UPDATED: Mavi Balina Anti Submarine Warfare Exercise Starts Tomorrow

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TCG Batıray as seen in August 2014 in Istanbul. She is one of 4 Turkish submarines taking part in Mavi Balina ASW exercise.

I have updated and completed the list of the participating units:

F-494 TCG Gökçeada Frigate Turkey
F-495 TCG Gediz Frigate Turkey
F-497 TCG Göksu Frigate Turkey
F-511 TCG Heybeliada Corvette Turkey
F-512 TCG Büyükada Corvette Turkey
S-347 TCG Atılay Submarine Turkey
S-349 TCG Batıray Submarine Turkey
S-356 TCG Anafartalar Submarine Turkey
S-358 TCG Çanakkale Submarine Turkey
A-595 TCG Yarbay Kudret Güngör Tanker Turkey
F-247 TCG Kemalreis Frigate Turkey
F-208 FGS Niedersachsen Frigate Germany
FFH-333 HMCS Toronto Frigate Canada
CG-55 USS Leyte Gulf Cruiser USA
F-102 ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbón Frigate Spain
F-84 ESPS Reina Sofia Frigate Spain
DDG-67 USS Cole Destroyer USA
FFG-260 PNS Alamgir Frigate Pakistan
S-90 HMS Torbay Submarine United kingdom

According to Turkish Navy besides the above listed units one rapid analysis team from NATO MARCOM and observers from Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Chile, Georgia, Kuwait, Lebanon will participate in the exercise.

Mavi Balina Anti Submarine Warfare Exercise Starts Tomorrow

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Turkish Navy announced that the Mavi Balina Naval Exercise will start on 6 November 2014.

The naval exercise will be conducted in Eastern Mediterranean till 14 November 2014. The aim of the exercise is to provide the participants with submarine warfare and anti submarine warfare training.

Besides warships and submarines at least 7 ASW planes 9 ASW helicopters are going to take part in Mavi Balina too.
The below is the list of the participating warships and submarines:

F- TCG XXX Frigate Turkey
F- TCG XXX Frigate Turkey
F- TCG XXX Frigate Turkey
F-512 TCG Heybeliada Corvette Turkey
F- TCG XXX Corvette Turkey
S- TCG XXX Submarine Turkey
S- TCG XXX Submarine Turkey
S- TCG XXX Submarine Turkey
S- TCG XXX Submarine Turkey
A-595 TCG Yarbay Kudret Güngör Tanker Turkey
F-247 TCG Kemalreis Frigate Turkey
F-208 FGS Niedersachsen Frigate Germany
FFH-333 HMCS Toronto Frigate Canada
CG-55 USS Leyte Gulf Cruiser USA
F-102 ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbón Frigate Spain
F-84 ESPS Reina Sofia Frigate Spain
DDG-67 USS Cole Destroyer USA
FFG-260 PNS Alamgir Frigate Pakistan
S-90 HMS Torbay Submarine United kingdom

According to Turkish Navy besides the above listed units one rapid analysis team from NATO MARCOM and observers from Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Chile, Georgia, Kuwait, Lebanon will participate in the exercise.

12 Years After The Contract Thales Finally Delivers Maritime Patrol Aircraft To Turkish Navy

Thales delivers 5 planes and a certificate. Photo: Thales.

Thales delivers 5 planes and a certificate. Photo: Thales.

I am sure that the good people of Thales are in a celebration mood. Here is an excerpt form their press release:

Thales announces the delivery of the final standard for the maritime patrol aircraft to Turkey as part of the MELTEM II programme, for which Thales is the prime contractor. To this day, five of the six aircraft have been delivered to this standard, with the sixth set for delivery before the summer. This follows the three maritime surveillance aircraft which were sent to the Turkish coastguards last year.

Pierre Eric Pommellet, Senior Vice President of Thales in charge of Defence Mission Systems, officially handed over the delivery certificate for the aircraft to the Chief of Staff of the Turkish Navy. On this occasion, he highlighted the “strong relationships that have been established throughout the programme with Turkish industry partners, TAI, Havelsan, Aselsan and Milsoft. These have enabled the success of this aircraft transformation programme and pave the way for future partnerships between Thales and the Turkish industry. We’re focusing on developing this close cooperation and are very proud these maritime patrol aircraft reach a technological and operational standard of excellence. The Turkish Navy can now rely on Thales’s state-of-the-art AMASCOS solution to conduct their maritime patrol missions.”

