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TCG ANADOLU Multi-Purpose Amphibious Assault Ship Planned to be Delivered at the end of 2022

President of Defence Industries Prof. İsmail DEMİR met with members of the press on the TCG Anadolu Multi-Purpose Amphibious Assault Ship, which is undergoing sea trials and is expected to be temporarily accepted and delivered to the Turkish Naval Forces Command (TNFC) within this year, and inform the members of the press about the latest situation in the LHD Project.

Date: September 17, 2022

Under the Multi-Purpose Amphibious Assault Ship (LHD) Project signed on June 1, 2015, between the Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB) and SEDEF Shipbuilding Inc. (SEDEF Shipyard), TCG Anadolu (L-400) LHD was constructed with 131 subcontractor companies and 68% domestic contribution rate. TCG Anadolu, which is expected to be delivered to the Turkish Navy by the end of this year, was introduced to the press for the first time at an event accompanied by the President of Defence Industries İsmail DEMİR.

The first sea trials of TCG Anadolu (L-400), which was launched in May 2019 and after the completion of its construction and outfitting activities, were conducted by SEDEF Shipyard in the Sea of Marmara between March 7-10, 2022. As of June 2022, the Sea Acceptance Tests of TCG Anadolu are carried out by Turkish Navy personnel assigned to the vessel.

The TCG Anadolu Multi-Purpose Amphibious Assault Ship, the construction of which started on April 17, 2016, and the first steel cutting ceremony was held on April 30, 2016, will be the largest ship of the Turkish Naval Forces, with a length of 231 meters, a width of 32 meters and a displacement of 27,436 tons and will bolster the strength of the Turkish Navy.

TCG Anadolu is also planned to become the first UAV Ship in the world with UAVs that will land and take-off, as announced by the President of Defence Industries İsmail DEMİR for the first time. In this context, BAYKAR company started the development of Bayraktar TB-3 UAVs with foldable wings, while various studies are underway to enable the KIZILELMA Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle, also developed by BAYKAR, and the HÜRJET Light Attack Aircraft, developed by TUSAŞ, to land and take-off from TCG ANADOLU. Following the first flights of the TB-3 UAV, KIZILELMA, and HÜRJET platforms completed in 2023, integration studies are planned to start.

Prof. İsmail DEMİR: "I expect the ship to be accepted at the end of this year."

Speaking at the press briefing held at SEDEF Shipyard in Tuzla, İstanbul, on September 17, President of Defence Industries Prof. DEMİR said: "Under the project, which started in 2015, our shipyard in Tuzla, İstanbul, is about to complete the ship. We have 131 subcontractors with a 70% domestic contribution rate. This will be our country's largest warship. Only 12 countries in the world have ships of this scale. TCG ANADOLU will bolster our Navy's strength and increase its deterrent. This ship will also be a power projection element for NATO missions. It will also be part of the NATO alliance. BAYKAR company continues its studies to transform it into the first UAV Ship in the world with the UAVs that will land and take-off in the future. As you know, the development of Bayraktar TB-3 UAVs has begun. In addition, various studies are underway in the design phase for the KIZILELMA UCAV developed by BAYKAR and the HÜRJET Light Attack Aircraft developed by TUSAŞ to land and take-off on such ships. Aside from helicopters, integration and adaptation studies for the TB-3 UAV, KIZILELMA, and HÜRJET platforms will continue after the ship's commissioning. The project aims for a Multi-Purpose Amphibious Assault Ship, which can transport at least a battalion-size amphibious element to the crisis regions in the Aegean, Mediterranean, and Black Seas with its own logistic support without requiring home base support. The LHD can also be used for Natural Disaster Relief missions when needed. Thanks to the fully equipped hospital and operating room facilities, it can be used for medical support in natural disaster relief, humanitarian aid, and refugee evacuation operations. The Sea Acceptance Tests of the vessel, which was launched in May 2019, were started as of June 2022 and are still continuing. We hope that it will be accepted by the end of this year."

TCG Anadolu Çok Maksatlı Amfibi Hücum Gemisi (LHD)

The TCG Anadolu LHD is a single-hull steel ship based on a Navantia Shipyard design platform with combat systems integrated by Aselsan-Havelsan Partnership. The TCG Anadolu is based on the Navantia Atlas LHD 26,000 design like the Juan Carlos-I (L-61) in service of the Spanish Navy and the Canberra Class LHDs, HMAS Canberra (L-02) and the HMAS Adelaide (L-01) in the service of the Royal Australian Navy. The vessel is planned to be constructed at 230,8m with a full displacement of 27,436 tons. The TCG Anadolu will feature a 202m long flight deck with 6 landing spots (the width of the runway is 17m, including the 12-degree upward-curved ramp [ski-jump] at the bow of the ship, and the total width of the flight deck is calculated as 29.5m) and is expected to have a maximum waterline length of 207.2m, a beam of 32m, a maximum speed of 20.5 knots (full load displacement), an economical speed of 16 knots and a maximum range of 7,000nm + 2,000nm at economical speed. The LHD will have a total height of 58m with a design draft (the distance from the bottom of the keel to the waterline) of 7,07, the floodable well deck will have a draft of 10,20m, and the flight deck of the vessel will have a depth of 27,5m with a total height of 20m from the waterline.

