In an effort to expand its drone capabilities beyond land-based to naval operations amid rising regional tensions brought on by the crisis raging in Ukraine on the other side of the Black Sea, Turkiye launched its first aircraft carrier on Monday.
Only light aircraft, primarily helicopters, and jets that can take off from shorter runways, are capable of being handled by the TCG Anadolu. Its dimensions are 232 meters long by 32 meters broad, and it can transport 1,400 people, or a battalion of soldiers, together with combat vehicles and support groups for use in foreign operations.
At the launch ceremony in Istanbul, President Tayyip Erdogan remarked, “This vessel will allow us to perform military and humanitarian operations in every part of the world when needed.”
He declared, “We view this vessel as a symbol that would strengthen Turkiye’s status as the regional leader.
Based on the design of the Spanish light aircraft carrier Juan Carlos I, a Turkish-Spanish collaboration constructed the amphibious assault ship in Istanbul’s Sedef Shipyard. Initially, Ankara intended to use its largest battleship to deploy F-35 B-model fighter fighters, which can take off from shorter runways.
Nevertheless, it had to alter its plans after Turkiye, a Nato ally, was dropped from the F-35 program due to Ankara’s acquisition of Russian S-400 defence systems in 2019. TCG Anadolu was later transformed by Turkiye into a drone carrier.