The Turkish Navy’s future landing helicopter dock (LHD), TCG Anadolu (L-400), was seen at sea on June 20, 2022. Turkish officials confirmed that the LHD has begun official sea trials. The Anadolu is a STOVL aircraft carrier, with the maximum displacement of 27,079 tons. This warship is capable of carrying 50 Bayraktar TB3 attack drones.
According to Naval News and the officials of Sedef Shipyard, the future flagship of the Turkish Navy, the TCG Anadolu (L-400), was sighted in the Sea of Marmara on June 20, 2022, marking the official start of sea trials. The new ship LHD made another sailing in February 2022, but this was announced as a preliminary stage of sea trials.
TCG Anadolu has reportedly planned to be transformed to a drone carrier, after the U.S. broke the partnership with Turkiye on the F-35 JSF project. As a result, Baykar, a Turkish drone manufacturer, announced in early 2021 that it was working on a specific UCAV called TB-3, an improved and folding-wing version of the combat-proven TB2 drone that would be deployed aboard TCG Anadolu.
Baykar has been building TB3 drones exclusively for Anadolu. A roller mechanism will be installed on the LHD to launch drones, while security netting will be used to secure landing drones, according to recent reports. SSB’s 2022 Projection video suggests that the integration of the drone launching system into the LHD is scheduled to begin in 2022.
MIUS will be the second option, along with TB-3, for deploying airpower aboard the TCG Anadolu after it is potentially operational in 2025. MIUS will be deployed on the Anadolu as a light attack aircraft, although the unmanned combat aircraft is projected to conduct a multitude of military actions, such as strategic offensives, close air support (CAS), missile offensives, suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD) and destruction of enemy air defenses (DEAD), according to Baykar.
On the other hand, in terms of amphibious capabilities, the TCG Anadolu equipment is close to being operational. The armoured amphibious naval assault vehicle (MAV), abbreviated “ZAHA” (Zirhli Amfibi Hücum Araci), was unveiled during the Turkey-led EFES-2022 joint multinational amphibious exercise. FNSS, the manufacturer of the ZAHA, announced in December 2021 that ballistic and mine-resistant testing of the armoured vehicle had been completed, and the vehicle’s participation in a large-scale exercise indicates that delivery is imminent.
Sedef Shipyard also announced two weeks ago that the company has been conducting the sea trials of the smaller amphibious vessels (LCM – Landing Craft Mechanised) that will be deployed to TCG Anadolu in the vicinity of the shipyard facilities. The vessels will be ready before the commissioning of TCG Anadolu.
General Overview of the TCG Anadolu Amphibious Assault Ship of the Turkish Navy
The warship is named after the peninsula of Anatolia which forms the majority of the land mass of Turkey. The vessel is intended to meet the various needs and requirements of the Turkish Armed Forces, such as sustaining long-endurance, long-distance military combat or humanitarian relief operations; while acting as a command center and flagship for the Turkish Navy.
The construction work of the ship began on 30 April 2016 at the shipyard of Sedef Shipbuilding Inc. in Istanbul, with the keel being laid on 7 February 2018, and is expected to be commissioned in 2022. This ship can be used as multiple platforms, the ship can perform the work of a amphibious assault ship, STOVL aircraft carrier and a combat drone carrier.
Turkey has also planned to construct the sister ship of Anadolu, named as TCG Trakya.