TCG Saldıray Decommissioned

TCG Saldıray on her final cruise.

TCG Saldıray on her final cruise. Photo: Official Turkish Navy photo.

Today, Turkish Navy announced the retirement of Atılay class (209 Type 1200) submarine TCG Saldıray.

TCG Saldıray was the second of her class and was built in Kiel Germany. She was launched in 1974 and commissioned in Turkish Navy in 1977. There were news about an explosion in her, while she was in Gölcük Naval base. But these stories were never ever commented by Turkish Navy.  Earlier this year she took part in Beyaz Fırtına 2014 naval exercise and fired a torpedo to a target ship.

On 14 November 2014, her final day in commission, she made a farewell cruise with her active and former crew.

We thank TCG Saldıray and her crew for serving us 37 years.

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.

Turkish Navy Submarine Rescue Operation

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The Atmospheric Diving Suit being lowered into the sea. Photo: AA

Last week Turkish Navy demonstrated its underwater search and rescue capabilities by using an atmospheric diving suit (ADS).

According to the training scenario the Atılay class submarine TCG Dolunay at a dept of 100 meters, released her distress buoy 13 miles off the coast of Mediterranean city Mersin . When the news of the distresses submarine reached the HQ of the Salvage Command of Turkish Navy the ADS , its pilot and the support crew were flown to İncirlik Air Force base in Adana. From here they were brought to Mersin harbor and loaded to the tug A-590 TCG İnebolu.

When TCG İnebolu arrived to the location of the distressed submarine, the ADS was lowered to the submarine. The pilot inside ADS connected fresh air supply from the surface to the submarine. The circulation of the fresh and used air is vital for the bottomed submarine until further rescue equipment arrives to the scene.

The ADS known as Hardsuit Quantum 1200 by its manufacturer,  Oceanworks, is in operation since 2007 and can operate till 365 meter of depth.  Although it is very risky to submerge a person to such depths having a human on the scene can have some advantages over using ROVs. A similar ADS with a higher depth rating (600m) will be on board  of the submarine rescue mother ship (MOSHIP) A-601 TCG Alemdar when she is commissioned.

Here is a nice video of ADS at work:

A Submarine Sighted

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A Turkish Type 209/1400 Preveze/Gür class submarine passing through the Bosphorus. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permission.

Today on 1 July 2014, in the late evening hours, one Turkish Type 209 / 1400 class submarine sailed through Bosphorus to the Black Sea.

Since Turkish Navy stopped painting the pennant number of the submarines on their hulls, it is impossible to identify each individual submarine anymore. While this new painting scheme helps the submarines to blend and prevents IR/FLIR/LLTV using trackers or electro-optic directors any high contrast target, it makes ship spotting difficult.
With 6 Type 209/1200, 4 Type 209/1400 and 4 Modified Type 209/1400 class submarines in service, Turkey has the largest conventional submarine fleet in the NATO.

Turkish Navy Sinks An Old Landing Ship During Exercise

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One of the two torpedoes fired at ex Serdar finds its target.

The decommissioned Terrebonne Parish Class tank landing ship Serdar left us with a big bang.

On 30 May 2014 she was sunk as a target during the final day of the Beyaz Fırtına 2014 naval exercise.

She did not down easily. She was hit by a FIM-92 Stinger, two AGM-114 Hellfire and one RIM-7 Sea Sparrow missiles. According to media report one AGM-119 Penguin missiles is also fired at ex- Serdar but I was not able to verify this visually. On 3 June 2014 Turkish Navy published some photos from the firing exercise one photo clearly show the firing of the Penguin missile.

One Turkish Seahawk helicopter is firing a AGM-114 Penguin missile to LST Serdar.

One Turkish Seahawk helicopter is firing a AGM-119 Penguin missile to LST Serdar.

In addition to these missiles two undisclosed torpedoes were fired from TCG Saldıray and TCG Batıray.

The old landing ship was not the only target. Two RIM-162 ESSM missiles and one RIM-116 RAM missile were fired against drones launched from F-246 TCG Salihreis.

This is the first ESSM firing from Turkish MEKO 200 Track II B class ships.

This is the first ESSM firing from Turkish MEKO 200 Track II B class ships.

