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.

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 (Part 2)

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Above: TCG Ödev tows the target. Below: the point of impact and the damage to the target.

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The firing of the missile.

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The test bed: Turkish S-70 B2 helicopter with the tail number TCB-66.

 

Last week I had reported about the this photo of a Turkish S-70 B2 Sea Hawk helicopter firing a missile.

Thanks to the comment of my reader Frankie I have now more information strait from the in house magazine of Roketsan.

According to the magazine the test was conducted on 16 September 2014, from the helicopter TCB-66 which was modified for this test. The modifications included a firing control panel inside the cockpit, the special designed power and data cabling for the communication between the missile and the helicopter and finally a missile launcher that fits to the helicopter.

The missile it self is a laser guided UMTAS. It is a beam rider that means the missile follows a the reflection of a laser beam pointed to the target. The source of this beam can the the launching aircraft, a ground based forward observer or another aircraft. The missile has be locked-on before the launch or lock-on after the launch modes.

During the test the launching platform (TCB-66) was the laser designator. The height of the helicopter was 200 meters over the sea level and the target was 4000 meters away, towed the Turkish Navy tug TCG Ödev.

Roketsan states the maximum range of the L-UMTAS as 8000 meters. Turkish Navy is the only operator of the Hellfire missile family in Turkey. As is the missile is very similar in performance to the Hellfire missiles used by Turkish Navy thus L-UMTAS offers a local replacement for the Hellfire missiles.

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.

 

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 Akın Launched

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A-584 TCG Akın prior her launching. Photo: aksam.com

I know this headline is confusing as there is already one ship named as TCG Akın in Turkish Navy inventory. But apparently her days are limited.

The ship today launched is the second of the two RATSHIP (Rescue and Towing Ship) Istanbul Shipyard is constructing for Turkish Navy. Istanbul Shipyard a private company, was selected to build one submarine rescue ship and two salvage and rescue ships by SSM in June 2010. The submarine rescue ship A-601 TCG Alemdar was launched on 29 April 2014. And the first RATSHIP, A-583 TCG Işın was launched on 25 June 2014.

According to the press release of Undersecretariat for Defence Industries, the rescue and Towing ship will be capable of towing the broken down, wrecked and ran ashore ships as well as fire-fighting. Moreover, she, which will be equipped by the modern rescue systems and equipment such as remotely operated vehicle (ROV), atmospheric diving suit, submarine ventilation system, pressure rooms etc., can also perform the underwater repair works and wreck removal.

The complete design, construction, outfitting and integration of the Rescue and Towing Ship are being performed by Istanbul Shipyard. In this scope, the total industry participation and offset percentage of 65% enables the utilization of Turkish industry capabilities through the acquisition of the construction material and services as well as most of the systems integrated on the vessel.

TCG Işın Launched

A-583 TCG Işın before the launching. Photo: stargundem.com

A-583 TCG Işın before the launching. Photo: stargundem.com

I know this headline is confusing as there is already one ship named as TCG Işın in Turkish Navy inventory. But apparently her days are limited.

The ship today launched is the first of the two RATSHIP (Rescue and Towing Ship) Istanbul Shipyard is constructing for Turkish Navy. Istanbul Shipyard a private company, was selected to build one submarine rescue ship and two salvage and rescue ships by SSM in June 2010. The submarine rescue ship A-601 TCG Alemdar was launched on 29 April 2014.

According to the press release of Undersecretariat for Defence Industries, the rescue and Towing ship will be capable of towing the broken down, wrecked and ran ashore ships as well as fire-fighting. Moreover, she, which will be equipped by the modern rescue systems and equipment such as remotely operated vehicle (ROV), atmospheric diving suit, submarine ventilation system, pressure rooms etc., can also perform the underwater repair works and wreck removal.

The complete design, construction, outfitting and integration of the Rescue and Towing Ship are being performed by Istanbul Shipyard. In this scope, the total industry participation and offset percentage of 65% enables the utilization of Turkish industry capabilities through the acquisition of the construction material and services as well as most of the systems integrated on the vessel.

The new A-583 TCG Işın will be handed over to Turkish Navy in January 2015.  That means the days of the old and veteran A-589 TCG Işın are limited.

This is the video of the launch:

TCG Alemdar Launched

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A-601 TCG Alemdar after the launching. Photo: Istanbul Shipyard

This breaking story is almost one month old and show that the Turkish Shipyard have a lot to learn in public relation and in explaining to the public what they are accomplishing.

On 29 April 2014, the submarine rescue mother ship also known as MOSHIP, A-601 TCG Alemdar was launched by Istanbul Shipyard.