16 years after the maritime patrol plane  project has started and 12 years after Thales was contracted to deliver the AMASCOS,  the five out of total six aircraft of the Meltem project  were finally handed over to the Turkish Navy on 29 April 2014. I am quite sure that Thales and their Turkish partners have developed strong relationship in the last 12 years when they were working to get the things done. They had all the time in the world for building strong relationships.

When the Meltem project started, this and this aircrafts were not even on drawing boards. Since then they have taken off are operational.

Since the start of the Meltem has been beleaguered with delays. The project has 3 parts:

  • Meltem I:  The purchase of three CN-235′s for Exclusive Economic Zone surveillance missions by the Turkish Coast Guard and six CN-235′s in AsuW and ASW missions for Turkish Navy. This part of the project started in 1998 and ended in 2002.
  • Meltem II:  The integration of AMASCOS  (Airborne MAritime Situation & Control System) and its sub components on the above mentioned planes. The Thales made AMASCOS  was selected as the main C3I system for the above mentioned CN-235 planes back in 2002. Thales acts as the main contractor and Turkish companies TAI, Havelsan, Aselsan and Milsoft are acting as sub contractors. According to the contract the planes were to be in service in 2007. But the first modified plane made its maiden flight one year after the contractual delivery date. The aircraft started to enter into contemporary commission only in 2012 both in Turkish Navy and Turkish Coast Guard. And in 2013 the planes for the Coast Guard were officially commissioned. Yesterday’s ceremony means that this phase is almost ended.
  • Meltem III: When in 2008 the contract was signed for Meltem (III), Aleina was supposed to to deliver ATR-72 ASW planes and integrate the AMASCOS system and the sensors to them. 6 years later all we got are two ATR-72 TMU maritime utility aircraft and a reduction on total number of planes from 10 to 8 including the TMUA’s. The utility planes are by the way unarmed and have no sensors. So they are no good for hunting submarines.

 

I have told in then, I and I am telling it now, the Meltem acquisition project should be thought in business and project management courses as a case study as an example how not to run a project.

Finaly: The First ATR-72 Maritime Utility Plane Is Delivered

The first ATR-72-600 plane for Turkish Navy at Alenia-Aermacchi factory in Italy.

The first ATR-72-600 maritime utility aircraft for Turkish Navy at Alenia-Aermacchi factory in Italy.

The Turkish Navy has received the first ATR 72-600 Turkish maritime utility aircraft (TMUA) from Alenia Aermacchi on 25 July 2013.

Maritime Utility Aircraft is a very elegant expression and means that the aircraft has neither weapons nor any sensors.

Alenia Aermacchi was awarded the contract to deliver two ATR 72-600 TMUA and six ATR 72-600 turkish maritime patrol aircraft (TMPA) to the Turkish Navy.
Under the contract, the company will supply the first TMPA to the Turkish Navy in February 2017 while deliveries are scheduled to be completed by 2018.
The two ATR 72-600 TMUA, which are undergoing modification at the company’s facilities in Naples, Capodichino and Torino-Caselle, will be used by the Turkish Navy for utility roles and personnel and cargo transport missions.
Fitted with new radios, the TMUA aircraft features an identification friend-or-foe system (IFF) as well as tactical tables and communications equipment for the crew.
“The TMUA aircraft features an identification friend-or-foe system.”
The Turkish aerospace industry will modify the six green ATR72-600 aircraft to ATR 72-600 TMPAs in Ankara, Turkey, by installing specific equipment to meet the Turkish Navy maritime patrol requirement.
Fitted with Thales airborne maritime situation and control system (AMASCOS) mission system, the six ATR 72-600 TMPA multi-role assets will be equipped with automatic identification system (AIS) and link 16 and will also support the latest generation weapon systems such as the Mk 54 light weight torpedo.
The second ATR72-600 TMUA is expected to be delivered within the first half of August while first Turkish Navy flying instructors have completed the new aircraft training at Alenia Aermacchi’s Training Centre in Caselle.

The above text is form the press release of the Italian company. Well originally they were contracted in 8 years ago (in July 2005) to deliver 10 ATR 72-500 airplanes which should have the necessary sensors and weapons to conduct anti submarine warfare.

