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Turkey’s drone carrier TCG Anadolu has officially started sea trials. The Anadolu (L-400) amphibious assault ship was sighted in the Sea of Marmara on June 20, 2022.
The move has been announced by officials at Sedef Shipyard, which has been building the Anadolu in collaboration with Spanish shipbuilder Navantia.
According to navalnews.com, TCG Anadolu is projected to be delivered to the Turkish Navy in October 2022, and the TB-3 drone launching and the recovering system upgrade are planned to begin within this year.
TCG Anadolu has reportedly planned to be transformed into a drone carrier after the U.S. broke the partnership with Turkey on the F-35 JSF project. As a result, Baykar, a Turkish drone manufacturer, announced in early 2021 that it was working on a specific unmanned combat aircraft system called TB-3, an improved and folding-wing version of the combat-proven TB2 drone that would be deployed aboard TCG Anadolu.
Baykar has been building TB3 drones exclusively for Anadolu. A roller mechanism will be installed on the landing helicopter dock (LHD) to launch drones, while security netting will be used to secure landing drones, according to recent reports.
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The unmanned combat aircraft MIUS will be the second option, along with TB-3, for deploying airpower aboard the TCG Anadolu after it is potentially operational in 2025. MIUS will be deployed on the Anadolu as a light attack aircraft, although the unmanned combat aircraft is projected to conduct a multitude of military actions, such as strategic offensives, close air support (CAS), missile offensives, suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD) and destruction of enemy air defenses (DEAD), navalnews.com cites Baykar.