ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s largest defense company has partnered with local shipyard Sefine to develop and produce two unmanned surface vessels.
Aselsan and Sefine held a steel-cutting event July 8 for an anti-submarine warfare drone dubbed NB57. They also held a ceremony for the first welding of an anti-surface warfare variant, the RD09.
Under the program, Turkish firm SEFT Ship Design will design the vessels. Armelsan Defence — which specializes in diver detection sonars and is based in Tuzla, a municipality of Istanbul — will supply sonar for the NB57 USV.
Aselsan will provide the 12.7mm STAMP gun systems, and Turkey’s state-controlled missile-maker Roketsan will outfit the surface warfare drone with indigenous missile systems.
Sefine began the USV work in 2019 in cooperation with the Presidency of Defence Industries, Turkey’s defense procurement agency. Aselsan joined the program in 2021.
A news release from Aselsan said the new drones will provide autonomous reconnaissance and intelligence gathering, and fulfill missions such as surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and the protection of bases, ports, critical facilities and high-value surface assets.
The NB57 and RD09 are to reach a maximum speed of 40 knots. They’re also expected to have an operational range of 600 nautical miles and be on duty for four days without replenishment. Both USVs can be transported by cargo aircraft, naval ships or land to the mission area.
In addition to Aselsan’s STAMP automatic gun on both vessels, the RD09 will have two tactical missile launchers developed by Roketsan, while NB57 will be fitted with four lightweight torpedoes of the American-made Mk-46 class.
Burak Ege Bekdil is a Turkey correspondent for Defense News. He has written for Hurriyet Daily News, and worked as Ankara bureau chief for Dow Jones Newswires and CNBC-e television. He is also a fellow at the Middle East Forum and regularly writes for the Middle East Quarterly and Gatestone Institute.