Turkey is taking firm steps towards producing a mini submarine with domestic and national resources for the first time. Experts also draw attention to the high export potential of mini submarines, which will have a significant multiplier effect in shallow waters such as the Aegean and Mediterranean.
We are hosting one of the most active periods of the year for the defense industry circles. The International Defense Industry Fair (IDEF), which was held digitally last year due to the pandemic, is counting the days to open its doors to its guests this year. While the sector is active, the documents published by some institutions increase the excitement even more.
Defense Technologies Engineering Inc. (STM) has published the Marine Projects document, and a development that those who closely follow the industry have been eagerly waiting for was shared with the public.
In the document, the designs and expected features of a mini submarine project named STM500 were included.
We called Defense and Maritime Researcher Kozan Selçuk Erkan and talked about why mini-submarine production is important for Ankara.
FEATURES OF STM 500 MINI SUBMARINE
Defense and Maritime Researcher Kozan Selçuk Erkan talked about some of the features of the platform in question:
“The platform can operate for 30 days with a 6-person Special Forces team in addition to its 18-person crew. With a length of 42 meters and a height of 8.5 meters, the mini submarine has 4 ready-to-fire torpedo tubes and a total of 8 heavy torpedoes and guided missile firing power. The STM 500, which can perform submarine warfare, special operations, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, mine warfare, shallow water operations and unmanned underwater/aircraft operations, is over 250 meters deep.”
IT IS IMPORTANT FOR OUR COUNTRY TO SHOW ITS SKILLS
According to the news in TRT Haber, Defense and Maritime Researcher Kozan Selçuk Erkan said that the submarines currently used by the Turkish Naval Forces have a displacement of 1100 to 1600 tons when submerged. Reis class submarines, which are still in production, are expected to have a displacement of over 2000 tons in submerged condition. The STM500, on the other hand, has a displacement of approximately 540 tons.
Erkan describes the project with the words ‘It is a really important breakthrough in terms of showing how much skill our country has acquired in submarine design’.
Erkan clarifies the picture in the minds of readers who are far from this area by saying, “Bigger submarine may mean longer range and capabilities, but large submarines need large seas to hide”.
IT WILL BE A VERY IMPORTANT MULTIPLIER POWER IN THE AEGEAN AND MEDITERRANEAN
One is always curious about the effects of the systems that Turkey will use in the Blue Homeland on the balances in the Aegean and Mediterranean. Kozan Selçuk Erkan explained how a mini submarine would present a photograph in these areas:
“The Aegean Sea, the Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus are relatively shallow seas… But more importantly, they are quite bumpy regions in terms of sea structure. In other words, it is ideal for coastal defense or for a small submarine to operate in the regional area and hide again… It is not enough for Turkey to produce long-range submarines with highly advanced features. In addition, we need a platform produced with national means that can serve in the defense of coastal areas and especially in shallow underwater geography. The STM 500 is quite valuable for this need. It is a very smart move to design and build such a submarine that will cost less. In this context, I believe that domestic and national mini-submarines will create a very important multiplier effect, especially in the places I have just mentioned.”
YOU CAN MAKE SUBSYSTEMS EASILY
Explaining the contributions of the STM 500, Erkan also shares important information about how we are in the current submarine projects. According to what they said, we are currently meeting this need with the relatively small Moon class submarines. However, Erkan draws attention to the fact that these submarines are both old and slightly larger for the task they perform, adding, “However, they retire as they begin to fill their useful lives. We will fill the gap to be created by these submarines with the new REIS class in the open seas. In shallow waters, the STM500 will be a huge power multiplier by supporting the Reis class.”
THERE IS A SIGNIFICANT EXPORT POTENTIAL
The small submarine market has existed for many years, but the changing threat perceptions in the 2000s made these platforms relatively unimportant. Now, Erkan tells that this is reversed once again.
With the development of lithium-ion batteries, the shrinking of electronic sub-systems and the increase in the efficiency of electric motors, mini-submarines have started to be used effectively again.
Italy and France have advanced mini-submarine designs that can offer the whole world in this regard. Kozan Selçuk Erkan states that these two have reached a certain point in exporting mini submarines to countries such as Qatar, Egypt and Pakistan.
WHAT ABOUT ANKARA?
Erkan responds with a footnote that affordable cost and advanced systems will come to the fore in mini-submarine exports and said, “The product that Turkey will reveal will fill a very important need for initial or coastal defense purposes in developing countries. The successes we have achieved in naval platforms so far are obvious. I am sure that Ankara will find a serious export market for the mini-submarine in the coming period”.
The opinions expressed herein are the author’s and not necessarily those of News2Sea.
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