In a recent update, the Turkish Defense Industry Executive Committee outlined a comprehensive naval development plan, gaining attention for its focus on new aircraft carriers. The initiative, an upgraded version of the 1980s “national ship” project, aims to bolster the modernization and strength of the Turkish Navy through various shipbuilding projects.
Firstly, Turkey plans to construct a new aircraft carrier following the successful entry into service of the “Anadolu” in April 2023. The envisioned carrier, over 280 meters long, abandons amphibious landing functions and features an extended flight deck, symbolizing Turkey’s commitment to practical naval advancements.
Secondly, the plan involves expanding the Istanbul-class multifunctional frigate fleet from the initially proposed 4 to a total of 8 ships, positioning them as the backbone of the Turkish naval fleet.
Thirdly, the construction plan includes the Hisar-class offshore patrol ships, with a total of 10 ships planned. Two vessels have already been launched, and the remaining eight are now part of an official construction schedule.
Additionally, Turkey aims to deploy six new 214TN submarines by 2027, alongside new fast attack craft, amphibious landing ships, and minesweepers. Research and development efforts will intensify for carrier-based aircraft and electronic warfare systems.
The multifaceted naval strategy serves several purposes for Turkey. Firstly, it aims to maintain regional dominance, particularly in the ongoing dispute with Greece over Aegean Sea islands. Secondly, Turkey seeks to enhance international influence, projecting its naval capabilities globally and bolstering its status as a “global navy” by forming a battle group around the “Anadolu” aircraft carrier by 2030.
Furthermore, the plan aligns with Turkey’s pursuit of an independent national defense industry. The localization rates for key naval assets, such as Istanbul-class frigates and Hisar-class offshore patrol ships, already exceed 75%, involving over 40 Turkish companies across various fields.
However, challenges loom on the horizon. Economic fluctuations and regional conflicts pose risks to the shipbuilding plans, with Turkey grappling with high inflation and currency depreciation. Additionally, the defense industry faces hurdles in achieving technological autonomy, relying on imports for crucial components. The success of Turkey’s ambitious shipbuilding plan remains uncertain as it navigates through these challenges.