Milgem (Ada (Island) class corvette / F-100 class frigate), from the Turkish words Milli Gemi (National Ship), is the name of one of two Turkish national warship programs (the other being the TF-2000 project); the purpose of which is to build a modern littoral combat warship with indigenous capabilities, extensively using the principles of stealth technology in its design. Construction of the first Milgem class corvette, F-511 TCG Heybeliada, began on 26 July 2005. TCG Heybeliada was put to sea with a ceremony on September 27, 2008 (during which the construction of F-512 TCG Büyükada, the second Milgem class warship, also began) and is scheduled to be completed by 25 October 2010, when it will start undergoing full sea trials before being officially commissioned. F-511 TCG Heybeliada is expected to enter service in early 2011. A total of twelve Milgem class warships (eight corvettes and four frigates) will be built for the Turkish Navy, with possible exports to other countries.
When the Milgem project was officially launched in 1996, the initial plan was to locally build MEKO A-100 corvettes of Blohm+Voss, a German shipbuilding company which specializes in building high technology warships and submarines.
In the early 2000s, the partnership plan with Blohm+Voss was shelved and the Turkish Navy decided to design and build a completely indigenous corvette. Istanbul Naval Shipyard Command executes and coordinates the design, development and construction works of the Milgem project since 12 March 2004.
The F-100 class will be equipped with the Mk.41 VLS and ESSM, along with other additional systems for improved multirole combat capabilities. The Mk.41 VLS (Vertical Launching System) is capable of firing RIM-66 Standard, RIM-162 ESSM and VL ASROC missiles, and the F-100 class frigates will be used as a testing platform for the new class of four indigenous AAW frigates of the Turkish Navy, known as the TF-2000 program. The experience and technological know-how gained with the Milgem project will play an important role in determining the design characteristics and the development process of the TF-2000 class frigates, as well as the selection of the systems and equipment which will be used on these ships.
Meanwhile, production of the second Milgem class warship, TCG Büyükada (F-512) has also commenced on September 27, 2008. F-512 will incorporate the ASELSAN radar (instead of the EADS TRS-3D) and also use the Mk.41 VLS. F-512 will be the prototype for the F-100 class multi-role frigates.