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Converting LHD Anadolu to a Drone Carrier

Issue 106

It’s no secret that Turkey intends to operate an aircraft carrier, and this desire was made public by President Recep Tayyip ERDOĞAN during his speech at the launching ceremony of the Istanbul-Class Frigate.

The interest of Turkey to operate aircraft from a large ship with a big flight deck is nothing new. This is a lesson learned from the large humanitarian assistance operation conducted in Libya. Between 19 February and 4 March 2011, Turkey evacuated 23,127 people from Libya fleeing from the fighting in the country. 8,351 evacuees were transported by sea. The need for a large amphibious ship with a large flight deck and a dock become very apparent during this Non-Combatant Evacuation Operation. During the evacuation, a few times F-16 fighter aircraft of the Turkish Air Force had to be flown from Turkey to Libya to provide air power, an operation requiring multiple in-flight refueling. Despite all the hardship and the cost of flying land-based F-16 fighters from Turkey to Libya their time on target was not adequate and they were not available on short notice.  These operations demonstrated the necessity of having an organic air force for the Turkish Navy.