HMS Duncan In Çanakkale


The last of the Type 45 class destroyers, HMS Duncan made a port visit in Çanakkale during the 18 March Naval Victory Commemorations. I do not know her exact arrival and departure dates but she was there on 17, 18 and 19 March.

She was commissioned in 2013 and left UK for her  maiden deployment to the Mediterranean and Middle East on 2 March 2015.

Foreign Warships On Bosphorus – Nostalgia Edition




TCG Yavuz

On Saturday I have found these old 4 photos in an antique shop in Istanbul and bought them. I have removed the photos from their old and deteriorated frames.

The first photo shows the British submarine HMS M-1 in Istanbul. Though I have no date on the back of the photo or on the frame I can see snow on the roof of the submarine and on the roofs of the buildings in the back ground. A quick search on the internet provided me with a couple of photos from the same submarine in Istanbul in February 1919. Thus I believe my photo was taken around that time. It can be pretty cold in Istanbul in February.

The second photo shows either an Admiralty Modified R class or a S class Royal Navy destroyer. The next photo was taken on board of this ship with her crew and the mascot dog posing. Again this photo has to be taken during the Allied occupation of Istanbul between 1918 and 1923

The last photo is the only one that had a note on the back: “German battleship ‘Goeben’ at Ismid Nr Constantinople 1918″ . I do not need any notes to identify this beautiful ship, which shaped the history of this nation it was nice to know that the photo was not taken in Istanbul. Some ships of the Ottoman Navy were interned in the Golden Horn in Istanbul while the Goeben / Yavuz was interned in a place near Izmit. This place is know today as the Gölcük Naval Base and is the main base of Turkish Navy.

RFA Lyme Bay In Bodrum


L-3007 RFA Lyme Bay in Bodrum. Photo:

Royal Fleet Auxiliary Lyme Bay has docked in Bodrum for a port visit. Her sister, RFA Mounts Bay, made also a port visit in Bodrum during last year’s deployment.

L-3007 RFA Lyme Bay is currently on a 4 month-long deployment in the Mediterranean called Cougar 2014 with other Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary  units.

According to Royal Navy the Cougar is a four-month deployment, 14, includes a series of demanding amphibious and maritime-based exercises with partner nations throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East region and ensures that the task group is ready to respond to any contingency the UK Government directs upon it.

The Royal Navy’s Response Force Task Group (RFTG) in Cougar 2014 has already conducted exercise with Greek and Albanian armed forces.

RFA Lyme Bay will leave Bodrum on 21 September 2014.

From the Archive (4)

My captured picture

This weeks photo feature the Falkland War veteran F-90 HMS Briliant. She served in the Brazilian Navy 8 years in addition to her service in RN of 18 years.

HMS Daring In Malta


Royal Navy Destroyer D-32 HMS Daring. Seen from a distance over 10 km.


Royal Navy Destroyer D-32 HMS Daring. Seen from a distance over 10 km.

Yesterday, HMS Daring arrived in Malta with a very excellent timing, after a few hours I had to fly home.

The photo above was taken on 16 February 2014, over a very long distance as the destroyer was waiting for the right time to enter the Grand Harbour.

For a better photo of her visit:

RFA Mounts Bay In Bodrum


L-3008 RFA Mounts Bay in Bodrum. Photo:

One of the participants of the Royal Navy’s Response Force Task Group (RFTG) in Cougar 2013, RFA Mounts Bay arrived in Bodrum for a week long visit.

Click here for a video of the ship.

HMS Ark Royal Reached Her Final Destination

HMS Ark Royal in arriving her final destination in Aliağa. Photo:

HMS Ark Royal in arriving her final destination in Aliağa. Photo:

The decommissioned British aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal has finished her 22 day voyage from Portsmouth to Aliağa and reached her final destination.

She was bought by Turkish scrapyard Leyal for 10 million TL (aproximately 3.400.000,- GBP and 5.280.000,- USD). This company has quite an expertise in scrapping warships: HMS Invincible, HMS Cardiff, HMS Newcastle, HMS Glasgow, HMS Exeter, HMS Southampton, HMS Nottingham, RFA Oakleaf , RFA Bayleaf, RFA Forg George  and German destroyer Rommel.


About Nusret 12 And Mavi Balina 12 Exercises

Turkish Navy is conducting two naval exercises simultaneously. One is Nusret 2012 mine warfare exercise is held in the Aegean with the participation of NATO’s SNMCMG-2 and Turkish, Greek and US naval units. Below is the order of battle for this exercise as far as I could find.

