MILGEM project

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U.S. Navy Cmdr. Russell Caldwell waves to the Turkish corvette TCG Heybeliada (F 511) from aboard the guided missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) in the Mediterranean Sea during a passing exercise Sept 140902-N-IY142-159.jpg
TCG Heybeliada in the Mediterranean Sea
Class overview
Name: Ada class
Builders: Istanbul Naval Shipyard
Operators: Turkish Navy
Subclasses: TF-100 class
Built: 2005–present
In service: 2011–present
Planned: 12
Building: 1
Completed: 4
Active: 3
Laid up: 4
General characteristics
  • 2,400 tonnes for Ada class
  • 3,000 tonnes for İ class
  • 99.56 m (326 ft 8 in) for Ada class
  • 113.2 m (371 ft 5 in) for İ class
  • 14.40 m (47 ft 3 in) for Ada class
  • 14.40 m (47 ft 3 in) for İ class
  • 3.90 m (12 ft 10 in) for Ada class
  • 4.05 m (13 ft 3 in) for İ class
Installed power:
  • Main: 31,640 kW (42,430 hp) RENK CODAG
  • Aux: 4 x 588 kW (789 hp)
Propulsion: 1 gas turbine, 2 diesels, 2 shafts
  • Economy: 15 kn (28 km/h; 17 mph)
  • Maximum: 30 kn (56 km/h; 35 mph)
Range: 3,500 nmi (6,500 km; 4,000 mi) at 15 kn (28 km/h; 17 mph)
  • 21 days with logistic support
  • 10 days autonomous
Boats & landing
craft carried:
2 x RHIB
Complement: 93 including aviation officers, with accommodation for up to 106 for Ada Class Corvets and 125 for İ Class Frigates
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • Combat Management System: G-MSYS (GENESIS MİLGEM Savaş Yönetim Sistemi)
  • Search radar: SMART-S Mk2[2]
  • Weapon control: STING EO Mk2
  • Sonar: TBT-01 Yakamoz
  • Communication: SatCom, GPS, LAN, ECDIS/WECDIS, Link 11/16
  • Navigation: ECPINS-W, ALPER LPI
  • IPMS: UniMACS 3000
  • Others: X-Band radar, Fire Control Radar
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
  • SIGINT: ARES-2N[3]
  • Others: Laser/RF systems, ASW jammers, DG, SSTD
Aircraft carried:
Aviation facilities: Capability of storing armaments, 20 tons of JP-5 aircraft fuel, aerial refueling (HIRF) and maintenance systems

The Ada class (also known as the MILGEM project), is a Turkish national warship program, the purpose of which was to build a modern littoral combat ship with indigenous anti-submarine warfare and high-seas patrol capabilities, extensively using the principles of stealth technology in its design.[1] Three Ada-class corvettes have already been commissioned by the Turkish Navy and more are scheduled to enter into service in due course.

The corvettes of the MİLGEM project are named the Ada class (ada means island in Turkish, as each individual ship of the class is given the name of a Turkish island, in particular the Prince Islands in the Sea of Marmara, to the southeast of Istanbul). The lead ship of the class, TCG Heybeliada is named after Heybeliada Island, where the Turkish Naval High School is located.

The project covers the construction of four corvettes (Ada class), eight frigates which four (TF-100 class) and four (TF-2000 class) for the Turkish Navy, with possible exports to other countries.[4] The first three ships of the class, TCG Heybeliada, TCG Büyükada and TCG Burgazada were built by the Istanbul Naval Shipyard Command. The cost of the lead ship Heybeliada was around US$260 million.[5]

In September 2013, then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that the MİLGEM project was to be temporarily put on hold after the completion of the first two corvettes by the Istanbul Naval Shipyard, and that the bid won by RMK Marine to build six more corvettes was cancelled. This was reportedly because the other shipbuilders complained about the bidding process. He added that a new bidding process will take place.[6]


When the MİLGEM project was officially launched in 1996, the Turkish Navy decided to use its own resources for the design, development and construction of a completely indigenous corvette. The MİLGEM Project Office of the Istanbul Naval Shipyard Command executes and coordinates the design, development and construction works of the MİLGEM project since 12 March 2004.

