VESSEL REVIEW | Marlin – Turkish multi-role USV for coastal and offshore naval use

Photo: Turkish Defence Industry Agency

The Turkish Defence Industry Agency has unveiled a new locally-built unmanned surface vehicle (USV) to be fitted with gun, torpedo, and missile armament for surface warfare, underwater warfare, and asymmetric warfare missions such as surveillance, reconnaissance, force protection, strike, and patrol.

Marlin was developed jointly by local companies Sefine Shipyard and Aselsan. The craft has an aluminium hull, a length of 14.75 metres, a beam of 3.85 metres, a draught of only 0.85 metres, a displacement of 26 tonnes, and the ability to operate in coastal waters as well as further offshore.

The USV is notable in that it can easily transition between being a monohull craft and a trimaran with outriggers depending on operational requirements. In trimaran mode, the craft will be able to carry a greater payload.

Photo: NATO

Two diesel engines drive counter-rotating propellers to deliver a maximum speed of just over 36 knots and a cruising speed of 10 knots, which can allow the USV to sail for up to 700 nautical miles or stay out at sea for seven days. Missions can be performed under Sea State Four conditions whereas navigating to and from an operational area is possible even under Sea State Five.

Autonomous navigation is possible thanks to the installation of radar, electro-optical cameras, and other collision avoidance sensors. The vessel was designed to be capable of deploying to an operational area on its own, though it is also compact enough to be transported to a staging base via other vehicles such as an aircraft or a mothership. A typical operating profile will see the USV deployed directly from the Turkish Navy’s larger warships and support vessels that can be configured to serve as motherships.

Marlin will also be equipped to undertake electronic warfare missions. One sensor option that can be installed is a sonobuoy processor that can help detect hostile submarines. Exact details of the craft’s armament mix still remain classified, though official documents have stated that a 12.7mm machine gun mounted on a remote weapon station, light torpedoes, and surface-to-surface missiles with ranges of up to 40 kilometres can be fitted.

Type of vessel:USV – Naval
Owner:Turkish Defence Industry Agency
Builders:Aselsan, Turkey; Sefine Shipyard, Turkey
Hull construction material:Aluminium
Length overall:14.75 metres
Beam:3.85 metres
Draught:0.85 metres
Displacement:26 tonnes
Main engines:2
Propulsion:2 x propellers
Maximum speed:36 knots
Cruising speed:10 knots
Range:700 nautical miles
Other electronics:Collision avoidance sensors
Armaments:12.7mm machine gun; torpedoes; surface-to-surface missiles
Type of fuel:Diesel

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