TCG Anadolu [Anatolia]

LHD - Amphibious Assault Ship
Havuzlu Çikarma Gemisi / Amfibi Taaruz Gemisi

The multipurpose amphibious assault ship will be the country's best and biggest when construction work is finished in 2021. Turkey began the construction of a new multipurpose amphibious assault ship called the TGC Anatolia in January 2016. The ship is being built at the Sedef shipyard in Istanbul, and it will be the Turkish navy's largest and best-equipped warship when its construction is finished in 2021. It is named TCG Anadolu, or Anatolia is English, after the region in Turkey which makes up most of the country.

The ship will be 225 meters long [waterline] and 32 meters wide, and displace 28,000 tons when fully loaded. It will be able to transport eight combat helicopters, an infantry battalion of 700 officers, and 1,400 crew members.

The Anatolia will also be fitted with a runway sloped to 12 degrees for fighter planes and combat helicopters. Milliyet reports that the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter and the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor military aircraft are among the aircraft designed for launch from the runway, on missions by the Turkish armed forces around the world. The F-35B class 5th generation fighter and eight helicopters can be carried to theaters in the Aegean, Black Sea and Mediterranean, and the Indian Ocean and Atlantic Ocean if needed.

The Undersecretariat for Defense Industries announced 27 December 2013 that "After the completion of the evaluation of the bids for Landing Platform Dock (LPD) project by Defense Industry Undersecretariat, on 26 December 2013, the Defense Industry Executive Committee decided to start contract negotiation with the Sedef Ship Building Company; and if the negotiations with Sedef Ship Building Company should fail the negotiations shall continue with Desan Ship Building Company."

One of the biggest and costliest navy projects, valued at 3 billion US dollars [or 3 billion euros, according to other reports], will be built by the Turkish Sedef Shipyard and Spain's Navantia, which will model the warship after the Spanish amphibious assault ship, Juan Carlos I. According to Navantia, the Spanish company will provide the engines, the turbine, the IPMS (Integrated Platform Management System) and LCM-1E landing craft. If the negotiations with Sedef fail, said an SSM press release, negotiations will be conducted with the second choice, DESAN Deniz Insaat Sanayi A.S.

As of 1999 the Turkish Navy was conducting studies, and discussions with foreign suppliers, on the purchase of a light aircraft carrier (CVL). The assumption is that the ship need not have as large a displacement as US, British, or French carriers. Instead the studies looking at carriers with an approximate displacement of 12,500 tons, similar in size to the carriers now serving in the Italian, Spanish, and Thai navies.

For intance, the Italian Navy's Giuseppe Garibaldi, which displaces 13,850 tons at full load, can embark up to ten AV-8B Harrier II short-takeoff/verticallanding (STOVL) aircraft or up to 16 Sea King helicopters (or a mix of the two types). Spain's Principe de Asturias displaces 17,188 tons full load and can accommodate six to eight AV-8B Harrier Ils, two to four AB 212s, and two SH-60B Seahawks as well as six to 10 SH-3 Sea Kings. And the 11,486 tons full load Chakkrinareubet [Spanish-built] aircraft carrier of the Royal Thai Navy can accommodate six AV-8S Harrier aircraft and four S-70B Seahawk helicopters (or 18 helicopters and no Harriers).

By early 2000, Turkey was focused on a V/STOL capability in a light ship (10-15,000 ton) carrying a combined air wing of 15 JSF and 6 CH-60S Knight Hawk as well as UAV/UCAV systems. The Turkish Navy aimed to eventuaslly form two naval air groups: a TCVL and a Turkish Landing Helicopter Platform (TLHP), both would be protected by state-of the art TF-2000 anti-air warfare frigates. The TCVL would be constructed in Turkey with a maximum domestic contribution and transfer of required know-how from interntional shipyards.

This project was considered subsequent to increasing overseas peacekeeping missions involving Turkish armed forces. Nevertheless, the priorities changed, and a LPD and/or LDH was much more likely. The Supreme Defence Board declared early in 2005 that a LPD will be built in Turkey with foreign assistance. The CVL/Light Aircraft Carrier Project was shelved due to technical and budgetary constraints.

