Lest We Forget: TCG Dumlupınar

On 4 April 1953, in the wee hours of the morning two Turkish submarines  TCG Dumlupınar and her sister boat TCG 1. İnönü,entered from the Aegean into the Dardanelles Strait, as the returning from the NATO naval exercise Blue Sea.

The Commodore of First Submarine Squadron was in command of the two submarines and he was on board of TCG Dumlupınar. When the submarine reached the Cape Nara, the narrowest point of the Strait the Swedish flagged cargo ship M/V Naboland collided with the submarine. The accident happened at 02:15 in the morning.

M/V Naboland rammed TCG Dumlupınar from starboard forecastle just aft of the forward diving planes. The submarine rolled to port with force of the impact and sunk immediately. 5 sailors who were in the sail at the time of the collision survived. Rest of the crew, 81 men, were trapped inside her hull. She sunk at the narrowest point of Dardanelles at 85 meters.

22 sailors trapped in the aft torpedo compartment were able to release the submarine’s sunk buoy. The rescuers above the water tried to give hope and moral but time was an enemy. Submarine rescue and salvage ships were rushed from the main naval base in Gölcük after the incident. But all efforts to reach the submarine and rescue the survivors failed cause of very strong water currents and insufficient equipment.

The last words from the submarine, before the currents tore the cable of buoy were: For our country.

Since that fateful day, on every 4th of April we remember those that have a watery grave were no rose will grow.

Turkish Task Force Starts Its Circumnavigation Of Africa

TDGGTomorrow, on 17 March 2014, the Barbaros Turkish Maritime Task Group will leave Turkish Naval Base in Gölcük to starts its circumnavigation of Africa.

The task force will contain the frigates F-495 TCG Gediz, F-245 TCG Oruçreis, the corvette F-511 TCG Heybeliada and the replenishment tanker A-595 TCG Yarbay Kudret Güngör.

During the deployment, which is expected to take 102 days, Barbaros TMTG will navigate round the African continent from west to east and will make 40 port visits in 28 countries and conduct military exercises with their navies.

It will be the first crossing of Cape of Hope by Turkish ships after 148 years. The ships will travel for about 15,000 nautical miles approximately 30,000 km throughout their sail.

This deployment is not just a navigational exercise of circumnavigation around Africa. It is also a powerful application of Turkish soft power to Africa. During the last decade Turkey finally realized that there is more Africa than just the Mediterranean countries where Turkey had links for centuries. With the discovery of sub Saharan Africa Turkish entrepreneurs started to do business with these countries. They were followed quickly by missions of Turkish Foreign Ministry and flights from Turkish Airlines.

As I learn more about the details of the activities planed during this deployment more I understand how much background work must have been done to make this happen. Below are the some highlights of the planned activities:

  • Turkish defence companies Meteksan, Otokar, TAI, Dearsan, Havelsan, Roketsan, Aselsan, STM will show their products in following cities:

Thema, Ghana
Lagos, Nigeria
Luanda, Angola
Dar es Salaam Tanzania
Mombasa, Kenya

  • Turkish Ministry of Health will conduct health checks and provide medical assistance in following cities:

Banjul Gambia
Dakar, Senegal,
Port of Sudan, Sudan

  • Military music bands will perform concerts in following cities:

Las Palmas, Spain
Conakry, Guinea
Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Pointe-Noire, Congo
Cape Town, South Africa
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Mombasa, Kenya
Djibouti, Djibouti
Port of Sudan, Sudan

  • Members of Multinational Maritime Security Centre of Excellence will conduct maritime security and boarding training in following cities:

Lagos, Nigeria
Pointe-Noire, Congo
Luanda, Angola
Simon’s Town, South Africa
Mombasa, Kenya

  • There will be theoretical training in all ports of call.
  • Various high-ranking Turkish officers will visit their counterparts in 17 different cities.

This deployment of Barbaros TMTG is not just about hearts and minds either.

The frigate F-245 TCG Oruçreis will take part in Obangame Express Exercise between 19 and 21 April 2014. Obangame Express, conducted by U.S. Naval Forces Africa, is an at-sea maritime exercise designed to improve cooperation among participating nations in order to increase maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea.  It focuses on maritime interdiction operation, as well as visit, board, search, and seizure techniques.

