TCG Barbaros Receives New Weapons and Sensors

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TCG Barbaros passing through Bosphorus in 2014. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permission.

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TCG Barbaros passing through Bosphorus in 2015. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permission.

Above are two photos of MEKO 200 Track IIA class frigate F-244 TCG Barbaros. The first photo was taken in April 2014, the second in February 2015. Though the resolution is not optimal two fundamental change made on the ship in less than 10 months is clearly visible.

Gone are the old AWS-9 search radar and Mk-29 SeaSparrow launcher. They are replaced by a (probably a 16 cell) Mk41 VLS and a SMART-S Mk2 3D radar. This means TCG Barbaros can now fire Sea Sparrow and Evolved Sea Sparrow missiles on board. And the life of the radar maintenance technicians got a lot more easier.

TCG Büyükada In Pakistan

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TCG Büyükada arriving in Karachi. Photo: Corporate Ambassador.

 

On Tuesday, 17 February 2015, F-512 TCG Büyükada arrived in Karachi, Pakistan. The ship is expected to leave the city today, according the to press release made by Turkish Navy.

The Pakistani newspaper Daily Times reported that Pakistan Navy and Turkish Navy will hold a bilateral naval exercise commencing on February 19 with an aim to enhance interoperability and operational understanding. Turkish Navy Ship TCG BUYUKADA arrived at Karachi to participate in the exercise, which included an elaborate harbour and sea phase, said a statement on Tuesday. Turkish Naval Attache in Pakistan and senior officials of Pakistan Navy received the ship. The exercise being first of the series is a landmark reflection of historic ties between the two navies. Pakistan Navy and Turkish Navy have been interacting since long in order to improve upon level of coordination, interoperability and training.

Turkish Parliament Extended The Anti-Piracy Mission Of Turkish Navy

On 3 February 2015, The Grand National Assembly of Turkey, extended the presence of Turkish Navy in  Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, and adjacent seas.

The first bill allowing Turkish government to deploy Turkish Naval Forces for anti piracy operations was accepted in 10 February 2009. It was extended in one year periods ever since.

Turkish warship are  tasked with:

  • Performing reconnaissance and patrol duties,
  • Calling on ships suspected of piracy/ armed robbery, on the radio, boarding them if their flag country approves and interfering in accordance with the international law if the ship is not showing any flag,
  • Escorting and protecting merchant ships,
  • Helping merchant ships under attack of pirates/sea robbers,
  • Intervening, stopping, neutralizing, and confiscating any vessels used by pirates/sea robbers, and using appropriate force if necessary,
  • Arresting and detaining pirates/sea robbers and armed persons in these vessels,
  • Accepting the representatives of the countries that will prosecute pirates/ armed robbers on board, for the preparations of judicial proceedings, according to the UN resolution 1851.
  • Arresting and detaining, pirates/armed robbers on board until they are being handed over to the countries that will prosecute them,
  • Turning in, the suspects of pirates/sea robbers with the exception of the case that these are Turkish citizens, to the authorities the nation where the pirates/sea robbers will be prosecuted,
  • Executing all kinds of policing duties including interrogation, collecting evidence.

TCG Büyükada Conducts Counter Piracy Operations

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TCG Büyükada conducts replenishment at sea with HMAS Success. Photo: NATO MARCOM.

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TCG Büyükada in Indian Ocean. Photo: NATO MARCOM

It was an busy week for the Ada class corvette TCG Büyükada.

On Sunday and Tuesday, TCG BUYUKADA conducted replenishment at sea (RAS) training with the Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS SUCCESS (OR 304), a multi-product replenishment oiler.
Monday, TCG BUYUKADA exercised with the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force ship JS HARUSAME (D-102), an independent deployer conducting counter-piracy in the region, testing common procedures and manoeuvres between these forces. During the interaction with the JMSDF, the Commander of Deployment Surface Force for Counter Piracy Enforcement, Captain Masatoshi Kashihara, visited TCG BUYUKADA and briefed on the activities of the ship in the operations area.
Wednesday TCG BUYUKADA had the opportunity to perform passing exercises (PASSEX), to include manoeuvring training and formation drills with the Korean Ship ROKS DAE JO YEONG in the Arabian Sea. The Commander of TCG BUYUKADA Lieutenant Commander Ali Tuna Baysal welcomed the Commander of the Korean Escort Task Group XVII and Commanding Officer of ROKS DAE JO YEONG Captain Sun-Woo Hwang, on board TCG BUYUKADA. Captain Sun-Woo Hwang and his contingent were briefed on the TCG BUYUKADA’s deployment in the region and her participation in Operation OCEAN SHIELD. The two Commanders also shared their experiences with counter-piracy operations and discussed future opportunities to work together.
Thursday the crew of TCG BUYUKADA conducted fire-fighting training with the Royal Omani Navy. This training is part of broader regional capacity building activities with countries in the area of operations. Fourteen Royal Omani Navy personnel observed the training, which included briefs about the fire-fighting systems, damage control and firefighting organization of the TCG BUYUKADA and direct observation of a fire simulation on the mess decks.

