During a recent visit to the Caspian port city Turkmenbashi, Turkmen President Gurbunguly Berdimuhamedov was photographed observing two of Turkmenistan’s Tuzla-class naval patrol vessels. The photographs reveal that Turkmenistan has equipped at least those two ships with the SIMBAD-RC short range air-defense system, manufactured by MBDA.
The Turkmenistan State News Agency reported on January 17, 2017 that President Berdimuhamedov met with Navy personnel in Turkmenbashi, primarily to examine the naval vessel Gaýratly, a Russian-made missile boat tasked with protecting maritime borders. The official news agency noted, “The Head of State familiarized himself with performance characteristics and combat capability of the military ship.”
Alongside the President’s visit to Gaýratly, Turkmen dissident website Chronicles of Turkmenistan posted photos of the President at Turkmenbashi. According to Chronicles of Turkmenistan, citing RIA Novosti, President Berdimuhamedov boarded the ship Arkadag which took him to Gaýratly.
As first noted by BMPD, the photos revealed Turkmenistan has begun equipping SIMBAD-RC short range air-defense systems, produced by MBDA, to several of its naval vessels. The Chronicles of Turkmenistan photos showed that both Arkadag (SG 111) and Merdana (SG 113) have received the system.
#Turkmenistan SG 111 Arkadag and SG 113 Merdana both spotted with MBDA SIMBAD-RC air-defense systemshttp://t.co/2JtmOiOCch pic.twitter.com/dBcTzum07N— Derek Bisaccio (@DerekBisaccio) January 30, 2017
SIMBAD-RC is a remotely controlled weapons station. MBDA states, “SIMBAD-RC provides an extremely effective defence capability against all threats including anti-ship missiles, combat aircraft, UAVs, helicopters, as well as small surface threats such as those presented by FIACs,” using acronyms for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and fast inshore attack crafts (FIACs). Each weapons station carries two Fire and Forget Mistral missiles, which have a range of around six kilometers.
As can been seen on Arkadag, the two Tuzla-class patrol vessels feature two of the remote turrets each. Turkmenistan possesses a total of 10 Tuzla-class vessels, but it is unclear how many have received the SIMBAD-RC remote turret.