The launch of the first two vessels under the High Seas Patrol Vessel Project, initiated to address the needs of the Turkish Naval Forces, represents a significant milestone in the ever-evolving defense industry.
During a Saturday ceremony held at the Istanbul Shipyard Command, two offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) were christened TCG Akhisar and TCG Koçhisar. Notable attendees included Defense Minister Yaşar Güler and Head of the Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) Haluk Görgün.
These newly commissioned vessels are set to play pivotal roles in a range of maritime operations, including intelligence gathering, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR), search and rescue (SAR) missions, counter-terrorism operations, maritime surveillance, and special operations.
Güler, speaking at the ceremony, expressed, “With the addition of these ships to our navy, which showcases the exceptional capabilities of our national and domestic industry, our naval forces will significantly enhance their operational capacity and effectiveness in the Blue Homeland, further solidifying their esteemed position among the world’s leading naval forces.”
“As the Ministry of Defense and the Turkish Armed Forces, we will continue to work tirelessly to protect our country and our esteemed nation, including developing our indigenous defense capabilities.”
In a separate ceremony highlight, Turkey delivered the ‘Babur’ ship to Pakistan under its national warship initiative, Milgem. This project stems from a contract signed in 2018 between Turkey and Pakistan to sell four corvettes.
Güler remarked, “With this project, which underscores the advanced level achieved by the Turkish defense industry, the strategic partnership between our nations has grown even stronger, and the successful completion of this endeavor will open up new business opportunities.” He expressed his delight over Pakistan’s involvement in the Milgem project.
Vessels constructed under the primary auspices of the Turkish state defense company ASFAT are expected to undergo port acceptance tests in the near future.
Emre Koray Gençsoy, the director of maritime programs at ASFAT, emphasized in an interview with Anadolu Agency (AA) that substantial effort and diligence had gone into the simultaneous commissioning of the first two offshore patrol vessels of the HISAR class. He underscored the significance of this achievement for the Turkish defense industry.
Gençsoy also pointed out that, alongside these two vessels, they were concurrently building seven maritime platforms in Turkey and Pakistan.
Developed as a variant of the MILGEM class corvettes, the HISAR class OPV has been redesigned with a different main propulsion system and a different structural and overall layout concept, enabling faster and more cost-effective construction.
Gençsoy explained, “The project’s production period is just 26 months, which is relatively short. This is a significant milestone for our defense industry in the context of complex naval platforms of this scale. It’s a first.”
Discussing the vessel’s features, Gençsoy added, “When you examine the vessel, you’ll recognize the MILGEM heritage, but we’ve conducted a comprehensive redesign, resulting in a lighter vessel with modified propeller and shaft systems.”
“In fact, there’s another first here. All propeller-related analyses, from underwater noise to tracks, were conducted in laboratories at Istanbul Technical University (ITU) in Turkey,” he further noted.
Gençsoy highlighted that the project also embraces the “ready in place” concept, facilitating the subsequent integration of newly developed national sensor and weapon systems.