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Anadolu Shipyard - Fortifying Position in the Navy Shipbuilding Industry - Original Design – Significant Local Contribution

Successfully Meeting the demands of the Turkish Naval Forces and allied Naval Forces Fleets. 

Issue 67

Defence Turkey: Mr Süalp Ürkmez, thank you for taking the time to speak with us.  Could you inform us about the activities of Anadolu Shipyard and your organization, regarding the military ship building industry?

In 2007 Anadolu Shipyard began its involvement with the Military Shipbuilding Industry. During that time, the retired commander of the Istanbul Naval Shipyard Rear Admiral Metin Poyrazlar, and together with retired Navy Captains/ Engineers who performed successful services in the Naval Shipyards, Deniz Celbiş and Olcay Tüter joined us and we began restructuring the shipyard organization to be able to build navy ships.

At that time, our shipyard was very busy with commercial shipbuilding activities. But Military Shipbuilding was our ambition for a long time. At first, we decided that we should be creating our own indigenous designs of naval ships with the help of our key people and we improved our existing design office for that purpose. Our main strategy was to enter the Undersecretariat of Defense Industry tenders with our indigenous Turkish designs and become a major player in Naval shipbuilding.

In 2008 we are awarded the tender for the Turkish Navy requirement of 8 Landing Craft Tank Ships, and our competitors were left behind.  This was our first project responsibility with Undersecretariat for Defence Industries.

Since the start of this project in 2008, we restructured our entire organization and also invested to new software systems and other equipment’s as well as additional experienced retired navy personnel.  Today our staff consists of 20 high ranked retired Navy officers who are experts in Naval Shipbuilding engineering, in the field of sensor and weapon systems, electronics, combat systems.

In addition, our design team consisting of 24 naval engineers are able to design new platforms as well as prepare 3D workshop drawings for steel and outfitting works to be supervised by the production teams.

On the other hand, we reorganized our quality and control system to meet the requirements of the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries. After all this improvements Anadolu Shipyard in our view became a private military shipyard. Today, our shipyard is only building ships for Navy. There are more than 750 people working in our shipyard and about 170 are responsible from engineering and management.  Our Shipyard is focused only on the development of new indigenous navy ship designs and production. We aim not only to be an expert in our country but also worldwide in the navy shipbuilding industry.

Defence Turkey:  Looking back on 2015, how was Anadolu Shipyard’s domestic and foreign program performance execution?

Our continuing project of 2 Landing Ship Tank Ships (LST) project, was our main concentration at home.  I can easily tell you that this program is more sophisticated than the MILGEM program. These Amphibious Ships are 140 meters of length, with a variety of sensor and weapon systems and equipped with command and control systems.  To date, it is the largest warship with such features being produced in Turkey.  

On the other hand, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that this is a ship that’s completely of our own original design and is the product of our capability.  We focused on the production of this vessel in 2015. We finalized all detailed design issues and the production continued in full pace within the program set.   Internationally we have had discussions with some countries for the sale of LCT and LST as well as other designs that we are required to develop for the specific country needs. I am confident that our shipyard will be awarded with some new orders in 2016 as a result of our heavy work as a team in 2015.

Defence Turkey: In the point of exports, which regions are you focusing on? Can you inform us about your up-coming strategy and related progress?

Our first priority is the Middle East. We consider that in the Middle East region there is need especially for amphibious ships. Currently negotiations are continuing with our close contacts there. On the other hand, Africa and South America are among our focus markets. 

Defence Turkey: Where is Anadolu Shipyard preparing to position itself in the next decade?

We aim to further strengthen our organizational structure and position in the Navy Shipbuilding industry.  In line with this objective we aim to develop more designs as per the changing needs of Navy Forces and focus on the export of our own products, meeting the demands of the Turkish Naval Forces and other allied Naval Forces fleets.

Defence Turkey: When we look again to domestic programs, the Amphibious Ship LST program mainly, the first ship “TCG Bayraktar” was launched last year in October. When these vessels join to the inventory of the Turkish Naval Forces, which capabilities our country gain?  If we evaluate the capability of this platform, is it possible to consider it as a small LPD?

The construction and outfitting activities are going on and we will deliver our two ships to the Naval Forces Command in 2017. Our previously delivered 8 LCT ships serving successfully to Turkish Navy, we believe the new LST Ships of the Turkish Naval Forces will also provide a significant contribution to amphibious operational capabilities. The amphibious carrying capacity of LSTs together with its command control, sensor and weapon systems makes them highly advanced vessels with amphibious troop transport and amphibious assault landing capability. These outstanding features and capability together with the new Landing Platform Dock (LPD) which is now under construction will be an important force multiplier for Turkish Navy. We are prepared to be part of the renewal program of the Turkish Navy fleet in the coming years. The LST Amphibious Ships are not just designed for military tasks; they are also fully equipped to fulfill Disaster Relief Operations as well.  Features such as the big capacity for transportation of the required equipment and vehicles (like ambulances, firefighting trucks etc.) to the disaster area due to very shallow draft. The ship has also a fully equipped hospital including radiology and surgery facilities. With its 4 MW installed electric power plant and with many other features our LSTs will be able to provide fast and effective support.

