What Shall We Do With Captured Pirate Earl-Aye In The Morning?

I was wondering for some time about the fate of the Somali pirates captured by Turkish Navy. The reason for my wondering was the simple fact that Turkish General Staff and Turkish Navy only informed about the arrests and there was no information available about the proceedings afterwards.

Well sometimes the best information about our armed forces comes from abroad. And this time the information comes from 5800 kilometers distance. In early May 2011, The Turkish contribution to NATO’s Operation Ocean Shield, F-491 TCG Giresun made a port visit in Male, Maldives.

Two Maldivian web sites, Haveeru Online and Minivan News reported in-depth about this visit. Both sites posted similar content so I belive their reporters were on the same time on board of TCG Giresun.

An unnamed Turkish Naval officer acting as the spokesperson informed among other things that in instances where suspected pirates were caught, the Turkish authorities were not able to try or incarcerate any of the individuals themselves.

“They are not our captives as we are operating under United Nations resolutions and currently there is not an established court to judge [alleged] pirates that have been captured. So we attempt to disrupt and deter them [from piracy], we take their weapons and drop the equipment into the sea,” he said.

“We take all their equipments and then return [the suspects] to the Somali coast. Some countries have special [legislative] agreements, such as Kenya and the Seychelles. These agreements relate only between [these nations] and not internationally, so they capture the alleged pirates and then take them to Kenya or to the Seychelles to be judged.”

I am not surprised to learn that all the Somali pirates captured by Turkish Navy were returned to the sea. The lack of any prosecution against the pirates and the lack of the news about the legal rules against the pirates whether in Turkey or elsewhere was enough proof. There are other navies that thread the pirates in a same way. Then on the other side of the scale there are the Russians.

What bothers me is the lack of an internationally agreed solution to that problems. The lack of a standard way of legal proceeding against the pirates makes the  fight against the piracy almost non efficient. If you take away the piracy paraphernalia and send the pirates back means you are working for the benefit of the piracy paraphernalia producers as they gain a net profit from the whole thing.

Read the lyrics of the traditional sea shanty Drunken Sailor. There are some excellent suggestions what we can do the a pirate. But I am afraid that they would be considered to inhuman in our modern society.

Denizkurdu 2011 Naval Exercise Cancelled

Turkish General Staff announced today that Denizkurdu-2011 and Efes-2011 military exercise were cancelled.

The very short, one sentence statement informed that there would be no Press Day for the exercises as they were canceled.

As there are no further information available speculations grow ripe.

The biannual Deniz Kurdu 2011 naval exercise started on 16 May and was supposed to end tomorrow. Marmara Sea, Aegean and Mediterranean are the exercise areas. The exact list of the participating units was never made public but I was able to identify the following ships from various news: TCG Yıldırım, TCG Oruçreis, TCG İmbat, TCG Zıpkın, TCG Taşkızak, TCG Albay Hakkı Burak.

Efes 2011 exercise organized by Turkish Army started on 3 May and was supposed to continue till 29 May. This exercise usually includes an amphibious landing training in the Doğanbey/Seferihisar region, in order to strengthen the joint operations between navy, army and air force.

Both exercises had only a few days left thus the cancellation will not have an adverse effect about the training levels of the armed forces.

I guess we will have more information in a few days, but this is a very odd move from Turkish General Staff.

Turkish Warships In Sevastopol

A-577 TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa

The two training ships of the Turkish Navy A-577  TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa and A-579 TCG Cezayirli Gazi Hasan Paşa have ended their 3 day visit to Sevastopol today.

The ships are on an annual training cruise for the cadets of Turkish Naval academy.

According to Ukrainan Defence Ministry, the commanders of Turkish warships visited the Ukrainian Navy Headquarters, where they met with Deputy Chief of Staff Armed Forces of Ukraine Navy Captain 1 Rank Sergey Hajduk

The parties discussed further cooperation navies of both countries, in particular, aspects of joint participation in the annual activation group the Black Sea Naval Cooperation “Blackseafor”.

TCG Zafer Taking Part In Unified Protector

TCG Zafer receiving fuel from USNS Kanawha

Turkish Navy’s sole surviving Knox class frigate F-253 TCG Zafer is taking part in Operation Unified Protector. Or she was, as today NATO’s website about the operation does not list she, but her name does appear on the Google cache of the same page.

But the photo of the left leaves no doubt that TCG Zafer was off Libya some time in May as the photo is from the Facebook page of USNS Kanawha.

I am surprised to see this old ship still going strong as I was thinking that she may have been already decommissioned.

H/T: Dave Shirlaw 

Mahan Was In Istanbul, Not As An Admiral But As A Salesperson

DDG-72 USS Mahan

I was not able to report about this earlier as putting the information I hace gathered during IDEF took much more than I have thought.

