Turkish shipbuilder Istanbul Shipyard on Saturday launched the country’s first indigenously developed frigate TCG Istanbul.
Istanbul is the first of planned four Istanbul-class (TF-100-class) ships that have been developed by the Turkish defense industry as part of the wider MILGEM project. MILGEM encompasses the development of four different ship classes, ranging from corvettes to anti-submarine warfare frigates.
Future TCG Istanbul (F 515) will displace 3,000 tons and will incorporate a Mark 41 vertical launch system capable of firing the locally-developed Hisar surface-to-air missiles and Atmaca anti-ship cruise missiles, in addition to other missile systems. Crewed by 125 personnel, the I-class general-purpose frigates will have a range of over 6,500 nautical miles and a reported maximum speed of 29 knots.
Speaking at the launch ceremony, president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey was among ten countries that could design and build their own warships, adding that the Turkish Navy might would be improved through five major projects.
The launch of future TCG Istanbul comes after the first four ships developed under the MILGEM project entered service. These were the Ada-class corvettes that were built between 2005 and 2019. Turkey is also exporting four corvettes to Pakistan.
Coinciding with the launch of Istanbul was the start of construction of the third corvette for Pakistan in Turkey. Istanbul Shipyard will build the first and third unit, while Pakistan’s Karachi Shipyard is building ships number two and four.
In addition to Pakistan, Ukraine chose the Ada-class corvette design and will build an unspecified number of ships at the Okean (Ocean) Shipyard in Mykolaiv.