Fast attack craft contract may see $800 million tag
Defense sector officials and experts expect Turkey’s fast attack craft acqusition program to cost around $800 million.Turkey’s ambitious program for the acquisition of up to 10 indigenous fast attack craft (fast assault boats) may cost Ankara up to $800 million, officials and industry experts say.
The contract covers a batch of four boats with an option to buy six more. A defense procurement official said the program, although it will come with a heavy price tag, is essential for naval deterrence and potential future naval ambitions Turkey may have. “These new generation boats will feature advanced technology and be part of a broader naval architecture,” he said.
Two shipyard executives estimated the cost of each boat at $70 million and $80 million, respectively.
The Turkish Navy currently operates 25 assault boats of five different classes. The procurement official said the work to finalize the RfP for the program was almost ready. “It won’t take us much time to issue it,” he said.
The Navy prefers the new boats to be compact vessels equipped with a substantial systems suite, comprising a 76 mm main gun, two smaller-caliber naval guns, a Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) launcher, anti-ship missiles, torpedo decoy systems, a 3D surveillance radar and an electronic support measures/electronic countermeasures (ESM/ECM) system.
Industry sources say potential local shipyards vying for the contract include RMK Marine, Dearsan, Yonca-Onuk and Ares.
Dearsan has worked on a 65-meter steel-hulled vessel with a combined diesel and gas turbine propulsion system powering the vessel to around 45 kt.
Ares could propose a 70-meter steel hull designed originally by Rolls Royce and can speed at around 50-55 kt. RMK Marine said it has worked on a proposal in co-operation with partners in the United States and Sweden, but would not be drawn on details. Yonca-Onuk says a variant of its 250-ton composite-hull MRTP 48 with diesel propulsion able to generate 40 kt-plus speeds may be suitable for the competition. Yonca-Onuk is on a contract to build three of its MRTP 16s and three MRTP 34s for the Qatari Navy. It has so far sold 130 MRTP-class vessels to seven countries.
Turkey’s defense procurement agency, the Undersecretary for Defense Industries (SSM) last July issued a Request for Information (RfI) for the contract, designating local companies STM, Aselsan, Havelsan and Roketsan as leading local contractors for propulsion, warfare systems and armaments.