Home SPECIAL COVERAGES New Page Turns for Frigates in Turkey’s Indigenous Sea Platforms: İSTANBUL Frigate Meets its Blue Homeland

New Page Turns for Frigates in Turkey’s Indigenous Sea Platforms: İSTANBUL Frigate Meets its Blue Homeland

by MSI

A. Şamil DEMİRSÖZ / s.demirsoz@milscint.com

İSTANBUL, the fifth ship in the MİLGEM Project and the first of the İ (İSTİF)-class frigates was launched at a ceremony held at Istanbul Shipyard Command on 23 January. On the side lines of the same ceremony, the first weld was made on the third MİLGEM-class corvette being built for Pakistan.

The contract for the construction of İSTANBUL was signed between the Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB) and STM on 12 April, 2019 and entered into force on 29 September, 2019. The ship was launched as scheduled in January 2021, according to information on the project timetable shared by STM on 9 June, 2020. Upon the completion of the fitting out of İSTANBUL, port acceptance tests will begin in May 2022 and navigation and acceptance tests will start in January 2023. The ship is due to be delivered to Naval Forces Command in September 2023.

More Effective, More Indigenous

As the first İ-class ship, featuring the capabilities gained by Turkey from ADA-class corvettes, İSTANBUL has new capabilities and is larger than its ADA-class predecessor, at 113.2 metres long and 14.4 metres wide, and with a displacement of 3,000 tons.

As regards to its capabilities, İ-class frigates stand out with their superior air defence capabilities to those of ADA-class corvettes. A Vertical Launch System, being developed indigenously to allow the firing of surface-to-air missiles that is absent from ADA-class vessels will equip the frigates. As a marine version of KORKUT – a close-in weapon system – GÖKDENİZ will be added to the inventory with the İ-class frigates. The vessels will also be equipped with ATMACA surface-to-surface guided munitions, as well as one 76 mm bow gun that for targets at sea or on land, and two 25 mm RWS (remote-controlled weapon systems).

Cumhurbaşkanı Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

The İ-class frigates will utilize a number of solutions produced by the Turkish defence and aerospace sector rather than the imported sub-systems found on ADA-class corvettes. These solutions will have features that will be able to meet the changing operational requirements and technological advances, and include a 3D search radar, a fire control radar, infra-red search and track system, an electronic attack system and torpedo tube systems.

The ship’s cruising range has been extended to 5,700 nautical miles with environmentally friendly and more efficient propulsion systems compared to ones on ADA class vessels, allowing the ship to sail from Istanbul to Yemen without refuelling or resupplying.

A total of 8,600 technical drawings and documents, 62,000 man-days of labour, 1,110 tons of sheet steel, 5,600 metres of pipe and 1,454 items of main equipment have gone into the construction of İSTANBUL so far.

İSTANBUL is planned to be handed over in 2023.

İSTANBUL will be included in the inventory of Naval Forces Command with pennant number F-515. The number of firms contributing to the project reached to 220 with more than 80 of these are subcontractors that are involved in its construction. The ship contains more than 150 subsystems, and the objective is to ensure a minimum of 75 percent national production.

Pakistan’s Third Corvette Comes into Being

Of the ADA-class corvettes ordered by Pakistan, two are being built in Turkey, while the remaining two are being constructed in Pakistan. The first weld on the second vessel being built in Turkey, and the third under the project was made during a ceremony held on 23 January, thus passing another major milestone in the project.

President Erdogan performs the first weld on the third ADA-class corvettes being built for Pakistan with H.E. Muhammad Syrus Sajjad Qazi, the Ambassador of Pakistan to Turkey, during the ceremony.

High-level Attendance

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan; Mustafa Şentop, Speaker of the Grand National Assembly; Hulusi Akar, Minister of National Defence; General Yaşar Güler, Commander of the Turkish Armed Forces; Prof. Dr. İsmail Demir, President of Defence Industries; and H.E. Muhammad Syrus Sajjad Qazi, Ambassador of Pakistan to Turkey, attended the ceremony, along with many other high-ranking officials.

Construction of three other ships, including İZMIR, İZMİT and İCEL, are expected to be completed by the end of 2027 as part of İSTİF-Class Frigate Project.
Technical Specifications of İSTANBUL
Overall Length: 113.2 m
Length at Waterline: 105.2 m
Maximum Beam: 14.40 m
Draught: 4.05 m
Displacement: 3,000 t
Maximum Speed: 29+ knots
Cruise Speed: 14 knots
Endurance: 5,700 nautical miles (at a speed of 14 knots)
Main Propulsion: CODAG (Combined Diesel and Gas Turbine), 2 x shafts and CPP propeller
Power Generation: 4 x diesel generators
Helicopter Platform & Hangar: Capacity to carry 2 x S70 SEAHAWK helicopters (one in the hangar and one on the platform)
Ship’s Boats: 2 x rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIB)
Accommodation: 123 personnel
Growth Capabilities: Special sensors and weapons, increased living space

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