Turkey has produced in the country a Vertical Launch System (VLS) for naval platforms which will replace those purchased abroad, while the systems will also equip warships to be built in the near future, said President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday.
“Until now, we have outsourced the VLS, which is the main weapon group of our frigates. Now we have a national and local product of it,” the president said.
Erdoğan was speaking at the delivery ceremony of the country’s first intelligence-gathering vessel at the Istanbul shipyard.
Defined as a test and training vessel, the TCG Ufuk (A-591) was also developed and built with national resources and capabilities and was delivered Friday to the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) for the joint operation with the Naval Forces Command.
Erdoğan, also speaking on the national VLS, said he would equip the Istanbul frigate, the fifth ship built under the MILGEM (national ship) project and launched last year.
Under the MILGEM, Turkish shipyards have so far delivered four corvettes to the navy while building warships for friendly and allied countries, namely Pakistan and Ukraine.
The country recently launched tenders for three new MILGEM corvettes to be built through public-private cooperation. These three corvettes will also be equipped with the domestic VLS, Erdoğan said.
“We now design and manufacture many weapons, sensors, radars, management systems in the country, such as our Atmaca anti-ship missile or the Gökdeniz close-in weapon system (CIWS),” he said.
Dependent on overseas for VLS supply, Turkey was close to purchasing the MK41 VLS from the United States for the Istanbul frigate, but that changed due to the US embargo preventing the purchase , accelerating national efforts to develop such systems in the country.
Ankara aims to be fully independent in critical defense industry systems, driven by several official or unofficial embargoes and sales restrictions experienced in the country’s recent history and the shipbuilding industry is one of the main branches which arise as the measures taken have developed the marine by leaps and bounds.