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DEFENSE UPDATE > New assault vessel may cost Turkey more than $800 million

Burak Bekdil

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Hürriyet photo

Hürriyet photo

Defense industry experts have said the new amphibious assault vessel that Turkey plans to acquire would probably cost over $800 million.

“This is definitely going to be one of the biggest ever price tags for any naval program for a single platform,” a source familiar with the program said. “Any final cost between $800 million and $1 billion would be reasonable.”

A London-based defense specialist and an Ankara-based expert agreed that the final cost may come close to $900 million.

A defense procurement official declined to confirm but said the final price tag would mainly depend on how cost efficient the local contractor proved at the end of the production cycle.

“It may not be realistic to mention a final figure,” the official said. “There are still too many unknowns. We are not even sure if we will go ahead with the bidder we have declared as the first-comer.”

Turkey’s defense procurement agency, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) on Dec. 26 selected a local shipyard to award the country’s first ever contract for the acquisition of a Landing Platform Dock (LPD).

SSM said it had selected Sedef Gemi Insaati A.S., a privately-owned Istanbul shipyard, to open contract negotiations for the LPD program. It said that if contract negotiations with Sedef failed then talks would open with the second-comer, DESAN Deniz Insaat Sanayi A.S. The SSM had opened the competition in 2010.

An SSM official said Ankara hoped to keep the contract cost at around $500 million as originally planned, but did yet know “if that was fiscally feasible.”

Turkey has long been aiming to bolster its amphibious vessel fleet. The LPD program, one of the most ambitious efforts, 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.

Under the plan, Sedef is expected to partner with Spanish shipyards Navantia.

January/07/2014

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