Turkey Be­gins Con­struc­tion of its First He­li­copter Dock

Fol­low­ing the trend of ac­quir­ing am­phibi­ous ships which can dou­ble up as he­li­copter car­ri­ers, turkey has ini­ti­ated the con­struc­tion of its first he­li­copter dock tcG Anadolu


ON FE­Bru­Ary 7, turKEy be­gan con­struc­tion of its first land­ing He­li­copter Dock (lHD) tcG Anadolu, af­ter the cer­e­mo­nial keel of the ship was laid at the sedef ship­yard in turkey. it is based on the span­ish naval ship­yard Na­van­ti­aÕs Juan car­los i class am­phibi­ous as­sault ship, which is op­er­a­tional with the navies of Australia and spain. the work on the Anadolu started with steel cut­ting in April 2016.

An­dalou is ex­pected to cost around one bil­lion dol­lars and will join the Turk­ish fleet some­where around 2021. turk­ish Pres­i­dent re­cep tayyip Er­do­gan, af­ter the steel cut­ting cer­e­mony, had said, ÒtcG Anadolu will be the first ship in the navy from which F-35B sVtOl planes will op­er­ate.Ó

turk­ish au­thor­i­ties in De­cem­ber 2013 an­nounced that the sedef ship­yard will con­struct the ves­sel in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Na­van­tia. in ad­di­tion to con­struc­tion, sedef will in­te­grate and con­duct manda­tory test of the ves­sel be­fore its fi­nal de­liv­ery to the turk­ish Navy. the am­phibi­ous as­sault ship project also in­cludes four land­ing craft me­chan­ics (lcM), 27 am­phibi­ous as­sault ve­hi­cles (AAV), two land­ing craft per­son­nel ve­hi­cles (lcVP), one com­man­der boat and one rub­ber hull in­flated boat (RHIB).

Juan Car­los I

Named af­ter the reign­ing span­ish King, Juan car­los i is the big­gest naval ship ever built in spain. the idea be­hind the ship was to pro­vide span­ish Navy with a multi-pur­pose ship which can de­ploy land and marine forces for am­phibi­ous as­sault and can also func­tion as a small size air­craft car­rier. Built us­ing the mod­u­lar de­sign, the first block of the ship was laid in 2006 at Na­van­ti­aÕs ship­yard in Fer­rrol and was launched on March 10, 2008. It was com­mis­sioned in the Span­ish Navy on septem­ber 30, 2010.

the sin­gle hull ship is de­signed to carry on four kinds of mis­sions, namely, am­phibi­ous- trans­port­ing in­fantry and sup­port cargo for land oper­a­tions; force pro­jec­tion Ðfer­ry­ing armed forces to any theatre; air­craft car­rier Ð as plat­form for launch­ing he­li­copter and fighter air­craft and for hu­man­i­tar­ian and dis­as­ter re­lief.

the 30,000 tonnes (max­i­mum dis­place­ment) ves­sel is the first Span­ish ship with elec­tri­cal POD propul­sion which al­lows it to sail in any di­rec­tion. Gen­eral Elec­tric lM-2500 gas tur­bine, along with two MAN 32/40 diesel en­gines, gives the ves­sel 34 MW of power and max­i­mum speed of 21 knots. Armed with four close-in 20 mm can­nons, de­signed as a Ôpro­tected unitÕ,it also has room for car­ry­ing self-de­fence weapons. Juan car­los i, can ferry upto 1,435 per­son­nel in­clud­ing 883 in­fantry and 254 crew mem­bers.

the ship can launch six medium size chop­pers like sH-60 sea­hawk and NH-90, or four heavy lift like cH-47 chi­nooks si­mul­ta­ne­ously and has a 12 de­gree ski-jump ramp to launch short take-off and ver­ti­cal launch (stOVl) air­craft. it can launch the Amer­i­can F-35B light­ing ii and V-22 Osprey tilt-ro­tor air­craft. in car­rier mode it can carry a dozen each of he­li­copters and stOVl air­craft. it can op­er­ate as a car­rier for du­ra­tion of 50 days with­out need­ing any re­plen­ish­ment.

the turk­ish ver­sion is bet­ter armed than the orig­i­nal span­ish de­sign. in ad­di­tion to var­i­ous kinds of radars in­clud­ing smart 3D, air and nav­i­ga­tion radars, tcG Anadolu car­ries four 25mm Asel­san stOP, three 12.7mm Asel­san stAMP, two raytheon Pha­lanx ciWs, jam­mers chaff and ir de­coy and Asel­san tOrK tor­pedo coun­ter­mea­sure sys­tem. it also car­ries in­fra-red search and track sys­tem.

