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IDEF 2023: Turkey unveils locally designed kamikaze USV

A model of the new Ulaq Kama X-USV on display at IDEF 2023. (Janes/Prathamesh Karle)

Ares Shipyard and Meteksan Defence unveiled a new expendable unmanned surface vessel (X-USV), named Ulaq Kama, at the 16th International Defence Industry Fair (IDEF) held from 25 to 28 July in Istanbul.

Ares Shipyard is responsible for the design and manufacturing of the vessel, while Meteksan Defence is responsible for the integration of remote and autonomous command. The vessel can be remotely operated in a semi-autonomous mode, and in a fully autonomous mode using visual navigation.

Development started in late 2022 and the USV took around eight months to manufacture, Ares Shipyard's unmanned systems manager Onur Yildirim told Janes. Ares has developed a prototype to use as a test platform. All tests, including sea trials, are expected to be completed by late 2023.

The design includes a V-shaped hull made of composites. The vessel has a low profile and is equipped with two fin stabilisers – one on either side forward to reduce roll while under way. The 1.3tonne vessel has an overall length of 6.3 m, a beam of 1.2 m, and a draught of 0.3 m.

Inboard diesel engines and a water-jet propulsion system propel the vessel to a maximum speed of over 50 kt and an economic speed of around 20 kt. The vessel has an endurance of four hours at a maximum speed of 50 kt and a range of 200 n mile. It can carry a payload of 200 kg.

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