 

As reported earlier, TCG Büyükada is on a 87 day deployment to the Indian Ocean. The corvette is expected to arrive back in Turkey on 15 April 2015.

TCG Büyükada Joins Operation Ocean Shield

TCG Büyükada in Indian Ocean. Photo: NATO.

NATO’s Maritime Command reported that on 6 February 2015, the Ada class corvette TCG Büyükada has joined the Operation Ocean Shield.

The ship will conduct regular counter piracy patrols in Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean and provide support to NATO’s regional capacity building efforts in order to enhance interoperability and cooperation between the nations in the area. The ship will also conduct training with several counter-piracy naval forces operating in the Indian Ocean.

“We are very pleased by Turkish Navy’s continued support to counter piracy efforts and its firm commitment to international maritime security,” said Commander NATO Allied Maritime Command, Vice Admiral Peter Hudson. “Though the number of piracy attacks has significantly declined, piracy at sea has not been eliminated, so vigilance by the international community remains necessary.”

As reported earlier, TCG Büyükada is on a 87 day deployment to the Indian Ocean.

The corvette is expected to arrive back in Turkey on 15 April 2015.

Will TKMS Pay Penalty For the Delays In Reis Class Construction Project?

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This presentation by TKMS shows the local Turkish content in the upcoming Type214TN submarines. which is substantial compared to the previous submarine construction projects.

The German newspaper Handelsblatt run a story about the penalty to be paid by German submarine constructor Thyssen Krupp Marine Systems (TKMS) to Turkey. The reason for this payment is the delay in, construction of 6 Type 214 TN submarines Turkey as agreed to buy From TKMS in 2009.

On 2 July 2009, a contract was signed between Turkey and Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft GmbH (HDW), Kiel, a company of TKMS, and MarineForce International LLP (MFI), London, for the delivery of six material packages for the construction of Class 214 submarines which are now called as the Reis class.

The value of the contract is estimated as 2,5 billion €. There is %80 offset agreement. The submarines will be built in Gölcük Naval Shipyard where 11 submarines of Type 209, were previously built. According to the original contract terms the construction was to start in 2011, and the first sub delivered in 2015.

The reasons for the delay of the construction is both technical and commercial.

The technical delay is related to the much reported to the stability problems the Type 214 submarines experienced. The stability problem was one of the main reasons why Greek Navy refused to accept its first Type 214 HS Papanikolis years ago in the first place. The solution to the stability problem by TKMS was to add weights to certain places in the submarine in order to create a stability. But Turkish Navy was not satisfied with this come up with its own solution where the center of gravity of the submarine was relocated,by adding extending the length of the submarine. The solution has to be validated by TKMS and this is one of the delay in the project. This also means that Turkish Navy is working seriously in submarine design and problems associated with it.  In the end Turkish Type 214 submarines will be a few meters longer than the other nations Type 214 submarines.

The Type 214 construction project is the last project where Turkish Navy will construct a submarine to a foreign design and subsystems. It is not a secret that the next submarines constructed by Turkish Navy will be local design with most of the critical components ans sub systems produced with local input. It is not surprising to see the large Turkish industrial participation in the Type 214 project as this project is regarded as preparation phase for the Milli Denizaltı  (Milden). Milli Denizaltı means National Submarine in Turkish. So it is understandable for the Germans to drag their feet in the Type 214 project especially when they know that this is the last of its kind.

A New Missile For Turkish Naval Helicopters

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This is a photo of a Turkish S-72B Sea Hawk helicopter firing a missile. There are many things, one can say about this photo.

The special 100th Anniversary Logo of the Turkish Naval Aviation is painted on the side of the fuselage dates the photo to 2014.

The usual missile armament of Turkish Navy helicopter are Penguin Mk2 and AGM-114K Hellfire II missiles. The bright red color of the missile indicates that it is not a serial production unit. Thus this must be a photo of a test firing of a missile in development for Turkish Navy helicopters.

There are some speculative information on Turkish websites that this missile might the a naval version of the Mızrak long-range anti tank missile developed by Roketsan.

If this photo turns out indeed to be a test firing of a navalized version of Mızrak, then the missile may have an Imaging Infra-Red (IIR) seeker  and a range longer than 15 km. These features will enable to helicopter to stay out of the range of SAM missiles her target may be carrying.

 

TCG Büyükada Sets Sail For Indian Ocean

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It will be spring when they return.

 

Today, on a sunny winter day, with a solemn ceremony the Ada class corvette F-512 TCG Büyükada set sail to the Indian Ocean.

On board are one S-72B Seahawk helicopter, tail number TCB-69, one naval special forces team and 124 sailors.

