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Turkey unveils latest ULAQ USV variant

A screen shot of video footage released by the SSB on 11 December showing the new capabilities and payloads of the ULAQ unmanned surface vessel developed by local companies Ares Shipyard and Meteksan. (Ares Shipyard)

Ares Shipyard in partnership with Meteksan is developing a new variant of its ULAQ unmanned surface vessel (USV) configured for anti-submarine warfare (ASW).

The baseline version of ULAQ was launched in February 2021 and is the first Turkish USV to be developed in Turkey.

The latest configuration, revealed in a video released by the Turkish Presidency of Defence Industries (Savunma Sanayii Başkanlığı: SSB) on its official twitter account on 11 December, will be equipped with one remote weapon station at the front of the USV, with the rest of the weapons and sensors located aft. Weapon and sensor options include an ASW rocket launcher, lightweight torpedoes, a dipping and towed-array sonar, and a stabilised turret capable of carrying UMTAS and CİRİT guided missiles. According to Ares Shipyard, a hull-mounted dipping sonar or a telescopic sonar can be fitted.

The new ULAQ USV variant will be powered by diesel engines constructed by Tümosan and will be propelled by water jets. The vessel will be equipped with lidar, a radar, an electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) sensor and cameras for navigation and target acquisition, and Satcom and Akson C-band datalink for data transmission.

The USV will be fully autonomous, with image processing and sensor fusion, and will be interoperable with other unmanned vehicles.

In related events, the SSB shared a video showing the first test trial of eight swarming Albatros-S (Swarm) USVs developed by Aselsan on 13 December. Albatros-S (Swarm) is the latest addition to the company's growing USV portfolio and is Turkey's first swarm USV project.

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