By developing the MİLGEM project, Turkey aims to build a warship using local resources to the maximum extent possible, and improve national military shipbuilding capacity and skills. The objectives of the Ada class are to enhance the littoral warfare capabilities and to meet the operational requirements of the Turkish Navy.[4][7]

More than 50 local companies, including the largest Turkish defense firms such as STM and Aselsan, Havelsan, play a significant role in the MİLGEM project, gaining invaluable experience in warship design and construction.[8]


The project is generally described as the subclasses of multi-purpose warships capable of sustaining a sea war in a littoral combat environment.

MİLGEM Project Office (MPO) of the Istanbul Naval Shipyard Command designed and developed the vessel platform. MİLGEM's design concept covers a multipurpose patrol warship, which can be deployed in a range of missions, including reconnaissance, surveillance, target identification, early warning, anti-submarine warfare, surface-to-surface and surface-to-air warfare, and amphibious operations. It features a steel hull and fragmentation resistant composite superstructure. Fore and aft masts and the funnel have been constructed with sea resistant aluminium alloys. The warships of the MİLGEM project are designed to fully operate at sea state 5 and partially operate at sea state 6. Reduction and management of the ship signatures was taken as the major input during the whole design phase. Many classified precautions were taken in order to reduce hydrodynamic, acoustic, magnetic, IR, radar signatures, and therefore, to achieve the specified level of stealth feature.[4] Collective Protection Zones are designed to ensure the ships ability under NBC conditions. Locally designed degaussing system minimizes the magnetic signature for protection against the magnetic mines.

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).

The design concept and mission profile of the Ada-class corvette bears similarities with the Freedom-class littoral combat ship developed by Lockheed Martin as the first member of the next generation of U.S. Navy warships; though the Ada-class corvettes are more heavily armed and are equipped with more capable radar and sonar systems, while the Freedom class has a higher speed and variable mission modules.[9]

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.[10][11] The MİLGEM project warships have an indigenous hull mounted sonar developed by the Scientific and Technological Research Foundation of Turkey.[12] Sonar dome has been developed and produced by STM's subcontractor ONUK-BG Defence Systems, extensively employing nano-enhanced Fiber Reinforced Polymer.[13] The Ada class features a electronic chart precise integrated navigation system (ECPINS) supplied by OSI Geospatial.[14] 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.[15]


According to the Ada class acquisition model, Turkey's Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) signed R&D contracts mostly for the two prototype ships which are considered to be development platforms for testing the design and integrated systems. Thus, being an open-end project, 1st and 2nd ships of the class are expected to be slightly different in terms of vessel design and system configuration. The subsequent ships, expected to be built by private shipyards, will have more optimised design and configuration.[7]

TF-100-class frigate[edit]

Four of the twelve MİLGEM 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[16] 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 MİLGEM 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.

Pennant no. Name Namesake Builder Laid down Launched Commissioned Status
NA Istanbul-class frigate TCG Istanbul Istanbul Naval Shipyard Command 19 January 2017 2021 NA Laid down


Construction works of the first MİLGEM project warship, the Ada-class corvette Heybeliada, began on July 26, 2005. TCG Heybeliada was launched with a ceremony on September 27, 2008, that was attended by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister of Turkey. On November 2, 2010, Heybeliada started undergoing sea acceptance trials before being officially commissioned.[17][18] Heybeliada entered navy service on 27 September 2011.[19]

Production of the second Ada-class corvette, TCG Büyükada, commenced on September 27, 2008. TCG Büyükada was expected to incorporate weapon systems with distinctive performances, such as the ASELSAN air-search radar. Büyükada was launched on September 27, 2011 and undergone sea acceptance trials before it was officially commissioned on September 27, 2013. The construction of TCG Burgazada commenced on December 17, 2014. The ship was launched in June 2016 and commissioned on 4 November 2018.[20]

Ships in the class[edit]

