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Turkey to Build Three Istanbul-Class Frigates

The Turkish government will develop three indigenous Istanbul-Class multi-role frigates, the Defense Industry Executive Committee announced.

The construction of the I-class frigates under the MILGEM national warship program is a first in the Turkish defense industry, according to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“Until now, we have been purchasing the vertical launch system (VLS), the main weapon group of our frigates, from the outside, and now we have developed such a system through national means,” President Erdogan said.

In early 2021, the government launched the class’s lead ship, TCG Istanbul, scheduled to join the Turkish Navy next year.

The ship faced a series of embargoes that slowed the vessel’s production, including the US-manufactured Mk-41 vertical launch system, Turkish Defence News reported. 

Turkish defense contractor Roketsan will reportedly deliver the domestically-produced MIDLAS vertical launch system for the Istanbul and three other frigates in 2023.

Istanbul-Class Frigates

Launched in mid-2020, the Istanbul-class frigate program was launched to produce four multi-role warships to replace the Turkish Navy’s aging Yavuz-class frigates.

In addition to the TCG Istanbul, the TCG Izmir, TCG Izmit, and TCG Icel will also be built.

The 113-meter (371-foot) frigates will feature a 50 percent greater fuel capacity and operational/sailing range capability compared to the country’s Ada-class anti-submarine corvettes.

The ships reportedly have an operational range of 5,700 nautical miles (10,556 kilometers/6,559 miles).

Together with Roketsan’s MIDLAS vertical launch system, the four warships will also be equipped with 76mm Naval Guns and 16 ATMACA Surface-to-Surface Guided Missiles to perform anti-air, anti-submarine, and surface warfare capabilities.

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