Explore – Unbelievable Inside The World’s First Aircraft Carrier For Combat UAVs

TCG Anadolu train on April 10, 2023 in Tuzla, Istanbul. Photo: Getty Images

The Turkish Navy on April 11 celebrated the inauguration of its new flagship, TCG Anadolu – currently the country’s largest warship. The ceremony was held about three months after the ship was actually handed over due to scheduling problems.

The Anadolu is classified as an amphibious assault ship, but officials in Turkey say they have grand plans to use the ship as a carrier for other types of armed drones. together.

Based on the design of the amphibious assault ship Juan Carlos I (Spain), the flagship Anadolu was laid down at the Sedef Shipyard, Istanbul in early 2018. The ship was launched only a year later and completed. Preliminary trials in 2022.


Also during the ceremony held in Sedef, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan noted that 70% of Anadolu ships are built using only locally produced components, including weapons, combat systems, radars. , infrared search and track capabilities and electronic warfare suite.

“This ship will allow us to conduct military and humanitarian operations anywhere in the world when necessary,” Erdogan said. “We see the Anadolu as a symbol that will strengthen Türkiye’s position as regional leadership”.

The Anadolu has a typical helicopter landing deck (LHD) configuration, with a large flight deck at the top and a well deck at the aft. It is intended to be the site of the deployment of forces in an amphibious assault using helicopters, amphibious ships and light and heavy armored vehicles. Erdogan also talked about the range of additional capabilities the Anadolu can provide, including command and control, medical assistance and humanitarian relief.

The flagship of the Turkish Navy is a warship that acts as both an aircraft carrier and an amphibious assault ship. Photo: Wikicommons

The Turkish leader emphasized Anadolu’s ability to carry and deploy a variety of armed drones, and this is a function that Ankara has long planned for this ship.

Since the vessel was ordered in 2015, the Anadolu has been developed to be a unique multi-purpose vessel that can focus on drone operations. In this direction, it will essentially act as a light aircraft carrier for combat drones.

The combination of all these capabilities will give the ship a lot of versatility compared to ships of its class.

In February of this year, it was reported that in order to make the change in Anadolu’s flight formation, the ship will be slightly improved with infrastructure to better support drone operations. .

Those improvements include the installation of drone control stations with satellite terminals for longer range connectivity, the installation of a ‘roller system’ in the bow to help launch the engines. drones, the addition of an onboard brake gear system to facilitate landing of unmanned combat vehicles (UCAVs) and a safety net for the recovery of small UAVs.

According to figures released by the Turkish Ministry of Defense, Anadolu is 231 meters long, 32 meters wide and has a displacement of 27,436 tons. The vessel has a top speed of about 21 knots at full load, has a range of 9,000 nautical miles and can operate at sea for up to 90 days.

AH-1W and SH-60B helicopters aboard TCG Anadolu after the launch ceremony. Photo: Getty Images

A press release released by the ministry also notes that Anadolu can carry a battalion of 1,400 troops along with a crew of around 400 sailors.

Regarding the capabilities of ground forces that the ship can deploy, the above statement added that “13 tanks, 27 amphibious assault vehicles, six armored personnel carriers, 33 light and heavy armored vehicles and 15 trailers that can be transported on board.

Anadolu can also carry up to six amphibious ships of all kinds in its dock, which will be crucial in transporting the aforementioned ground vehicles and troops ashore.

AH-1W and SH-60B helicopters aboard TCG Anadolu after the launch ceremony. Photo: Getty Images

Discussions about the Anadolu’s airfoils have attracted the most attention. The ship has a flight deck of nearly 18,000 square meters, with six landing points for medium, attack or multirole transport helicopters and two more for heavy transport.

Ship-compatible rotary-wing vehicles include the likes of the T129 ATAK and the AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopter, as well as the SH-60B anti-submarine warfare helicopter. The AS532 Cougars, S-70/UH-60 Black Hawks and CH-47F Chinooks helicopters can provide medium and heavy utility support.

Erdogan added that the fixed-wing TAI Hürjet light fighter/trainer aircraft will also be able to take off and land on board the Anadolu. According to experts, this is certainly an interesting mention because this implementation requires a great deal of training and accompanying equipment.

A press release from the Turkish Ministry of Defense states that the flagship Anadolu “can deploy 12 manned or unmanned combat aircraft, 21 different types of helicopters and attack UAVs depending upon operations performed within the aircraft’s carrying capacity.”

Currently, the folding-wing Bayraktar TB3 attack drone – newly designed by Turkish drone maker Baykar – is expected to be the main armed UAV of the Anadolu ship. 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.

Turkish officials stand behind a Bayraktar TB3 drone on the deck of the TCG Anadolu ship. Photo: Getty Images

Baykar released the first images of the TB3 later this March, revealing that the drone will be officially unveiled during Turkey’s TEKNOFEST 2023 technology show, scheduled to take place at the Stadium. Istanbul’s Ataturk flight from April 27 to May 1. The TB3 has yet to appear in the sky during any public events, but the company says that test flight will begin this year.

Baykar’s Kizilelma jet-powered drone is also intended to be part of the air wing of the battleship Anadolu as it is designed to take off from short-run aircraft carriers. While the type is still in the early stages of development and only flew for the first time last December, the company is specifically identifying it as Turkey’s first combat UCAV.

Baykar has stated that the Kizilelma will have an operational time of 5 to 6 hours, a combat radius of 500 nautical miles, a ceiling of 10,600 meters and a top speed of close to Mach 1. Maximum takeoff weight of the drone steering is 6,000kg, including 1,500kg payload. Kizilelma made its first flight last December.

Baykar’s chairman and chief technology officer, Selcuk Bayraktar, poses for a photo in front of the Kizilelma aircraft on the deck of the TCG Anadolu. Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Observers say it will be interesting to see how this ship with limited deck space will operate different types of aircraft in real conditions, especially with jet drones. fast, requiring a braking system for landing and perhaps the entire deck for take-off.

Watch a video of Türkiye’s flagship, which is also the world’s first aircraft carrier for attack drones (Source: Baykar)

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