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Will Turkey Modify Its Future LHD To Carry More UAVs?

Zarvan

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Will Turkey’s future LHD be modified to house more drones?
Illustration of Turkey's future LHD (SSB image)

Will Turkey Modify Its Future LHD To Carry More UAVs?​

On January 31, Turkey's Presidency of Defence Industries, or SSB, published a new video announcing the defense industry's ambitions for 2022. The design of Turkey's prospective Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD), Anadolu, appears to have been modified in the footage to deploy more unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).​

Tayfun Ozberk 02 Feb 2022

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.

Turkey-LHD-Anadolu-1024x512.jpg
The most recent photo of the future TCG Anadolu (Credit: Tayfun Ozberk)

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.

Turkey LHD Anadolu TB-2 UCAV Drone
The first rendering showing the take-off and landing concept of TB-3 drones on LHD Anadolu

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…

 

dBSPL

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I think there are some basic issues with this design that will pretty much limit sortie capacity. For example, the lift on the aft deck is located at the starting point of the landing line. And while the runway is busy, all aircraft to be lifted from the hangar to the upper deck must use the 17x12 meter forward-starboard lift next to the deck crane. Also, the fact that the landing and take-off operations will use the common line is main limitation in itself.

IMO, effective fixed-wing aviation use requires the stern lift to be repositioned on the starboard side outward from the side of the ship. However, this means a redesign of the hangar deck in the aft section. Also, this illustration lacks details about the arresting cables and the mechanical catapult that is said to be planned to place on deck for MALE UAVs.

There is more to be said as we go into more details. All these works could easilly delay the ship's entry into service for a minimum of 1 year. A more reasonable estimate can be said to be 2024-2025. During this time, the TB-3 can mature, the MIUS can make its maiden flight, we can see the Navalize T-929. In other words, most of the platforms to be deployed on the ship are under development. The platforms currently available are the ASW seahawks and the interim solution AH-1Ws that will soon be transferred from the ground forces to the navy.

The second theory is that these visualizations are more about the second ship (TRAKYA). Or it shows the modification on TCG Anadolu that will be made after 'a larger and real aircraft carrier' (presidential expression) will be launch.

If we assuming the existence of new-generation LSTs (Bayraktar and Sancaktar) postpones the urgent need for a large-scale troop landing/command control ship (I'm just trying to understand the logic and underlying dynamics behind this policy): It can be said that they aims to accumulate experience in an experimental platform for the use of unmanned warplanes/surface platforms, which is more about developing unmanned assault concepts in its nature, before targeting larger naval air operations with purebred carrier.



Circles 1 and 2 with green borders, schematically illustrate the idea I tried to explain above:
ucus-gu%CC%88verte-spot.png

WASP class heavy lift
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fan made TCG Anadolu basic design (modified Navantia Athlas 26000) for showing original lift locations
7c2743b188a556f8cd66f0d59324015f.png

Official design from back
l400.png


***

PS:

FKcI1-WX0AYyylt

The ship stern seen here is different from the CGI featured in the first post of the thread. The platform on which the helicopter stands is extending outward from the ship's starboard side. In other words, we can think that these drawings circulating in the social media are also a study, not a final decision.
 
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aziqbal

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get definitely need a second in that case

one for rotary and one for UCAV

this LHD is too small to do both

now if they are planning fixed wing then they need a 3d and a 4th
 

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