The Turkish Navy has accepted delivery of its flagship helicopter landing dock (LHD) and unmanned aircraft carrier TCG Anadolu. The local media report this.
The first announcement of the handover of the Anadolu TCG was made in various Turkish defense media on March 05, 2023, which was considered somewhat surprising as there was no ceremony or official announcement by the Turkish Defense Agency (SSB). A day later, the Turkish Defense Ministry announced on Twitter that the crew of the TCG Anadolu had begun pre-deployment training.
This is considered a confirmation of delivery since this type of training is carried out after delivering the new vessels. Naval News learned from a Turkish defense industry source that the delivery occurred in January 2023.
The source said on condition of anonymity that a large part of the Sea Acceptance Tests (SATs) had been completed, and the rest of the tests would be carried out after delivery. The source also claimed that the TCG Anadolu SAT is expected to be completed in the coming weeks.
Upon completion of the SAT, as previously reported, the integration process to launch drones and secure the system should begin.
TCG Anadolu will be the largest ship in the Turkish Navy, with a length of 231 meters, a beam of 32 meters, and a displacement of 27,436 tons, and will strengthen the force projection capabilities of the Turkish Navy. The vessel will have a maximum speed of 20.5 knots and a range of 9,000 nautical miles at full load.
Apparently, the TCG Anadolu is planning to transform into a drone carrier after the US broke its partnership with Turkey over the F-35 JSF project. As a result, Bayraktar, a Turkish drone manufacturer, announced in early 2021 that it was working on a specific UCAV called the TB-3, an upgraded, folding-wing version of the combat-proven TB2 drone that would be deployed aboard the TCG Anadolu.
Ismail Demir stressed in a TV show in 2022 that the UAV system integration process will continue after the delivery of the Anadolu. It can carry out aerial operations with TB-3 drones once the system integration is complete. He also underlined that the Bayraktar KIZILELMA (MIUS) unmanned combat aircraft and the HURJET aircraft would be deployed in the future LHD.
— T.C. Millî Savunma Bakanlığı (@tcsavunma) March 6, 2023
“In the next phase, in addition to the TB3 drones and helicopters, KIZILELMA and Hürjet will be able to take off and land from these vessels.