A new USV design, known as MİR, was also unveiled.
Turkey’s official defense procurement agency, SSB, released a video on June 19, 2022, showing a swarm of unmanned surface ships in the Sea of Marmara. The first demonstration of the Albatros-S USV swarm was conducted in August 2021, and the test conducted over the weekend was the second trial of the concept.
During this second demonstration, a brand new USV named “MİR” was spotted together with the Albatros-S USVs. The swarm consisted of a heterogeneous structure with three USVs, two Albatros-S, and one MİR.
“MIR USV is being developed under another project to carry a large payload and demonstrate an important capability for our country in the field. We have created the opportunity in our swarm project for other USVs to join the swarm as a new capability in the architecture. We have completed field testing of USVs in two different sizes and capabilities. We formed our swarm with ALBATROS -S and MIR USVs. Based on the infrastructure built, each USV can be added as a herd element or separated from the herd.”
Ismail Demir, Head of SSB
Demir further emphasizes that detailed work on environmental awareness, navigation and sensor technologies will be conducted as part of the research. Data acquired from multiple sensors can be used for automatic detection of obstacles/objects and dynamic movements.
In addition, a task-sharing feature amongst USVs is performed using algorithms developed as part of the SWARM USV project. The swarm-capable USVs are equipped with a local and national communication system, a control system, multiple and redundant communication system architectures, and the ability to continue operations in the event of GNSS jamming.
Aselsan unveiled the SWARM USV project for the first time during the IDEF 2021 exhibition held in Istanbul in August 2021 and showcased a scale model of its Albatros-S USV. SWARM USV is a technology acquisition project and can be performed not only with Albatros-S USVs, but also with other USVs being developed in Turkey.
Aselsan expressed its intention to increase the number of USVs to eight after making the first demonstration with four boats, but they seem to change its intention to carry out USV swarms with different vessels in the same formation.
Although MIR USV appears to be a brand new model, Naval News obtained information about this USV from brochures distributed by Sefine Shipyard at the DIMDEX 2022 exhibition in Doha, Qatar, in March 2022.
“MIR” means “commander” in Turkish, and the ship’s long mast, which contains more than the usual sensors, reinforces the idea that MIR USV would assume a “control” role over the other USVs in the swarm.
The USV was introduced as an ASW variant of the Sefine’s Constellation-class unmanned vessel, equipped with variable depth sonar (VDS) and designed to meet the endurance, sea keeping, and maneuverability requirements of defensive ASW operations in littoral waters. However, it appears to have additional roles in surface drone swarms, due to the boat’s flexibility that can be configured in accordance with the user needs.
With her hull design and propulsion system, MIR is capable of reaching speeds in excess of 36 knots and operating in sea state 4. According to the company brochure, there are some “important, surprising, and significant detection and capabilities” that can not be disclosed publicly.