The TCG Anadolu, which will transform the regional force projection (transfer) capability of the Turkish Naval Forces Command into a medium-scale global force projection capability, will have an endurance of 30 days and will be able to carry a battalion-size amphibious task force (Amphibious Marine Battalion) with its equipment and a total of 94 vehicles (13 MBT, 27 Marine Assault Vehicles [ZAHA/MAV], 6 APC, 33 Various Vehicles, and 15 Trailers). A total of 10 helicopters or 50 UCAVs can be deployed on the flight deck, and this number may increase depending on the configuration.

A total of 1,223 personnel will serve onboard the ship, and Land, Air Force, and Amphibious Unit Command & Control Systems, including NATO Headquarters Systems to be configured according to operational requirements, will be located at the vessel. In addition to the GENESIS ADVENT Combat Management System (CMS) network, the Ship Information Systems infrastructure will include TSK-Net, Internet, NATO Network, Message Operating System (MIS), and Ship Administrative Local Area Networks. TCG Anadolu will have an infirmary/hospital with at least 30 beds, including two operating rooms, x-ray devices, dental treatment units, intensive care, and isolation rooms, and will be able to serve as a Hospital Ship in Humanitarian Aid Operations when necessary.

The vessel will feature a floodable well dock, which can host four LCM-1E or two Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCACs) with a single tank carrying capacity. In this context, unlike the other sister ships in service, TCG Anadolu will not feature a Central Steel Fender (two rows of parallel steel curtains) inside the well dock at the request of the TNFC as it will prevent the docking of LCACs. There is no water on the well dock during the cruise, the dock is flooded before the amphibious landing operation via engines after opening the stern ramp/door, and the dock can also be flooded while the ship is moving. Right next to the well dock is the Heavy Vehicle Deck. After the mission, the water is discharged again by the pumps/motors, and the well dock becomes dry again.

Unlike other sister ships with an Electrical Drive/Propulsion System in CODAG configuration (two MAN 16V32/40 Diesel Engines and one LM2500 Gas Turbine), TCG Anadolu will be equipped with a CODAD type Electric Drive/Propulsion System (five MAN 16V32/40 Diesel Engines). The Electric Drive/Propulsion System of the vessel with 40,000kW power generation capacity will incorporate two Siemens product eSiPOD propellers, each with an 11MW capacity and 360-degree rotation capability, and two bow propellers, each with a 1,500kW capacity.

The classification process of the TCG Anadolu will be carried out by Türk Loydu, and it was announced that the vessel is designed and constructed with the ability to deploy short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) capable F-35B aircraft from the beginning, unlike the other sister ships. In this context, since the flight deck and electronic/hardware infrastructure of the vessel is compatible with the F-35B Lightning II, If the TNFC decides to order the F-35B in the future, it would be possible to deploy the aircraft on board the ship without the need for extensive modification. According to the Promotional Video displayed during the Keel Laying Ceremony, the aircraft capacity of the TCG Anadolu (L-400) LHD was stated to be "12 F-35Bs or 30 utility helicopters". On July 16, 2019, Turkey's participation in the F-35 MTU/JSF Lightning II Program, in which Turkey is a Tier 3 Partner, was suspended indefinitely, and the deliveries of F-35A aircraft to the Turkish Air Force were stopped.

The removal of Turkey from the F-35 Lighting II program made all these plans redundant, the option of converting TCG Anadolu into a UAV/UCAV Ship was put on the table in 2020, and it was decided to deploy the Baykar Defence product BAYRAKTAR TB-3 UCAVs on the ship, which will be modified for the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. In May 2020, the President of Defence Industries İsmail DEMİR announced that conceptual studies were carried out on various UAV platforms that can be used on the ship. Later in September 2020, he said that the design of TCG Anadolu would be altered so that UAV/UCAVs could land and take-off. Speaking during the Aviation and Space Summit organized by Gebze Technical University on May 7, 2021, Chief Executive Officer of Baykar Defence Haluk BAYRAKTAR announced that a hydraulic reel would be placed at the end of the 12-degree ski-jump on TCG Anadolu so that the UAV/UCAVs could take-off without any problems. I believe the hydraulic reel is preferred because it is more cost effective and requires less modification on the ship compared to the catapult system, which will be more costly and require more extensive structural changes. The hydraulic reel, which will be pulled with the help of the crane (similar to gliders) located in front of the ship's island, will act as a kind of catapult system, and it will ensure that the UAV/UCAVs can reach the required speed for take-off at a distance of 100-150m (especially when combat loaded) using the rope wrapped around the reel. During the landing of UAV/UCAVs, it is expected to use arresting cables (must have more than one in case the aircraft misses the cable) or nets (for emergencies).

