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Turkey's first Istanbul-class frigate starts sea trials

The Turkish Navy's first Istanbul-class frigate is pictured before its departure on initial sea trials on 20 June. (Turkish MoD)

The Turkish Navy's first Istanbul (TF-100)-class frigate started sea acceptance trials on 20 June โ€“ marking another milestone for the programme, the Turkish Ministry of Defence has announced.

The future TCG Istanbul was laid down at Istanbul Naval Shipyard in 2017 and launched in 2021. It is the first of four planned frigates in the class, which are planned to enter service by 2026.

The three follow-on ships are being built concurrently at Sefine, Anadolu, and Sedef shipyards (operating as part of the TAIS consortium) in collaboration with STM under a contract signed with Presidency of Turkish Defense Industry (SSB) on 6 April 2023.

A steel-cutting ceremony for all three ships was staged at Sedef Shipyard in Tuzla, Istanbul, on 11 April. Under the terms of the contract, the follow-on ships โ€“ which are to be named TCG Izmir (F 516), TCG Izmit (F 517), and TCG Iรงel (F 518) โ€“ will be delivered to the Turkish Navy within 36 months.

The Istanbul class โ€“ also known as the MILGEM II and I/Istif-class โ€“ is an evolution of the Turkish Navy's Ada (MILGEM 1)-class corvettes, which entered service between 2011 and 2019. Prime contractor STM is responsible for the frigate design, weapons, electronics, and main propulsion systems under a contract signed with SSB in 2019.

The frigate design is based on the Ada-class hull but lengthened by 14 m to enable the inclusion of a vertical launching system (VLS), additional anti-ship missiles, and increased fuel capacity.

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