The ship, 232 meters long and with a displacement of 27,436 tons, was built in seven years and cost at least $1 billion.
The Anadolu has a range of 9,000 nautical miles and can cruise at a top speed of 21 knots to carry 41 UCAVs or 29 helicopters (11 UCAVs or 10 helicopters on the 5,440 square meter flight deck and 30 UCAVs or 19 helicopters in the hangar) along with 1,223 military.
Alternatively, it can carry 27 amphibious armored vehicles and 30 main battle tanks. The ship can also be used as a hospital center in times of crisis.
The TCG-Anadolu was originally built as a Landing Platform Dock (LHD) on which the Turkish Navy planned to deploy helicopters and fighter jets. The plan was modified, and Turkish engineers then transformed it into a UCAV aircraft carrier, a first in the Navy’s history.
Anadolu will be able to carry out operations with Bayraktar TB-3, Akinci and Kizilelma drones, as well as Hurjet light combat aircraft. The first takeoff of the TB-3 will take place in early 2024.
TCG-Anadolu is unique in many ways and will be a force multiplier for the Turkish army. Technically, although it has the same design as the Spanish ship Juan Carlos I, the catapult, which will launch drones and light combat aircraft, takes the ship to a higher level.
While other similar LHDs are designed for helicopter landing, the Anadolu will be able to operate vertically taking off aircraft and those that need short runways. This specification has been quick to inspire other navies, with the US, Chinese and Japanese reportedly planning to purchase similar vessels.
If they follow in the footsteps of the Turkish navy, Turkey will introduce a perhaps unprecedented concept to the naval world.
The warship gives confidence and courage to the Turkish shipyards and the government to build such gigantic ships. President Erdogan has already stated that they will start production of a larger aircraft carrier.
Although the Spanish company Navantia provided the technology transfer, design and some crucial equipment for the TCG-Anadolu, the next large ships will be manufactured in the country. Therefore, one of the most important benefits for Turkey is the technology to build these types of ships. Turkish manufacturers are most likely building for foreign customers and turning their experience into revenue.
In addition, the Turkish army will be able to effectively use some of its aircraft from the air forces inventory on a naval platform.
This means that instead of attacking enemy targets with warships, the drones will take off from the Anadolu and strike facilities up to 1,000km from the ship.
On the other hand, in addition to attacking the enemy while at anchor, the ship also extends the range of drones by being an air base at sea. The Anadolu will also allow operations in faraway destinations. For example, if she had been in the inventory during the military operation of the Turkish army in Libya, the result could have been more decisive, quick and effective.
Surrounded by three seas, Turkey’s biggest security threats are likely to come from the sea. The more powerful the navy, the more deterrent it will be. TCG-Anadolu will move troops, ammunition, planes, missiles, etc., from one sea to another in large volumes and at a lower cost.
Building on previous contributions to the Turkish army, the brand-new ship will also pave the way for political benefits. First of all, since it is now possible to transfer troops and weapons in large numbers, Turkey is strengthening its regional position.
The TCG-Anadolu is like a mobile base that can be anchored in any sea. It can be seen near the Libyan coast, the Red Sea or the Baltic. Such a display of power will naturally reassure Turkey’s friends and allies (eg NATO) while causing unrest in adversaries’ capitals. It can even force those in dispute with Turkey to resolve their issues peacefully. In other words, Anadolu, an instrument of hard power, can provide a new environment to end conflicts.
The TCG-Anadolu is the biggest weapon Turkey has ever produced, and it will have political, economic and regional repercussions.
This goes to show that big projects built at the right time for the right needs add to the prestige of a leader and a country, not to mention other contributions. TCG-Anadolu is a military project and a gigantic monument to Turkey’s ambition, passion and future plans.