Turkey Launches MiLDEN Project to Build Own Submarines

Turkey unveiled its new defense project, the MiLDEN, to develop and build six of its own submarines by 2040, on Tuesday.

The first Turkish submarines will be copies of the German designs, which feature silent cruising capabilities, guided missiles and advanced heavy torpedoes, UPI reported on Wednesday.

An indigenous construction consortium, including electronics company Aselan and software specialist Havelsan, is being organized.  Under the plan, local defense contractors will design, develop and build British R-class submarines at Gölcük naval shipyards by using the technology they earned from an ongoing submarine program, writes DefenseNews.

“Specialist teams have been assigned to the MiLDEN program, with construction planning the next phase,” said Rear Adm. Mehmet Sari of the Turkish Defense Department’s shipyards agency.

Ankara currently boasts a submarine fleet second-largest in NATO, with 12 Type-214 boats in service. The design of these Turkish vessels is based on Germany’s Type-209 diesel-electric attack submarines which were developed exclusively for export. The Type-214 boat displaces 1,700 tonnes when surfaced, has eight torpedo tubes able to deploy heavyweight torpedoes — such as the Atlas Elektronik SeaHake — and has anti-ship missiles, such as the Harpoon and Exocet.

Six more Type-214 submarines are to be built for the Turkish Navy under 2011’s €2.5 billion ($2.8 billion) contract.

In 2017, Turkish and German naval specialists signed a letter of intent to cooperate on a contract to build a variant of the Type 214 diesel-electric submarine for the Indonesian Navy.

Turkey’s shipbuilding industry is currently upgrading three French-made submarines for Pakistan.