TCG Burgazada Coming Along Nicely

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The construction of the third Ada type corvette is proceeding. Here without her bow on 17 July 2015.

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In less time a months time the bow was finished. Here on 7 August 2015.

The construction of the third Ada class (Milgem) corvette Burgazada is proceeding. The fabrication of her hull is almost finished with the pre-fabrication of her superstructure proceeding.

The two photos above are taken from a commercial airplane 3 weeks apart. The proceeding of the construction is visible. It appears that the ship will be ready to launch for the next year.

Turkish Navy Receives Upgraded Submarines

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This photo shows TCG Batıray in August 2014. She is a sister boat to TCG Dolunay and TCG Doğanay.

Last week Turkish project management company STM Mühendislik, announced that they have finished the modernization project of two Turkish Ay class submarines.

As reported in earlier in this blog, in March 2010 Defense Industry Executive Committee (SSIK) decided to upgrade two  Atılay class submarines and one year later the contract was signed with STM.

Atılay class is based on German  Type 209 design and they are the oldest submarines in Turkish silent service. The oldest one was commissioned 34 and the newest one 20 years ago. Last year S-348 TCG Saldıray was decommissioned.

The newest two boats, S-351 TCG Doğanay and S-352 TCG Dolunay received an extensive modernization. The old Kollmorgen periscopes were replaced with Zeiss periscopes either SERO 400 or OMS 100. Furthermore a new inertial navigation system from Raytheon and the ARES-2N ESM system from Aselsan have replaced the existing ones.

It was planned to modify four of the torpedo tubes so that they can use Mk48 ADCAP Mod6 AT heavy weight torpedoes. But the press release made from STM omits any mention about this. The modernization project led by the STM remains significant in a way that for the first time in the history of Turkey, a civilian company has been appointed as a main-contractor of a navy submarine project.

Detailed Photos Of Chinese Naval Weapon And Sensor Systems

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Since I cannot see a Chinese warship often, I tried to take as many photos as I can make.

My knowledge of Chinese naval sensors and weapons is very limited. Thus I welcome any additional information about them.

The Contract For LPD Construction Has Been Signed

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The model of the future Turkish LPD.

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The model of the future Turkish LPD.

The contract signing ceremony for the LPD was the highlight of the IDEF 2015 was from the maritime point of view the.

On 7 May 2015 the contract for the production of one landing platform dock, was signed between Under-secretariat for Defence Industries and Sedef Shipyard.

The design is based on Spanish shipyard Navantia’s Juan Carlos 1 LPD and will be very similar to the Spanish and Australian ships. According to Under-secretariat for Defence Industries press release the ship is scheduled to be commissioned in 2021. The ship will be able to operate 60 days on sea, without replenishment.

The preliminary specifications of the Turkish LPD shows that the ship will not much different from her Spanish and Australian versions:

Canberra Juan Carlos Levent
Displacement (tons) 27.500 27.500 27.460
Length (meters) 230 230 230
Speed (knots) 19 21 20,5
Range (n. miles) 9.000 9.000 9.000
Crew 240 295 240

The exact plane and helicopter load is not published but Juan Carlos design has capacity for 11 medium class helicopters and up to 7 Harrier type planes. Nobody is talking it openly yet, but it is highly possible that the S/VTOL version of F-35 may be acquired in the future to be used on this ship. Turkey is a member of the F-35 alliance and wants to buy at least 100 planes of the land based version.

For self-defence, the ship will have at least two MK-15 Phalanx CIWS and 3 or 4 remote-controlled weapon platforms  such as Aselsan’s STAMP or STOP.

ECM and ESM systems, IR signature measurement systems, electro-optic sensors, torpedo defence systems will be among many subsystems provided by Turkish companies. The combat management system will be also indigenous and will be based on GENESİS CMS.

With the signing of the contract for the LPD, Turkey Navy has entered to the Dreadnought Owners Club of the 21. Century. 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 and 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 procurement of 8 LCT’s. This project officially started in 2009 with the signing of the contract and ended in 2014 with the commissioning of 8 LCT’s into Turkish Navy.

The procurement of the LST’s was the second project. For the LST’s UDI submitted a Request for Proposal. on May 2008. On 6 January 2010 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 was to 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 its 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).

On 27 December 2013 the Defence Industry Executive Committee decided to start contract negotiation with the Sedef Ship Building Company, which was signed on 7 May 2015.

When commissioned she will be the capital ship of Turkish Navy.

Second Generation Milgem Design Revealed

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A conceptual drawing of Milgem-G class. Original photo by Arda Mevlütoğu. Enhancements by me.

 

During the IDEF 2015 12th International Defense Industry Fair, Turkish Navy shared the first conceptual drawing of the second generation of Milgem ships which are also called as Milgem-G

So, what do we see here?

Nothing unorthodox or groundbreaking or very experimental. From the outside the ship is an enlarged Milgem. The inside changes can only be speculated at this moment.

The hull is basically the same as the existing Milgem class ships. It is longer and heavier due to the increased weapon load and other design changes, but there appears no important changes either on the hull or on the superstructure.

The main gun is a 76mm with a stealth cupola. There is 16 canister VLS just behind the gun. As Turkish Navy uses Mk41 VLS system it is safe to say that the same system will be used in Milgem-G class. These canister will be loaded with ESSM missiles.

The forms of the bridge and the main mast is almost identical to the existing Milgem class only slightly enlarge. There will be a Smart-S Mk2 radar and ARES-2 ESM suit on the mast.

There are 16 anti ship missiles in the area between the main mast and the funnel. This is the twice the usual load of the existing anti ship missiles normally carried on Turkish warships. So not all the missiles will be Harpoon otherwise will be too expensive to procure and maintain 16 anti ship missiles.

The design of Milgem-G from the funnel till the end of the ship is identical to the Milgem. The only major difference is the close in weapon system. While the Milgem has the RAM anti-air missiles the Milgem-G has a Phalanx gun. The reason for this change might be the high cost of the RAM missile system compared to MK-15 Phalanx.

There are two remotely controlled guns on the both sides of the funnel. The details are sketchy but I expect the chaff, flare launchers and torpedo counter measure launchers to be on their existent places. There is no need to change their places.

The above mentioned are the external differences between the two generation of Milgem ships. The internal changes are very hard to tell at this time. But nevertheless I think one might safely say that the combat management system of the second generation will be an improved version of the first generation.

Once the design is completed and cast, the Under-secretariat for Defence Industries, will issue a request for information from Turkish shipyards. This will mark the start of the construction program of the second class of the Milgem ships.

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.

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