The BAYRAKTAR TB-3 UCAV will feature foldable wings, satellite communication/control capability (SatCom), and maximum take-off weight of 1,200 kg. TB-3 will be equipped with ASELSAN CATS (Common Aperture Targeting System) and is expected to be powered by TEI product TEI-PD170 series diesel engine (this was shared by both Baykar Defence and TEI on their social media accounts). Speaking at the ITU SAVTEK event on March 24, 2021, Head of the SSB Naval Platforms Department, Alper KOSE, stated that UAV/UCAVs with foldable wings (capable of taking off and landing from 100-150 meters) would be deployed on TCG Anadolu and that a minimal modification would be carried out on the ship for this purpose. President of Defence Industries İsmail DEMİR, on the other hand, emphasized that TCG ANADOLU will be converted into a UAV/UCAV Ship in a statement he gave to NTV in March 2021. It is planned that between 30 and 50 UAV/UCAVs will be deployed on the ship, and at least 10 BAYRAKTAR TB-3 UCAVs will be able to operate simultaneously through the command-and-control system to be integrated with GENESIS ADVENT CMS.

Since the aircraft elevators located at the front (17m x 11.2m) and aft (13.3m x 13.6m) of the flight deck are suitable for the F-35B, they can also transport large-scale aircraft such as the CH-47F Chinook or the V-22 Osprey as well as the foldable-wing BAYRAKTAR TB-3 UCAVS from the hangar to the flight deck. NATO aircraft, 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. Additionally, with the infrastructure to be installed on the ship (I-Level), repair and maintenance services up to a certain extent will be possible for both the SH-70 and AB-212 helicopters in the inventory and for different types of rotary wing aircraft as well as BAYRAKTAR TB-3 UCAVs and VTOL Cargo UAVs that will enter service with the Turkish Navy in the near future.

TCG Anadolu will be equipped with the GENESIS-ADVENT Combat Management System (CMS), SMART-S Mk2 3-D Search Radar, ARES-2N(V)2 Radar ESM System with new generation receivers, AREAS-2N Radar ECM System, two ALPER LPI Radars, two Navigation Radars, an Aircraft Detection and Control Radar, a Precision Approach Radar (PAR), two Electro-Optical Directors (EOD, Aselsan SeaEye-AHTAPOT System), Aselsan PIRI Infrared Search and Track/IRST System (PIRI KATS), KALKAN Chaff/Infrared (IR) Decoy Launchers, Torpedo Countermeasure System (TCMS) based on Aselsan's HIZIR, LN-270 INS/GPS (Gyro), MilSoft ÇAVLİS (Link-11/16 and 22, and JRE and VMF Tactical Data Link Systems), HF/V/UHF Radios, X/KU/UHF Band Satellite Communication Systems, Sounding System (a version of KULAÇ Sounding System developed for surface ships), IFF Mode-5 (Identification Friend or Foe), Laser Warning Receivers, Underwater Telephone, and ARAS-2023 Diver Detection Sonars. Initially, the Ship would be equipped with two single-barrel 40mm Fast Forty Type C Naval Guns (starboard and port side) equipped with AselFLIR-300D EOD and integrated with Aselsan's 40mm Gun Fire Control System (GFCS), two 20mm Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWS), and three 12.7mm STAMPs against surface and air targets. However, instead of the 40mm Fast Forty Type C Naval Gun, the Ship's scale model, which was exhibited for the first time at the IDEF '15 Fair, featured four 25mm STOP Weapon Systems, three 12.7mm STAMP RCWS, and two 20mm Mk-15 PHALANX CIWS (Block 1B Baseline 2 Configuration). In its final configuration, the Ship's armament consists of five Aselsan 25mm STOP Remote Controlled Stabilized Naval Gun System, two 20mm Mk-15 PHALANX Block 1B CIWS (fore and aft), and a 21-cell Mk49 Mod 3 RAM Guided Missile System Launcher (aft of the Ship, next to aircraft lift).

Brief information about TCG Anadolu:

·       TCG Anadolu LHD is designed to operate even in sea state 6, and even the design of the elevators on the ship has been updated and tested according to this requirement.

·       TCG Anadolu will not feature a Central Steel Fender (two rows of parallel steel curtains) inside the well dock at the request of the Turkish Naval Forces Command (TNFC).

·       According to the information I received from the ship's personnel, whom I had the opportunity to meet at the Press Conference held on the Juan Carlos I (L-61) LHD Ship of the Spanish Navy on June 2, 2011, as part of her Istanbul visit, Juan Carlos LHD can perform amphibious operations while in motion, and the ship can cruise at 5 knots while the stern ramp/door is in the down position, and 10 knots when the well dock is flooded. The vessel can reach a maximum cruising speed of 19 knots with the stern ramp/door open upwards. However, when the ship starts the amphibious operation (when the dock area is filled with water and the loading of the landing craft that will bring the Marines ashore begins), it cannot get very close to the shore as a precaution against possible counter attacks as it has to move at low speed for about 4 hours or wait in a fixed position (150-200km away).