Navantia, having assumed the role of subcontractor to Sedef Shipyard in the Multirole Amphibious Assault Ship project, and as the designer of the platform on which the ANADOLU was based, is aiming to enhance and continue its cooperation with Turkey. We spoke to Pablo Menéndez, who was appointed as General Manager of Navantia Turkey in October 2017, about the current status of the project and Navantia’s plans for Turkey going into the future.
MSI TDR: First of all, we would like to congratulate you and wish you the best in your new position. Navantia has become a close partner of Turkish shipbuilding industry in recent years. When we look at your carrier, we see that you have deep experience on execution of contracts and lifecycle management. What are your goals in your new position and what will be your agenda in Turkey?
Pablo MENÉNDEZ: Thank you very much for your kind words. Yes, since I joined Navantia I have always been in close contact not only with the client but also with the final user, the Navy, the officers, the petty chiefs.
Being able to see how our ships perform at sea, sailing with them for long periods of time with the crew that will operate them for more than thirty years gave me a good understanding of what the needs of a modern Navy are and therefore where the future of shipbuilding should be focusing. For me this is not only to reach the best performance, the best capability and long endurance but also to create the best possible space for the crew to perform its job. When you can combine those qualities into a Navy ship that ship will be a one to be proud of.
My goal is to stablish a footprint of Navantia in Turkey. Navantia is here to support Turkish navy with our experience, knowledge and know-how, and this goes all the way from the concept design and detail engineering of a ship to the Through Life Support. For the Navy to know that they can rely on your company whenever is needed, to find solutions, to maintain its assets, assist in the modernizations, so their most value assets, like a navy ship, are able to perform is of the utmost importance. Navantia with its Through Life Support Service can do that to ensure the TCG Anadolu will be performing at its best always.
MSI TDR: You have worked for Navantia in Norway, Australia and Turkey. What are your impressions about Turkish customers and Turkish companies?
Pablo MENÉNDEZ: Turkey is always aiming for the best. And to be the best you need to work with the best. This translate into exigent customers which is good because it makes the companies to set the bar very high and here is where Turkish companies are responding very well. You can tell that Turkey has done an enormous investment in indigenous military products and results are showing brilliantly.
MSI TDR: What is the status of Multi-Purpose Amphibious Assault Ship project, from Navantia’s point of view?
Pablo MENÉNDEZ: I am glad you brought up this question to the table because I am very proud to say that the Program is being a completely success. Both SEDEF and Navantia are performing very well in this project; we have proven to Turkey and to the world that SEDEF and Navantia make a really good team.
Right now, the ship is being built in the drydock and waiting for its launching next spring.
MSI TDR: What is the status of industrial participation obligations of Navantia in Turkey? Are you still seeking new partners? If so, do you have a message to the Turkish defence and naval sectors?
Pablo MENÉNDEZ: It is going well, very well indeed. In my view we are not so far away of seeing one of the largest defence Turkish companies supplying high-tech equipment to Navantia for one of our international projects. This is a Turkey equipment in a Spanish ship for a foreign navy, what can be better that that! I have that feeling, seriously and the only reason is that Turkey is developing state of the art products with the best performance that shipbuilders will like to include in their ships and Navies will start to demand.
Pablo MENÉNDEZ: In the near future I see a second TLHD ship. Turkey is a big country, to have two Multi-Purpose Amphibious Assault Ships would provide a huge capability to this country.
After that, Navantia would like to play an important role on the TF 2000 Project. With the experience gain with the TCG Anadolu and being Navantia a worldwide leader in Anti-Air Warfare Frigates, I think Turkey could benefit from this experience involving Navantia in the AAW Frigate project. Let’s not forget that in addition of supplying ships to the Spanish Armada, Navantia also has been working with foreign navies such as Norway Navy and Australian navy in AAW Frigates. We have been recently selected for the concept design phase of USA’s FFG(X) Program.
Right now, Navantia and Turkey know each other fairly well and this cooperation should be taking into account in developing the Formula 1 of navy ships an AAW Frigate. In this project, a very ambitious project, experience matters. Look, I can tell you from our experience, in the past Navantia built ships with the engineering provided by others, mostly from North America. Nowadays we are the ones providing the design to other shipyards, including North American ones. This experience could be of great value for Turkey, its engineering and shipbuilding in the TF 2000 Project to follow the same path as Navantia did in the past.
MSI TDR: Is there anything you would like to add?
Pablo MENÉNDEZ: Yes, I would like to mention that not only Navantia is very happy to be in Turkey but I am also myself. I have been here for almost three years and I foresee many more to come. I already feel Turkey and its people in my heart. Great people make a great country and I am very sure that there is a bright future for Turkey, its Navy and its military industry.
On behalf of our readers, we would like to thank Pablo Menéndez, General Manager for Navantia Turkey Branch Office, for taking the time to answer our questions and for providing us with such valuable information.