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Turkey launches intelligence ship

12 February 2019
Turkey’s first national test and training ship, (A-591), was launched on 9 February at Tuzla shipyard near Istanbul, Turkey. Source: Turkish government

Turkey's first national test and training ship, TCG Ufuk (A-591), was launched on 9 February at Tuzla shipyard near Istanbul, Turkey.

The ship was described by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as the country's first 'intelligence corvette'.

"The Ufuk corvette will fill a big hole in today's world where preventive intelligence in general and signal intelligence in particular has gained vital importance. The Ufuk corvette will be Turkey's eyes and ears on the seas," Erdogan said during the launch ceremony.

"The difficult geography in our region dictates Turkey must also get very strong in intelligence gathering. The Turkish requirement for intelligence gathering has become more critical and urgent in the face of threats stemming from Syria as well as developments taking place in the Eastern Mediterranean, Aegean and the Black Sea," he added.

Contesting the oil- and gas-drilling activity in the Eastern Mediterranean by the Republic of Cyprus, which Ankara does not recognise, Turkey maintains warships in the area to escort its own drilling vessels.

Ufuk is 99.5 m long, 14.4 m wide, displaces 2,400 tonnes, and has a draft of 3.6 m. It can attain a speed in excess of 18 kt and has a landing pad that can accommodate a 10-tonne helicopter, according to Erdogan.

The ship will have an endurance at sea of 45 days, allowing it to detect threats to Turkish national security instantly and without interruption, he said.

Meanwhile, a tweet from the Presidency of the Turkish Defence Industry (SSB) on 9 February noted that Ufuk "will enable the Turkish Navy to test its new systems while facilitating personnel training".

Turkish defence technology and engineering company STM is the main contractor in the Ufuk corvette project, with Aselsan developing its command-and-control, electronic, and test/training systems.

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