ULAQ is the first indigenous armed unmanned surface vessel (AUSV) developed in Turkey. It is being offered by Ares Shipyard and Meteksan Defence Systems to the Turkish Navy.
The unmanned surface vessel will be developed in different versions to support a range of missions such as reconnaissance, surveillance and intelligence, asymmetric warfare, anti-surface warfare (ASuW), anti-submarine warfare (ASW), strategic facility security, and armed escort and force protection.
The combat vessel can conduct joint operations with complementary forces such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), armed UAVs, and tactical UAVs.
A prototype of the ULAQ was launched at a joint press conference organised by Meteksan Defence and ARES Shipyard in February 2021 and its sea trials are currently underway.
The firing tests of the vessel with four CIRIT and two L-UMTAS missile systems is scheduled for the first quarter of 2021. The prototype will serve as the first platform of the series, once completed in December 2021.
ULAQ development details
The ULAQ development began in 2018 and its research and concept studies were carried out between 2018 and 2019. The production process of the prototype with domestic capabilities began in 2019, followed by its production in June 2020.
The AUSV programme was initiated in October 2020 and the armed unmanned vessel prototype was displayed in Antalya, Turkey, in December 2020.
Ares Shipyard is responsible for the design, construction, and outfitting of the vessel, while its partner Meteksan performed the integration of remote command, andautonomous, data link, and data transfer systems.
ULAQ design and features
The ULAQ AUSV has an overall length of 11m and a maximum payload capacity of 2t. It can carry a variety of payloads including electronic warfare, jamming, and various communication and intelligence systems.
The unmanned combat vessel can be operated remotely by its operators from a shore control station, which integrates a vessel control console, payload control console, and line of sight (LOS) data link with a range of more than 200km. It can also perform autonomous operations using onboard artificial intelligence systems that fully control the vessel in autonomous mode.
The AUSV can be operated from mobile ground control stations, military headquarters, command centres, and naval platforms such as frigates and aircraft carriers.
The unmanned combat vessel will be armed with four CIRIT and two L-UMTAS anti-tank missile systems provided by Roketsan.
CIRIT is a 70mm laser-guided missile with a maximum range of up to 8km. It can be fitted with a multi-purpose warhead or a high explosive warhead. The missile can be integrated with different platforms such as helicopters, UAVs, fixed platforms, and heavy and light armoured vehicles.
L-UMTAS is a long-range laser-guided anti-tank precision missile system used to attack helicopters. It has a length of 1.8m, a diameter of 160mm, a weight of 37.5kg, and a maximum range of 8,000m.
Its laser guidance and tandem armour-piercing warhead can hit stationary as well as moving targets. The missile can lock onto the target before launch. Both missile systems are located on ULAQ, along with stabilised turret system and shipboard equipment.
The ULAQ armed unmanned vessel is equipped with a day/night electro-optical (EO) system, national encrypted communication infrastructure, and anti-jamming GNSS infrastructure.
It also carries passive and active stabilisation systems, a damage control system with self-righting capability, laser and IR-guided weapon systems, a telescopic antenna mast system to increase detection and identification capabilities, and a navigation and surveillance radar system to track surface targets.
ULAQ AUSV performance
The unmanned surface vessel cruises at a top speed of 65km/h and to a maximum range of 400km. It can operate in rough sea conditions up to Sea State 5 and can survive at Sea State 6.