The two frigates and the corvette will conduct live missile firing exercise in Denel Overberg Test Range between 5 and 9 May 2014. There they will test their skills to the limits.

And when the Barbaros TMTG reaches Gulf of Aden it will conduct anti piracy operations between 5 and 11 June 2014.

This deployment is one of most meticulous prepared foreign deployments of Turkish Navy and a text-book example how nations can use their military to gain affection abroad. But not everybody is sharing my sentiments.

Admiral Nusret Güner, who had resigned to protest the Sledgehammer and other trials when he was expected to become the Commander of the Turkish Naval Forces, after a 1.5-year tenure as the head of the Fleet Command, criticized the upcoming African campaign of the Turkish Navy, pointing out the tensions in the Black Sea over the Crimean crisis .

The Black Sea waters are boiling because of what’s happening in Crimea and Ukraine. The United States and Russia are playing chess. They make moves one after another. When there is an imminent risk of clash, it’s an unacceptable situation that the Turkish Naval Forces are engaged in an African campaign in a way that they weaken their presence in the region,” Güner told daily Hürriyet.

Güner said he considers the African campaign as a wrong move for one more reason, which is the current status of Turkish naval forces. “The Sledgehammer trial and other legal cases have weakened the professional experience and skills of the Navy staff,” he said.

I agree with Mr. Güner’s remarks that the Black Sea waters are boiling and the shady trials against the Turkish high-ranking officers mostly from Naval Forces has created a havoc among the ranks of Turkish Navy. But I do not think that these are enough reasons to cancel the deployment of Barbaros TMTG. As being the former Commander of Turkish Naval Fleet, he must be in a better situation to judge the strengths and weaknesses of our navy but if we cannot spare 2 frigates and one corvette out of our fleet of 16 frigates and 8 corvettes, then something is not correct.

Even if the points made by Mr. Güner are correct we have other means to counter them. We have a good fleet of submarines that can creep very close to Crimea and gather very important intelligence. If we have to show the flag in the Black Sea we have many fast attack craft and some long range coast guard vessels that can fulfill the mission even if we cannot spare any of the 14 frigates left.

It is a very big pity that because of the shady trials many aspiring high-ranking officers are behind the bars today. The loss of their collective expertise and experience is a big blow to our navy. But expertise and experience are not gained by staying at home. They are gained by daring to new adventures and going to places that are new. Barbaros TMTG is just going to do that.

TCG Gökçeada Joined SNMG-2

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TCG Gökçeada departing. Photo: official Turkish Navy photo.

According to the official website of Turkish Navy, the Gabya (Perry) class frigate F-494 TCG Gökçeada departed from her home port Aksaz, Marmaris on 10 March 2014 to replace the frigate F-493 TCG Gelibolu of the same class in SNMG-2.

TCG Gelibolu was as part of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 under Spanish command in Gulf Of Aden and was taking part in Operation Ocean Shield, which is NATO’s counter piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden and off the Horn of Africa.

From 14 March till 24 June 2014, TCG Gökçeada will protect the civilian ships against the pirates.

Turkish Navy Will Sail Around Africa

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The Milgem class corvette F-511 TCG Heybeliada is one of the ships taking part in the Barbaros Task Force

Yesterday, the creation of  Barbaros Task Force was made public in a press conference held at the Fleet HQ in Gölcük Naval Base.

This task force (TF) consisting of the frigates F-495 TCG Gediz, F-245 TCG Oruçreis,  the corvette F-511 TCG Heybeliada and the replenishment tanker A-595 TCG Yarbay Kudret Güngör. The TF will set sail from main Turkish Naval Base, Gölcük on 17 March 2014 and is scheduled to return home after a deployment of 102 days.

During this deployment, TF will navigate round the African continent from west to east and will make port visits in 26 countries and conduct military exercises with their navies. Furthermore the TF will conduct live firing exercises in South Africa. The TF will take part in the US led exercise Obangame Express and will conduct anti piracy operations when it arrives in the Gulf of Aden.

It will be the first crossing of Cape of Hope by Turkish ships after 148 years.