During this 87 day deployment, TCG Büyükada will join the task force CTF-151 and conduct anti-piracy patrols in Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia.

The warship will participate Pakistani led naval exercise AMAN 2015 and Kuwaiti exercise Eagles 2015.

With this deployment of TCG Büyükada, Turkey wants to increase its presence in the region and develop good working relationship with local navies. Another obvious aim of the deployment is to present and show the Ada class corvette to other navies planning of purchasing similar warships. Showing the flag, increasing the presence and bolstering defence export opportunities are classic usage of naval forces.

The corvette is expected to arrive back in Turkey on 15 April 2015.
More photos from the farewell ceremony:

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The executive officer of TCG Büyükada, Lieutenant Commander Toker, with his family.

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TCG Büyükada ready for the deployment.

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The crew of TCG Büyükada waiting for the order to man the ship.

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The commanding officer of TCG Büyükada, Lieutenant Commander Baysal delivering his speech.

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The commanding officer of TCG Büyükada, Lieutenant Commander Baysal

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The Politics Of Not Transferring Ships To Turkey (Which Are Not Needed Anyway)

TCG Gediz with her new Smart Mk2 3D radar

TCG Gediz with her new Smart Mk2 3D radar and Mk-41 VLS. 

The US Congress passed the Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2013. With this act the President of USA is authorized to sell or to grant decommissioned US Navy warships to other countries.

Usually the US Congress passes one Naval Transfer Act (NTA) once or twice in every legislation. And in each NTA certain warships and their prospective recipients are mentioned. Please mind that NTA is simply an authorization of US President by the Congress to offer these warships. The NTA does not means that the received recipients will accept this offer at the end.

In previous Naval Transfers Act of years 2005, 2006, 2007, 2012 Turkey has been offered  many ships from small mine hunters to large destroyers, by USA. And Turkey has not accepted any of these offers.

In previous Naval Transfers Act of years 2003, 2008 Turkey was not offered any warships.

I have a difficult time to understand the fuss around the omission of Turkey from Naval Transfer Act 2013. I guess some cheap politicians are trying to make some cheap gains by making something out of nothing.

But the inclusion of Turkey proved controversial, as members of Congress pointed out Turkey’s increasingly hostile stance toward Israel and its threats against natural gas exploration by American companies near Cyprus. “I believe we should hold off on sending powerful warships to Turkey and encourage the government in Ankara to take a less belligerent approach to their neighbors,” said Representative Eliot Engel during that debate.

But if the US lawmakers tried to give some kind of a signal to the Turkish government by not adding Turkey to the list of the nations that may get a frigate is beyond my understanding. But if they did; the message was not delivered as the medium is not the correct one. And what was the messages in year 2003 and 2008 where no warships have been offered to Turkey?

Anyway, I do not think that any ship that US is prepared to transfer to Turkey is not powerful compared to what Turkish Navy operates.

Below is a comparison chart between the Gabya/Perry class frigates operated by both navies:

Turkish Navy (Gabya) US Navy (Perry)
Mk-13 launcher capable of firing SM-1 Standard SAM and Harpoon ASM missiles + -
Mk-41 VLS capable of firing ESSM SAM missiles (with a potential of SM-2 Standard SAM) + -
Integrated, modern combat management system + -
3D air search radar + -
Additional 25mm gun - +

Turkish frigates have more punch, better sensors and a up-to-date combat management system compared to their counterparts in US Navy service.

The only reason I can think, why Turkish Navy would want to have an old Perry class frigate from US Navy service is, to cannibalize it to provide spare parts to ours. But thank fully Perry class frigates are used besides USA, by Australia, Bahrain, Egypt, Pakistan, Poland, Spain, Turkey. Thus finding spare parts is not all to difficult.

As I have already told, the lack of the warships especially Perry class frigates from NTA 2013, will not have any effect on the Turkish Navy at all from a technical point of view. On the contrary, we do not have to spend money and man power which are also needed for our ongoing local warship production projects. USA might be transferring warships to its allies but the ships have to be overhauled in US shipyards as NTA dictates, which means the allies have to transfer money to USA.

TCG Giresun Received Her New Radar And Missile Launcher

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TCG Giresun passing through the Bosphorus. Note her new Smart Mk2 3D radar and MK41 VLS system. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permission.

The Gabya (ex Perry) class frigate F-491 TCG Giresun seems to have gotten her new radar and vertical launcher. She is the last ship to received this upgrade.

The new Thales SMART-S Mk2 3D radar replaced the incumbent AN/SPS-49(V)4 radar which was 2D. The addition of 8 cell Mk41 in the forecastle increased the range and the number of the anti-air missiles carried on board. The Mk41 will hold ESSM missiles. while the Mk13 keep housing the SM-1 Standard missiles.

TCG Giresun is the fourth and final ship to undergo through this modernization. The other three are F-495 TCG Gediz, F-496 TCG Gökova, F-497 TCG Göksu.

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