The LHD project was originally launched as a 15,000 ton LPD project, but in 2010 the specifications were changed and it evolved into a +20,000 ton LHD project. With regard to the aircraft carrier, the Turkish Admiral announced that it will provide support to naval aircraft and NATO helicopters in conducting international operations. With a displacement of 24,000 tonns, it would have a length of 140 meters. Costing $1.5 billion, could be built in 5 years and would be operationally available in 6-7 years.

Seven shipyards, ADIK, Çelik Tekne, Dearsan Shipyard, Desan Shipyard, Istanbul Shipyard, RMK Marine and SEDEF received the RfP in February 2011 and were given time till today to prepare their proposals. Some of the teamed with foreign companies. Candidates include DCNS, Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding, Navantia, Hanjin Heavy Industries and China State Shipbuilding Corporation are believed to be interested in cooperating with Turkish shipyards for the LPD. RMK, contrary to the expectations did not cooperated with Fincantieri for this project. During the years the requirements of the Turkish Navy changed so that the size of the LPD increased. It was estimated that the proposals would have a displacement between 25.000 to 28.000 tons range. Fincantieri of Italy had to abandon the tender because its largest LPD/LHD design was 15,000 tons.

In May 2011 three firm submitted offers for the Turkish LHD tender. RMK Marine submitted their own design, Sedef teamed with Navantia and submitted a redesigned Juan Carlos 1. The most secretive bid was Deasan’s. The shipyard was variously reported to have teamed with China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation which builds the Type 071 amphibious ships for PLA(N), or to have submitted the South Korean Dokdo Class design. The Dokdo of South Korea was mentioned frequently early on, but after the project specs were changed in 2010, it too had very little chance, since it is small like the Fincantieri design. The competition narrowed to the design of RMK Marine (Turkey) and the Juan Carlos (BPE) design (Spain.)

SEDEF Gemi Insaati A.S., Juan Carlos / Canberra Class
RMK Marine Gemi Yapim Sanayii indigenous design
Deniz Tasimaciligi Isletmesi A.S. ve DESAN Deniz Insaati San. A.S. Type 071 Yuzhao

RMK Marine's original designed was 200-meter long with a full width of 34 meters. The 25,000-ton fully loaded deplacment shipd had a draft of 7 meters. The maximum speed with diesel engines was 22 knots. The main propulsion system was two diesel machine, two high-speed gears, two shaft lines and two controllable propellers. The ship would have a 20 knot cruising speed with 7000 nautical mile radius of action. Without replenishment at sea the ship staff of 1070 would hve an endurance of 21 days.

In March 2012 the head of the naval forces of Turkey Admiral Murat Bilgel, in an interview in the US Naval Institute Proceedings Magazine, supported the strengthening of the Turkish fleet with an aircraft carrier. In particular, the Turkish Admiral said the "the strategic priorities of our fleet for the next 5, 10 to 20 years is the creation of naval forces of well-trained and well equipped, which will be promoted in a brief period and to operate in areas of strategic interest. The design of the Turkish naval forces for the next decade includes the acquisition of an aircraft carrier which will focus to meet the working needs beyond war enterprises. We intend to increase the carrying capacity of our air transport and to gain support of multiple role naval ships, frigates, unmanned helicopters and submarines which will operate the under water for a long time."

Admiral Bilgel stated that the Turkish air forces do not have aircraft that could be adapted to an aircraft carrier, but acquiring the STOVL F-35B aircraft would provide the possibility of shipboard operations. Turkey is to buy 100 F-35 (by 2015 will receive the first two aircraft) and according to Adm. Bilgel a part of these will the F-35B STOVL type, or Turkey will provide additional aircraft of this type. TEI of Turkey (the engine division of TAI) is among the producers of the RR-GE engine of the F-35B (the STOVL version) so it won't be a surprise if Turkey will also get around 20 to 24 F-35Bs (JSF) to operate on this ship.

