1 Nov 2011 Leave a comment
Last year I have reported about a concept developed by two Turkish companies for anti-piracy operations: Kangal. Named aptly after the famous shepherd dog of Anatolia, this concept involved small fast and sufficiently armed patrol boats zooming around the merchant ship convoys and protecting therm against the pirates as a shepherd dog would protect its flock against the wolves.
This year a more mature and evolved version of this concept was marketed at the Naval systems Seminar. The main difference was the addition of a full-scale command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence systems and a centralized command of the boats.
The name of the concept was changed from Kangal to Korkut. The Korkut has three main components: Gözetleyici, Combat and Kangal.
Gözetleyici (The Observer) is the nerve center of the Korkut concept. It is basically a ISO standard container containing a radar, elect-optical directors, communications systems and the combat management system Combat. where all the incoming data is processed, visualized, controlled and shared.
The Combat, combat management systems consists of the hardware and software necessary for the process, visualization, control and share of the data coming from the sensors. The Combat CMS will create a tactical picture of the maritime domain around the merchant convoy and share this information through a network with the Kangal boats. The boats will also have Combat CMS installed so that they can have access to the global maritime picture and control their weapons effectively.
The container will house all the sensors, communications suits and the combat management hardware and will be self-sufficient. The operators inside will track the activity around the merchant ships and will guide the Kangal boats to potential threads.
The Kangal Boats, are based on ONUK MRTP 22 fast attack craft. The boat, depending on engine configuration choice, will be able to reach speeds up to 70 knots in calm waters and above +50 knots in Sea State 3, allowing rapid reaction comparable to a helicopter, and can be used in confined spots or heavy weathers not suitable for helicopter operations.
The boats will be armed with one remote-controlled stabilized gun and one remote-controlled stabilized machine gun. The boats will be carry RHIBs for VBSS teams.
As you can see compared to last years Kangal concept the Korkut is more down to earth and possible solution. And as the technology mentioned is already existing it can be implemented in a very short time given it finds political and financial support.
There is one important issue both ASELSAN as an electronic company and Yonca Onuk as a small boat producer fail to address: The issue of a mother ship.
The Gözetleyici can be put on board of any merchant ship as it is a container before the ship enters dangerous waters. This rises the question what will happen to the container after the ship is out of the danger zone. It is very unlikely that this command container can be off loaded to an other merchant ship on high seas.
This mother ships nationality is one issue. One other issue is whether such a mother ship will be considered as a combat ship or not.
The Kangal boats have an endurance of two days. This means that the boats must be able to replenish on high seas otherwise the boats will need to travel to a friendly port every other day leaving the convoy unprotected. The maintenance of the Kangal boats is another problem. A solution is needed to support these boats and make necessary small repair possible on high seas without docking at a port. These require afloat repair and replenishment facilities.
A dedicated mother ship such as a commercial ocean trawler could be a suitable platform. This ship would patrol for example along the IIRC and protect the merchant convoys with the Kangal FAC’s. But I am not sure if such a ship would solve the above mentioned repair and replenishment issues.
The Korkut concept is better than the Kangal contact it replaces but is not complete.