish Naval Forces by using the capabilities of the sector at its finest level as the main contractor of the Test & Training Vessel (TVEG) procurement project under the leadership of the Presidency of Defence Industries and said: “STM signed the contract of the project with the Presidency of Defence Industries on December 30, 2016, and cut the first steel for the ship on May 2, 2017. We are planning to deliver our Test & Training Ship, which based on MILGEM corvette and will be launched today, to the Turkish Naval Forces Command on July 31, 2020, by completing it within 40 months.”

President of Defence Industries Prof. İsmail DEMİR stated that MILGEM, Multipurpose Amphibious Assault Ship, Seismic Research Vessel, Submarine Rescue Mother Ship (MOSHIP), and New Type Patrol Boat projects, which were developed and produced by Turkish Defence Industry in the last years, were carried out with the devoted work of both military and private shipyards as well as defence companies. DEMİR said: “When we look at the current situation of the naval sector, we see that various projects that were acquired from abroad in the past are being realized by national means today. We have approximately 40 platforms which were built at both military and private shipyards and were delivered to the Turkish Naval Forces Command. In addition, we have around 20 platforms which are already contracted and undergoing construction and modernization activities.” Prof. DEMİR ended his speech by thanking all the partners who contributed to the construction of the Test & Training Ship.

Minister of National Defence Hulusi AKAR: “The value of 650 major projects carried out in the Defence Industry exceeded US$85 Billion”

Taking the floor following the speech of the President of Defence Industries, Minister of National Defence Hulusi AKAR stressed that improving and expanding the possibilities and capabilities of the Turkish Armed Forces based on an indigenous defence industry has become more relevant than ever, and continued as: “In this regard, our state has initiated a significant movement in the defence industry based upon our national values and interests. With this approach, this country, which was exposed to an arms embargo in 1974, has now become a country that exports ships, unmanned aerial vehicles, and helicopters.”

Emphasizing that the national and domestic approach has proven to be not just words, Minister AKAR indicated that the number of defence projects, which were around 60 in 2002, increased tenfold to almost 650, and underlined that the estimated value of these projects is US$85 Billion.

Minister AKAR stated that the Turkish Naval Forces Command carry out its activities with perseverance and determination for the protection of the rights and interests on the 462 thousand square kilometers ‘Blue Motherland’ and said that it also plays a significant role in ensuring global peace and stability in different geographies.

Stating that the ‘Ufuk’ A-591 Test & Training Ship serves as a model for the collaboration between public institutions, foundations, and the private sector, Minister AKAR said: “Within the framework of Turkey’s vision of becoming a global power, I believe with all my soul that our public institutions, foundations, the private sector, and universities will achieve even greater successes for the security of our country and our future generations by working in complete harmony and synergy.”

Expressing his graditude to President ERDOĞAN for his sensibility, leadership, encouragement, and support for local and national projects, Minister AKAR said: “Our region is full of uncertainty, risks, and threats since actors, roles, and goals are constantly changing. Having an effective, deterrent and reputable army in such a geography as ours is not a choice but a necessity.”

President Recep Tayyip ERDOĞAN: “The Ufuk Corvette is the first Intelligence Ship of our country.”

President Recep Tayyip ERDOĞAN addressed the guests at the ceremony and said: “The challenging geography of our country forces us to have a strong position not only in the economy, agriculture, trade, industry, but also in intelligence. After the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Aegean and the Black Sea as well as the threats from Syria, this need became more critical and more urgent. As I have always said, one cannot be involved in [negotiations] without being [active] in the field.”

Indicating that this ship is the 5th MILGEM vessel after the “Kınalıada” corvette, which was launched 1.5 years ago, ERDOĞAN stated that with a maximum speed of 18 knots and a 10-tonne helicopter platform, the ‘Ufuk’ Corvette is the first intelligence ship of Turkey developed and built with national resources and capabilities. ERDOĞAN said: “Today, with the ‘Ufuk’ Corvette, we acquire this capability that only a few countries have in the world.”

Stating that the ‘Ufuk’ Corvette will be able to immediately detect threats to our national security by continuously navigating in severe weather and maritime conditions, including international waters, for 45 days without interruption, President ERDOĞAN said: “I believe that the ‘Ufuk’ Corvette will fill an immense gap in today’s world where preventive intelligence, especially signal intelligence is vital. On the seas, this ship will be the seeing eyes and hearing ears of Turkey.”

Following the opening speeches, a gift was given to President Recep Tayyip ERDOĞAN by STM Chairman İhsan KAYA, to mark the memory of the day also with the participation of the protocol, a family photo was taken to commemorate the important day.

Following the ready-for-launch report, Minister of National Defence Hulusi AKAR’s wife Şule AKAR expressing her wishes “May you bring good luck to the country and the nation, wave our glorious flag on the seas.” and symbolically cut the rope which tethers the ship to the cradle and the A-591 ‘Ufuk’ Test & Training Ship was launched.

A-591 ‘Ufuk’ Vessel is Scheduled to be Delivered to the Turkish Naval Forces Command on July 31, 2020

The contract between the STM and the SSB was signed on December 30, 2016, in the Test & Training Vessel program after the tender process was completed in the last quarter of 2016 by the Presidency of Defence Industries. Under the program with STM as the main contractor and Istanbul Shipyard as the subcontractor, the first steel was cut on May 2, 2017, and the construction activities of the ship officially started.

Within the scope of the program, while STM carried out the conception and design activities; system, equipment, material, and instrument selection; manufacturing equipment and blueprint preparation; test and verification procedures; and Integrated Logistic Support (ILS) documents, Istanbul Shipyard carried out the construction and outfitting activities. TVEG, built as 30 blocks, was completed on July 24, 2018, by assembling on the cradle including the superstructure and mast. During the construction process, 920 tons of steel plate, 12.5 tons of aluminum, 6340 meters of pipe were assembled together, in addition, the main systems of the vessel were installed prior to launching. The A-591 ‘Ufuk’ Corvette, with its command control, electronic systems, test, and training system equipment to be provided by Aselsan, is intended to be used in signal and electronic intelligence missions (SIGINT/ELINT) in addition to the Test and Training vessel requirements of The Turkish Naval Forces.

The vessel, with a length of 99.5 meters, a beam of 14.4 meters, a maximum speed of 18 knots and a 10-ton flight deck, is scheduled to be commissioned by the Turkish Naval Forces Command on July 31, 2020.