8 frigates, 3 corvettes, 18 fast attack craft 6 submarines 3 mine hunters and 31 other vessels took part in the exercise.

 

Here is a fine video from the final day of the exercise:

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.

Lest We Forget: TCG Dumlupınar

On 4 April 1953, in the wee hours of the morning two Turkish submarines  TCG Dumlupınar and her sister boat TCG 1. İnönü,entered from the Aegean into the Dardanelles Strait, as the returning from the NATO naval exercise Blue Sea.

The Commodore of First Submarine Squadron was in command of the two submarines and he was on board of TCG Dumlupınar. When the submarine reached the Cape Nara, the narrowest point of the Strait the Swedish flagged cargo ship M/V Naboland collided with the submarine. The accident happened at 02:15 in the morning.

M/V Naboland rammed TCG Dumlupınar from starboard forecastle just aft of the forward diving planes. The submarine rolled to port with force of the impact and sunk immediately. 5 sailors who were in the sail at the time of the collision survived. Rest of the crew, 81 men, were trapped inside her hull. She sunk at the narrowest point of Dardanelles at 85 meters.

22 sailors trapped in the aft torpedo compartment were able to release the submarine’s sunk buoy. The rescuers above the water tried to give hope and moral but time was an enemy. Submarine rescue and salvage ships were rushed from the main naval base in Gölcük after the incident. But all efforts to reach the submarine and rescue the survivors failed cause of very strong water currents and insufficient equipment.

The last words from the submarine, before the currents tore the cable of buoy were: For our country.

Since that fateful day, on every 4th of April we remember those that have a watery grave were no rose will grow.

Russians Doubled Their Submarine Force In The Black Sea

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The existing Russian Varshaviyanka (project 877) class submarine Alrosa on left and the newly gained Russian Foxtrot (Project 641) class submarine Zaporizya on right. Photo: Anton Blinov.

Last weekend on 22 March 2014, a second submarine joined the Russian Black Sea Fleet. This Foxtrot (Project 641) class submarine, launched in 1970 is not among the new constructions to strengthen the Black Sea Fleet. It is more or less adopted.

According to RIA Novosti the half of the crew of the Ukrainian submarine Zaporizya decided to join the Russian Navy.

Captain 1st Rank Anatoly Varochkin, the commander of the Black Sea Fleet’s submarine flotilla, told RIA Novosti that half of the Zaporizhzhia’s crew, including the captain, refused to serve in the Russian Navy and left the vessel. “Half of the submarine’s crew is ready to serve [Russia] and fulfill their tasks. They know their vessel and will continue service,” Varochkin said adding that the submarine was in a poor technical condition.

Well the submarine is old and she can probably cannot dive deeper than her periscope depth which might be between 12 to 15 meters. But it is not important what the Russians got it is important how they have got it.

The Russian blogger Anton Blinov has an excellent set of photos taken at the re flagging ceremony of the old Soviet, old Ukrainian new Russian submarine.

 

For further reading:
The Ukrainian Submarine Zaporizya Made Her First Dive
The Ukrainian Submarine Is Back In Regular Service
The Sole Ukraine Submarine Conducted Sea Trials In Black Sea
Russians Teach Ukrainians How To Escape From A Sunken Submarine
Turkey To Train Ukrainian Submariners?
Renewal of Naval Relations Between Russia and Ukraine
Russia Is Helping Ukraine To Maintain A Submarine

A Submarine Sighted

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A Turkish Type 209/1400 Preveze/Gür class submarine passing through the Bosphorus

Today on 19 March  2014, in the early morning hours, one Turkish Type 209 / 1400 class submarine sailed through Bosphorus to Marmara Sea. I want to hope that she has spent very busy days back in the Black Sea monitoring all the naval traffic and gathering intelligence. 

Since Turkish Navy stopped painting the pennant number of the submarines on their hulls, it is impossible to identify each individual submarine anymore. While this new painting scheme helps the submarines to blend and prevents IR/FLIR/LLTV using trackers or electro-optic directors any high contrast target, it makes ship spotting difficult.

With 6 Type 209/1200, 4 Type 209/1400 and 4 Modified Type 209/1400 class submarines in service, Turkey has the largest conventional submarine fleet in the NATO.

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