Turkish Aircraft Carrier [Türk uçak gemisi] ?

In June 2016, the Turkish president said his country had “no obstacle" to domestically build a full-fledged aircraft carrier “under the current government." Erdogan said Turkey would be ready to begin construction of such a warship after its amphibious assault ship, the TCG Anadolu, is completed in 2021. 0n 03 July 2017 Erdogan said Turkey is “committed" to building its own aircraft carriers the Turkish President has said. Recep Tayyip Erdogan added that Ankara is seeking self-sufficiency in its defense industry and will not allow anyone to block its military initiatives. “We will build our own aircraft carriers," Erdogan said at the launching ceremony of the new Turkish Kinaliada Corvette at the Istanbul Navy shipyard.

"We have completely finished the implementation of 14 naval vessel projects, another 10 [projects] will follow. We will also build our own aircraft carrier. We have firm resolve to do it and do not doubt the [project's] success. We have to make Turkey one of the leaders in military shipbuilding, and our [own] aircraft carrier is not a distant dream for us anymore," Erdogan said. It is not entirely clear what the President had in mind with these statements.

  • Possibly as a senior political leader, Erdogan has no idea what he is talking about. In common parlance, the terms warship and battleship are frequently used interchangably, while the nautically minded understand the important differences. Or some reporters might not notice the difference. Indeed, the LHD Anadolu is frequently referenced in the Turkish press as "Türk uçak gemisi" - Turkish aircraft carrier.
  • The TCG Anadolu (L-408) amphibious assault ship (LHD) can be configured as a light aircraft carrier with F-35B VSTOL aircraft. The the vessel is designed for multipurpose missions, it will be able to transport tanks, landing vessels, helicopters, soldiers, and aircraft. Anadolu will be able to hold upwards of 10 F-35Bs. Additionally, the carrier could hold upwards of 12 helicopters, 94 battle tanks, and at least 700 troops.
  • The Andalou is configured as an amphibious assault ship (LHD) with both aviation and amphibious accomodations. Possibly the follow-on unit will be largely based on the Andalu, but only with aviation accomodations. In the Untied States, The LHA-6 and LHA-7 America -class amphibious decks have enhanced aviation capabilities, and amphibious accomodations. Hence the LHA deisgnation, A for aviation, versus LHD, D for dock. Such a ship would be generally similar to the Andalu, minus the
  • Possibly Edorgan knows whereof he speaks, and Turkey plans to build an actual aircraft carrier. Based on the French experiene with the Charles de Gaulle, such a vessel might have a displacement of rather over 40,000 tons [only twice that of the Andalou], and a length of 260 meters / 850 feet [a bit longer than the 231 meter Anadolu].

Probably a "Turkish Aircraft Carrier" is a mis-conception lost in translation. But the idea is not implausible. Shipbuilding in Turkey has evolved from an old traditional activity in Anatolia to an internationally recognised industry, especially since the early 1990s. The industry has modern, quality certified shipyards, and is considered to be one of the most promising industrial sectors in Turkey. There are now yards that are capable of building a wide range of commercial vessels, such as petroleum and product tankers, heavy freighters and multipurpose container ships. There are presently five private yards awarded naval contracts which also engage in commercial shipbuilding, a practice that exists in other countries. Turkey has consistently ranked among the top ten shipbuilding countries in the world.

While warship construction [with many compartments and complex interconnections] is significantly more challenging than most commercial vessels [which are sheet metal big boxes], Turkey has a demonstrated capacity to build warships, and the jump from Anadolu to an aircraft carrier of twice the diplacement is no greater than the jump to Anadolu. As with other Turkish warship projects, there are several firms that would be delighted to design the aircraft carrier - such as DCNS of France, Fincanctieri of Italy, or Cochin Shipyard of India - all of which have designed similar sized ships. Recent designs in Russia and China have focused on rather larger vessels, but China might be prevailed upon to provide catepults, for instance.

Turkish Amphibious Assault Ship
Turkish Amphibious Assault Ship
Turkish Amphibious Assault Ship

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