Just like in 2021, SSB released a video to announce Turkey’s 2022 goals in defence industry. The video includes deliveries of defence products, and milestones in important projects in all domains, naval warfare, air warfare, land warfare, as well as civilian applications.
The Bayraktar TB3 UCAV, which can land and take off on ships with short runways, will take to the skies for the first time this year. The Bayraktar TB3 UCAV will thereafter be integrated into the Multi-Purpose Amphibious Assault Ship ANADOLU.
Ismail Demir, Head of SSB
According to the video, the integration of TB-3 armed drones (which are currently being produced specifically for carriers by the Baykar defense company) aboard LHD Anadolu would begin in 2022. This is a foregone conclusion given that the Turkish government and Baykar firm declared the conversion of LHD Anadolu into a drone carrier. The rendering of Anadolu, on the other hand, sparked discussion regarding the size of the carrier’s runway and the number of drones on deck.
When compared to current LHD Anadolu photos and prior renderings, the new illustration depicts a wider and longer runway aboard the ship. On the deck, there are approximately 40 folded-wing drones, according to the new image.
In a March interview, SSB Head Ismail Demir stated that after the project is completed, between 30 and 50 folding-winged Bayraktar TB3 drones will be sent to Anadolu. After seven months, he disclosed in a TV interview that LHD Anadolu will house up to 80 drones. His second statement matches with the number of the drones in the illustration.
There is also a project to operate Turkey’s indigenous jet trainer and light attack aircraft HURJET onboard the future flagship of the Turkish Navy.
Author’s opinion on LHD Anadolu rendering:
Though the rendering suggests a wider and longer runway for drone operations, such a modification to an LHD could take a long time for the Turkish Navy. The Turkish Navy’s need for and excitement about the new LHD is well known. The Anadolu commissioning was one of the SSB’s 2021 projections, but it does not feature in the movie presenting the SSB’s 2022 agenda. This might be interpreted as SSB not expecting to deliver LHD Anadolu in 2022.
Even though SSB could be able to deliver LHD Anadolu to the Turkish Navy in the first quarter of 2023, there would be a two-year delay. As a result, executing such a massive upgrade appears impractical at the moment, and would almost certainly significantly increase the ship’s cost.
As a result, we might claim that Anadolu‘s illustration may lead us astray. Furthermore, there has been no formal confirmation of such a deck modification. A roller mechanism for launching drones will be fitted, according to Selcuk Bayraktar, Chief Technology Officer of Baykar. He also stated that they are considering utilizing security nets to secure the drones upon landing, but that they will not be needed because the drones will stop on the deck before hitting the nets.
Another possibility is that the rendering in the video belongs to Turkey’s second LHD, which will be known as “Trakya.” Turkish President Erdogan recently revealed Turkey’s plans to build an aircraft carrier in collaboration with Spain (probably Navantia), and this remark was taken by experts as the second LHD. Erdogan stated in his announcement that the new ship will be larger and more capable than the LHD Anadolu. If we combine the most recent drawing with the Turkish President’s words, we get a conceptual design for Turkey’s second LHD. Time will tell…