After 8 years of delays what we have is an unarmed plane for utility work instead of hunting submarines.

In May 2013 the original contract was amended from 10 ATR 72-500 ASW planes to 2 ATR-72 600 TMUA and 6 ATR-72 600 TMPA planes.

I have told in then, I and I am telling it now,  the Meltem acquisition project should be thought in business and project management courses as a case study as an example how not to run a project.

Turkish Navy To Get 8 ATR-72-600 Planes Instead Of 10 As Originaly Agreed.

The heavy edited announcement from the Italian aircraft maker Aleina Aermacchi made it sound so nice, it was too good to be true.

Alenia Aermacchi has signed an agreement with Savunma Sanayii Müsteşarlığı (SSM), the Turkish Undersecretariat for Defence Industries to deliver two ATR 72-600 TMUA (Turkish Maritime Utility Aircraft) and six ATR 72-600 TMPA (Turkish Maritime Patrol Aircraft) to the Turkish Navy. The contract calls for strong industrial collaboration between Alenia Aermacchi and Turkish Aerospace Industry (TAI) for the duration of the project.

But the magic lasted only one paragraph.

The agreement is an amendment to a previous deal between Alenia and the Turkish government for the delivery of 10 ATR 72-500 ASW to the Turkish Navy.The most important change into the contract amendment is the adoption of the new -600 version of the ATR 72, the best in class of regional Turboprop. The original contract was based on the now out of production ATR 72-500.

I think the whole Meltem acquisition project should be thought in business and project management courses as a case study as an example how not to run a project.

When the Project started in 1998, CASA was still an independent company; the C-295 has just made its maiden flight and its ASW version did not exist even in the dreams of the CASA/EADS/Airbus Military engineers. After 16 years we still do not have any fully operational ASW planes for our navy.

And it gets only worse. Last week the Alenia announced that they were going to delivery 8 new planes to Turkish Navy. This is actually BS as two of the planes will be two ATR 72-600 TMUA (Turkish Maritime Utility Aircraft) which means in plain English that these planes will carry neither weapons nor any sensors. They will be used cargo planes.

Thanks to the agreement, the Turkish Navy will obtain the last generation ATR72-600 equipped with a glass cockpit as well as more powerful engines that guarantee best performance and supportability for the next 30 years.

The two ATR 72-600TMUA–already in the modification phase at Alenia Aermacchi’s plant in Naples-Capodichino–will be used by the Turkish Navy for personnel and cargo transport and will be delivered in June and July 2013 .

In July 2005 a contract was signed to procure 10 ATR-72-500 planes for ASW missions, to be used by Turkish Navy after the first part of the program involving the CN-235 planes was stuck.  8 years later, the Italians realized that they cannot deliver the 10 planes to according to the deal done in the contract so they had to renegotiate the whole deal. Now we get 2 planes less but a newer version of the ATR-72 plane as production of the  -500 variant is discontinued in the mean time.

As the newer -600 version has improved engines it is believed that the performance of the -600 will be superior to the old -500 version. But this fact has to be proven first.

I must give my respects to the PR people of the SSM and Alenia as they deserved it by making a good news from the rotten state of the whole Meltem Project; that is some spin doctoring.

Update On Nusret 12 And Mavi Balina 12 Exercises

The Mavi Balina 12 anti submarine warfare and Nusret 12 mine warfare exercises are continuing. The former is conducted in Eastern Mediterranean while the later is in Aegean Sea. My list of the order of battle for both exercises is still incomplete but I was able to get some help.

First I have received this photo. I thank my reader Mr Yıldırım for this photo.

A the superstructure of a sixth warship is visible at the right part of the photo. I am not able to tell exactly ship that is but I am confident that she is one of the two Rhein class tenders / training ships of the Turkish Navy A-577 TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa or A-579 TCG Cezayirli Hasan Paşa. TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa acted as the flagship of SNMCMG-2 earlier this year when the Turkish Navy was commanding the task force.

 Number Name Type Country
M-500 TCG Foça Mine Sweeper Turkey
M-501 TCG Fethiye Mine Sweeper Turkey
M-516 TCG Sığacık Mine Sweeper Turkey
M-1064 FGS Grömitz Mine Hunter Germany
M-5559 ITS Viareggo Mine Hunter Italy
M-111 HMS Blyth Mine Hunter UK
M-276 TCG Ayvalık Mine Hunter Turkey
A-57X TCG Unidentified Tender Turkey
M-61 HS Evniki Mine Hunter Greece

Second I have received this comment. I thank my reader Herr Leif for this information.

