The Bayraktar-class of Landing Ship (Tank) serving the Turkish Navy is made up of two completed warships, TCG Bayraktar (L-402) and TCG Sancaktar (L-403). The pair serve in the Amphibious Assault Support role, being designed exclusively to assist in the transport and delivery of men, machines, and supplies from ship-to-shore. The class was built from 2014 into 2018 and entered commissioned service in 2017. Both were constructed by the Anadolu Shipyard in Turkish waters with heavy support from local industry.
The contract for TCG Bayraktar (L-402), the focus of this article, was awarded in June of 2011 and her keel was laid down in May of 2014. Launched for trials in October of 2015, the vessel was formally commissioned for service into the Turkish Navy on April 14th, 2017. She remains in active service as of this writing (2019).
The ship displaces at 7,400 tons under full load and has an overall length of 455.2 feet with a beam of 64.3 feet. Propulsion power comes from 4 x Marine diesels of 3,860 horsepower driving 2 x Shafts astern, providing the vessel with a maximum sea-going speed of 18 knots out to a range of 6,000 nautical miles. A bow thruster providing an additional 670 horsepower output is used for fine-maneuvering.
Aboard, a crew of 176 is used to staff the various systems and services. Up to 1,200 tons of cargo can be carried and this includes 4 x LCVP landing craft that are launched from the ship. Additionally, up to 486 combat personnel can be ferried. Installed systems include a Thales Smart-S Mk.2 surface-search radar, LPI X-band radar, and 2 x Sperry Marine "VisionMaster " FT S-band navigational aids. Electronic warfare is provided by a Mark 36 series SRBOC suite and 2 x Ultra Electronics Sea Sentor "Surface Ship Torpedo Defence" (SSTD) systems. ASELSAN supplies the Laser Warning Receiver (LWR) capability as well as the ASELFLIR-300D Electro-Optical (EO) targeting system. It is also responsible for the ARES-2N Electronic CounterMeasures (ECM) suite - which is vital to the survival of the ship.
Armament is purely self-defensive in nature, lead by 2 x Leonardo (formerly OTO-Melara) 40mm "Fast Forty" autocannons at the bow. Close-in defense is through 2 x 20mm Phalanx digital weapon systems. In addition to this, there are 2 x 12.7mm machine gun-armed "STAMP" Remote Weapon Stations (RWSs), also developed by ASELSAN.
The profile of the vessel includes an elevated bow for good sea-cutting capabilities (the hull is rated for up to Sea State 6), a loading section at the forecastle giving access to the lower decks, LCVP mounting areas at midships, the bridge superstructure just aft of midships, and a helicopter landing pad over the stern. The helipad can operate a single medium- or heavy-lift helicopter to add further support for marine units reaching the shore.
In addition to its obvious military value, TCG Bayraktar also offers enough service facilities and housing to aid/support in major humanitarian events.
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