Türkiye commissions largest warship aka world’s 1st drone carrier
In a historic milestone, Türkiye on Monday commissioned its long-anticipated largest warship, bolstering its naval capabilities and making the country one of the few nations in the world with a domestically built aircraft carrier, News.Az reports citing Daily Sabah.
Set to be Türkiye’s flagship, the multipurpose amphibious assault ship TCG Anadolu represents a symbol in the "Century of Türkiye," President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said, addressing the delivery ceremony in Istanbul.
Being more than Türkiye’s first aircraft carrier, the ship will also be the world’s first vessel with an air wing mainly consisting of unmanned aircraft.
"The TCG Anadolu ... is the world's first warship in its field where UAVs can land and take off," Erdoğan said, stressing that the vessel would host many of Türkiye's manned and unmanned aerial vehicles.
Based on Spain’s flagship, the Juan Carlos I, the TCG Anadolu is a landing helicopter dock (LHD) type amphibious assault ship. It is 231 meters long and 32 meters wide and boasts a displacement of 27,436 tons. It has a top speed of around 21 knots, a range of 9,000 nautical miles, and can operate at sea for 50 days.
The ship was ordered in 2015, laid down in February 2018 and launched in April 2019. Its inauguration was scheduled for 2021 but has been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"(TCG Anadolu) has the capabilities to conduct military operations in every corner of the world," Erdoğan said. "We will be able to transfer to crisis areas with this ship quickly."
Erdoğan said 70% of the parts used in TCG Anadolu's construction were Türkiye-made, stressing that the government would "bring more advanced technologies that are more domestic and national to our country."
The president also vowed the profound transformation that Türkiye has undergone in the defense industry in the last two decades through innovative engineering initiatives and domestically developed technologies.
Erdoğan dubbed "historic" the level where Türkiye's external dependence in the defense sector dropped to 20% as of 2022, from 80% in the early 2000s.
The capabilities of its vehicles triggered unprecedented demand that saw Türkiye's defense industry exports hit a record of more than $4.4 billion in 2022, Erdoğan said.
In contrast, the figure stood at nearly $250 million 20 years ago.
"The Turkish defense industry has revolutionized in the last 20 years. It has not been easy for our defense industry to become the rising star of Türkiye. We have determined fully independent defense industry our target," Erdoğan said.