World Bulletin / News Desk
Work began Thursday on Turkey's first national frigate as part of the national vessel project, MILGEM in Istanbul.
Speaking at a ceremony at the Istanbul Shipyard, Defense Minister Fikri Isik said it was among the government's main priorities to have a "strong fleet built using national resources".
"Currently our country is among the ten countries that design and build their warships," Isik said, adding Turkey had come a long way in developing naval weapons systems locally, too.
The minister said MILGEM had a domestic contribution rate of over 65 percent with more than 50 local companies and institutions building and equipping vessels.
Isik said the Navy's shipbuilding project had a budget of over $5.5 billion and was expected to reach $12 billion with several other medium and long-term projects.
Admiral Bulent Bostanoglu, commander of the Naval Forces, was also present at the ceremony marking the beginning of the building work on Turkey's fifth navy vessel after four corvettes -- out of which two have been in service for three and five years, respectively, while work is ongoing on the other two.
The Istanbul frigate is expected to go into service in 2021.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last year Turkey’s defense industry would be self-sufficient by 2023, the centenary of the declaration of the republic while Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the government had invested $30 billion in the defense industry over the last 14 years.
aaGüncelleme Tarihi: 19 Ocak 2017, 17:20