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Ufuk signals step-change for Turkish intelligence collection

31st January 2022 - 12:15 GMT | by Tayfun Özberk in Istanbul

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TCG Ufuk pictured in December 2021 before it was officially commissioned the following month. (Photo: Cem Devrim Yaylali)

A new so-called test and training ship for the Turkish Navy will actually gather COMINT and SIGINT data for the Turkish National Intelligence Organization.

Turkish efforts to improve COMINT and SIGINT capabilities took a step forward in mid-January when TCG Ufuk (A-591) was commissioned into the country's navy.

Prime contractor STM officially described it as a test and training ship although, in reality, Ufuk is the first indigenously built vessel designed to deliver data for the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT).

Boosting at-sea intelligence collection is important to Turkey for two main reasons. It reduces the risks associated with low-level aerial reconnaissance (a Turkish Air Force RF-4E aircraft on a SIGINT mission was shot down over Syria in 2012, for example); and it also enhances

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