Turkey has launched the building phase of its amphibious landing platform dock (LPD) warship for the Turkish Naval Forces with a ceremony on April 30.
Istanbul-based shipbuilder Sedef has been contracted by the Undersecretary for Defense Industries (SSM) to build the warship for the Turkish Naval Forces.
Turkish companies, including Aselsan and Havelsan, will produce and install several parts of the ship’s components, including armaments, electronics and communications systems. A Spanish company, Navantia, will help in designing the ship.
The 231-meter-long ship will be capable of carrying over 1,000 personnel and transporting helicopters, army vehicles and equipment.
The new craft will be the biggest landing dock in the naval forces’ inventory and also have a hospital.
The vessel will be able to be on duty at sea for 50 days without taking any logistic support and can reach a speed of 20.5 knots.
Turkey’s defense industry needs to be 100 percent self-sufficient at a time of increased threats, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at the opening ceremony.
“Our goal is to be totally self-sufficient by 2023,” he added.
Noting that building an amphibious assault ship was the first step on the road toward building “the world’s best aircraft carrier,” Erdogan said Turkey’s need to have a more active presence outside its borders.
“Actually, I see this as a belated step taken at a time when threats against Turkey are increasing, and also at a time when we need to be more visible in the international arena.”
Erdogan went on to criticize NATO countries –without giving names – for refusing to sell weapons to Turkey using the conflicts in the eastern and southeastern regions of the country “as an excuse.”
“These are NATO allies, let me tell you. When there are ongoing threats against Turkey due to the crisis in Syria, these countries supply terrorist groups with arms, but unfortunately fail to support their friend, Turkey.
“Then they tell me not to talk about this issue in front of the media. OK. But why are you sending those weapons to terrorist groups? Therefore, we have to be self-sufficient,” he said.
The makers of the LPD, which was initially projected to be finalized in five years and a half, were convinced by Erdogan to finish the project in four years.
Source: Hurriyet Daily