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Turkey`s First Unmanned Combat Surface Vehicle

October 28, 2020

Turkey's first Armed Unmanned Combat Surface Vehicle (UCSV), ULAQ, was introduced at a joint press conference organized by Meteksan Defence and ARES Shipyard.

Antalya-based ARES Shipyard and Ankara -based Meteksan Defence companies have introduced the first unmanned combat surface vessel solution following the research and development activities that have been going on for several years. The prototype of the Unmanned Combat Surface Vehicle (UCSV) “ULAQ,” which will be the first platform of its series, is expected to be completed in December.

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 top speed, is equipped with a day/night Electro-Optical (E/O) system, national encrypted communication infrastructure, and manufactured from advanced composite materials. 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 design studies of the prototype boat were finalized in August. Its structural production was completed and is planned to be launched in December 2020, following the outfitting activities. The first firing tests of the ULAQ prototype will be carried out in the first quarter of 2021 with 4 CIRIT and 2 L-UMTAS missile systems provided by the national missile systems manufacturer Roketsan.

In addition to missile systems, ULAQ can also be equipped with different payloads, such as electronic warfare, jamming, and various communication and intelligence systems, to meet other operational requirements. It will also be able to have joint operation capabilities with other UCSVs with similar or different capabilities UAVs/UCAVs and manned aircraft. Aside from being a remotely controlled unmanned surface vehicle, the UCSVs will also be equipped with superior and high-tech advanced capabilities such as artificial intelligence and autonomous features.  Following the prototype development, which is the first phase of a broader project initiated by ARES Shipyard and Meteksan Defence in the field of unmanned surface vehicles (USV), different UCSV versions for intelligence gathering, mine hunting, anti-submarine warfare, firefighting, and humanitarian aid/evacuation missions will also be ready for production.

Taking the floor at the joint press briefing on October 28, 2020, ARES Shipyard General Manager Utku Alanç said, "As a result of our labor-intensive efforts and hard work to realize this dream, we are proud to present the first national unmanned combat surface vehicle (UCSV) solution in the field of Unmanned Naval Systems. We have achieved this success, as always, with our own resources and capabilities, keeping our national interests at the forefront. We present the Unmanned Combat Surface Vehicle Project, the production of which will be completed in December, to our great Turkish nation as the first platform of the ULAQ series. In ancient Turkish culture, ULAQ is the name given to ambassadors, who represented the state in every field with their impressive skills since Central Asia. ULAQs were renowned for their military talents, as well as for their knowledge and wisdom. In this sense, the Unmanned Surface Vehicles we have developed are also true to this name.”

Speaking a the conference, President of Meteksan Defence Selçuk Alparslan said, "With the developments in recent years, we see once again the importance of defending our country that surrounded by three seas and the blue homeland to protect our continental shelf and the exclusive economic zone. Using our technological expertise in the field of communication and sensor systems of many years to unmanned surface vessels, we are proud to present you Turkey's first Unmanned Combat Surface Vehicle together with ARES Shipyard. I want to state that we prioritize the maximum domestic contribution rate while designing critical electronic systems to be used on this platform and that we fully consider the operational needs of our Turkish Armed Forces. May ULAQ serve our country, blue homeland, and our armed forces well."