Last week, during the IDEF’11, we had a US Navy destroyer visiting Istanbul. DDG-72 USS Mahan is an Arleigh Burke class destroyer. She was in Istanbul for a 3day port visit. Well actually it was just a little bit more than a regular port visit. I guess it was also a sales visit as during IDEF as a contract was signed between Lockheed Martin and Havelsan for the integration of SPY radar systems into the Turkish combat managment systems.

The SPY phased array active radar is the backbone of the US Navy’s AEGIS air and anti ballistic missile defence system. The Arleigh Burke class USS Mahan is a good showcase both for SPY and AEGIS. And Havelsan is the leading Turkish software and systems company in defense industry. The signed contract of course raises the question whether the next generation of Turkish warships will have SPY radars and components of AEGIS systems on board.

If you are still not convinced, may be the remarks of Ambassador Francis J. Ricciardone

Finally, I join Commander Mondlak and his crew in inviting you to tour the proud USS Mahan. This fine example of American high technology and advanced engineering, and is itself the result of partnerships between numerous American companies, including Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, McDonnell Douglas, General Electric, Alliant, Gould, and Sikorsky, many of whom are represented at IDEF.

We must wait for years to see if the sales drive of USS Mahan was successful or not.

A Landing Ship Docked, For The Turkish Navy (UPDATED)

LPD Model of RMK

Some time ago, I have read a very interesting and thought evoking post on the influential blog information dissemination, about the large amphibious ships (LAS) becoming the dreadnoughts of the 21. centuries maritime domain.

Well read the post yourselves and decide if it is true or not. But if you ask me amphibious ships (landing ship docked, landing ship platform, landing ship helicopter ) are the only real multi purpose ships of any navy can posses. The 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

According to this road map in 2007,  Ministry of Defence’s Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (UDI), submitted a RfP for 8 LCT’s. From the four companies that bid, ADİK shipyard was chosen. On June 2009, a contract was signed between UDI and ADİK for the production of 8 ships. The exact value of the contract was not made public but it is estimated to be around 100 million EUR. The first ship Ç-151 was launched on 2 October 2010. Her sea trials are continuing. The second ship Ç-152 was launched on March 2011.

For the LST’s UDI submitted a RFP on May 2008. On 6 January 2010 again ADİK shipyard was declared as the winner of the bid. UDI is in contract negations with this company.And a contract for the construction of two new LST’s was signed between Ministry of Defence and same shipyard just last week. The ships will be delivered in 48 months.

And as you read this blog the third important amphibious ship procurement project will enter into the next phase. Today was last day for companies to submit their proposals for the Landing Platform Dock. Now the evaluation of the proposals by UDI will commence.

LPD model of Fincantieri

During the years the requirements of the Turkish Navy changed so that the size of the LPD has increased. It is estimated that today’s proposals will have a displacement between 25.000 to 28.000 tons range. The ship will have a landing deck big enough to accommodated 4 helicopters of 15 ton class at the same time. According to the RfP the flight deck should be able to support aircraft up to 35 tons weight. . The total personnel on board the ship’s crew plus air detachment and embarked troops is around 1000.

Seven shipyards, ADIK, Çelik Tekne, Dearsan Shipyard, Desan Shipyard, Istanbul Shipyard, RMK Marine and SEDEF received the RfP in February and have been given time till today to prepare their proposals. Some of the teamed with foreign companies. Candidates include DCNS, Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding, Navantia, Hanjin Heavy Industries and China State Shipbuilding Corporation are believed to be interested in cooperating with Turkish shipyards for the LPD.

RMK, contrary to the expectations did not cooperated with Fincantieri for this project. In fact a reprasentitve from Fincantieri told me during IDEF that his company would not take part in the bid as their largest amphibious desing was only 20.000 tons. The RMK shipyard has developed its own design with some help from BMT.

Navantia teamed with Sedef Shipyard. Their offer will be something between Juan Carlos 1 and Galicia class ships. Sedef is the first private shipyard ever to produce a ship for the Turkish Navy: A-595 TCG Yarbay Kudret Güngör. I would be a life saver for the local shipyard is they can repeat their one time hit again.

The current solutions of China (Type 071) and South Korea (Dokto class) are less than 20.000 tons. As is they do not have much chance to be successful. I have no information with with Turkish yard they have teamed and how their proposal is prepared. Chinese are showing a growing interest in Turkish defence market. They are competing for the Turkish long ranges SAM system. But in order for the Chinese proposal to be successful they must incorporate Western and local subsystems which are known to Turkish Navy. As Indian naval projects showed, incorporating Western naval systems with Eastern ships can create a lot of problems and headaches and success is not always guarentted.