Defence Turkey: What is the progress regarding the LST “Bayraktar” ship’s system and sub-systems integration? Is there a set schedule ahead for sea trials?

The program schedule is clear. We will commence in HAT’s (Harbour Acceptance Tests) in June,2016. This means that; now all equipment, systems and sub-systems have been installed already and integration completed. Many equipment are running now.

Once we finish our own tests we will start formal HAT’s and do the commissioning of all ship systems. This will take about four months, all going well.

Once the HAT’s finished, we will be ready for the Sea Acceptance tests. These tests will take about 3 months and in February 2017, we will deliver “TCG Bayraktar” to Turkish Navy. There are no deviations in our production program as of now, everything is progressing right on track.

Defence Turkey: What would you like to say about the construction activities regarding LST “Sancaktar”?  When will “Sancaktar” be launched?

Our plan for the launching of second ship of the program “TCG Sancaktar” is end of June 2016 or beginning of July 2016, we will organize a ceremony for the launching therefore the launching date is subject to availability of our President and Prime Minister. The ship hull construction is fully completed. Right now, the ship is on the main slipway and all equipment, machinery and other materials are being assembled. 

Defence Turkey: Within the scope of the construction activities of the LST program, it was stated that the local manufactured goods content to be 70%.  In this context, is it really important that such a high level of domestic goods used?  From suppliers, to SMEs, sub-industry, what would you like to say regarding this successful supply chain?

Within the scope of this program we have committed 70% value of contract to be local contribution. We strive with great effort toward the development of domestic industry. We continuously encourage existing suppliers for their quality development of their products also we do encourage entrepreneurs to start production for specialized products used in Navy ships. However, this supply chain do not occur instantly, it takes time. Local industrial development is not easy mainly when the orders for naval ships are not so many. But, we have come a long way from 2008 until today. Previously some products could not be manufactured domestically, now we see that the domestic manufactured products increase in every new project. I can say that we have reached the capability to contribute to all the products onboard the ship, with the exception of some part of machinery, propeller system or some electronic systems on board. We will continue to support our local industrialists to increase the local goods content and also to achieve worldwide quality standards.

Defence Turkey: Which companies are in your supply chain? Can you illustrate?

Within the Amphibious Ship Systems, our local companies are assuming a vital responsibility in various areas of expertise. The product may reveal more in terms of capabilities, but they are gaining experience by taking part in the program. We are also working with local companies in various shipping equipment systems such as capstans, cranes and valves. Işbir is our generator supplier, and also Havelsan and Aselsan, repeating their success  is not necessary here, both Aselsan and Havelsan develop the most important systems of the ship and they increase the rate of local contribution every time. Steering gear and pump systems are supplied by our local companies among many other items. As a result, very large portion important equipment is supplied by local companies. We only accept products from abroad if they are not manufactured in Turkey. If a product of domestic production is in progress, we analyze this from the production line. Regarding the quality of the production, if there is a lack of competence on the product, we push the company by supporting to find out problems and bringing solutions to reach required standards. The companies that are able to meet quality standards will benefit in the near future from the coming navy ship project tenders. 

Defence Turkey: You have set up a good infrastructure and organization with very experienced staff in Navy Shipbuilding, as we see this has already created and we see that, especially domestically, you have developed a positive strong perception. What type of strategy are you focusing on in export markets to crown your local success by selling your ships to other navies?

The foreign policy of the country plays a very important role in the export of warships. We are in the overseas market as a priority area, scanning for those who have a need for these platforms, we are determined and we are intensifying our efforts in this area. Of course, after one stage, foreign policy needs to be engaged.  There are strong competitors in the market such as the USA, England, Holland, France, Italy, Spain, China, Korea, etc. We compete with these countries. But I would say that we are ambitious. For example, I cannot refrain from giving a specific example; the Australian Chief of Navy Staff has spent some hours testing our LCT’s. Our LCT is currently one of the world’s fastest and highest capacity in its Amphibious Ship Class and now they are in the inventory of the Turkish Navy, a NATO country. 

A country that needs a landing craft does not want to take risks by seeking another unproven platform. We can also deliver such ships within a very short time.