 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
Unidentified USA
M-61 HS Evniki Mine Hunter Greece

The second naval exercise Mavi Balina 2012 is held in Eastern Mediterranean with the participation of NATO’s SNMG-2, Pakistani, US and Turkish naval units and airplanes. According to Turkish Navy the total number of participants is 8 surface units and 3 submarines. Below is the order of battle for this exercise as far as I could find.

 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
Unidentified Turkey
Unidentified Turkey
Unidentified Turkey
S- Unidentified Submarine Turkey
S- Unidentified Submarine Turkey
S- Unidentified Submarine Turkey

SNMG-2 Is Heading To Djibouti

Families and onlookers wave farewell to SNMG2 flagship TCG Giresun as she sails to meet up with ITS Grecale and pass through Suez. Photo: SNMG2

According to NATO, SNMG-2 has passed through the Suez Canal some time between December 2nd and today and the task force consisting of Turkish flagship F-491 TCG Giresun and Italian frigate F-571 ITS Grecale is sailing to Djibouti to join Task Force 508.

 TCG GIRESUN, the new flagship of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 recently rendezvoused in the eastern Mediterranean with Italian frigate ITS GRECALE. 
The Group has now passed through passed the Suez Canal and is sailing to Djibouti to join Task Force 508.

SNMG 2 is a multinational integrated maritime force that forms part of the NATO Response Force and operates under the command of the Allied Maritime Command in Naples. Permanently activated and held at high readiness, it is a mobile and flexible force that allows the Alliance to respond to today’s security challenges.  SNMG2 is currently under the command of Rear Admiral (LH) Sinan Azmi TOSUN, Turkish Navy.

According to Turkish Navy, after the rendezvous in Djibouti the composition of Task Force 508 will be as follows:

F-491 TCG Giresun (Flagship) Turkey Frigate
F-571 ITS Grecale Italy Frigate
L-16 HDMS Absalon Denmark Frigate
DDG-64 USS Carney USA Destroyer
FFG-45 USS De Wert USA Frigate
A-387 HMS Fort Victoria UK Replenishment Tanker

BAE Systems, Global Combat Ship And Turkey (Part 1)

In November Turkish President Abdullah Gül will visit United Kingdom. This visit has two highlight particularly important from naval point of view: First during his visit he will visit the BAE System’s shipyard in Portsmouth. Second an agreement (probably a Letter of Agreement) about joint defense R&D with UK will be signed. A similar agreement was signed with India last month.

Why are these two highlights of Mr Gül’s visit important? They are important because they represent a significant milestone in the British efforts to increase the defense cooperation between Turkey and UK.

United Kingdom is one of the largest exporters of defense equipment in the world. But their market share in Turkish defense market is almost non existent.

Since 1950, with the exception of four used Milne class destroyers, the main UK export products for Turkish Naval market were 10 AWS-6 Dolphin, 8 AWS-9 radars, 6 Type 2093 MCM sonars and some Mk24 Tigerfish torpedoes and Sea Skua missiles.

The British Government designated Turkey as a strategic partner. Prime Ministers Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and David Cameron signed a new Turkey/United Kingdom Strategic Partnership in Ankara on 27 July 2010. According to the British Embassy in Ankara, this new partnership reflects many common strategic interests of the two countries. It brings together commitments in the fields of bilateral relations, trade and investment, Turkey’s EU accession, regional stability and peace, a Cyprus settlement, defense, global security and terrorism, illegal trafficking of weapons, illegal migration, energy security and a low-carbon future, intercultural dialogue, and education and culture.

Well the issues like Turkey’s EU accession, regional stability and peace, a Cyprus settlement are there just for lip service. The real deal behind the strategic partnership is to increase bilateral trade and investment and especially in defense field. The British government is investing a considerable amount of political capital to create a government to government connection. The next step is to create a navy to navy connection. This will be followed by a industry to industry connection.

The reason the British government and the British defense industry is investing in a cooperation with Turkey can be explained with the current state of the British defense budget. Britain must find new markets for its defense products as the British defense budgets is not large enough to support the British defense industry anymore. So Turkey appears as a lucrative market for the British. And the untouched naval market offers a good opportunity for a start.

From this perspective it is very understandable why there such large attendance of British companies in IDEF 2011 Defence Exhibition and 4th Naval Systems Seminar (UKTI DSO, BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, BMT, IHS Janes, Johnson Controls, MBDA).

The British marketing efforts in Turkey, spearheaded by BAE Systems, is concentrated around the Global Combat Ship project.

The Global Combat Ship (GCS) is the export variant of UK’s Type 26 frigate. BAE Systems Surface Ships (BAE SSS) has been designated lead ship contractor and systems integrator. The company was also awarded a 127 million GBP contract by UK MoD to lead a four-year assessment phase in March 2010.

