Turkey successfully tests first domestically-produced maritime missile

Turkey has successfully tested its first domestically-produced maritime missile, İsmail Demir, the head of the Turkish Presidency of Defence Industries, said on Twitter on Saturday.

The Atmaca missile “performed its functions perfectly, it successfully hit a target over 200 kilometres (124 miles) away and is ready to enter the (Turkish armed forces') weapons inventory,” Demir said. 

The Atmaca missile, made by Turkish missile producer Roketsan, is expected to enter the Turkish military’s inventory before the end of 2020, replacing the U.S.-made Harpoon, state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Saturday. 

Atmaca is a high-precision, long-range, surface-to-surface, anti-ship missile which can be integrated with patrol boats, frigates, and corvettes, Anadolu said.

The missile is being added to Turkey’s arsenal at a time of rising maritime tensions in the eastern Mediterranean between Turkey and Cyprus and Greece over a scramble for hydrocarbons off the coast of Cyprus. 

The island has been split since 1974 between a Greek-Cypriot government in the south, recognised internationally, and a breakaway Turkish-Cypriot administration in the north recognised only by Turkey. 

Turkey has made clear its intentions to drill in areas in the west of the divided island, in spite of protests from the Greek Cypriot side and its allies that some of the areas explored by Turkish vessels lie in the Cypriot state’s claimed exclusive economic zone (EEZ). 

Ankara says Northern Cyprus has a right to a share in the hydrocarbon reserves and that it is drilling in areas within its continental shelf. Ankara has sent two drilling vessels - Fatih and most recently Yavuz - to the eastern Mediterranean since last spring.

Turkey is also pursuing what it calls its Mavi Vatan (Blue Homeland) naval expansion doctrine, which lays claim to wide-ranging territorial waters in the Aegean, Mediterranean and Black Seas.

Forbes reported in May that Turkey’s new light aircraft carrier, TCG Anadolu, is set to become operational this year and will transform the country’s naval power.

The carrier has a large helicopter landing deck and un-crewed combat air vehicle capacity, as well as amphibious capabilities, which will boost the ability of Turkey’s military to conduct overseas operations, Forbes said. 

The Anadolu is currently being fitted out at Istanbul’s Sedef shipyard and is expected to be commissioned into the Turkish navy this year, earlier than originally planned.