‘Turkey’s 1st intelligence ship joins naval fleet

The TCG Ufuk is seen during the delivery ceremony in Istanbul, Turkey, Jan. 14, 2021. (IHA Photo)

The Turkish defense industry has made a promising start to 2022 with another breakthrough Friday as Naval Forces Command received the country’s first intelligence collection ship.

Defined as a test and training ship, TCG Ufuk (A-591) has been developed and built with national resources and capabilities, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said at the delivery ceremony in Istanbul Shipyard.

Dubbed “Turkey’s ears and eyes at sea,” the ship marks the latest effort by Turkey, one of the few countries that can build its own warships, to boost its naval power.

Ufuk, meaning horizon in English, will be at the service of the security forces and is expected to fill a huge gap in Turkey’s maritime capabilities.

Erdoğan said the vessel would particularly rev up the capabilities of Turkey’s intelligence services.

“Turkey is currently among the 10 nations in the world that can design, build and carry out maintenance of warships,” the president noted.

The ship was developed as part of the broader domestic ship design and development project MILGEM (National Ship) – under the scope of which four corvettes were delivered to the navy and a frigate was launched.

Ufuk was launched in early February 2019. With its command control, electronic systems, test and training system equipment to be provided by Turkish defense giant Aselsan, the vessel is tailored to be used in signal and electronic intelligence missions (SIGINT/ELINT) as well as meeting the test and training vessel requirements of the Turkish navy.

The vessel, whose main contractor is the prominent Turkish company STM, has a length of 99.5 meters (326.44 feet), a beam of 14.4 meters, a 10-ton flight deck and can reach a maximum speed of 18 knots.

It can cruise continuously for 45 days in international waters and under severe climate and sea conditions.