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The Turkish Navy commences discussion of the development of new, intermediate-class frigates, the TF100, that would replace the German-made Mekos and be deployed to the Aegean and Black Sea in the next decade. The new frigate would be smaller and simpler to the main friagate TF2000

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Turkish naval ships are seen in this file photo. Murad Bayar, chief of the Undersecretariat of Defense Industries (SSM) procurement agency, has repeatedly said that Turkish shipyards have the capacity to build frigates, even now. AA photo

Turkish naval ships are seen in this file photo. Murad Bayar, chief of the Undersecretariat of Defense Industries (SSM) procurement agency, has repeatedly said that Turkish shipyards have the capacity to build frigates, even now. AA photo

Ümit Enginsoy Ümit Enginsoy uenginsoy@aol.com

The Turkish Navy is discussing the development of new, intermediate-class frigates – currently dubbed the TF100 – that would replace the German-made Mekos and be deployed to the Aegean and Black Sea in the next decade, a senior procurement official said Dec. 19.

“Our new main frigate will remain the TF2000. The TF100, if built, would be a follow-up to the German Meko-type frigates and would be something smaller and simpler for transition to the TF2000 air defense frigates,” said the official.

The roughly 3,500-ton Meko 200-type frigates entered service in the 1990s. Turkey has about 10 of the frigates made by Blohm + Voss shipyards in Germany at $500 million each, including research and development expenses.

Murad Bayar, chief of the Undersecretariat of Defense Industries (SSM) procurement agency, has repeatedly said that Turkish shipyards have the capacity to build frigates, even now. “We have several military and private shipyards to build equivalents of the Meko-class frigates,” he said Dec. 19. “There is a need to replace these frigates around 2020 and we can do that.”

The SSM has not been officially informed of the TF100 frigates, but could immediately work on them once notified.

Out of service in the upcoming years

The Meko 200-class frigates have been used by the Turkish, Royal Australian, Hellenic, Portuguese and Royal New Zealand Navies since 1987, but are due to be taken out of service in the upcoming years.

The star of the Turkish Navy will be the four plus four TF2000 air defense frigates, worth up to $7 billion, to be developed in the 2020s after the completion of one-third to one-eighth of the Milgem corvettes in the second half of the 2010s.

A statement by the SSM recently said there was a need to procure air defense frigates that would provide defense against classical and modern munitions fired from aircraft and other platforms, command and control, early warning systems, reconnaissance, surface warfare, underwater warfare, electronic warfare and air defense warfare.

The procurement official said that U.S. aerospace company Lockheed Martin, British BAE Systems and Spanish Navantia were ready to participate in the program, due to be completed in 2023 alongside the 100th year of the Turkish Republic.

The navigation speed of this program’s TF2000 frigates is 18 knots and the maximum speed is 28 knots.

Turkish firm Aselsan has already been given the task of developing a multipurpose radar to counter air threats, but what the program lacks is something similar to the U.S. Standard Missile 2 (or SM-2) missile, which Turkish officials are now seeking from the United States.

As reflected in its name, the TF2000 was designed in the 1990s but could not be finalized at the time due to a series of financial crises.

The procurement official said that normally this should be the last Navy program that would require foreign company assistance.

Turkey is currently continuing to produce the Milgem corvettes. The TCG Heybeliada of this class had already joined the Navy and the TCG Buyukada has been put to sea. The next meeting of the Defense Industry Executive Committee, chaired by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is due to decide on a civilian shipyard to carry on the production.

Corvettes and frigates are the smallest of warships. As Turkey has no ocean coasts, frigates are the largest of these ships in the Turkish Navy.

December/21/2012

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