MERSIN, Turkey – The Turkish government is hoping to turn its Anadolu landing helicopter dock into a carrier ship for attack drones and has already begun tests to see if the dock ship is strong enough for the mission.
“To give UAVs take off and land[ing] Ability on aircraft carriers, their structure must be strong because they are exposed to very high G-shocks. We want to develop a new one [unmanned combat aerial vehicle] UCAV, which will successfully land and take off on LHD Anadolu in a year, ”said the CEO of drone manufacturer Baykar, Haluk Bayraktar, in a recent interview.
Ismail Demir, the government’s defense industry president, said companies were working on the Baykar-made Bayraktar TB2 and other unmanned fixed-wing projects to turn Anadolu into a drone carrier.
With this setup, at least 10 armed drones could be deployed simultaneously and integrated into a command and control center on the ship. After the project is completed, between 30 and 50 folding-wing Bayraktar TB3 drones will be able to land and take off on the deck of Anadolu, he said.
Officials are reluctant to provide details of the projects, but it is widely expected that a new model of the Bayraktar TB3, derived from the battle-tested TB2, is under development. The new drone will be larger and have a higher payload capacity.
The Turkish Navy equipped the Anadolu ship with a fully equipped flight deck (with a ski jump ramp at the front) suitable for short take-off and vertical landing aircraft of the F-35B. The ship deck was designed and built with this type of aircraft in mind. However, it does not have the structure, fittings and equipment for conventional fixed-wing aircraft landing. Only VTOL and STOVL air systems can be operated on Anadolu.
As a result, the Turkish military’s attack drones are unable to land and take off in Anadolu. So the officials want to make changes. However, this can lead to a delay in the delivery of the ship.
A drone carrier would also be a new operating concept. Since the drones do not yet have air-to-air combat capabilities, their primary purpose appears to be reconnaissance, surveillance and reconnaissance, as well as small-scale strike operations (e.g., attacking coastal targets and naval facilities with low air defense capabilities). .
The drones could also be used as Sonobuoy platforms for anti-submarine operations.