Turkish Shipyard Launches First Milgem Corvette For Ukrainian Navy

Turkish RMK Marine Shipyard launched Ukraine’s first MILGEM-class corvette, Hetman Ivan Mazepa (F-211), during a ceremony in Istanbul on October 2, 2022.

‘Hetman Ivan Mazepa’ is the first of two Ada-class corvettes on order for the Ukrainian Navy

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov and First Lady Olena Zelensky announced the launching ceremony of Hetman Ivan Mazepa corvette on their Twitter accounts. According to social media posts, the Turkish defense minister attended the ceremony as the highest Turkish official. President of Defence Industry Agency (SSB) Professor İsmail Demir and STM General Manager Özgür Güleryüz also attended the launching ceremony.

Mrs. Zelensky was the godmother of Hetman Ivan Mazepa (F-211) and launched the future corvette. The First Lady shared photos from the ceremony and posted tweets in English and Ukrainian.

“Had the honor of launching the “Hetman Ivan Mazepa” corvette. Its name was chosen in 2021 by the President Volodimir Zelensky. Built in Turkey, it will serve Ukraine and will be the first ship of its kind in our Navy. Wishing fair wind, success and victories only!”

Olena Volodymyrivna Zelenska, The First Lady of Ukraine

The Ukrainian defense minister also posted a tweet on the occasion and shared the video below.

Turkiye and Ukraine signed a military cooperation agreement on 16 October 2020, outlining the parties’ intentions to launch and implement joint projects to construct warships, unmanned aerial vehicles, and all types of turbine engines.

Turkiye is building two corvettes for the Ukrainian Navy under the terms of the agreement. Turkiye’s RMK Marine Shipyard laid the keel of Ukraine’s first Ada-class corvette in Istanbul on 07 September 2021, the construction of the ship still continues.

It was initially planned that the ship would be towed to Ukraine with partial equipment for completion by the end of 2022. In the course of 2023, the corvette was to be equipped with the necessary equipment and armament, and government tests were to begin. But due to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the fate of the implementation of these plans is unknown.

Turkish shipyard launches Ukraine's 1st MILGEM corvette “Hetman Ivan Mazepa”
The participants of the ceremony (Credit: Ukraine’s first lady)

No official statement regarding the sensor suite and weapon configuration has been made due to the confidentiality of the project. However, Radio Svoboda, a Ukrainian news outlet, claimed on 09 August 2021, that the Ukraine Defense Ministry revealed the weapon systems for the Ada-class corvettes.

The corvettes will be equipped with Harpoon anti-ship missiles as their primary strike system. Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister stated that the country was considering the indigenous Neptune anti-ship missile, as well as the Harpoon, Atmaca, and Naval Strike Missile. Still, the Harpoon was an unexpected choice. It should be noted that the mockup presented by the company to the first lady is fitted with Aselsan-made Gokdeniz CIWS, while previous statements were suggesting Rheinmetall Oerlikon’s Millennium 35 mm CIWS for the corvette.

Turkish shipyard launches Ukraine's 1st MILGEM corvette “Hetman Ivan Mazepa”
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar presenting a mockup of Hetman Ivan Mazepa to Ukraine’s first lady

According to Radio Svoboda, the VL MICA missiles, launched from a vertical launch system (VLS), would serve as the corvette’s air defense system. However, the corvette rendering on the poster displayed at the keel-laying ceremony does not feature VLS.

Leonardo’s 76 mm Super Rapid gun and Aselsan’s 12.7 mm STAMP gun will be mounted on the corvettes. The primary weapon against the submarine threat will be MU 90 lightweight torpedo.

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