The Turkish Navy on April 11 commissioned its new flagship, the TCG Anadolu – the country’s largest warship.
The ceremony was held about three months after the ship was actually handed over due to scheduling problems. Anadolu is classified as an amphibious assault ship, but Turkish officials say they have big plans for Anadolu, becoming an aircraft carrier for armed drones.
Based on the design of the Spanish amphibious assault ship Juan Carlos I, Anadolu was laid down in early 2018 and launched just a year later and completed preliminary trials in 2022. All of the ship’s weapon systems were procured by Turkish firms Aselsan and Havelsan. The ship features a Turkish combat management system, namely the GENESIS-ADVENT, which was integrated by Aselsan and Havelsan. Aircraft landing is assisted in all weather condition by Leonardo SPN-720 Precision Approach Radar.
TCG Anadolu has a full load displacement of 27,436 tons and a crew of 261. The ship has a hangar space of 900 m2. In particular, the ship can support long-range military combat, good endurance, as well as humanitarian relief operations. In addition, the ship can operate continuously for 9,000 nautical miles without refueling.
Previously, Anadolu was designed to operate the F-35 fighter, so it was not suitable for the normal take-off and landing of fixed-wing aircraft. Therefore, the Turkish navy was converting this ship into an aircraft carrier for armed drones. Under the plan, Turkey is developing a new type of UCAV capable of operating on an aircraft carrier. The navy’s plan is to ensure that at least 10 UCAVs can operate simultaneously from the carrier.
The ship has a flight deck and a hangar for 12 medium-sized helicopters or eight Boeing CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters. When the aviation hangar and the light cargo garage are unified, the ship can carry up to 25 medium-sized helicopters.
This warship can accommodate up to 1,000 marines as well as up to 100 vehicles including at least 29 tanks, as well as armored and transport vehicles. It has a multi-functional hangar and garage space on two levels under the flight deck. Recently Turkey ordered a batch of ZAHA amphibious armored personnel carriers, similar to those of the US AAV7. These are designed to deliver troops and supplies from amphibious ships to shore and can make a forced entry on hostile beaches.
The Anadolu is equipped with domestic weapons systems, are mainly intended for self-defense against incoming anti-ship missiles. Protection for this amphibious assault ship against various threats will be provided by other warships of the Turkish fleet. Maximum speed is 21 knots in light aircraft carrier configuration and 29 knots in amphibious assault ship configuration.
Currently, the new Bayraktar TB3 attack drone designed by Turkish drone manufacturer Baykar – is expected to be Anadolu’s main armed UAV. The TB3 is a naval development variant of the TB2 unmanned aerial vehicle that has proven itself in combat, particularly in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. TB3 is being specifically designed with the ability to take off and land on aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships with short runways.