Turkey to Build Three Istanbul-Class Frigates Simultaneously

Turkey prepares to build three ISTIF class (I-class) frigates simultaneously in a rare move. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has detailed the plan for such decision.

Speaking at the commissioning ceremony of Turkeys first national intelligence ship TCG UFUK (A-591), Turkish President Erdogan has announced that Turkiye devises plans to construct three ISTIF class (I-class) frigates concurrently in a move that Turkish President Erdogan has marked as a “first”.

Noting that Turkiye has never built three frigates at the same time, Turkish President has stressed that this will be a first.

“Until now, we have been purchasing the vertical launch system (VLS), the main weapon group of our frigates, from the outside, and now we have developed such system through national means. Istanbul, which is under construction within the scope of our MILGEM Project, and three other frigates that we have tendered will have domestic and national vertical launch system and domestic and national air defense missiles,” President Erdogan said.

Istanbul, the fifth ship to be produced under the MILGEM Program, was subjected to a series of embargoes while its production activities were underway.

One of the most important of these embargoes involved the US-manufactured Mk-41 Vertical Launch System (VLS). Following the embargo on the VLS, which is vital for the Istanbul Frigate and where air defense missiles will be fired, Roketsan stepped up its development of the National Vertical Launch System (MILDAS). The company rushes to deliver MILDAS by 2023.

ISTIF-class frigates will be equipped with 76mm Naval Gun and 16 ATMACA Surface-to-Surface Guided Missiles. The air defense frigates would also be fitted with Roketsan’s MIDLAS Vertical Launch Systems.

The construction and equipment fitting activities of the first ship of I-class frigates-Istanbul-are continuing, where STM is the main contractor.

The decision of the Defense Industry Executive Committee of Turkiye (SSİK) to design and build the first ship under the Command of the Istanbul Shipyard was taken on June 30, 2015.


The first ship, TCG Istanbul (F 515), was launched on January 23, 2022, and will be delivered to the Navy Command on September 6, 2023 after the completion of port acceptance tests and cruise acceptance tests on January 2023.

I Class Frigate is an advanced design based on the experience gained from MILGEM Ada Class Corvettes.

I Class Frigates are equipped with advanced Network Supported Data Integrated Command & Control System and sensors & weapons in order to accomplish mainly AAW and SUW as well as ASW duties.

The names and bow numbers of the 4 I-class frigates to be built will be as follows:
• TCG Istanbul (F 515)
• TCG Izmir (F 516)
• TCG Izmit (F 517)
• TCG Icel (F 518)


President Erdogan has also unveiled that Turkiye would soon launch a tender for TF-2000 Air Defence Warfare Destroyer (HSHM) Project.

TF-2000 HSHM, using the sea as a shield, will detect and destroy various guided shells before they reach the mainland.

The TF-2000 destroyers, which will be effective against air-breathing targets, will not carry out the destruction of ballistic missiles, but will play an important role in their detection.

The TF-2000 destroyers, which are planned to be 166 meters of length, 21.5 meters wide, 5.4 meters of draft, 8,500 tons of displacement, a top speed of 28+ knots, will be the highest displacement ships of the MILGEM Program.

The vessels will be equipped with:

• 127mm Naval Gun
• 64-cell National Vertical Launch System (MILDAS),
• Various national Surface-to-Air Missiles to be fired from MİLDAS and GEZGİN Cruise Missile,
• 16 ATMACA Surface-to-Surface Guided Missiles,
• GÖKDENİZ Close Air Defense System,
• UMTAS Long Range Anti-Tank Missile,
• Torpedos
• NAZAR Laser Electronic Attack System,
• It is planned to have stabilized Automatic Cannon weapon systems. Thus, any foreign weapon system will not be used in the TF-2000 destroyers.

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