The Type 26 is a versatile ASW combatant and is intended to form the workhorse of the Royal Navy (RN). Entering into service from 2021 the Type 26 ships will replace the existing Type 23 frigates. The RN plans to have 13 Type 26 ships, compromising eight ASW version and five general purpose variant.

Both RN and BAE SSS have their own good reason to push the Type 26/GCS to export markets.

For RN the export success of GCS is important because as Dr. Julian Lewis puts it neatly if the RN is to have any chance of restoring the escort fleet, it must make the Type 26/GCS as cheap as chips.

In order to create the economics of scale to make the ships as cheap as chips a lot of GCS’s need to be exported. Otherwise the Royal Navy may not stay ahead of Belgium or Danish Naval Forces.

For BAE SSS is Type 26 may be their last hope to become a global naval shipbuilder. BAE Systems is one of the top five defense contractors in the world. They have build every thing from submarines to tanks, airplanes etc. But the company has yet to prove itself as a serious player in international naval market. And definitely this is not going to be a smooth sail.

The BAE SSS suffered a series of set backs in the recent years in international projects.

Greece: In March 2011 BAE SSS announced that it has pulled itself from the contract with the Elefsis. BAE SSS cited the lack of payments for the project by Greek government as the reason for its departure.

The construction of Super Vita corvettes is or was the biggest warship construction project in Greece besides the construction of 6 Type 214 AIP submarines.

Brunei: In 2005 BAE SSS had to sue the Sultan Of Brunei, one of the world’s richest men, over a row involving over $1-billion order for three Nakhoda Ragam class corvettes, as the sultan has refused to accept them because they allegedly fail to meet his specifications, the paper said

All three completed vessels remain unsold and are laid up at Barrow-in-Furness, and are waiting for a customer.

Trinidad & Tobago: The Caribbean island Trinidad & Tobago ordered three patrol ships from VT Shipbuilding in April 2007. After BAE acquired VT in October 2009 the project encountered considerable delays so that in September 2010 Trinidad & Tobago had to cancel the deal causing BAE SSS a loss of 150 million GBP.

Malaysia: BAE SSS encountered delays due to difficulties in the systems integrations of the weapons and weapons control system before the delivery of these frigates to Malaysia. The problems were overcome in the end but a plans for the purchase and construction of two Batch II Lekiu Class frigates from BAE Systems have been scrapped. A report in the British newspaper The Times in August 2009 quoted a BAE spokesperson as saying that both parties had agreed to not continue with the deal due to cost cutting measures by the Malaysian government, although BAE offered a cheaper alternative in the form of offshore patrol vessels.

Oman: The delivery of three corvettes destined for the Royal Navy of Oman has been hit by the discovery of a series of engineering problems found during sea trials of Al Shamikh, the first of class being built by BAE Systems Surface Ships.

BAE SSS is trying to fix the problems as Oman is a key export market for the British defense industry. BAE is involved in talks with the Gulf State government to complete a multibillion-pound deal to sell Typhoon fighters to the air force.

Some of the above mentioned problems can be attributed to the fact that BAE SSS’s rapid growth by buying other naval shipbuilders and the related management issues arising after such mergers.

Never the less the RN is currently the only important customer of BAE SSS, but the number of projects the company is running for this customer is decreasing with the diminishing defense budget.

So the Type 26/GSC can really be the last ticket for the BAE Systems to the global naval shipbuilding market along with other key players such as DCNS, Navantia, HDW, Fincantieri. Failing to succeed the BAE SSS will remain predominately a supplier for the RN and UK Mod and may face a significant downsizing reflecting the UK defence spending.

And the fact that since the export success of Leander (Type 12) frigate 40 years ago Britain failed to come up with a frigate design acceptable by foreign customers does not make things easier.

The above explained circumstances clearly show why the Royal Navy and BAE Systems SS is acting together and getting the political back-up from the British government.

These efforts of British government and defence industry has not been without success. So far UK established dialogues with Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Malaysia, New Zealand and Turkey. Canada has already refused to take part in Type 26 program and has chosen its own course.

Is there a market for the GCS in Turkey? According to a BAE Systems military advisor, Read Admiral Chris Clayton UK is keen to establish a strategic partnership with Turkey, to jointly develop future naval capability. One potential area for co-operation is the Global Combat Ship (GCS) programme. This would see us jointly developing the expertise to deliver state-of-the-art warships that meet the demands of global maritime customers into the middle of the 21st century.

In Part II, I will share my thoughts on Turkey’s participation on Global Combat Ship project.


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