Turkish Navy to buy large landing ship for overseas missions
The Turkish Navy is preparing to buy its first landing-platform dock able to carry up to eight helicopters as it seeks to gain the capability for overseas amphibious force deployment as part of NATO and peacekeeping efforts.
The prime contractor for the $500 million project will be a local company, but because of the high degree of technology transfer required, there will also be heavy foreign-industry involvement, procurement officials said.
The Undersecretariat for the Defense Industry, or SSM, Turkey"s defense-procurement agency, opened a competition in late February among seven domestic companies that are expected to establish partnerships with foreign counterparts, including Italian, South Korean, Spanish, Dutch, French, British and German firms, according to procurement officials and business sources familiar with the program.
The landing dock will be required to be able to deploy a battalion-sized force of up to 1,000 troops and personnel, eight utility helicopters, three unmanned aerial vehicles, 13 tanks and 81 armored vehicles. The expected price tag of more than $500 million for the landing dock does not include the helicopters to be deployed on the ship.
Decision expected next year
The Defense Industry Executive Committee, Turkey"s top decision-making body on defense procurement, is expected to select a winner of the competition next year. The committee"s members include the prime minister, the defense minister, the chief of the Turkish General Staff and the SSM chief.
A landing platform dock, or LPD, is an amphibious warship that transports elements of a landing force for expeditionary warfare missions.
?We have long needed this capability for NATO rapid deployment and peacekeeping missions overseas, from Bosnia to Somalia and Afghanistan,? said one defense official.
Presently, the navies of more than 10 countries, including Britain, China, France, India, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United States, have the LPD capability.
Turkey is expected to spend slightly more than $4 billion on defense procurement this year. In recent years, it has focused on Navy programs, including multibillion-dollar efforts for the joint production with Germany of six modern submarines and the mostly local manufacture of 12 corvette warships.