Turkey to build aircraft carrier and four frigates

By Defence Industry Europe

Turkey has announced plans to construct a aircraft carrier and four frigates, as part of a strategic initiative to strengthen its naval forces, Türk Deniz Kuvvetleri (Turkish Navy). The decision was made during a meeting of the Turkish defence industry executive committee in Ankara, chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

 

The new aircraft carrier, set to have a greater capacity than the multi-purpose TCG Anadolu (L-400) already in service, marks a significant step in Turkey’s naval expansion. However, the carrier’s full potential, especially its air group, remains contingent following Turkey’s inability to procure F-35B jets from the USA.

 

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Additionally, the committee confirmed the construction of four new Istif-class frigates, expanding on the MİLGEM project. These vessels, numbered 9 through 12 for the Turkish navy, follow the first of their kind, the TCG İstanbul (F515). Initially slated for commissioning in 2023, the TCG İstanbul’s service entry seems to have been delayed.

Turkey’s naval plans also include acquiring new ocean-going patrol vessels, amphibious ships, mine destroyers, and assault boats. Notably, there was no mention of progress on the TF-2000 air defence destroyers.

Beyond the navy, Turkey is reinforcing its armed forces in various domains. Continued development in unmanned aerial vehicles, radar systems, missile programs, and satellite construction was confirmed. The defence industry will also focus on the next-generation Kaan multi-role aircraft, Hürkuş training aircraft, and T625 Gökbey helicopters. Requirements for a future early warning and command aircraft will also be developed.

 

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The committee proudly highlighted a record-breaking USD 5.5 billion in defence industry exports for 2023, a 27% increase from 2022, expanding its export market from 176 to 185 countries. This growth underscores Turkey’s rising prominence in the global defence industry.

 

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