Pennant no. Name Namesake Builder Laid down Launched Commissioned Status
F-511 Heybeliada Heybeliada Istanbul Naval Shipyard Command 26 July 2005 27 September 2008 27 September 2011 On active duty with the Turkish Navy
F-512 Büyükada Büyükada Istanbul Naval Shipyard Command 27 September 2008 27 September 2011 27 September 2013 On active duty with the Turkish Navy
F-513 Burgazada Burgazada Istanbul Naval Shipyard Command 17 December 2014 21 June 2016 4 November 2018 On active duty with the Turkish Navy
F-514 Kinaliada Kinaliada Istanbul Naval Shipyard Command 8 October 2015[21] 3 July 2017 Expected 2019 Launched for Turkish Navy


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 MİLGEM project warships.[22][23] 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.[24]

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.”[25]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.[26] 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.[27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Patrol and Anti-Submarine Warfare Ship (MILGEM- Milli Gemi – National Ship) Project, SSM, Turkey
  2. ^ Turkish Navy purchases Thales sensors[permanent dead link], Thales Netherlands, 19 December 2007
  3. ^ ARES-2N (Turkey), Naval Signals Intelligence (SIGINT), electronic support and threat-warning systems, Jane's Radar And Electronic Warfare Systems, 3 February 2011
  4. ^ a b c "MİLGEM" Project, Turkish Navy
  5. ^ Turkiyenin urettigi ilk savas gemisi Heybeliada seyirde, Umit Kozan, 12 November 2010
  6. ^ "Koç'un aldığı o ihale yenilenecek". Hürriyet (in Turkish). 2013-09-27. Retrieved 2013-09-27.
  7. ^ a b Acquisition of Design Services and Platform Construction and Outfitting Equipment for MILGEM Project Prototype Ship and Second Ship, SSM, Turkey, Retrieved 6 December 2010
  8. ^ Today's Turkey’s MİLGEM to build military ships for Pakistan, Zaman, 29 November 2008
  9. ^ Milgem Class Multimission Corvettes, Turkey, Naval Technology, Retrieved 6 December 2010
  10. ^ MILGEM Project, GENESIS Combat Management System Archived 2009-04-24 at the Wayback Machine, Havelsan, Retrieved 6 December 2010
  11. ^ Havelsan advances MILGEM integration, Jane's IDEX 2011 exhibition news, Retrieved 25 February 2011
  12. ^ Indigenous Sonar Wet-End System Production and Integration Project, SSM, Turkey
  13. ^ MİLGEM Corvette Sonar Dome Archived 2012-01-17 at the Wayback Machine, Onuk-BG Defence Systems, Turkey
  14. ^ 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
  15. ^ YALTES MILGEM IPMS Project, Yaltes JV, Retrieved 6 December 2010
  16. ^ "Turkish Navy set to build its own frigate". Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  17. ^ ‹See Tfd›(in Turkish) Newsletter about TCG Heybeliada, Turkish Navy, 12 November 2010
  18. ^ First Turkish MILGEM begins sea trials, Richard Scott, IHS Jane's, 22 November 2010
  19. ^ ‹See Tfd›(in Turkish) Newsletter about TCG Heybeliada, Turkish Navy, 27 September 2011
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-01-06. Retrieved 2017-01-05.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-05-25. Retrieved 2014-05-11.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  23. ^ ‹See Tfd›(in Turkish) News video of TCG HEYBELİADA being put to sea, CNN Türk TV, 27 September 2008
  24. ^ ‹See Tfd›(in Turkish) Endonezya liderinden 300 milyar dolarlik davet Archived 2011-04-07 at the Wayback Machine, Zaman, 6 April 2011
  25. ^ "Turkish Firm Wins Tender to Build Four Corvettes for Pakistan Navy". Retrieved 2018-07-05.
  26. ^ "T129 ATAK Helicopters and ADA Class Corvettes Sale to Pakistan". Retrieved 2018-09-11.
  27. ^ "IDEAS 2018: PAKISTAN NAVY MILGEM CORVETTE". 6 December 2018. Retrieved 7 December 2018.