Türkiye reveals plans for largest-ever domestic aircraft carrier - M5 Dergi
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Türkiye reveals plans for largest-ever domestic aircraft carrier

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Türkiye is preparing for its largest-ever domestic aircraft carrier through a project led by the Directorate of Design Project Office (DPO) of the Turkish Naval Forces Command, media reports indicated Wednesday.

This national aircraft carrier is set to surpass the TCG Anadolu, a landing helicopter dock (LHD)-type multipurpose amphibious assault ship commissioned last year.

Situated at the Ministry of National Defense (MSB) Istanbul Shipyard Command, the DPO opened its doors to the press on Wednesday, offering insights into the ongoing work.

The TCG Anadolu, modeled after Spain’s Juan Carlos I, boasts 70% domestic production. However, with a team of some 110 individuals at the DPO, efforts are underway to increase the domestic production ratio for the new national aircraft carrier.

The TCG Anadolu, measuring 231 meters (758 feet) in length, 32 meters in width and with a displacement of 27,436 tons, was ordered in 2015 and launched in April 2019. Its inauguration, initially planned for 2021, was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was officiallycommissioned in the ceremony on April 10, 2023.

The vessel is intended to meet the various needs and requirements of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), such as sustaining long-endurance, long-distance military combat, or humanitarian relief operations while acting as a command center and flagship for the Turkish Navy.

The design of a larger national aircraft carrier than TCG Anadolu is said to be underway at the DPO, with the goal of lifting the domestic ratio in the new national aircraft carrier.

In the conceptual design phase, it is envisaged that both manned and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) of domestic origin will be deployed on the new aircraft carrier. In line with this goal, collaboration with leading companies in the field such as Baykar and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) is underway.

Established in 1997 to undertake the MILGEM (National Ship) project, the DPO has been instrumental in various naval projects, including the development of the ADA-class corvettes TCG Heybeliada, TCG Büyükada, TCG Burgazada and TCG Kınalıada. These ships entered service in 2011, 2013, 2018 and 2019.

Starting with the MILGEM project, work began on the design activities of the “Istif Class Frigate Project,” aiming for a frigate design with superior operational and maneuver functions compared to the internationally acclaimed ADA-class corvettes.

The first ship of this project, the TCG Istanbul frigate, was built at Istanbul Naval Shipyard and commissioned earlier this year.

The Istanbul Frigate (F-515) stands out with an indigenous rate of 80%. It has modern and national systems, including the MKE Naval Cannon, Atmaca anti-ship missiles and the GÖKDENIZ close-in air defense system.

“Our main combat elements, including assault boats, patrol vessels, corvettes and frigates, have all their machinery produced at the manufacturer level without foreign dependency, can be assembled here, their faults can be corrected and can be mounted back on the ships,” Istanbul Shipyard Commander Rear Admiral Erdinç Yetkin was quoted as saying by public broadcaster TRT Haber.

Yetkin also stated that the training of the TCG Istanbul frigate continues and added: “It is ready to serve in our Blue Homeland. With advanced and competent command and control systems and increased sensors and weapons, it will have a very effective striking power.”

“I believe that the Turkish Naval Forces will gain a very important capability with the ships under construction. It has an 80% domestic rate. We are also working diligently to nationalize the main propulsion systems, that is, the machines,” he noted.

“Our TCG Istanbul frigate, which was launched into the sea on Jan. 23, 2021, was delivered on Jan. 19, 2024. We expect it to be fully integrated into our navy within about a month.”

Originally intended to support helicopters and short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) fighters like the F-35B variant, the TCG Anadolu’s role evolved following Türkiye’s removal from the F-35 program in 2019 due to the acquisition of Russian-made S-400 air defense systems.

This prompted Türkiye to reconsider the development plans and make additional adjustments to transform the TCG Anadolu into a carrier of unmanned aerial vehicles, unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) and uncrewed fighter jets, in addition to helicopters.

Among others, the TCG Anadolu is expected to include the deployment of the more sophisticated version of Baykar’s TB2 drone, the Bayraktar TB3, which on Wednesday completed its 30th test flight, its developer announced.

Source: Daily Sabah

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