Likewise, our LST design stand out in its class. Both the shallow fore draft, with the high-tech combat system, high speed and as well as the carrying capacity of troops, equipment and military vehicles and disaster relief capabilities with its fully equipped hospital, I can tell you that this ship is the best in the class. 

Our Navy and our Defense Ministry gives us important support in showing our products. The export of a warship this size is not easy, but we are committed and we will succeed.

Defence Turkey: Within the Landing Craft Tank program, 8 vessels have been delivered to the Naval Forces and the warranty process has begun.  What is the feedback from the Navy about LCT? As LCT is a proven product now, from which part of the world there is interest for such a ship?

As specified in the contract, we have delivered to the Turkish Navy 8 Landing Craft Tank ships within only 37 months. Last ship was delivered in August 2012.  The warranty period has come to an end already but our hands are on the ships whenever a support is needed by the Navy. We’re monitoring the performance of our ships closely. We are happy to hear that our Navy is happy with the performance of our ships especially their speed and carrying capacity.

The demand has increased recently for Landing Amphibious ships. There’s an interest especially from Middle Eastern countries and Gulf Countries.  Countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar are very interested. On the other hand, we are in touch with several countries in the Far East, South America and Africa. As you know, these negotiations are progressing step by step, not developing very fast, but 

I can say that things are going very well because we provide the best product at a very competitive cost and within a very short time. Plus we are very flexible and we listen the specific needs of friendly Navies and we adapt their requirements in the best way to our ships.

Defence Turkey: We see in the forefront the idea of creating concepts to provide access to new markets abroad, particularly to respond immediately to urgent needs, according to new trends with regional analysis models to become more competitive position.  How do you approach this model? Are you thinking of going toward such a structure in the future?

The requirements are changing continuously, so we see that we need to adapt changes to our existing platforms. Our shipyard has the capability to design, develop all class of military ships.

If you have experience in design and manufacturing capabilities and in respect to all types of customer’s needs, you can certainly response to any requirements. The important thing is not only to build a platform itself, but also to be able to integrate on this platform the variety of sensors and weapons that your customer needs. 

Such utmost objective can only be achieved by having indigenous design development capability.  By owning such advantage, we are very responsive to some countries needs in specific ship types.

A flexible approach is important for the customer, providing flexibility and solutions to meet their needs in most economical way is our strategy.

We also have another strategy for marketing our products, we develop concept designs totally new to the market and we present and start discussing with Navy experts.

For example two newly designed platform concept models will be presented during DIMDEX 2016 exhibition. One of this Platform will be a Landing Helicopter Dock. We consider that there might be a need for such a ship. This new design, longer than our LST ship by about 15 meters and has an entire helicopter deck. In addition, we have truly developed a multi-functional ship. It will have an amphibious landing capability in shallow waters, helicopter transport capability. Life time and use of such ships are long and they have reduced operating cost.

It enables us lower life cycle cost with multi-functional ship. The first reactions from the Turkish Naval Forces and foreign fleets suggests that it’s become a necessity. This product will be brought to the stage for the first time at the DIMDEX exhibition in Qatar; the product will be a surprise.

Defence Turkey: As Anadolu Shipyard, in the coming period, what domestic and international programs do you follow closely?

Shortly, the tenders for MILGEM Corvette and Turkish Type Fast Patrol Boat will be announced.We will definitely participate in these tenders. There are a lot of projects ahead and we will have to make some decisions to be part of some of this projects.In particular, we are very interested in building MILGEM ships and the Turkish Type Fast Patrol Boats.  We already developed our original design for the Turkish Type Fast Patrol Boat. All design tests have been completed. We are prepared to act and perform every task given to us by our Undersecretariat for Defense Industries.

We are also expecting additional LCT and LST orders from Turkish Navy in 2017 and 2018.  In this context, all our designs are proven, we are waiting and ready for new orders

In the period ahead we will also have important initiatives in other markets.

Defence Turkey: In the up-coming period, will you create a joint venture together with your Turkish sub-contractor companies; do you have any plans to participate in tenders abroad?

We are already cooperating with Aselsan for a project in Asia. In addition, we have plans to do a warship with another foreign country. We have given very clear message that we are open to this approach, to our very strong sub-contractors.

Defence Turkey: Within this context, how do you carry out cooperation with your partners abroad?

From time to time we do this kind of cooperation with foreign companies.Such cooperation with others are subject to the country of interest and our strategy as well as Turkey’s defense strategy.

We have the design rights of our Indigenous Ships thus we have the ability to be flexible in developing other designs in case of any need.

