Anadolu was spotted in the Marmara Sea. Several ship spotters shared photos and video of the activity on social media while the flat top was leaving the Sedef Shipyard.
At first, the purpose of the activity was unclear; it may have been the start of at-sea testing or something else. However, Sedef Shipyard officials acknowledged that Anadolu left the dock as the first step of the sea trials.
The Turkish Defense Industry Presidency (SSB) has yet to make a declaration regarding the start of sea trials.
LHD Anadolu's latest photos during the first step of the sea trials. (27 Feb. 2022) 📸 Sedef Shipyard pic.twitter.com/0rp6dR29dU
The initial plan was to commission LHD Anadolu for the Turkish Navy in 2021, but due to delays for a variety of reasons, the deadline has had to be rescheduled. As a result, LHD Anadolu was expected to enter service in 2022, but SSB’s video and statement on the Turkish Defense Industry’s 2022 Projection do not include the LHD’s commissioning.
After being dropped from the F-35B JSF program, Ankara decided to convert its future LHD into a drone carrier, as previously reported by Naval News. Baykar, a Turkish drone manufacturer, has been building TB3 drones exclusively for Anadolu. A roller mechanism will be installed on the LHD to launch drones, while security netting will be used to secure landing drones, according to recent reports.
SSB’s 2022 Projection video suggests that the integration of the drone launching system into the LHD is scheduled to begin in 2022.
Baykar, on the other hand, is developing a specific unmanned combat aerial vehicle for Anadolu called the TB3 Bayraktar, which will have folding wings and can operate on naval assets. The TB3 drone will take to the skies for the first time in 2022. The TB3 is based on the combat-proven TB2, which has been exported to 16 nations worldwide. It will be powered by an indigenous engine named the PD170, which was developed by Turkish engine manufacturer TEI.
The head of SSB, Ismail Demir, disclosed in a TV interview that LHD Anadolu will house up to 80 drones.
Baykar also stated last year that Turkey’s first unmanned jet aircraft, MIUS, which would be able to fly at supersonic speeds and carry a cargo of roughly 1500 kilos, will operate onboard Anadolu.