On May 4th, Turkey’s indigenous TCG Anadolu Multipurpose Amphibious Assault Ship was launched to sea.
The TCG Anadolu, when completely commissioned, which according to official data should be in 2020 will become the largest ship in the Turkish Navy.
The contract for its construction was signed on May 7th 2015 during the IDEF 2015. The delivery was scheduled for 2021, but currently commission is expected for 2020, but could be even in 2019. The construction started on April 30th 2016.
The ship was constructed at the Sedef Shipyard in Tuzla.
In December 2018, President of Defense Industries (SSB) Prof. İsmail Demir, with an accompanying delegation visited the warship.
He praised the ship’s size and capability:
“You can see the size of the ship. The ship has the ability to carry landing crafts and tanks and it also serves as an aircraft landing platform during air operations; the upper deck of the ship features a flight deck where the helicopters and fighter jets with VTOL (Vertical Take-off and Landing) or STOVL (Short Take-off and Vertical Landing) capability can land and take off when necessary.”
He claimed that with the construction of the ship it would be possible for Turkey to become a global sea power in a sense, Prof. Demir stated that the accomplishment was more than just building a ship:
“As a matter of fact, it will be a complete system with the onboard combat management system, radar, and weapon systems. In other words, we are talking about a sea platform that will multiply the power of Turkey. Hopefully within the next year, in a not very long time, we’ll see our ship afloat with the dry dock flooding ceremony which, in a manner of speaking, is the launching ceremony of the ship. The date of the ceremony will be revealed later.”
It should be noted that on December 5th, 35% of the ship’s hull was completed and in May 2019 the ship was laid in the water. According to Prof. Demir, that is because the ship was built block by block like legos and each block was assembled piece by piece, which made it possible to construct it in a short amount of time.
On April 30th, reports surfaced of a fire that broke out aboard the ship, only 5 days before it was floated.
The characteristics of the warship are the following:
- Displacement: 27.436 tons full load
- Dimensions: 231 x 325 x 7 meters
- Speed, Range: 21 knots, 9000 miles at 15 kts.
- Crew: 190 sailors + 56 air component + 55 medical staff
- Guns: 4 x 25mm STOP; 3 x 12,7mm STAMP; 2 x Mk 15 Phalanx
- Aircraft: 12 F-35Bs or 30 general purpose helicopters
- Helicopters: Between 12 and 8 depending on the size of the helicopter
- Vehicles: A total of 94 main battle tanks, amphibious assault vehicles, armoured fighting vehicles, trucks, and others
- Troops: at least 700 marines
- Radars: SMART-S Mk2 3D air/surface search; ALPER navigation
- Sonars: Mine avoidance
- Other: ASELFLIR 300D, ARES-2N ESM system, IRST
The Turkish Navy has ordered only the TCG Anadolu, but there are plans to also build a sister-ship, the TCG Trakiya. To that end, 32 F-35B joint strike fighters were ordered, 16 for each ship.
It is still unclear if Turkey would receive the fighter jets, since it plans on fulfilling its contract for the purchase of S-400 missile defense systems from Russia. If the F-35B’s don’t come, it could be possible for the warships to be supplied with Russian jets or simply helicopters.
Other aircraft might prove challenging, however, since “the size and durability of the aircraft elevators located fore and aft of the flight deck are only suitable for the F-35B, large-scale aircraft such as the CH-47F Chinook or the V-22 Osprey are planned to be carried with the stern elevator.
Aircraft currently operating in NATO such as the CH-53, CH-47, S-70B, AW149, and the V-22 Osprey, will be able to take-off and land on the TCG Anadolu which is designed and built to participate in NATO missions.”