Turkey’s first locally-developed unmanned combat surface vessel that was developed by shipbuilder Ares Shipyard and defense technology company Meteksan Defence has been launched and is already conducting sea trials.
Dubbed SIDA, or armed unmanned marine vessel, the USV is the first in what is envisioned as a series of platforms that will be referred to as “ULAQ”.
The first prototype was completed in December 2020 and Ares Shipyard has now shared video footage of the 11-meter on sea trials.
The prototype carries four cells of the Cirit laser-guided 70 mm missiles and two L-UMTAS long range laser guided anti-tank precision missiles supplied by ROKETSAN. Firing tests are planned for the first quarter of 2021.
Along with the missile systems, the vessel will be equipped with different variations of communication and intelligence systems like jamming and electronic warfare systems. Ares noted that ULAQ is not only a remotely controlled vehicle but also an autonomous vehicle that hosts artificial intelligence.
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.