A lead Ship Of I-Class Frigate “Istanbul” was launched in the Istanbul Shipyard last weekend. The 113-meter-long warship is expected to be delivered to the Turkish Naval Forces Command in 2023.
The frigate has been designed with national resources, with over 75 percent of its systems being indigenously manufactured. The I-class frigates are configured to conduct detection, determination of position, classification, identification, and destruction operations.
The construction of the Istanbul Frigate F-515 is part of the MILGEM project that is intended to build corvettes and frigates to be used for a wide range of purposes, including reconnaissance, surveillance, early warning, anti-submarine warfare, surface-to-surface and surface-to-air warfare, and amphibious operations.
“Turkey will launch five major projects in the coming five years to bring its navy to a very strong position,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, as he attended the launch of the vessel. “The country is among the 10 countries that can design, build, and maintain its own warships.”
Turkey started the construction of the TCG Istanbul in January 2017 at the Istanbul Shipyard. Initially, the ship was meant to be delivered to the Turkish Navy by 2021 but the deadline was extended to 2023 following the delay in assigning the main contractor. TCG Istanbul’s sister ships will be named TCG Izmir, TCG Izmit, and TCG Icel. The construction shipyards are not known yet.
According to Prof. Ismail Demir, the Head of Turkish Defence Industry, the battleship will be equipped with the now-under- development vertical launch system (VLS) named “MDAS,” a total of 64 surface-to-air missiles, homemade anti-ship missile “Atmaca” and locally made close-in weapon system “Gokdeniz”. The ship will also have a 76 mm Super Rapid Gun, a 2 x 25 mm Aselsan STOP machine gun, and “HIZIR” Torpedo Countermeasures System.
The I-class Frigate program will replace the aging YAVUZ-class Frigates in the mid-2020s. The Istanbul-class is meant to be an enlarged variant of the Ada-class anti-submarine corvette. The I-class Frigates will have around 50% increased fuel capacity and operational/sailing range capability compared to Ada-class Corvettes.
The 3000 tons ship will sail with a max speed of 29+ knots with a minimum of 15 days of operational capability without replenishment. “Istanbul” can carry two Seahawk helicopters and two Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIB).
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