ARES Shipyard and Meteksan Defence announced ULAQ, an indigenously co-developed unmanned armed surface vehicle. Turkey, famous for its unmanned aerial vehicles now extends its capacities to unmanned sea vehicles. The pronunciation of ULAQ resembles a Turkish word “Ulak” which means “messenger, an envoy representing the state”.
ULAQ, which is made of advanced composite materials, have length of 11 meters, a maximum speed of 65 km/h and a range of 400 km. The vehicle will have a day/night camera, navigation and surveillance radars, a locally developed encrypted communication infrastructure as well as telescopic antennas and active/passive stabilization systems for the weapons and sensors. The initial version of the vehicle will be armed with 2 L-UMTAS and 4 Cirit missiles both of which are produced by Roketsan, the leading missile producer of Turkey. The vehicle will be equipped with other payloads including ECM system as needed.
The unmanned vehicle, which will be controlled by either shore-based vehicles or vessels such as frigates, will perform reconnaissance, surveillance, intelligence missions as well as surface warfare, asymmetric warfare, armed escort, force protection, and strategic infrastructure protection.
Announced in a press conference at Ankara on 28th of October, the development of the unmanned surface vehicle began a couple of years ago, in a joint effort of ARES Shipyard, famous for its composite fast patrol boats among coast guards and Meteksan Defence, a leading manufacturer of components for UAVS among other military systems. The design phase of ULAQ was completed in August this year. The vehicle which is fitting out as of now, will start sea trials in December. The first weapon test is scheduled for the first quarter of 2021.
The initial version of ULAQ will have a range of 200 km for data transfer. It is planned to be extended with SATCOM control in the near future. It is stated that; after the first prototype vessel, other versions for the operations like surveillance and intelligence, mine counter measures, anti-submarine warfare, firefighting, search and rescue missions, will be ready to manufacture accordingly carrying various other payloads and weapons including anti-ship missiles, remote weapon stations, etc. A flocking algorithm is also being developed for the vehicle.