Australia also op­er­ates two of the Juan car­los i based ships known as can­berra-class lHD. the two ships, namely, the HMAs can­berra and HMAs Ade­laide, were con­structed by Na­van­tia and the hull was trans­ferred to Australia for com­ple­tion. the can­berra class is de­signed not to sup­port fighter jets. The Na­van­tia de­sign was se­lected over the Naval Group­sÕs Mis­tral class Ð two of them were or­dered by the rus­sian Navy as a he­li­copter car­rier which later were pro­cured by Egypt. The first ship of the Can­berra class, HMAS Can­berra joined the Aus­tralian fleet on Novem­ber 28, 2014 which was fol­lowed by HMAs Ade­laide on De­cem­ber 4, 2015.

The In­dian LPD story

in 2011, in­dia sent out a re­quest for in­for­ma­tion (rFi) to pro­cure land­ing Plat­form Dock (lPD) class of ships for the in­dian Navy un­der Buy and Make (in­dian) cat­e­gory. As per the rFi, out of four ships, pro­cured from for­eign ship­yard, two were to be built at pub­lic sec­tor Hin­dus­tan ship­yard and rest by pri­vate In­dian ship­yard. Later, the first ten­der was can­celled and a De­fence Ac­qui­si­tion coun­cil (DAc), apex pro­cure­ment body of the Min­istry of De­fence, last year, ap­proved the project with an amend­ment to pro­cure the lPDs from the in­dian pri­vate ship­yards. the in­dian ship­yard will form a joint ven­ture with a for­eign ship­yard and file pro­posal and the se­lected ship will be con­structed in in­dia.

there are two con­tenders for the con­tract re­liance De­fence and En­gi­neer­ing lim­ited (rDEl) and larsen & toubro (l&t). the project is ex­pected to cost over ` 20,000 crore to ex­che­quers and will pro­vided in­dian Navy with much re­quired am­phibi­ous ca­pa­bil­ity for beach as­sault and hu­man­i­tar­ian re­lief oper­a­tions. For the project, l&t has joined hand with Na­van­tia whereas rDEl has col­lab­o­rated with Naval Group. in­ter­est­ingly, In­dia has been fid­dling with this idea of lPD for a decade, in the mean time Australia and Egypt has been able to pro­cure them and turkey is ex­e­cut­ing them.

speak­ing to SPÕs Naval Forces, Vice Ad­mi­ral satish soni (retd) said, Òi sup­pose itÕs just a ques­tion of money. if we want to be counted in the se­cu­rity ma­trix of the in­dian Ocean then we must go for lPD. these are not only re­quired for hard oper­a­tions but also for the hu­man­i­tar­ian and dis­as­ter re­lief (HADr). to­day, HADr has be­come more im­por­tant, for that lPD is a must.Ó

lPD is one of the low­est hang­ing fruit for the in­dian Navy. this project would have ben­e­fit­ted the In­dian pri­vate sec­tor im­mensely, as the 30,000-tonne ship would have pro­vided, pri­vate ship­yard with much re­quired money and ex­pe­ri­ence of ex­e­cut­ing a project akin to con­struct­ing a small air­craft car­rier. this could well give our pri­vate ship­yards ca­pa­bil­ity of build­ing a full fledged air­craft car­rier. The timely ex­e­cu­tion of this project will go a long way in re­tain­ing in­dian dom­i­nance in in­dia Ocean.

PHO­TO­GRAPH: W. Edlmeier /com­mons.wiki­me­dia.org

A file pho­to­graph show­ing the bow of Na­van­tia’s Juan Car­los I, and the ship’s ski-jump ramp

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