The first frigate of the Turkish Navy’s I-class frigate project, the future TCG Istanbul (F-515), was launched on January 23, 2021. Since the launching of the ship, the contractors of the project have been working on the frigate very hard to deliver Turkiye’s first indigenous frigate on time. The lead ship of the project is scheduled to enter service this year.
In the meantime, the partnership formed by STM and TAIS won the tender for the construction of the remaining ships of the project, which were hinted to be built at the private shipyards before. According to Ismail Demir, the Head of SSB, the STM-TAIS partnership will build the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th I-class frigates (6th, 7th, and 8th ships of the MILGEM project – the first 4 ships are ADA-class corvettes and 5th ship is TCG Istanbul) and deliver them in 36 months. The lead ship of the project, TCG Istanbul, is being built at Istanbul Naval Shipyard.
Talking to state-owned Anadolu Agency, Ismail Demir, Head of SSB, stated that the indigenization rate will increase at the remaining ships, and many Turkish SMEs will take part in the project:
“The three ships are scheduled to arrive in 36 months. TCG Istanbul, the first of the I-class frigates, has a 75 percent local rate. However, the project involves approximately 80 local subcontractors. There are approximately 200 companies working on the project.”
Ismail Demir, Head of SSB
Three frigates will be built concurrently at the Sefine, Anadolu, and Sedef Shipyards as part of the project. These three shipyards have previous experience with naval ship projects: Sefine Shipyard is building the Turkish Navy’s DIMDEG fleet oiler and MARLIN USV, Anadolu Shipyard has built amphibious vessels for the Turkish Navy and Qatari Emiri Naval Forces, and Sedef Shipyard is building the Turkish Navy’s future flagship LHD Anadolu.
Demir also explained that, while most of the weapons and sensors on previous ships were supplied from abroad, the Istanbul Frigate was created and produced entirely in Turkiye.
Demir stated that the configuration included national solutions such as the close-in weapon system (CIWS) Gökdeniz, the three-dimensional search radar CENK, the fire control and illumination radar AKREP, the domestic torpedo tube, the National Vertical Launch System MIDLAS, and HISAR-D.
“The project’s scope of work and the new domestic facility The introduction of solutions will increase the rate of domesticity in systems and subsystems on national ships even further.” he noted.