Türkiye plans to build the largest aircraft carrier in its history.

Turkey is preparing to build the largest national aircraft carrier in its history through a project led by the Design Project Office (DPO) Directorate of the Turkish Naval Forces Command, media reported on Friday.

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

Located at the Ministry of National Defense (MSB) Shipyard Command in Istanbul, the OPD opened its doors to the press on Friday, offering an insight into the work in progress.

The TCG Anadolu, which follows the model of the Spanish Juan Carlos I, has 70% national production. However, with a team of about 110 people in the OPD, work is underway to increase the proportion of domestic production of the new national aircraft carrier.

The TCG Anadolu, 231 meters long, 32 meters wide and displacing 27,436 tonnes, was commissioned in 2015 and launched in April 2019. Her inauguration, initially scheduled for 2021, was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She was officially commissioned at the ceremony on April 10, 2023.

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

The design of a national aircraft carrier larger than the TCG Anadolu is said to be underway in the DPR, with the aim of raising the national proportion in the new national aircraft carrier.

In the conceptual design phase, it is planned to deploy manned and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) of national origin on the new aircraft carrier. In line with this objective, we are collaborating with leading companies in this field such as Baykar and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI).

Created in 1997 to carry out the MILGEM (National Ship) project, the OPD has been instrumental in several 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.

From the MILGEM project, work began on the design activities of the “Istif Class Frigate Project,” which aims at a frigate design with superior operational and maneuvering functions compared to the internationally acclaimed ADA class corvettes.

Türkiye plans to build the largest aircraft carrier in its history.
The Istanbul frigate (F-515), right, photographed at Istanbul Naval Shipyard, Istanbul, Türkiye, April 24, 2024.

The first vessel of this project, the TCG Istanbul frigate, was built at Istanbul Naval Shipyards and entered service earlier this year.

The Istanbul Frigate (F-515) stands out for its authenticity index of 80%. It has modern and national systems, such as the MKE naval gun, the Atmaca anti-ship missiles and the GÖKDENIZ close-range air defense system.

According to public broadcaster TRT Haber, «Our main combat elements, including assault boats, patrol boats, corvettes and frigates, have all their machinery produced at the manufacturer level without foreign dependence. They can be assembled here, their faults can be corrected, and they can be reassembled in the ships,” declared the commander of the Istanbul Shipyards, Rear Admiral Erdinç Yetkin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daily Sabah