ASFAT (Military Factory and Shipyard Management) has confirmed to Shephard that it was on track to deliver the first ship of Turkey’s indigenous Hisar-class OPV programme by 2024.
The Turkish state-owned company started construction of TCG Akhisar on 15 August 2021 as prime contractor of the programme, while the steel cut ceremony for the second vessel, TCG Kochisar, took place on 25 November 2022.
Both vessels were launched on 23 September 2023 and have been dry-docked at Istanbul Naval Shipyard for outfitting works. Despite being launched on the same day, Shephard understood there was a four-month gap in the construction of the two OPVs, with the lead ship Akhisar scheduled for delivery by August 2024.
While only two units have been ordered so far, ASFAT told Shephard that it was confident in securing a 2024 contract for further platforms out of a requirement for 10 new OPVs. The Turkish Navy has been undertaking the process of decommissioning the ageing Burak-class, citing the requirement for new mid-sized OPVs and corvettes to complement a core of small patrol boats/fast-attack craft of her fleet.
The Hisar-class OPV design builds on the mature Ada-class project and comes in baseline and ‘combat’ variants. The baseline configuration relies on the concept of ‘Fitted For But Not With’ (FFBNW), as the ship can be later integrated with a plethora of systems such as VLS, anti-ship missiles and a CIWS.
The design concept for the ‘combat’ variant is a fully-fledged light frigate configuration, which envisages an extensive armament and sensor package, including 32 VLS cells and four quad-packed launchers for anti-ship missiles.
According to ASFAT, the OPVs will be primarily aimed at ISR and SAR operations, coastal and offshore patrol, and support for maritime special operations. Depending on the weapon and sensors fitted onboard, secondary missions of the ships will include Anti-Air Warfare (AAW), electronic and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), gunfire support, asymmetric warfare and amphibious warfare.
Speaking to reporters during a naval press tour hosted at Istanbul Naval Shipyard, ASFAT revealed that when compared to the Ada and Istanbul-class – which have a 65% and 75% share of indigenous equipment, respectively – 80% of the systems onboard the new OPVs will be of national production.
The armament of the first two OPVs will include a 76/62mm gun from MKE and two 12.7mm Targan RWS from Unirobotics.
Additional weapon systems that could be added as per the concept of FFBNW include a 35mm Gokdeniz CIWS, a bow-mounted quadruple launcher for Umtas missiles, two quad-packed launchers for Atmaca/Cakir missiles and the two four-cell Midlas VLS for Hisar surface-to-air missiles.
Akhisar and Kochisar will further be fitted with the Yakamos hull-mounted sonar, an EO system from Aselsan, an LPI (low probability of intercept) radar, a fire control radar (AKR-D), in addition to Aselsan’s MAR-D air-surface search radar. The OPVs will also be equipped with a Tubitak ESM system.
Although a stern door could be seen on both OPVs, when asked by Shephard, a spokesperson from ASFAT stated that the door was the access to a ramp for an RHIB and there were no plans to integrate a towed array sonar.
The Combat Management System fitted onboard is Havelsan Advent, which was integrated for the first time on TCG Kinaliada.
The Hisar-class has a displacement of 2300t, measures 99.56m in length and has a beam of 14.42m. Powered by four MAN 20V175D diesel engines and two electric motors (CODELOD configuration), the vessels can produce a maximum speed of 24 knots with a range of 4500NM.