The Turkish Navy will receive the country’s first aircraft carrier this year. The problem? Turkey has been kicked out of the programme building the vessels jets.

“Our naval forces will get the TCG Anadolu, Turkey’s largest domestically-built warship, in 2020” said İsmail Demir, chairman of the Defense Industry Presidency, on Twitter.

The TCG Anadolu is based on the Spanish ship Juan Carlos I, a multi-purpose amphibious assault ship. Navantia provided design, technology transfer, equipment and technical assistance to Sedef Shipyard of Turkey for the design and development of the Anadolu.

From the start of the Turkish amphibious assault ship programme, the Turkish Navy had wanted a vessel purely designed to operate helicopters. However, local media reported that soon after exploring options for the design, the Turkish Navy later changed its plans and opted for a fully equipped flight deck with a ski-jump ramp in front, intending to purchase the F-35B STOVL aircraft. Turkish national newspaper, Hurriyet Daily News, reported at the start of the year that the country was planning to buy a number of F-35B jets in addition to its plus 100 F-35As, the paper stated that this was “planned to be procured in line with Ankara’s growing interest in strengthening its naval forces, mainly for overseas operations”, the vessel they’d fly from is the TCG Anadolu.

Jane’s had also confirmed Turkey’s interest in the the F-35B, citing Turkish and Western defense industry sources. According to Jane’s:

“A senior Turkish Defence Industries undersecretariat official expressed his country’s interest in buying F-35 STOVL variants to Vice Admiral Mathias Winter, head of the US Defense Department’s F-35 programme office, during a meeting held in Ankara in mid-October.”

Fast forward to 2019, When Turkey defied US warnings to go through with its purchase of Russian S-400 air defence system, it was warned that this could be a threat to information relating to NATO systems. Turkey ignored those warnings.

Days after the S-400s arrived, Turkey was kicked out of the F-35 programme. Turkey was a Level 3 partner in the Joint Strike Fighter programme and the Turkish vessel TCG Anadolu was designed to be capable of operating up to 12 F-35Bs and 12 helicopters.

Now, that will not be happening.

While some describe the gradual and incremental build up to a return to British carrier strike as an example of ‘carriers without jets’, this is the real thing. When the TCG Anadolu enters service, there will be no jets in training or even on order.

The headline of this article referring to an “aircraft carrier”, by the way, is a tongue in cheek comment aimed at the people who (incorrectly) berate the UK carrier project for resulting in ‘carriers with no planes’.

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David Barry

Good to see Turkey emulating the Great British policy of FFNW.

See! We still are a role model and influencer on the Global stage 🙂



Daniele Mandelli

Is it overly complicated to remove the Ski Jump? Gives them a bit more room on deck.

Levi Goldsteinberg

I gather so, the Royal Australian Navy operate two Juan Carlos ships (Canberra-class) as LPHs exclusively – from what I remember, they judged that because the ramp is integrally fixed into the structure of the ship rather than being plopped on top (as with QEs), it is more effort, money and time than it is worth trying to remove it. I believe they also found that the ramp would be too weak to support F-35s operating from it

Daniele Mandelli

Thanks Levi. I had no idea the QEC’s had the ramp placed that way? Assumed it was an integral part of the vessel.


In theory the ramp can still be removed to be replaced with CATOBAR for the small price of £1bn. I doubt it will ever happen but there is talk the US is seriously looking at the QE design as a cheaper alternative to building 10 Ford class carriers if you can get 50% of the capacity at 25% of the cost.


We could see a mix of 6 FORD class and 6 QE (or whatever the US decides to call them) that would meet their ’12 carrier’ requirement.

andy reeves

!!!!! not sure about that one

Mark B

Trump Class? Could get the order any day

andy reeves

ee gads what a terrible thought although i’d be very interested at how fast they could build one


what about the Marine Corps?


There is absolutely no desire or talk in the United States of replacing the Ford carriers with the QE 2 design. Absolutely none.


We have enough problems with our own design…



There is a video of John Mccane debating it in a defense select committee on you tube somewhere asking for further research into affordabity. It all comes down to $. Obviously Ford class is superior but at $12bn thats a lot of coin for 12 carriers. Its also a lot of man power. If they go Ford class only then I can’t see the US commissioning 12 carriers.

BB85 this is the link. I can see why it probably won’t happen but still think it is being considered


This is nearly 3 years ago and of course McCain is no longer with us. Not heard anything since go suggest this option but that said at some stage in the future I suspect they will likely go down this direction and go for a design like an upgraded America or the QE style. Read recently about the 3 main stages of the latter’s design, the original 75,000 ton proposal with full angled flight deck really would be a very good compromise for them with or without nuclear propulsion which was also considered, too expensive for us but cheap for… Read more »


What you think might happen has nothing to do with reality. The QE2 design is simply insufficient for the US’s needs and is not able to generate the number of sustained sorties that the US Navy desires. The USS John F Kennedy was christened over the weekend and the USS Enterprise is under construction. The US Navy has already awarded the contract to Newport News for CVN 81, as yet unnamed. That’s four Ford class carriers either being tested, constructed or funded. The price of the carriers will come down as more are built. To cite John McCain from three… Read more »

Levi Goldsteinberg

I don’t think the ramp on QECs can be removed on a whim per se, but it definitely isn’t inseparable from the structure of the ships. In short, I don’t believe there is much – if anything – that would need changing in terms of structure underneath the ramp were it to be removed.

Contrast that with the Canberra/Juan Carlos, where almost an entirely new bow would be needed. At the very least, it would require extensive remodelling from the water line up to accommodate a new internal layout.


A bad design then from the Spanish…


A good design for the Spanish but do they not plan to operate F35b off of theirs, the AV8bs can’t have that much longer a life surely and a lot less than the ships I presume, so the story about the ‘weak’ ramp seems difficult to believe. And did I not read that Australia were at least debating using their ships for F35b use? Just checked and indeed the debate is ongoing though their version is less fighter friendly than the original design, its ramp is perfectly capable of flying F35Bs it seems.


It is a separate 3 to 4 ton structure put atop of the flight deck. Any changes require a re-work no matter what. Any strenghtning below may well need change with catapults and deck traverses etc.


HMS QE’s ramps are around 400 tons in mass.


The ramp which is not integral with the QE class because they can be adapted (but that still means alot of cutting and shutting), is said to be around 400 tons, which possibly explains why the bow looks so short and cut off as most of that mass is towards the bow.

andy reeves

it is a major job as the jump itself is an integral part of the forward end of the ships entire structure

Levi Goldsteinberg

Perhaps they can ask their best buddy Russia for some Yak blueprints


There’s always helicopters. Or just use them in the assault role if they still can.


Turkey under its Islamist leader has become a very dangerous place regards NATO, the EU, the Middle East and finally the world. 1) Whilst we all know about the S400 missile system, Turkey is currently holding NATO to ransom over its defence plan for the Baltics and Poland until allies agree to designate the Syrian Kurdish YPG a terrorist group 2) Regards the EU, Turkey has not only decided that virtually all the sea around Cyprus belongs to it (Which it has backed up by using its navy aggressively ) Last week it brokered a deal with Libya in demarking… Read more »


Very thought-provoking post..


Don’t think you are wrong my friend. As usual we don’t want to face facts.


A Turkish colleague of mine, now long term settled in the UK, insists that what Erdogan says to his domestic audience is terrifying – stuff like re-establishing the caliphate and taking them back to the glory days when they were at the gates of Vienna. Reckons his regime was working hand in glove with Isis and playing the West for fools. Ironic then that they’re practically the only NATO country spending more than 2% on defence. The consequences for the West are frightening if Turkey moves into a Russian orbit – Takeover of Crimea, Intervention in Syria, Alliance with Turkey… Read more »


I bet the RCS of the port side on that beauty is off the scale! It looks like an old house side!

I’m being humorous before anyone gets touchy!

Daniele Mandelli

Thought that with the Mistrals too. Not RCS wise just shape. It is ugly.


Isn’t that the problem though, when you have a well deck, vehicle deck and a aircraft hangar. The ship becomes really tall.

Daniele Mandelli


I guess you could still slope the sides to improve the angle and make the ship twice as wide and a lot more expensive!


I thought we had already established this. Must admit though, David’s FFBTW comment gave me a chuckle.

Incidentally, QE brought back one F35 in her hangar, apparently due to technical issues. It’s going to be something to see it depart in Port, that hasn’t happened in a good few years.

Daniele Mandelli

With the noise they make!

I’d get myself down to pompey to see that.



With POW being commissioned tomorrow, it could be worth a trip!


Get tickets for a look see from the Spinnaker Tower.


I would not be surprised if Turkey ends up with some 2nd hand Harriers.


Yes. Maybe will true


They will probably buy a few Russian carrier capable jets that have very little range and payload making their new carrier irrelevant.


What I don’t understand is why would Turkey need an aircraft carrier (complete with highly expensive F35B’s) in the first place?


A dictator likes to show off. Hence the new Istanbul mosque bigger than the historic ones. Or the new Istanbul airport, built as the Worlds biggest.


Russia will sell them better aircrafts than junk F35


Lets go with Swan Hunters full on military (higher than the 139m bid by VSEL, which won) bid for HMS Ocean said to cost £210,600,000 back in July 1993 which equates to £386m in 2015 and around Pound to Dollar 1.50 gives $579m in 2015, £392m inflation and exchange rate gives $510m in 2016 (referendum). Or go straight to £420m in 2018 gives $546m. The Turkish ship is said to cost 1 Billion Dollars. Can people see what I am getting at here?

andy reeves

looks very much like a mistral


A very expensive ship. Could have been built cheaper in the UK!