Written by D-Mitch
|TCG Heybeliada, lead ship of the Ada class corvettes|
The MILGEM project, from the Turkish words Milli Gemi (National Ship), is a Turkish national warship program with the aim to design and build locally a fleet of hi-tech stealth multipurpose corvettes and frigates that will replace older ships which are currently in service. Through this ambitious program, Turkey seeks to improve national military shipbuilding capacity and skills and ultimately to achieve independence from foreign weapon producers, designers and manufacturers. More than 50 local companies, including the largest Turkish defense firms such as Aselsan, Havelsan and RMK Marine, play a significant role in the MILGEM project, gaining invaluable experience in warship design and construction. The MILGEM Project Office of the Istanbul Naval Shipyard Command executes and coordinates the design, development and construction works of the MILGEM project since March 12, 2004. The programme initially included the construction of 12 ships in two batches (blocks, due to important differences among the batches). The first batch would have included eight (8) multipurpose corvettes the so-called MILGEM Block I (Ada; island in Turkish) class while the last four (4) would be of the TF-100 frigates equipped with vertical-launching system (VLS) for surface-to-air (SAM) missiles. This plan changed recently as the first batch will include only four corvettes of the Ada class, while all the rest ships will be designated as MILGEM Block II.