On the other hand, in the first stage, countries wish to choose the main material and equipment to be used on board.  They usually choose sensor and weapon systems that are in their inventory already. Sometimes they prefer to change the systems they are unsatisfied. All systems within the ship can vary depending on the wishes of the recipient country. We own a suitable architecture to meet such demands.

For the combat system point of view, of course we prefer our local companies Aselsan and Havelsan to be part of the project. But as the platform is our product we present it first and discuss other systems later.  We assess which stakeholders or producers take part in the platform later.  If there is capable manufacturers in the potential customer country, and they would like to cooperate with us, the we also consider cooperating with them.

Defence Turkey: What would you like to say regarding the demand in the Naval sector and the products that will be brought to the market according to the needs of the region?

Military Shipbuilding Industry, although we have to say it is a very big industry, in terms of demand it is a bit narrow. There was not very much demand in the market in the past years.  But recently the demand is increased as a result of the political developments in many regions.

We are not interested only in a particular class of ship.  We develop all kinds of products that may be needed in this area. Our new products, Divers Support Vessel, Training Ship, LHD and our Off-Shore Patrol Boat designs will be presented at the DIMDEX exhibition in Qatar. Therefore, we aim to provide new designs to the Gulf market.

Defence Turkey: One of the distinguishing capabilities that sets ADIK apart from other competing shipyards is undoubtedly its design ability. Can you briefly tell us about this ability?

Onboard a navy ship, there are hundreds of needs, consequently huge number of designs and solutions have to be brought to meet these requirements.

In the example of LST, the Turkish Navy officials, particularly based on their previous experiences gained from visits to the shipyards or based on experience with other ships, inform us of about the deficiencies and operational difficulties they have come across technically and operationally. 

Upon receipt of such operational feedback; under the leadership of Metin Poyrazlar, our Defense Group Coordinator, our design team is providing new solutions.There are hundreds of system designs in the LST ship itself.  As a good example of our design attention and care we have tested LST in size (1/10 scale) with exactly scaled machine power, propeller which were produced with the same weight proportions in a lake in Poland.

Tests included maneuvering, such as turning forward, backward, speed, etc. 

After the tests, we shared the results with the Navy and with the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries. Following analysis, we started to finalize the design and manufacturing of the ship.Of course, this only accounts for the initial part of the work. Design of the of the bow door and its ramp, which play very important role of the ships operation capability,  is a very distinctive example for this.

At every stage of the design, we have given high importance on communicating with the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries as well as obtaining the views of experts of our end-user Turkish Navy. Consequently, the required performance of the ships are guaranteed and more progress on specifications upgrade is benefited. 

Defence Turkey: Mr Ürkmez, and finally, do you have a message you would like to convey to the readers of Defence Turkey?

Anadolu Shipyard has been awarded two amphibious class ship projects as part of the programs carried out domestically.I think that the successful on-time delivery of the LCT ships was very important achievement.

While delivering the LCT ships, we won the tender for the LST.Both LCT and LST are our own local designs and that was our aim for success.

We gave presentations in a lot of countries abroad. During presentations, we observed that the designs taken from the west are all 1980s and older dated designs, and to those customers we say that:

 “We are now in the 21st century. We offer the most modern, high capacity ships.  If you want modernity, if you know where the new technology is then we are able to offer them.” 

Currently, the Turkish Navy requires highest technology and advanced weapon and sensor systems.  When you are able to meet these demands it means you are an indigenous designer shipyard, yet similar products are not already emerging in the world.

Our LCT and LST ship designs are ahead of their competitors in the same class. Existing designs for those ships are very old and this makes our design very valuable.These countries are developing a variety of designs, but these designs could not come into production. We look at how to develop the best design approach; we like to develop different projects.We take great enthusiasm from this. We do not make any concessions in this regard. We leave aside cost parameters or price.  We focus on how the best product can be derived.I think that with the completion of the LST program in one year we will have more opportunities to receive orders for both LST and LCT class ships.

I don’t want to cause an understanding that our Shipyard does focus solely on landing crafts.Our design team has currently finished the design for the Turkish Type Fast Patrol Boat; a new Coast Guard ship design has also been finished.The designs for the needs of LCM (Landing Craft Mechanized) have been completed;

The LHD (Landing Helicopter Dock) ship design is developed.We have CTS (Cadet Training Ship) design developed and offered already.So there is diversity in design capability and we follow the current literature on this subject and continue to develop ourselves.

You will see this at the DIMDEX exhibition in Qatar, as we will introduce our OPV design.  This will be a cost-effective OPV, as you know, because the OPV platform functions vary according to the needs of the country.  Now, considering the needs of regions and countries can result in more cost-effective results. I would like to say that we are very advanced in this regard.

Defence Turkey: Thank you.