Sea trials for Turkey’s first weaponized unmanned vessel “ULAQ” have commenced, its manufacturer, Meteksan  Savunma announced today.

“The Armed Unmanned Marine Vehicle (SİDA), the first platform of the ‘ULAQ’ series, whose prototype production was completed, was launched and sea tests began,” the company tweeted today.

A video released by Meteksan shows the ULAQ Armed Unmanned Surface Vehicle (AUSV) being lowered into the sea at the ARES Shipyard and speeding away from the shore.

In the video, the unmanned armed drone is seen going past the Turkish seabed exploration vessel Oruç Reis which was at the center of a confrontation in the Eastern Mediterranean between Turkey and Greece in late 2020.

The visual can be interpreted as a message to Greece and other national opposing Turkey’s exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.

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 like intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, surface warfare, asymmetric warfare, escort missions, strategic infrastructure protection.

Design of the prototype vessel was completed in August 2020 and structural build was completed two months later. First AUSV’s missile systems are inclusive of 4 cells of Cirit and 2 of L-UMTAS, supplied by our national missile systems provider ROKETSAN, where the firing tests are planned in the first quarter of 2021.

Along with the missile systems, AUSV will be equipped with different variations of communication and intelligence systems like jamming and electronic warfare systems to correspond diverse operational needs. AUSV will be able to carry out joint operations with complementary forces. Furthermore, AUSV is not only a remotely controlled vehicle but also and more importantly an autonomous vehicle that hosts artificial intelligence.

After the first prototype vessel, other USVs for the operations like surveillance and intelligence, mine counter measures, anti-submarine warfare, fire-fighting, search and rescue missions, will be manufactured.

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