 Number Name Type Country
F-217 FGS Bayern Frigate Germany
F-570 ITS Maestrale Frigate Italy
F-495 TCG Gediz Frigate Turkey
DDG-98 USS Forrest Sherman Destroyer USA
F-252 PNS Shamsheer Frigate Pakistan
F-244  TCG Barbaros Frigate Turkey
Unidentified Turkey
Unidentified Turkey
S- Unidentified Submarine Turkey
S- Unidentified Submarine Turkey
S- Unidentified Submarine Turkey

Turkish Submarine Conducts ASW Training With US Navy

A Turkish Type 209/1200 class submarine very similar to TCG 18 Mart. She could even be TCG 18 Mart. There is no way of telling.

According to the official web site of Turkish general Staff Turkish Type 209 class submarine TCG 18 Mart conducted and ASW exercise with an US Navy ASW plane on 15th April 2012 in Mediterranean Sea.

The original text of the announcement is just one sentence. But This one sentence holds a lot of interesting information.

The submarine TCG 18 Mart did this exercise while participating NATO’s anti terror operation in Med, Active Endeavor. Under Operation Active Endeavour, NATO ships are patrolling the Mediterranean and monitoring shipping to help detect, deter and protect against terrorist activity. NATO ships to hail merchants ships and sometimes they send boarding teams to inspect them. But a submarine cannot do any of it. This means that NATO is also using submarines to stalk suspicious merchant ships.

The type of the US ASW plane was not disclosed in the text but it is safe to assume that it was a P-3C Orion ASW plane. Given the plane’s usual bases and its range I guess the exercise was held off the coast of Libya rather than Eastern Med where a Turkish submarine is more likely expected to be present.

US Navy is always very keen to practice ASW training with conventional diesel-electric submarines in order to keep its submarine hunters in shape ans US Navy expects to encounter hostile diesel-electric submarines in Indian and Pacific Oceans.

Proud Manta 2012

It is once again time for the NATO’s biggest anti submarine warfare (ASW) exercise Proud Manta.

From 14-26 February 2012, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. will provide 5 submarines, 15 aircraft and 12 surface ships take part in  this exercise. The exercise will take place in the Ionian Sea to the southeast of Sicily.

The NATO’s own research ship A-1456 Alliance will participate to the exercise as well as ASW planes from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Norway and USA. The UK will only provide 2 EH-101 ASW helicopters.

The exercise will demonstrate NATO’s determination to maintain proficiency and improve interoperability in coordinated anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, coastal surveillance and other maritime operations using a multi-national force of ships, submarines and aircraft.  Furthermore it will aim to provide operational training in potential NRF tasks/roles and missions as well as exercising the procedures for current or future operations. The units will also be exercised in defence against terrorism operations.

Order of Battle for Proud Manta 12 is:

Surface Ships
FFG-339 HMCS Charlottetown Frigate Canada
D-643 FS Jean De Vienne Destroyer France
F-209 FGS Rheinland-Pflaz Frigate Germany
A-1443 FGS Rhön Replenishment Tanker Germany
D-561 ITS Francesco Mimbelli Destroyer Italy
F-576 ITS Espero Frigate Italy
A-5352 ITS Lipari Tender Italy
A-5366 ITS Levanzo Tender Italy
F-804 HNLMS De Ruyter Frigate Netherlands
CG-72 USS Vella  Gulf Cruiser USA
DGG-68 USS The Sullivans Destroyer USA
FGG-45 USS De Wert Frigate USA
Submarines
S-605 FS Améthyste Rubis/Améthyste cl. France
S-111 NS Nirefs Type 209/1100 Mod. Greece
S-527 ITS Sciré Type 212A Italy
S-71 SPS Galerna Agosta S70 Spain
S-357 TCG Gür Type 209 /1400 Turkey

Click for previous years Proud Manta Exercise News.

Turkish ASW plane Spotted In Malta

Turkish CN-235 ASW plane under French registration in Mlata on 9th November 2011. Photo: Neil Psaila

If I do not see photos of the CN-235 ASW planes every now and then I would think that the project is dead and everyone have forgotten it.