Istanbul Shipyard a private company, was selected to build one submarine rescue ship and two salvage and rescue ships by SSM in June 2010.

The main task of this ship will be rescue submarines that are unable to resurface themselves. She will be able to provide life support to the stranded crew of a distressed submarine up to 600 meters depth. She will carry ROV’s, atmospheric diving suits and other necessary equipment.

With fourteen modern diesel-electric submarines in service, the Turkish Navy is the biggest operator of conventionally powered submarines among both European and NATO countries. However, the existing submarine rescue and salvage ships in the Turkish Navy were built in the 1950s and they are now reaching the end of their life-spans.

It is important for the Turkish Navy to maintain an appropriate degree of salvage and recovery capability to support its large submarine force, so it is a joy to see that a very complex ship with many complex equipment on board was launched.

This is the video of the launching:

First Steel Is Cut For Turkish TCG Bayraktar

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Suddenly and silently the construction of the first of the two new LST class ships has started.

The first steel was cut on 14 May 2014 at ADİK Shipyard. The first ship will be called as TCG Bayraktar; the name proves that the old TCG Bayraktar, an old LST-511 class landing ship is out of commission.

The contract for the construction of two new LST class landing ships was signed between ADIK shipyard and SSM in 16 June 2011. It took almost two years for the shipyard to find the 370 million Euro credit to cover the project as required by the contract.

The shipyard expect to hand the ship to Turkish Navy in 34 months on 17 February 2017.

Turkey Requests MK 48 Torpedoes From USA

On 12 May 2014, the State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Turkey for MK 48 Mod 6 Advanced Technology All-Up-Round (AUR) Warshot torpedoes and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $170 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale.

The Government of Turkey has requested a possible sale of up to 48 MK 48 Mod 6 Advanced Technology All-Up-Round (AUR) Warshot Torpedoes, containers, fleet exercise sections, exercise fuel tanks, surface recovery cage and tools, exercise hardware, maintenance facility upgrades, support and test equipment, spare and repair parts, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical documentation, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support. The total estimated cost is $170 million.

The Republic of Turkey is a partner of the United States in ensuring peace and stability in the region. It is vital to the U.S. national interest to assist our North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ally in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defense capability that will contribute to an acceptable military balance in the area. This proposed sale is consistent with those objectives.

The proposed sale will improve Turkey’s capability for self defense, modernization, regional security, and interoperability with U.S. and other NATO members. Turkey will use the enhanced capability of the MK 48 Mod 6 Advanced Technology torpedoes on the new CERBE Class submarines (214 Type 1200). Turkey has significant experience in maintaining and supporting advanced torpedoes, particularly MK 46 Mod 5A(S)W and MK 54 Lightweight Torpedoes (LWT), and has capable infrastructure that will require minimal updates. Turkey is capable of integrating, employing, and maintaining the MK 48 Mod 6AT Torpedo.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The principal contractor will be Raytheon Company Integrated Defense Systems in Keyport, Washington; and Lockheed Martin Sippican in Marion, Massachusetts. There are no known offset agreements associated in connection with this proposed sale

The above notification is hardly surprising. When the selection of Cerbe Class (214 Type 1200) AIP submarines was made back in 2009, the Mk 48 torpedoes were announced as their primary weapon. The selection of US made torpedoes over German torpedoes was not expected as Turkish Navy already uses German torpedoes in its German designed submarines: Atılay class (209 Type 1200), Preveze class (209 Type 1400) and Gür class (209 Type 1200 Mod).

The technical parameters of the German torpedoes are by default configured in the the fire control software developed by another German company Atlas Elektronik. This is why in Turkish Type 209 submarines German torpedoes are used as standard weapon.

According to media reports HDW demanded a very high sum for the integration of Mk-48 torpedoes in to Type 214. This is typical HDW. When Greece wanted to have Italian Blackshark torpedoes for their Type 214 submarines, the money HDW demanded for the integration was so high that Greece decided to use German torpedoes instead. Therefore, Turkey selected Atlas Elektronik instead of HDW as the main contractor for the integration of Mk-48 torpedoes into the Atlas Elektronik’s ISUS command and control software.

Turkish company Havelsan,  acting as sub contractor for Atlas Elektronik, will develop the plug in software to integrate the USA made torpedoes to German made fire control software.

But the Cerbe class submarines are not the only platform for the US torpedoes. Two of the six Atılay class (209 Type 1200) submarines are also getting the software upgrade to fire and control the MK 48 torpedo.

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