Turkey launches its first Istanbul-class F 515 frigate built for Turkish Navy

According to a Tweet published on January 23, 2021, Turkey has officially launched the first Istanbul-class F 515 frigate on January 23, 2021. The launching ceremony was attended by the President of Turkey Tayyip Erdoğan and the president of SSB (The Turkish Defense Association) Ismail Demir.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 The official ceremony for the launching of the first Istanbul-class frigate for the Turkish Navy. (Picture source SSB)

The Istanbul-class also called I-class frigate is a series of four frigates built for the Turkish Navy that were developed under the MILGEM Turkish national warship program. The official cutting steel ceremony first of the first Istanbul-class frigate was held January 19, 2017, at Istanbul Shipyard which is the main contractor for the construction of the ship. It is planned to deliver the first Istanbul-class ship to the Turkish navy in 2023.

The MILGEM is the most important projects of Turkish armed forces for the development and the construction of a new generation of multipurpose corvettes and frigates that can be deployed to conduct a wide range of missions, including reconnaissance, surveillance, early warning, anti-submarine warfare, surface-to-surface and surface-to-air warfare, and amphibious operations.

The MILGEM project includes the construction of four Ada class anti-submarine warfare corvettes, one ELINT corvette, four Istanbul class multipurpose frigates, TF2000 class anti-air warfare destroyers for the Turkish Navy as well as four Jinnah-class frigates for the Pakistan Navy.

The Istanbul- class frigate is an enlarged variant of the Ada-class anti-submarine corvettes also developed under the MILGEM project. The ship features a slightly larger hull for improved endurance.

Citing the Daily Sabah website, the Istanbul-class frigate will be equipped with indigenous infrared search and tracking systems developed by the Turkish defense corporation ASELSAN. It will also be integrated with a Turkish-made electronic assault system, according to officials. The ship will also feature locally made guided missiles and anti-torpedo shields.

According to the Turkish naval industry, the Istanbul-class frigate has a length of 113.2 m, a beam of 14.40 m, a draft of 4.05m, and a displacement of 3,000 tones. The ship is powered by a combined diesel and gas (CODAG) propulsion system including two MTU 20V 4000 M93L diesel engines, one LM2500 gas turbine, and two shafts. She can reach a top speed of 29 knots (54 km/h) with a maximum cruising range of 6,570 nmi (12,170 km) at 14 kn (26 km/h). The ship has a crew of 125 people.

The Istanbul-class frigate will be armed with one 76 mm (3 inches) Oto Melara Super Rapid naval gun, two 25 mm automatic cannon (0.98 in) Aselsan STOP, one GOKDENIZ close-in weapon system CIWS), 16 Harpoon anti-ship missile or Atmaca anti-ship cruise missiles, 16 HISAR surface-to-air missiles and two 324 mm (13 inches) Double Torpedo launchers. The ship has a flight deck and one hangar able to accommodate one S-70B Seahawk ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) helicopter and one unmanned aerial vehicle.

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