Turkish shipbuilder Ares Shipyard and defense technology company Meteksan Defence have unveiled the country’s first locally-developed unmanned combat surface vehicle in a press conference on October 28.
Dubbed SIDA, or armed unmanned marine vehicle, the USV is the first in what is envisioned as a series of platforms that will be referred to as “ULAQ”.
The first prototype that was introduced on Wednesday is 11 meters long, has a payload capacity of two tons and is armed with laser-guided 70 mm missile systems and laser guided anti-tank precision missile systems developed by another Turkish company – Roketsan.
The USV was unveiled after seven years of development, it was said. The companies plan to complete the prototype by December 2020 and conduct first weapons systems firings in early 2021.
Operated from command and control centers that can be situated on larger naval platforms or on the shore, the armed USV will be capable of supporting surface warfare, intelligence and reconnaissance, and asymmetric warfare missions. Other USVs that are planned to be developed will be geared for anti-submarine warfare, mine hunting firefighting, and humanitarian aid missions, among others.
Ares and Meteksan say the first prototype has a cruising range of 400 kilometers, and can attain a speed of 65 km/h.