Turkey earned a reputation as a promising defense manufacturer, especially after its TB2 Bayraktar Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) wreaked havoc on Russia and Armenia.
Following the success of the autonomous aerial vehicle, it has now launched a ‘never-before-seen’ armed Unmanned Surface Vessel (AUSV) for the sea.
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Local Turkish media reported that Turkey had broken new ground by launching MARLIN SİDA, which will be the first unmanned platform to represent Turkey in upcoming NATO drills. It is the world’s first electronic warfare-capable unmanned surface vehicle.
“After the SİHAs, which are shown as game changers on the field, Türkiye also asserts its claim with its SİDAs! MARLIN SİDA became the world’s first unmanned surface vehicle with electronic warfare capability! Türkiye is the pioneer, not the laggard! Congratulations,” Türkiye’s Defense Industries President İsmail Demir tweeted and shared a maneuver video of the watercraft on the sea.
Türkiye sahada oyun değiştirici olarak gösterilen SİHA’larından sonra, SİDA’larıyla da iddiasını ortaya koyuyor!
MARLIN SİDA dünyada elektronik harp kabiliyetine sahip ilk insansız suüstü aracı oldu!
Geriden gelen değil, öncü olan Türkiye!
— Ismail Demir (@IsmailDemirSSB) September 15, 2022
The name MARLIN is reportedly based on a type of swordfish. It is known among sailors as the “ship-sinker” because when it strikes a ship with its pointed nose and is capable of causing severe damage.
Turkey will use this product for specialized operations under its own classification, including support for amphibious operations during the NATO exercise, intelligence gathering, electronic warfare, target detection, and identification, and underwater and surface reconnaissance and surveillance, Daily Sabah reported.
The unveiling becomes even more significant in light of combat successes registered by TB2 Bayraktar unmanned aerial vehicles in the war against Ukraine. TB2 Bayraktar’s manufacturer said in a statement that the destruction of Russian artillery systems and armored vehicles by the Ukrainian fleet of TB2 drones has made “the whole world” a customer.
Not just that, Ukraine’s President Zelensky recently met with the drone manufacturer and conferred the ‘Order of the Merit’ award on him for his exemplary contribution to the war. Against that backdrop, the new unmanned surface vessel with cutting-edge capabilities could be a ginormous addition to Turkey’s autonomous system market.
Even though advanced militaries worldwide have launched their unmanned surface vehicles, the MARLIN is unique as it is equipped with an electronic warfare system. This capability would allow the unmanned vessel to track adversarial ships and potentially jam the adversary’s radars.
Demir did not reveal the specifics of electronic warfare systems on the vessel. However, Turkish media suggested that the EW system now installed on MARLIN is the first of its kind in the world and makes MARLIN, the first EW system-equipped AUSV.
It will be able to conduct EW in a way that is not possible from a human platform from an unmanned surface platform.
While Turkey does not dominate the industry in producing manned fighter or bomber aircraft, it has already established itself as a leading producer and user of armed tactical unmanned aerial systems. With MARLIN, it would hope to rule the USV market as well.
#SALVO Armed Unmanned Surface Vehicle (AUSV), developed by Turkish shipyard #DEARSAN, has successfully hit the bull's-eye with #ROKETSAN’s #CIRIT missile during its maiden live-fire missile test. pic.twitter.com/nkP3zzKmOe
— Turkish Defence News (@trdefencenews) May 26, 2022
Turkey’s quest with Unmanned Surface Vehicles is not new. In May this year, the SALVO Armed Unmanned Surface Vehicle (AUSV), produced by Dearsan Shipyard, completed its first firing test activity. The test took place in collaboration with Aseslan, among other defense firms.
In July 2021, two unmanned surface vessel designs were showcased by Turkish defense firms Aselsan and Sefine Shipyard. At the time, the partners cut the steel for a USV designed for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) called “NB57” and the first weld for an Anti-Surface Warfare variant called “RD09”.
MARLIN Unmanned Surface Vehicle
Produced in cooperation with Sefine Shipyard-Aselsan with the coordination of the Defense Industry Presidency, the MARLIN SİDA unmanned sea vehicle is touted as the most capable unmanned surface watercraft.
The 15-meter-long MARLIN SDA can conduct asymmetrical operations as well as surface, undersea, and electronic warfare. The advantage of MARLIN SDA is that it was the first in the world to employ its warfare technologies. It may be used more creatively than gunboats.
The MARLIN SDA is intended for use in naval warfare operations for defensive and offensive purposes. This becomes significant in light of escalating tensions between Turkey and Greece. Ankara claims that Greece violates international agreements by militarizing islands close to its coastline.
The Greek Coast Guard was recently even accused of opening fire on a cargo vessel sailing in international waters in the Aegean Sea. In such a scenario, the development and deployment of unmanned vehicles become significant.
Earlier, the President of Turkey issued a thinly veiled invasion threat, to which Athens retaliated by declaring its readiness to protect its sovereignty. The two sides remain locked in the Aegean Sea territorial disputes and disagreements over the use of airspace.
While Greece has been armed with advanced fighter jets like the French Rafale and the upgraded American F-16 Vipers, Turkey has been struggling with an aging fighter jet fleet to deter its enemy.
TÜBTAK SAGE’s air-launched “Kuzgun” (Raven) munitions can also be fired from MARLIN in sea-to-land or sea-to-sea configurations. The solid propellant Kuzgun will pass the tests in the next six months.
According to reports, electronic warfare payloads produced by ASELSAN have been integrated into the MARLIN SİDA. Turkish defense giant Aseslan ensures the development of very advanced electronic warfare systems such KORAas L, MİLKAR, ARES, and REDET, to name a few.
MARLIN has been invited to a NATO exercise set to take place this month in Portugal. MARLIN will demonstrate on a global stage that it can cooperate with manned naval components, media reports cited.