Turkey’s shipbuilding industry has come to a level where it can produce all of its navy needs or parts – with the exception of submarines and engines – one senior procurement official said at the weekend.
“Among our armed forces, probably the most developed is the navy,” the official said. “We can produce 70 or 80 percent of all [naval] needs.
The sole exception is submarines, and we are moving with concrete steps on that,” the procurement official added.
The largest boats in Turkey’s surface fleet are the frigates, and Turkey is nearing their manufacture. It has produced two corvettes, the only ship in the warship category smaller than that. It has put to sea the TCG Heybeliada, one of them, in 2008 and last year the ship was accepted by the navy.
It also completed production of the second corvette, the TCG Büyükada. This year Turkey should select a private shipping contractor to build six corvettes. It also has to decide this year whether the Milgem corvette project will end at eight or 12, meaning the total price for the whole program will reach $2 billion or $3 billion.
Then around 2020, the country will launch what is today known as TF2000, or the Turkish frigate program. Both Britain and the United States are competing for that program with their own frigate systems.
Turkey presently can also produce a New Type Patrol Boat, Coast Guard Research and Rescue Boat and Tank Landing Ships, the procurement official said.
“We can also export the smaller ships we produce to friendly and allied countries,” he said. Islamic countries are particularly interested in those, he said.
“As part of our engine development plans, we also are developing our own engines,” said the procurement official.
Separately, a 2 billion-euro submarine deal between SSM and Germany’s HDW shipyards for joint manufacture of six modern U-214 diesel platforms for the Turkish Navy formally took effect in July 2010.
“This will be the last submarine we will be building with someone else,” the procurement official said.
In a less orthodox project, Ankara has plans to a buy a landing platform dock (LPD) a vessel that looks like a helicopter carrier and can transport up to a battalion-sized unit (more than 1,000 troops) long distances.
Turkey plans to use this ship for NATO-related missions to carry troops or refugees.
According to the size and capabilities, the Turkish LPD will cost between $500 million and $1 billion.
Presently, the Turkish Navy includes nearly 49,000 personnel and has 75 aircraft, 17 frigates, seven corvettes, 14 submarines and 27 fast missile boats.