 

 

Şehit Kıdemli Yüzbaşı Güngör Durmuş Naval Exercise

askeri-gemiler-kusadasinda-DHA-58c5e8707113926f0ae3ffeac8c098c4-2-t

P-344 TCG Rüzgar. Photo: haberciniz.biz

askeri-gemiler-kusadasinda-DHA-58c5e8707113926f0ae3ffeac8c098c4-3-t

F-511 TCG Heybeliada. Photo: haberciniz.biz

The Milgem class corvette, F-511 TCG Heybeliada, the A-69 Aviso class corvette, F-502 TCG Bandırma and the Doğan class fast attack boats P-340 TCG Doğan and P-344 TCG Rüzgar are making a port visit in Kuşadası, Aydın for the weekend.

The exercise named after a naval explosive ordnance disposal officer who was killed in a training accident.

Order Of Battle For Turkish Navy

It has been a while since I have last updated the order of battle for Turkish Navy. Here is the current one, as of January 2014:

Active Building Planned
Submarines (Note-1) 14  1 5
Frigates 16
Corvettes 8  1 1
Fast Attack Craft – Missile (Note-2) 25 4
Patrol Craft 30 4
Minehunters/sweepers (Note-3) 19 6
LPD 1
LST 4 2
LCT/LCU/LCM 33
Fleet Support Tankers (Note-4) 2 2
Tankers / Replenishment Ships (Note-4) 4 1
Training Ships (Note-5) 10 2
Salvage Ships 2 3
Helicopters 35
Planes 6 10

Note 1: The construction of the first Type 214 class submarine will start in 2014.
Note 2: Procurement of 4 (plus 6 optional) fast attack of local design armed with missiles is planned.
Note 3: Procurement of 6 mine sweepers of local design is planned.
Note 4: Procurement of one new replenishment tanker and two logistic support ships is planned.
Note 5: It is planned to acquire two sailing training ships.

Active Building Planned
209 Type 1400 submarines 8
209 Type 1200 submarines 6
214 Type 1800 submarines 6
MEKO 200 class frigates 8
Gabya (Perry) class frigates 8
Milgem class corvettes 2  1 1
Burak (Type A 69) class corvettes 6
Kılıç class fast attack craft 9
Yıldız class fast attack craft 2
Doğan class fast attack craft 8
Kartal class fast attack craft 6
Turkish Type fast attack craft 4
Tuzla class patrol craft 12 4
Patrol craft 18
Aydın class minehunters 6
Edincik (Circé) class minehunters 5
Mine hunters/sweepers 8 6
LPD 1
LST 4 2
LCT/LCU/LCM 33
Support tankers 6 3
Training ships 10 2
Salvage ships 2 3
AB-212 ASW helicopters 11
S-70B ASW helicopters 24
ATR-72 ASW planes 10
CN-235 ASW planes 6

Update On The Capsizing Of TCG Değirmendere

A video showing the capsizing of the tug TCG Değirmedere has been published on the internet.

This video contradicts many facts of the news story I have based my reporting earlier: apparently there is no order to abandon the ship, the trying to balance the ship. Everything happens to quickly and I hate to say that most of the original news story I have used is full of uncastrated adult male bovine droppings.

Here is the link to the video: http://videogaleri.gazetevatan.com/video-izle/10-sehit-veren-Romorkor-un-alabora-olma-ani-cep-telefonunda-MsfuDSwaU55J.html

It is still early to pin point the exact course of the accident but it seems that a number of mistakes caused this incident.

Technical Specifications Of Turkish LPD

L-61 SPS Juan Carlos 1

L-61 SPS Juan Carlos 1

I have received a copy of the press release made by Defense Industry Undersecretariat, after posting my blog about the Turkish LPD project.

I have created the below table with the information on the press release to make a comparison between the Spanish Juan Carlos, Australian Canberra and Turkish LPD, all based on the same Navantia design.

Canberra Juan Carlos Levent
Displacement (tons) 27.500 27.500 19.000
Length (meters) 230 230 200
Speed (knots) 19 21 20
Range (n. miles) 9.000 9.000 7.000
Crew 240 295 240

Please mind that the information about the Turkish LPD is estimations and may change during the course of the project.

The crew will be 190 sailors, 56 air crew, 50 medical staff, 200 command staff and up to 700 marines.

The LPD will be able to carry 13 MBT’s, 27 armored amphibious attack vessels, 6 armored personnel carriers and 33 truck in the garage bay.

The air component will consist of 4 at least 15 ton helicopters on the flight deck and 4 at least 15 ton helicopters or 3 UAV’s in the hangar.

