World Bulletin / News Desk
A defense industry summit set to convene in Ankara under the leadership of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Thursday is expected to evaluate bids for Turkey's first aircraft carrier. According to a report in the Habertürk daily, the three candidates competing for the bid will be the group companies Koç, Kalkanoğlu and Kalkavan.
In an effort to increase the Turkish military's naval power and to turn it into a global actor, Turkey will initiate efforts for the construction of the first aircraft carrier to be made in Turkey. The Defense Industry Implementation Committee (SSİK) will discuss the offers for the bid to decide on which Turkish company will run the project for the Turkish naval forces.
The project, named the Landing Platform Dock (LPD), entails the construction of a 220-meter-long military base on the water and is expected to cost $3 billion. However, since the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) currently do not have any planes that are capable of vertical take-off and landing, the project will initially be used as a helicopter ship. The first Turkish-made aircraft carrier will reportedly be modeled on the Juan Carlos I (L-61) belonging to Spain, which visited İstanbul last year.
The bidders are the RMK Marine, Desan and Sedef shipyards, which are owned by the Koç Group, the chairman of the Chamber of Shipping Commerce, Cengiz Kaptanoğlu, and the chairman of the Executive Committee of the Chamber of Shipping, Metin Kalkavan, respectively. According to experts, Koç and Kalkavan are the favorites for the bid. As the first bidder is reported to have developed a unique design, the second is said to be using the Juan Carlos I as a model.
Turkey's first national aircraft carrier is expected to be equipped with a system that enables non-stop sailing for 30 days and 1,700 nautical miles. Its hangar and elevator systems will be constructed compatible with the JSF (Joint Strike Fighter) planes which can take off and land vertically that Turkey will acquire in the coming years. It will also be able to carry up to 100 tracked military vehicles. In the pool section of the aircraft carrier, two LCAC (landing craft air cushion) hovercraft boats will be located.
At Thursday's meeting, the SSİK is also expected to decide on the production for the National Ship Project (Mil-Gem).