MILGEM project is a national warship program of the Republic of Turkey. Managed by the Turkish Navy, the project aims at developing multipurpose corvettes and frigates that can be deployed in a range of missions, including reconnaissance, surveillance, early warning, anti-submarine warfare, surface-to-surface and surface-to-air warfare, and amphibious operations.
As of 2018, the MILGEM project covers the construction of four Ada class anti-submarine warfare corvettes and one ELINT corvette, four Istanbul class multipurpose frigates and four TF2000 class anti-air warfare frigates destined for the Turkish Navy, four Jinnah class corvettes for the Pakistan Navy.
The name of the project emerged from the phrase "National Ship" in Turkish - Milli Gemi.
In mid 1990s the Turkish Navy was researching national resources to design, develop and construct a completely indigenous corvette. In 2004, Istanbul Naval Shipyard Command established MILGEM Project Office to execute and coordinate the design, engineering and construction projects.
By developing the MILGEM project, Turkey aimed to build a warship using local resources to the maximum extent possible, improve national military shipbuilding capacity and skills. The objectives for the Ada class were set to enhance the littoral warfare capabilities and to meet the operational requirements of the Turkish Navy. MILGEM project office focused on building a modern littoral combat ship with authentic anti-submarine warfare and high-seas patrol capability, extensively employing low-observable superstructure and intelligence sensors. In 2005, Istanbul Naval Shipyard Command commenced the construction works of the first vessel of MILGEM project, TCG Heybeliada.
In 2014, Turkish defense technology and engineering company STM was selected as a subprime contractor for the construction of remaining Ada class vessels. More than 50 local suppliers, including Turkish defense companies like Aselsan and Havelsan played significant role in developing local subcomponents for command-and-control and electronic battle management system
The ships are driven by a RENK CODAG Cross Connect propulsion plant. It consists of a gas turbine rated at 23,000 kilowatts (31,000 hp) and two diesel engines rated at 4,320 kW (5,790 hp). Each diesel engine drives one controllable pitch propeller via a two speed main reduction gear. The cross connect gear splits the power from the gas turbine via both main reduction gears to the two shafts. The ship can be operated in Diesel mode, in single gas turbine mode or in CODAG mode where diesel and gas turbine are providing a combined power of 27,640 kW (37,070 hp).
GENESIS (Gemi Entegre Savaş İdare Sistemi, i.e. Ship Integrated Combat Management System), a network-centric combat management system developed by Havelsan and originally used in the upgraded G-class frigates of the Turkish Navy, was contracted for the first two Ada-class corvettes on May 23, 2007. The MİLGEM project warships have an indigenous hull mounted sonar developed by the Scientific and Technological Research Foundation of Turkey. Sonar dome has been developed and produced by STM's subcontractor ONUK-BG Defence Systems, extensively employing nano-enhanced Fiber Reinforced Polymer. The Ada class features an electronic chart precise integrated navigation system (ECPINS) supplied by OSI Geospatial. Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS), delivered by STM's subcontractor Yaltes JV, monitors and controls machinery, auxiliary systems, electrical power generation and distribution. The main systems integrated in IPMS include a power management system, fire detection system, fire fighting and damage control system, CCTV system and stability control system.
Four of the twelve MILGEM project warships are classified as the Ada-class corvette, while four of them will be equipped with additional weapon systems and will be classified as the TF-100-class frigate.
The TF-100 class will feature a slightly larger hull and will be equipped with the Mk.41 VLS, capable of firing RIM-66 Standard, RIM-162 ESSM and VL ASROC missiles, along with other systems for improved multi-role combat capabilities. The experience and technological know-how gained with the MILGEM project will play an important role in determining the design characteristics and the development process of the TF2000-class frigates, as well as the selection of the systems and equipment which will be used on these significantly larger and more capable warships.
According to a CNN Türk news report on September 27, 2008, the navies of Canada, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Ukraine and a number of South American countries have expressed interest in acquiring MILGEM project warships. On 6 April 2011, Indonesia and Turkey signed cooperation agreement on defense industry including the construction of two Ada-class corvettes for the Indonesian Navy.
On 5 July 2018, Pakistani military's ISPR announced that a Turkish firm has won the tender to build four MILGEM corvettes for the Pakistan Navy. Turkish defence minister, Nurettin Canikli, described the deal as “the largest defense export of Turkey in one agreement.” By September 2018, some details have emerged that corvettes for Pakistan Navy will have CODAD propulsion system instead of CODAG, thus increasing the sea endurance from 10 to 15 days. Further, the first vessel is planned to be constructed in 54 months and the remaining vessels will be constructed in 60, 66 and 72 months, respectively. During IDEAS 2018, Pakistan Navy officials stated that, under the agreement, the fourth ship will be entirely designed and constructed in Pakistan which will become first Jinnah-class frigate. This strengthens the idea that the fourth ship will spur a new line of frigates. Coinciding with the commissioning ceremony of TCG Kınalıada attended by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, steel cutting ceremony for the first MILGEM ship for the Pakistan Navy was also held there on September 29, 2019.
- Acquisition of Design Services and Platform Construction and Outfitting Equipment for MILGEM Project Prototype Ship and Second Ship, SSM, Turkey, Retrieved 6 December 2010
- Today's Turkey’s MILGEM to build military ships for Pakistan, Zaman, 29 November 2008
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- Havelsan advances MILGEM integration, Jane's IDEX 2011 exhibition news, Retrieved 25 February 2011
- Indigenous Sonar Wet-End System Production and Integration Project, SSM, Turkey
- MİLGEM Corvette Sonar Dome Archived 2012-01-17 at the Wayback Machine, Onuk-BG Defence Systems, Turkey
- OSI Geospatial Selected by the Turkish Navy to Provide W-ECPINS for the MILGEM Corvette New Build Program Archived 2012-03-15 at the Wayback Machine, OSI Geospatial News Release, 4 June 2009
- YALTES MILGEM IPMS Project, Yaltes JV, Retrieved 6 December 2010
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- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-05-25. Retrieved 2014-05-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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- (in Turkish) Endonezya liderinden 300 milyar dolarlik davet Archived 2011-04-07 at the Wayback Machine, Zaman, 6 April 2011
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