 

Turkey Has Chosen Its New Dreadnought

Soon under a Turkish flag!

Soon under a Turkish flag!

On 27 December 2013 the Defence Industry Executive Committee made a statement consisting of just one sentence:

After the completion of the evaluation of the bids for Landing Platform Dock (LPD) project by Defense Industry Undersecretariat, on 26 December 2013, the Defense Industry Executive Committee decided to start contract negotiation with the Sedef Ship Building Company; and if the negotiations with Sedef Ship Building Company should fail the negotiations shall continue with Desan Ship Building Company.

The Turkish of official statements can be very long and confusing and sometimes ignorant of grammar rules and as I wanted to remain royal to the one sentence of the original statement the translation is less than perfect. I do apologies for that.

The statement might be small but its importance is huge. This statement declares that Turkey Navy is about to enter into the Dreadnought Owners Club of the 21. Century. As you see the large amphibious ships with docking and flight capability are the new Dreadnoughts of our era.

Large amphibious ships are the only real multi-purpose ships of any navy can posses. The are the naval equivalent of Swiss army knives.

The potential uses for a large amphibious ships can be:
• force projection (the most obvious use)
• evacuation of combatants and non-combatants
• command ship for task force
• logistical supply platform during a humanitarian crisis or disaster
• mother-ship for small boat operations and helicopters
• mine warfare (as all large amphibious ships of Turkish Navy have mine laying capability)

In 2006 , The Commander of Turkish Naval Forces Admiral Yener Karahanoğlu, laid down the long terms amphibious ship acquisition goals for Turkish Navy:
• One LPD
• Two LST’s
• 8 fast LCT’s
• 27 AAV/AAAV’s

The first project to start according to this road map was the procurement of 8 LCT’s. In 2007, Ministry of Defence’s Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (UDI), submitted a Request for Proposal (RfP) for 8 LCT’s. From the four companies that bid, ADİK shipyard was chosen. On June 2009, a contract was signed between UDI and ADİK for the production of 8 ships. The exact value of the contract was not made public but it is estimated to be around 100 million EUR. The first ship Ç-151 was launched on 2 October 2010. All 8 units have been delivered to Turkish Navy by December 2013.

The procurement of the LST’s was the second project. For the LST’s UDI submitted a RFP on May 2008. On 6 January 2010 again ADİK shipyard was declared as the winner of the bid. A contract for the construction of two new LST’s was signed between Ministry of Defence and ADİK in 2011. The first ship will be delivered in 48 months after the signing of the contract.

The tender process for LPD has started in 2011 when UDI submitted the RfP. In May 2011, three Turkish shipyards, Deasan, RMK Marine and Sedef submitted their bids for RfP to design and build a LPD type ship. RMK Marine submitted their own design, Sedef teamed with Navantia and submitted a redesigned Juan Carlos 1. The most secretive bid was Deasan’s. The shipyard teamed with China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation which builds the Type 071 amphibious ships for PLA(N).

With this weeks announcement Sedef – Navantia partnership was selected for the largest warship, Turkish Navy will operate.

The details of are vague but according to the Twitter account of Navantia, the Spanish company will provide the engines, the turbine, the IPMS (Integrated Platform Management System) and LCM-1E landing craft.

I’m quite sure that many Spaniards at the economically beleaguered Navantia are celebrating this decision. Navantia was the only company that was able to give a working example of the ship it  offered The RMK Marine’s bid exists only on paper and nobody know much about the Chinese solution much expect it is being constructed. The LPD project is a huge project in every sense and it seems that no body wanted to take any risks by choosing a non-existing ship.

When commissioned she will be the capital ship of Turkish Navy. The dreadnought era of Turkish Navy has started.

Photos Of TCG Salihreis

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TCG Salihreis passing by the Spanish frigate Blas De Lezo, at the end of the Spanish ship’s deployment.

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From left to right, Spanish frigate F-103 ESPS Blas De Lezo, German frigate F-219 FGS Sachsen and Turkish frigate F-246 TCG Salihreis in formation.

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The MEKO 200 Track IIB class frigate F-246 TCG Salihreis was deployed with the NATO’s Standing NATO Maritime Group 2, between June and December 2013. The photos are from this deployment. The last photo is my favorite.
All photos courtesy of Mr. Muhammet Metin.

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