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AA 03/10/15: Turkey launches Bayraktar amphibious ship

The 140 m long domestically built amphibious ship to be followed by a second as part of a Landing Ship, Tank (LST) project

Turkey launched Saturday the Bayraktar amphibious ship, the first of two vessels as part of a domestic Landing Ship, Tank (LST) project.

The two ships boast local design and construction, and are aimed at meeting operational requirements of the Turkish Naval Forces Command, according to the website of Anadolu Tersanesi, the company which constructed the ship.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking in the launching ceremony held in Istanbul, said Turkey was forced to import 80 percent of its defense needs back in 2002.

“Now we have managed to reduce foreign dependence in the defense industry to about 40 percent,” Erdogan said, adding that Turkey aims to become self-sufficient by 2023.

The world “entered into a geopolitical restructuring process”, Erdogan said. “Moreover, all of the significant conflicts, rivalries, and struggles within this process are taking place in our close proximity.”

For this process to act out favorably for Turkey, a “strong army, a powerful defense industry, and an advanced high-tech manufacturing infrastructure” are needed, the president said.

“If not supported with military might, diplomacy can let you down,” he said. “We cannot tolerate this.”

Bayraktar is a fast amphibious vessel of upper-intermediate size with powerful armament, the construction company says.

The ship’s primary function will be amphibious operations and troop transfer, while it will also be useful for swift humanitarian interventions and search-and-rescue work in disaster areas.

The company said that the ship, which weighs 7,125 tons, is 140 meters long and 20 m wide, reaches a speed upwards of 18 knots at full load. It is expected to serve for 40 years.

The amphibious ship will have the crew capacity for 12 officers, as well as 51 petty officers, 66 privates, a 17-strong joint operations personnel and a total of 350 marines.

Bayraktar is capable of carrying 1,180 tons of mixed vehicles or cargo. It has also a helicopter field.

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