Erdoğan launches Turkey’s first domestically built frigate

Turkish officials on Saturday held a ceremony in Istanbul for the launching of the country’s first domestically built frigate attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Hürriyet newspaper reported.

Turkey is among the 10 countries in the world that can "design, build and maintain’’ their own warships, Erdoğan said in a speech he delivered at the ceremony to launch the F-515 frigate.

"We are among the top three or four countries in the production of drones, including combat ones. The whole world is watching our drones with envy," Erdoğan added.

The F-515 is the fifth vessel produced as part of Turkey’s national warship programme, MILGEM, as part of which four frigates are expected to be built.

Turkey’s navy will be in a "very strong position" with five major projects over the five year, Erdoğan said.

The 113-meter-long (43-foot) F-515 is expected to be delivered to Turkey's Naval Forces Command in 2023.

Erdoğan lauded the success of Turkey’s defence industry, citing the ability of Turkish drones to turn the tide in the conflict in war-torn Libya.

"Turkey’s drones change the course of the war in Libya,’’ Erdoğan said. "Alongside (Turkey’s UAVs, there is an increasing interesting in other impressive (defence) products.’’

Turkish drones played a central role in recent months in shifting Libya's civil war in favour of the Turkish-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli.

Turkish drones participated in the conflict over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh in service of Azerbaijan.