Both countries have remarkable similarities when we look at the ambitions. they have for example regarding the Airforce, Navy and Land forces. Koreans started with the LPH Dokdo and the Turks started with the LHD Anadolu, Navantia-design. Turkish Airforce is running a fighter aircraft programme called the MMU. Koreans are running the KFX-programme together with Indonesia (20% shareholder). Korean and Turkish land forces have experience in using the same equipment as the K-9 Thunder and the K-2 BlackPanther. Both systems are also present in Turkey adapted to the Turkish standards and wishes and use of the domestic systems as well (Although Altay MBT isn’t introduced yet due to weapon embargo by NATO-ally Germany, Germany delivers the engine of Altay MBT).
A few months ago the Turkish president hold a speech about the progress of his Administration and brought a few military ambitions of the nation to the public news. One of them is to build the second LHD Trakya, twin-brother of Anadolu. Normally you would say that’s impressive a second LHD, which has more capabilities. if we compare it with the Korean LPH. Less but not least the President continued further, he started naming a desire for the Turkish Navy, Light Aircraft Carrier. I wasn’t surprised because I heard this ambition of the Turkish Navy several times (the late ’90s for the first time). . From the former commanders as well.
The former Navy commander Dr Cihat Yayci, expressed even having a light carrier for Turkish Navy isn’t a luxury but an absolute necessity
With this knowledge in advance, we can conclude the desire isn’t a political rather a military wish from the Turkish Navy. Many defence analysts in Turkey started with looking at Spain and Italy, which is quite logical. After looking to Spain and Italy, I couldn’t keep me away from looking at South Korea as well. Because I knew both countries having an almost copy-paste strategy from each other. Yesterday I started reading various news articles from South Korea.
Miracles have not left the world. I found out that South-Korea officially revealed their ambitious plan for the navy. The LPX-II programme originally meant to be an amphibious assault ship project. It has now been officially revealed as a dedicated light aircraft carrier project. The true nature of LPX-II program has remained hidden until now due to geopolitical climate (The same argument is been used by the Turks as well).
Originally scheduled to be launched in 2033,
LPX-II’s project schedule has been fast-tracked to be launched in the late 2020s. In his speech, the Turkish President gave one tiny signal, that advanced conversations have been held. As long as there is no official report. I want to refrain from further speculation. It may be a coincidence, after all, not the first and perhaps not the last. Even if the potential partner isn’t South Korea, the LPX-2 programme could give us more idea about Turkish ambitions. Currently, LPX-II is envisioned to be around 30,000 tons at empty displacement. Likely over 40,000 tons at maximum. The Turkish desire could be a larger one, having already two LHD with Skijump will lead Turkey to an ambition towards CATOBAR or STOBAR capable design of 40000-50000 tons.
Author: Emre Dogan
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