ANKARA, Turkey – Private Turkish shipyard Ares has started mass production of a batch of 122 fast patrol boats for the country’s coast guard command and general security directorate, the company said.
This is the largest naval program ever carried out by Turkey in terms of number of ships, and it is part of a contract between Ares and Turkey’s Defense Procurement Office, the Presidency of Industries of defense. The government agency, also known as SSB, has not disclosed the contract’s value, but industry sources estimate it to be between $ 70 million and $ 80 million.
On the batch of 122 ships, the command of the coast guard will receive 105 Ares 35 fast boats, and the general direction of the security will receive 17.
SSB chief Ismail Demir previously said small warships would be used to regulate or counter illegal migration, human smuggling and trafficking, and support search and rescue and rescue operations. maritime security from the east coast of the Black Sea to the province of Hatay in the eastern Mediterranean. .
Turkey, home to more than 5 million refugees, is the main transit route for illegal immigration to the European Union, often via neighboring Greece. Turkey has a coastline along the Black, Aegean and Mediterranean Seas that exceeds 8,000 kilometers (including islands).
The Ares 35’s speed exceeds 35 knots and has a range of 160 nautical miles, according to the manufacturer. Earlier this year, Ares produced and delivered the first Ares 35, which will sail from Antalya for two months to participate in operations in the Black Sea. The Ares shipyard is based on the Mediterranean coast of Antalya.
Ares plans to complete deliveries in four years after delivering six boats every two months, Onur Yilmaz, project manager at Ares, told the state-run Anadolu news agency.
“All boats will have the same characteristics, but there could be changes if there are additional returns,” he said. “The boat has been designed with high operational capability on all coasts of Turkey and will prove itself performing tasks in shallow and even deep water (over 3.2 feet).”