The ASW plane acquisition project (also known as Meltem project) of Turkish Navy is a very long saga and consist of 3 parts:

Meltem (I): Constructione of three CN-235’s for Exclusive Economic Zone surveillance missions by the Turkish Coast Guard and six CN-235’s for AsuW and ASW missions. This has been the only part of the whole MELTEM project, completed so far. All the nine planes were manufactured and delivered between 1998-2003.

Meltem (II): integration of AMASOC and its sub components on the above mentioned planes. Thales made AMASCOS(Airborne MAritime Situation and COntrol System) was selected and the main C3I system for the above mentioned CN-235 planes back in 2002. Thales acts as the main contractor and Turkish companies TAI, Havelsan, Aselsan and Milsoft are acting as sub contractors. According to the contract the planes were to be in service in 2007. But the first modified plane made its maiden flight one year after the contractual delivery date.

Because of the delays in this project Thales accepted to pay fines to Turkey.

Following the discussions initiated in early 2010 on the Meltem maritime patrol aircraft program, Thales and the Turkish Ministry of Defence signed an agreement on 3 March 2011. As expected at the end of 2010, this agreement rescopes all engineering and schedule aspects of the contract. It also provides for financial compensation to be paid by Thales (penalties and extra work to be undertaken free of charge). Consequently, the financial assumptions taken into account in the 2010 financial statements were maintained at 30 June 2011.

Meltem (III): purchase of ten ATR-72 ASW planes and integration of AMASCOS on to them. For Meltem (III) Aleina is the prime contractor.

Under Meltem III Program, the first ATR72-500 aircraft arrived at  Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), on 14th February 2008. The contract of the Meltem III program, covering the procurement of a total of 10 ATR72-500 aircraft and their change into Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) configuration for the Turkish Navy was signed between Alenia Aeronautica S.p.A and TAI on December 21, 2005. Alenia has started to manufacture the planes. But the stage of the integration of ASW suite is not clear.

In my humble opinion the project is as disastrous as the Pananikolis project of the neighbor.

Turkish Navy Received ASW Training In France

Atlantic 2 maritime patrol aircraft. Official French Navy Photo

Turkish Navy personel received training in France according to French internet naval portal Mer et Marine.

In order to maintain the necessary know-how for airborne ASW and AsuW missions, Ankara has thus called on twice in DCI-NAVFCO for operational training of two groups of six tactical coordinators. The mission of DCI – NAVFCO , naval component of the Défense Conseil International group, is to transfer French Navy know-how to requesting friendly foreign navies.

The Turkish officers were given a general upgrading of knowledge of anti-surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare, and operational training at Naval Training Center of St. Mandrier. Later they received 6 weeks aviation training on the Nîmes-Garonne airbase. There the Turkish officers operated two Atlantic maritime patrol aircraft of the French Navy.

This training in France was a neceesity as Turkish Navy retired last Grumman S-2E Tracker ASW planes 16 years ago and needs patrol planes for maritime surveillance, monitoring territorial Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) waters, for detecting all forms of illicit trade and trafficking, accidental pollution and oil dumping, and for search-and-rescue operations

The ASW plane acquisition project (also known as Meltem project) of Turkish Navy is a very long saga and consist of 3 parts:

  • Meltem (I): purchase of three CN-235′s for Exclusive Economic Zone surveillance missions by the Turkish Coast Guard and six CN-235′s in AsuW and ASW missions. This has been the only part completed so far.
  • Meltem (II): integration of AMASOC and its sub components on the above mentioned planes. Thales made AMASCOS (Airborne MAritime Situation and COntrol System) was selected and the main C3I system for the above mentioned CN-235 planes back in 2002. Thales acts as the main contractor and Turkish companies TAI, Havelsan, Aselsan and Milsoft are acting as sub contractors. According to the contract the planes were to be in service in 2007. But the first modified plane made its maiden flight one year after the contractual delivery date.
  • Meltem (III): purchase of ten ATR-72 ASW planes and integration of AMASCOS on to them. For Meltem (III) Aleina is the prime contractor.
The planed commissioning for CN-235 ASW planes is in 2011 and the scheduled delivery of the first ATR-72 ASW is in 2012.
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