ANKARA — Turkey selected a local shipyard to award the country’s first-ever contract for the acquisition of a Landing Platform Dock (LPD), a deal industry sources estimated at about $500 million.
Turkey’s procurement agency, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM), announced on its web page late Dec. 27 that it picked up Sedef Gemi Insaati A.S., a privately-owned Istanbul shipyard, to open contract negotiations for the LPD program.
SSM said if contract negotiations with Sedef failed, talks would open with the second-comer, DESAN Deniz Insaat Sanayi A.S.
SSM opened the competition in 2010.
Turkey is bordered by sea on three sides; the Black Sea in the north, the Mediterranean in the south and the Aegean in the west. In the northwest, there is also an important internal sea, the Sea of Marmara, between the straits of the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus, important waterways that connect the Black Sea with the rest of the world. The Turkish coastline is 4,474 miles, excluding islands.
Turkey has long been aiming to bolster its amphibious vessel fleet. The LPD program is designed to deploy a battalion-sized force of up to 1,000 troops and personnel, eight utility helicopters, three UAVs, 13 tanks and 81 armored vehicles to crisis zones in the three seas near Turkey.
Seven private local shipyards received requests for proposal for the LPD competition, and they submitted their offers late in 2011. Foreign manufacturers interested in the program included Italy’s Fincantieri Cantieri Navali Italiani; South Korea’s Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction; Spain’s Navantia; the Netherlands’ Merwede Shipyard Nieuwbouw; France’s DCNS Group; the U.S.’s Northrop Grumman Ship Systems; Britain’s DML Davenport Royal Dockyard; and Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems – Surface Vessel Division.
Turkish officials have said they prefer joint development and production proposals, bringing together Turkish and foreign companies. Sedef is expected to choose foreign partner or partners for certain capabilities in the program.