Turkiye debuted its first aircraft carrier, the TCG Anadolu, on Monday with the intention of extending the use of drones beyond the land to the sea. The action takes place as regional tensions are at an all-time high due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, which is on the other side of the Black Sea. Only lightweight aircraft, primarily helicopters and jets with shorter takeoff and landing distances, can be handled by the TCG Anadolu. It can accommodate up to 1,400 people, including a battalion of soldiers, combat vehicles, and support units for overseas operations, with a length of 232 metres and a width of 32 metres. During the launch ceremony in Istanbul, President Tayyip Erdogan stated that the vessel would enable the country to conduct military and humanitarian operations worldwide when necessary. He also emphasized that it is a symbol that will reinforce Turkey’s regional leadership position. The amphibious assault ship was built in Istanbul’s Sedef Shipyard by a Turkish-Spanish consortium, modeled after the design of Spain’s light aircraft carrier, Juan Carlos I. Initially, Ankara had planned to deploy F-35 B-model fighter jets, which can take off from shorter runways, on its largest warship. However, the US expelled Turkey, a NATO ally, from its F-35 program in 2019 after Ankara acquired Russian S-400 defense systems. As a result, Turkiye repurposed the TCG Anadolu as a drone carrier. Along with helicopters, the country intends to deploy Bayraktar TB3 and Kizilelma unmanned aerial combat vehicles, produced by Turkish defense firm Baykar, as well as the Hurjet light attack aircraft, which is currently being developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI). The TCG Anadolu will become the first aircraft carrier in the world whose fleet primarily consists of armed drones once the plan is put into action. Turkiye, which has the second-largest army in NATO, borders the war-torn countries of Syria and Iraq, and it has a long coastline on both the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Turkiye has established itself as a go-between between Moscow and Kyiv over the course of the conflict in Ukraine, helping to broker a deal through the UN that permits the safe export of grain from Ukrainian ports via the Black Sea.