Turkey begins trial testing of its first Armored Unmanned Surface Vessel (AUSV), developed by Ares Shipyard in cooperation with the Ankara-based Meteksan Defense Industry.
As the first phase begins, the trial testing for the vessel, the second phase will include the firing tests. According to officials.
Releasing a joint statement, Ares Shipyard General Manager Utku Alanc and Meteksan Defense General Manager Selcuk Alparslan said that they are all aware of the importance of the defense of the seas surrounding Turkey, which is dubbed the “Blue Homeland”, along with the security and protection of the country’s maritime continental shelf and the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ). Daily Sabah reported.
“In this context, we came together as two private companies and started the ULAQ project, keeping our national interest in the foreground, and being aware of the fact that this is also an example in the defense industry, we continue our work day and night in great cooperation,” they said in a statement.
The two companies’ officials said that now their goal will be to complete the test trials and then perform the guided-missile tests firing of the Armored Unmanned Surface Vessel (AUSV).
“Since the first day of the introduction of ULAQ, we have received significant attention from both our country and from friendly and allied countries”, the statement noted, adding that this interest enabled them “to work with great motivation to design and manufacture the world’s best unmanned marine vehicle.”
Turkey’s Armored Unmanned Surface Vessel (AUSV) capabilities:
The AUSV came as the result of years of research and development R&D activities by both companies.
It has a cruising range of 400 kilometers (249 miles), a maximum speed of around 65 kilometers per hour. The vessel also has day and night vision capabilities and supports the national encrypted communication infrastructure.
The AUSV can be controlled through land vehicles and from the headquarters command center or floating platforms. It can perform missions such as reconnaissance, surveillance, and intelligence, asymmetric warfare, surface warfare, armed escort, and force protection along with strategic facility security.
The unmanned vessel has a four-laser guided-missile Cirit pod and two laser-guided long-range anti-tank missiles (L-UMTAS) launchers, both developed by Rokestan, a leading Turkish defense company.
The Cirit missile has a range of 8 kilometers. It can be integrated into land, sea, and air platforms such as helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, and UAVs. The L-UMTAS also stands out as an effective weapon against both land and sea targets with its laser guidance and armor-piercing tandem warhead.
Both these weapon systems are equipped on ULAQ together with Roketsan’s stabilized turret system and shipboard equipment.
The project is named ‘ULAQ’ (the original word is ULAK). The Armored Unmanned Surface Vessel (AUSV) is the first prototype in the project ULAQ.
“ULAQ is an envoy from the ancient Turkish culture who represents the state with his extraordinary skills since Central Asia. Along with the intelligence and experience, ULAQ possesses extreme warriorship capabilities,” Utku Alanc, Ares CEO said.
The ULAQ project was the first phase of the series of unmanned vessel projects. After the successful completion of the AUSV testing and missile firing and its induction to the Turkish Navy, the next phase will begin. In the next phase, both the Ares Shipyard and the Meteksan Defense will manufacture the next-generation unmanned marine vehicle for mine hunting, intelligence gathering, submarine defense warfare, firefighting, and humanitarian aid or evacuation. Daily Sabah report.
Future of ULAQ’s AUSV:
In the future, the Armored Unmanned Surface Vessel will be equipped with different types of payloads to meet the future operational needs of Turkey, such as electronic warfare, jamming and different communication and intelligence systems, along with enhanced missile systems.
The vessel is also integrated with other unmanned marine crafts and will perform joint operations with UAVs, UCAVs, and manned aircraft.
Turkey is taking fundamental steps to modernize its military for future combats.
The induction of this Unmanned Surface Vessel will help the Turkish Navy to safeguard its waters from intruders and will enhance its operational capabilities both in daylight and at night. The induction of the vessel into its navy will also put Ankara one step ahead of its other neighboring countries in the region.