Antalya-based ARES Shipyard and Ankara-based Meteksan Defence, have launched Turkey’s first Armed Unmanned Surface Vehicle (AUSV) program following a two-year period of intensive R&D activity.
The first prototype of the ULAQ Armed USV will be launched in December 2020.
ULAQ has been built from advanced composites, has 400 km range, 65 km/h speed, day/night vision capabilities, encrypted communication infrastructure, which can be operated from mobile vehicles and headquarters or from sea platforms such as aircraft carriers or frigates, will be used for missions including intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, surface warfare, asymmetric warfare, escort missions, strategic infrastructure protection.
The design of the prototype vessel was completed in August, with structural build now completed. It will be launched into Mediterranean waters in December after completion of outfitting.
ULAQ’s missile systems include 4 Cirit and 2 L-UMTAS, supplied by Turkish national missile systems provider ROKETSAN. Firing tests are planned in the first quarter of 2021.
Along with the missile systems, the AUSV will be equipped with different variations of communication and intelligence systems including jamming and electronic warfare systems to respond to diverse operational needs.
ULAQ will be able to carry out joint operations with complementary forces such as UAV’s, AUAV’s and TUAV’s, either under remote controlled operation or as a fully-autonomous vehicle.
Following completion and delivery of the first prototype unit, ARES Shipyard and Meteksan Defence will manufacture other USVs for operations including surveillance and intelligence, mine counter measures, anti-submarine warfare, firefighting, search and rescue missions.
In a joint press conference held at the end of October 2020, ARES Shipyard CEO Utku ALANC said “We are indescribably happy and proud to announce the launch of the first Armed Unmanned Surface Vehicle program after years of intensive engineering works and investments following our dream”.
“We have achieved this success and pride with our owner’s equity investments by prioritizing our national interests as it always has been. We hereby present the Armed Unmanned Surface Vehicle (AUSV) as the first platform of the “ULAQ” line to be launched in December”.
“ULAQ is a messenger, 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. Thereupon, the AUSV we have developed, have been named after “ULAQ.”
Meteksan Defence CEO Selçuk Alparslan stated “We have once again understood the importance of the ”Blue Homeland” defense, economic exclusive zone protection, protection of maritime borders of the Turkish Peninsula especially with recently emerging disputes. As METEKSAN Defence, we are very proud to utilize our technologic assets of know-how in communication and sensor systems for development of Unmanned Surface Vehicles and present you the very first Armed Unmanned Surface Vehicle of Turkey with ARES Shipyard today. While designing the critical electronic systems of the platform, we have sought the maximum indigenousness and fully considered the operational needs of Turkish Armed Forces. May ULAQ bring the best of luck and success to Turkish Armed Forces and to Blue Homeland.”