DCNS’s Mistral has the right size and displacement but political disagreements with France makes it almost impossible for the company to bid.

When commissioned this ship will be the largest ship ever operated by Turkish Navy and it will be our capital ship. The dreadnought era of  Turkish Navy starts today.

UPDATE: Today, Undersecretariat for Defence Industries announced that they have received proposals from the following 3 shipyards:

1. SEDEF Gemi İnşaatı A.Ş.
2. RMK Marine Gemi Yapım Sanayii
3. Deniz Taşımacılığı İşletmesi A.Ş. ve DESAN Deniz İnşaatı San. A.Ş.

The competition will be between the Juan Carlos, RMK/BMT design and Dokto.

IDEF’11 Update Part 2: Companies

This is the second installment of my impression from the IDEF’11. In this post I will try to focus more on companies and products rather than procurement projects. As 621 companies attended the fair I will focus about those that made the most impressions.

Acoustic decoys for submarines and surface ships

Aselsan: This company had the biggest stand of the fair and showed a number of many different equipment ranging from echo sounder to a main battle tank. ASELSAN has proved that it is a powerful company in military electronics. Currently they are capable to produce:

Remote controlled, stabilized gun platforms
Fire control guns for guns
Launcher and command and control system for ASW rockets
Torpedo countermeasure systems and decoys for submarines and surface ships
Integrated communications suites
Laser warning receivers
Electro optical systems
Electronic warfare suites and sensors
Radar systems

The ARES-2N naval radar ES system detects, intercepts, identifies, classifies, tracks, Direction-Finds (DF), localizes, platform correlates, records and provides audio warnings of threat signals within the 2 to 18 GHz frequency band.. The system is integrated into Milgem ans selected for Ay class submarine modernization program.

The ASELFLIR 300D includes a high resolution IR camera, a laser rangefinder/designator, a laser spot tracker, a CDTV, and a spotter TV camera. This EO system is used on Heybeliada, Coast Guard SAR and New Type Patrol Boat classes.

They are developing expendable active jammers which can be fires from the existing chaff/flare launchers.

In a short future the company will be able to provide all the necessary electronics for a warships plus the self defense systems including decoys.

Roketsan: Roketsan is producing the rocket of the ASW rocket system. The rockets individually wrapped in a fiberglass hull have a HE explosive warhead and a time fuse. The maximum range of the rocket is 2000 meters. The aiming and launching is controlled from a purpose built console by ASELSAN.

Havelsan: Havelsan has established themselves as a combat management systems provider. The GENESIS systems architecture they have received from ARMERKOM is the base of all the current CMS developed by Havelsan. The orginal GENESIS CMS developed for G class frigates has derivatived into CMS for MILGEM and New Type Patrol Boats. CMS by Havelsan will be used in New Type 214 submarines, LST’s and LHD’s too.

One of the contracts signed during the fair was between Havelsan and Lockheed Martin for the integration of SPY phased radar systems to the CMS made by Havelsan. The SPY radars are the backbone of the US Navy’s AEGIS air and anti ballistic missile defence system.

Well this question must be asked: On one hand there is a local electronics power house like ASELSAN that is trying to develop naval radar systems on the other hand you sign a deal with a US company about the most important and significant air defence radar systems. How will this deal effect the local development and why it was necessary.

Gate: This company is developing a range of underwater remotely operated vehicles. The ROV Gelibolu can operate at depths up to 1500 meters. It’s primary use will be submarine rescue on board Moship. Other tasks are deep sea survey, seismic research, sample collection and such. The ROV has two manipulator arms and 7 thrusters.

Another underwater vehicle build by GATE is GMK-C. Unlike the Gelibolu GMK-C is autonomous. It can operate up to 100 meter depth and can be equipped with forward looking or side-scan sonars, cameras and other types of sensors or transponders.

Rolls Royce: I must admit that I was quite surprised to see a model of a fully developed supply ship in the both of this company. I knew that they were supplying gas turbines and nuclear reactors for ships and submarines but I had no idea that they were also producing ships. It is too early to say whether this new ship will become a new Silver Shadow for the company but it is a logical step. Rolls Royce already produces a wide range of shipping equipments such as engines, bearings, rudders, water jets, stabilizers, steering gear, deck machinery just to name a few. Well the only and most obvious omission in this portfolio was a ship hull and they have it now.

The ship in contest for a Norwegian bid resembles in general design and specifications the Berlin class EGV ships of German Navy.

BAE Systems: When BAE systems bought UDI in 2005 they have become a partner in UDI’s joint venture with Nurol Makina in Turkey. This JV, FNSS is a major manufacturer of tracked armored fighting vehicles and personnel carriers. Now BAE wants to expand its business in naval area too. I will report in depth my talk with BAE Systems separately.

Lürssen, