Turkish Navy adopts new high-sea strategy
Turkey’s Naval Forces aim to protect lanes of communication on the high seas to assure global maritime security and protect national interests under an austere defense budget as part of its new strategy, a top Turkish Navy commander has said.
“Our force planners use strategic decision-making, focusing on sophisticated, modular designs that allow us to move toward economy in our operations with fewer crew and lower fuel costs. The objective is to maintain and develop a credible naval force despite budget constraints,” Admiral E. Murat Bilgel, commander of the Turkish Naval Forces, said in an interview in the March issue of Proceedings, a monthly magazine published by the United States Naval Institute.
For these purposes, the Navy must be a versatile, well-trained, and well-equipped force that can be deployed at strategic distances, Bilgel said, adding that the force must be “fully interoperable with its military and nonmilitary counterparts while protecting sea lanes of communication and being prepared to support joint and combined land activities from the sea.”
To achieve these goals, the Navy will make the best use of Turkey’s shipbuilding and design capacity at domestic naval and private shipyards, research centers, and via the defense industry, the admiral said.
The top commander also gave information on the Navy’s future strategy. In the short term, the Navy will improve its situational awareness capabilities by adding corvettes and patrol boats to its fleet.
Within a decade, the Turkish Naval Forces will focus on conducting operations other than war by building a reconfigurable landing platform with airlift capability, a combat-support ship, multifunctional frigates with unmanned and manned rotary-wing aircraft, as well as air-independent propulsion submarines.
The Navy aims to advance its limited-strike ability over the next 20 years through the acquisition of a multipurpose landing platform with organic short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft, air defense frigates and unmanned underwater vehicles.
The Turkish Navy is already planning to buy the design for its first landing platform dock (LPD) Three Turkish-led groups are currently vying for the contract that will be worth between $500 million and $1 billion.
Turkey is expected to spend more than $4 billion on defense procurement this year. In recent years it has focused on Navy programs. Multibillion-dollar naval programs have included the joint production of six modern submarines with Germany, as well as the largely local manufacture of eight corvettes.
“In line with [our] objectives, we will continue to sustain operational effectiveness and a deterrent posture through innovation, maintaining the strategy and technology interface, exploiting indigenous capacity, prioritizing projects and continuous manpower education and training,” Bilgel said.
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