Turkey inaugurates its first combat drone carrier

Turkey inaugurates its first combat drone carrier
Credit: Belga

Turkey on Monday unveiled its first aircraft carrier designed for the launching and landing of combat drones as well as aircraft.

“Turkish Bayraktar TB3 and Kizilelma drones and the Hürjet light combat aircraft will be able to take off and land on the ship,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is campaigning for re-election in May, said.

Construction of the 231-metre-long, 32-metre-wide TCG Anadolu, Turkey’s largest warship, began in 2016.

The ship will be able to accommodate 10 helicopters or 11 combat drones on its flight deck and an additional 19 helicopters (or 30 combat drones) in its hangar. It can also carry up to 94 vehicles, including t13 tanks.

Turkey, a member of NATO, has seen its defence industry grow considerably in recent years, buoyed in particular by the success of its drones, which have become the pride of Ankara.

The TB2 drone model from the private company Baykar, which is jointly headed by one of President Erdogan’s sons-in-law, proved its worth in Libya and Azerbaijan and then in Ukraine, where TB2s were used in the early hours of the Russian invasion last year.

Turkey has since stepped up efforts to mediate between Kyiv and Moscow, after carrying out several shows of force in the eastern Mediterranean in the past.

With its drone carrier, Ankara will be able “to carry out military and humanitarian operations to the four corners of the world if necessary,” President Erdogan said at the vessel’s inauguration.

Copyright © 2024 The Brussels Times. All Rights Reserved.