By Tolga Yanik and Gokhan Ergocun
TROIA, Portugal/ISTANBUL (AA) - The Marlin unmanned surface vehicle (USV), developed and produced indigenously in Türkiye, demonstrated its abilities at a recent NATO exercise in southwestern Portugal.
Developed by Turkish defense giant Aselsan and the Sefine Shipyard in northwestern Yalova province under the coordination of Turkish Defense Industries' Presidency, MARLIN took part in the drill with around 100 other unmanned aviation and marine vehicles.
Around 20 ships were also part of the six-day exercise that began on Sunday and was named Dynamic Messenger 2022.
The Marlin, named after the rapid-swimming oceanic fish, was the first USV to represent Türkiye at a NATO exercise.
It is also the first high-tech USV in the world to boast electronic warfare capabilities and has a large useful load capacity.
Mustafa Lutfi Civelek, the manager of strategic and unmanned systems at Sefine Shipyard, said this was the first time that the Marlin, as a new platform, performed under harsh conditions on the ocean as part of a NATO exercise after completing key tests in Türkiye.
Noting that the vessel is a single platform that can perform surface, submarine, and electronic warfare missions, Civelek said it faced rough sea conditions in this exercise but proved able to remain stable. "The Marlin has been given special tasks at events with high-level observers and completed them successfully."
"After this, a senior official of an important NATO country received information about Marlin and wanted to have official relations and cooperate in the coming period," he added.
Civelek underlined that, during the exercise, the data obtained as the Marlin performed its tasks had provided many insights for its development on interoperability with higher headquarters, command and control systems, and sea, air, and submarine elements.
Besides Türkiye, only the US and Britain possessed platforms that could perform such tasks in the exercise, he said. "Apart from these, there are no other unmanned platforms that can work with flying, floating, diving elements and communicate with command headquarters," added the official.
He highlighted that the Marlin could perform major tasks including reconnaissance, surveillance, and information gathering and transfer to higher headquarters in marine surface and underwater warfare.
The Marlin also has basic and autonomous navigational capabilities and will be equipped with Kuzgun medium-range guided ammunition for surface warfare in the future, added Civelek.
"The Marlin has electronic warfare detection and attack capabilities, it has communication capabilities far above the standards both for on and under the water.
"It also has the ability to engage with light torpedoes against submarine targets."
Civelek explained that the vehicle also features a double-layer command system that includes a tactical defense system and operational command system.
He said it would take important roles, developed with feedback from the operations of Türkiye's navy.