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DIMDEX 2022: Ares Shipyard advances negotiations for ULAQ USV orders

The Ulaq armed USV pictured on trials in 2021. (Ares Shipyard and Meteksan Defence)

Turkey's Ares Shipyard is close to finalising at least two contracts for the Ulaq unmanned surface vessel (USV) in 2022, the company's chief executive officer Utku Alanc told Janes at the DIMDEX maritime exhibition, held from 21 to 23 March in Doha.

Ares Shipyard and Meteksan Defence have enquiries from 39 countries for the Ulaq USV, of which some are at the preliminary stage, while contracts for one to two countries are being finalised, he said.

Serial production of the Ulaq USV should start in 2023 following its successful integration with the Turkish combat management system (CMS) to operate along with the Turkish Navy's manned vessels and aircraft, Alanc said. “Ares will deliver the first vessel to the Turkish Navy in 2022, finalise the integration with the CMS and progress with the serial production in 2023,” he said.

He added that the two vessels under contract for the Turkish Navy are combat-proven vessels. “For the first time in the country's history, Turkey has allowed participation of private companies in a naval exercise; the Ulaq USV conducted live-firing of missiles during the navy's ‘Sea Wolf' exercise in 2021, held in the Mediterranean Sea.” Ares and Meteksan were involved in the organisation of Ulaq's firing tests in the exercise, which were held off the coast of Antalya with Turkish Navy frigates, fast attack craft, and submarines.

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