Turkey’s first home-made submarine was taken into pool to continue its construction in the northwestern province of Kocaeli with a ceremony on Sunday. The country is building a fleet of six new Type 214 air-independent propulsion submarines under a contract signed with German ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems in 2009. The building of TCG Piri Reis started four years ago under the new-type submarine project of the Turkish Naval Forces with a view to increasing the capabilities of the Turkish defense industry.
The TCG Piri Reis is approximately 65 meters long and reach speeds of 20 knots while submerged. The submarine will be capable of “generating power through the fuel cell system as a result of hydrogen and oxygen tanks’ reaction.” Construction on the first boat in the class, TCG Piri Reis started in 2015. However, technical and financial issues delayed the program by an estimated six years and the first submarine in the class is now expected to be delivered to the navy in 2020.
Speaking at the ceremony, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said a total of six submarines shall be built under the project and all will be operational by 2027, with Piri Reis in service as of 2022. Erdogan also noted that Greece and its partner countries have been trying to block Turkey’s sea access, but his country would continue to protect its rights in the eastern Mediterranean Sea through the maritime deal signed with Libya. Erdogan had earlier voiced Turkey’s readiness to send troops to Libya if the internationally-recognized government would make such a request.