Turkish mini-submarines will be a game-changer, as will drones, expert predicts. According to him, the production of small submarines will allow Ankara not only to use them in the Aegean and Black Seas, but also to say a new word in the global arms market.
Having made great strides in developing, operating and exporting its unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), Turkey is gearing up for similar mini-submarine success stories in the near future .
Defense and navy researcher Kozan Selçuk Ercan argues that game-changing combat drones will have an equivalent in the form of mini-submarines that can operate in the seas surrounding Turkey.
Erkan, who is named by the Daily Sabah as one of the experts closely following the developments when speaking about Turkey’s submarine-building skills, told state broadcaster TRT Haber that “it is a quiet and deep process, in keeping with the spirit of the submarine.”
Claiming that Ankara acquired this strategic approach through submarine building programs that have been underway since the 1980s, Erkan points out that with each new production, more localization rates and new production skills are acquired.
With the development of the Reis-class submarines — air-independent submarines developed as part of the New Type Submarine Project — Turkey’s industry has moved to a much higher level, Ercan said.
Commenting on mini-submarines, Erkan emphasized that small submarines, due to their nature, will be more difficult to develop, since too many subsystems need to be built in small quantities. “But this is what our shipbuilding industry can handle now,” says the Turkish expert.
He said that the mini-submarine, codenamed STM-500, developed by the Turkish company STM, which had previously played an important role in the development of Reis-class submarines, would become a platform that would be at a much higher level of domestic parts. “Everyone knows what kind of embargo our country is subjected to in relation to some strategic subsystems,” the Turkish expert commented, noting that “with the mini-submarines that we will produce, a class will arise in which foreign dependence in this area will remain low level.”
Describing these platforms as “powerful long-range vehicles that can stay underwater for long periods of time,” Erkan pointed to Turkey’s geostrategic position, explaining: “It may not be possible to achieve the desired result with large submarines in areas such as the Aegean Sea. , which is also known as the Sea of Islands, which is partly shallow, and the Black Sea, which is a closed sea. Turkey, which is on its way to becoming a global player, really needs submarines like the Reis class where technology is at its highest.” The expert went on to say: “However, mini-submarines that are economical to manufacture and operate are of vital importance to us and to nearby waters.”
Products made by Turkey in the defense industry find buyers in various markets around the world, says Erkan. “Turkey has risen to the top league of military shipbuilding in recent years, ” he added.
“ As for mini-submarines, we are just in the position of tactical-class UAVs … When Turkey began producing tactical-class UAVs, there were only large-class or expensive tactical UAVs in the world. It will not be a mistake to say that Ankara, with its right choice, laid the foundation for this market in the world,” the expert explained.
“In the class of small submarines, we are now exactly at the same point. In other words, while the West is targeting either very large and expensive submarines or very technologically advanced and expensive submarines, our focus on this type of small submarines could create a different market for us,” the Turkish expert added.
Erkan said that many countries in the world want to have a submarine, but do not want to bear the burden of operating costs. “I believe that national mini-submarines can become another power multiplier, as can unmanned aerial vehicles,” he said.