The first new Turkish MILGEM-class corvette, the TCG Heybeliada (pictured here), was commissioned into service on 27 September. The MILGEM national corvette program is the first modern warship class to be produced and designed domestically in Turkey; the ship’s commissioning provides an important boost and marks a major milestone for the country’s navy and shipbuilding industry. Constructed by the Istanbul Naval Shipyard, the 325-foot Heybeliada displaces 2,000 tons fully loaded and is armed with Harpoon antiship missiles, rolling airframe missiles for air defense, a 76-mm gun, and torpedo tubes. The ship also carries a Seahawk multipurpose naval helicopter. The class’s second unit, the Büyükada, was launched on the same day that the Heybeliada was commissioned, and is expected to enter service in 2013. Up to ten additional units eventually may be built for the Turkish navy.
By Eric Wertheim