Turkish Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) will lead a project develop a lightweight torpedo (LWT) called Okra to replace the U.S. made MK46 and MK54 LWTs.

Chairperson of the Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) Ismail Demir on Sunday announced the launching of a 324 millimeter Torpedo Development Project to meet the Turkish navy’s needs LWT.

The SSB head said the torpedo will be designed and manufactured by defense contractor Roketsan under the project name, Cope. Defense giant Aselsan will be a sub-contractor in the project.

“We are experiencing the excitement of a new project in the last days of 2020,” Demir said on Twitter as he made the announcement. Roketsan also tweeted that Project Orka is being launched to ensure the safety of the “Blue Homeland,” an area referred as part of Ankara’s territorial claims in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The project will eliminate Turkey’s external dependence for LWTs. The Cope will support different platforms, including helicopters and naval patrol aircraft initially, and later unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).

After U.S. sanctions against the SSB and some other Turkish entities, access to U.S. defence technology has been shut out to projects led by the SSB.

MK54 Lightweight Torpedo. Image by Raytheon

According to information from the MK series torpedo manufacturer, Raytheon, the MK 54 can be deployed from a surface ship, helicopter or fixed wing aircraft to track, classify and attack underwater targets.

It uses sophisticated processing algorithms to analyze the information, edit out false targets or countermeasures, and then pursue identified threats. The MK 54 program leverages the most modern torpedo technologies from the MK 50 and MK 48 ADCAP (advanced capability) programs. It also utilizes the proven MK 46 warhead and propulsion subsystems.