Turkey`s First Indigenous Armed Unmanned Surface Vehicle "ULAQ AUSV" Launched

ARES Shipyard and Meteksan Defence, which had initiated Turkey`s first indigenous Armed Unmanned Surface Vehicle (AUSV) program in October 2020, announced that the prototype vessel, ULAQ AUSV, has been launched and sea trials have started.

Date: Issue 105 - April 2021

February 12th ,2021, In 2018 ARES Shipyard and Meteksan Defence teamed up to manufacture Turkey’s first unique armed Unmanned Surface Vehicle and the ULAQ AUSV project was officially initiated by the parties in the same year. The research and concept studies were published between 2018-2019. In 2019, the prototype production process was started with national capabilities, and prototype design activities were completed in the first quarter of 2020. The production of the first prototype started in June 2020 and the design studies of the prototype boat were finalized in August. Eventually, the first prototype vessel was launched in February 2021. 

In the joint press release issued by the two companies, Utku ALANÇ, Chief Executive Officer of ARES Shipyard, and Selçuk K. ALPARSLAN, General Manager of Meteksan Defence, stated: "In the field of Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs); we would like to proudly announce that we have launched the first Armed Unmanned Surface Vehicle of ULAQ series, and have initiated the intensive sea trials period. From now on, our next short-term target is to complete the sea trials successfully and carry out the guided-missile firing tests. Since the very first announcement of ULAQ Unmanned Systems, we have encountered significant interest from our country and our allies. This interest and support have given us great incentive to design and build unique, state-of-the-art solutions. On this occasion, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Turkish Ministry of National Defense, The Presidency of Defense Industries and Turkish Naval Forces and all our citizens who have provided full support since the very first launch of the ULAQ program."

The design, construction, and outfitting activities of ULAQ are carried out by ARES Shipyard, the integration of remote command, autonomous, datalink and data transfer systems are performed by Meteksan Defence, and weapon systems are provided by Roketsan. 

ULAQ, which has a length of 11 meters, a payload capacity of up to 2 tons, a maximum cruising range of 400 km, and 65 km/h (35 knots) top speed, is equipped with a day/night Electro-Optical (E/O) system, encrypted communication infrastructure, and an Anti-jamming GNSS infrastructure. Manufactured from advanced composite materials, ULAQ is equipped with passive and active stabilization systems, a damage-control system with self-righting capability, a telescopic mast, and an antenna system to increase detection & identification capabilities, a navigation and surveillance radar system to track surface targets, as well as a laser and IR-guided weapon systems. 

The UCSV can be operated from mobile ground control stations, military headquarters, and command centers or naval platforms such as aircraft carriers and frigates to carry out different missions such as Reconnaissance, Surveillance & Intelligence, Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW), Asymmetric Warfare, Armed Escort & Force Protection, and Strategic Facility Security. The AUSV will be able to carry out joint operations with complementary forces such as UAV's, AUAV's and TUAV's. Furthermore, the AUSV is not only a remotely controlled vehicle but also, and more importantly, an autonomous vehicle that hosts artificial intelligence.

The prototype AUSV's missile systems include CİRİT 4 cells and 2 of L-UMTAS, supplied by Turkish missile systems provider Roketsan. Simultaneously during the sea trials, the firing tests are expected to be planned at the end of Q1-2021.

ARES Shipyard and Meteksan Defence have announced that after the first prototype vessel they will be ready to manufacture other USVs for operations like surveillance and intelligence, mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare, firefighting, search and rescue missions