THE SILENT HUNT: Turkey Eyes Strategic Roles for Its New Attack Submarines

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Between 2022 and 2027, Turkey is set to receive six Reis-class submarines (based on Germany’s advanced Type-214-class) with air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems that combine long endurance and silent navigation. The new platforms will boost the nation’s military capacity, most notably as to land-attack capabilities in littoral settings along with other signature advantages in submarine warfare.

In the long-run, however, Turkey’s emerging undersea fleet can be assigned to a more strategic role. Turkish defense planners aim to build a long-range & high-precision conventional deep strike capability through sea-launched cruise missiles (with submarine-launched variants) based on the Gezgin (the Voyager) project, mimicking those of the US and Russia with the Tomahawk and Kalibr missiles respectively. If successful, the integration of submarine-launched cruise missiles and submarines with AIP systems would be tantamount to a breakthrough for the Turkish military’s strategic weapons arsenal.

The Reis-class will not only benefit the Turkish Navy but also Turkey’s defense technological and industrial base. Leading companies are playing critical roles in the project, generating cumulative know-how which can be transferred to the Milli Denizaltı (the national submarine) plans in the coming years.

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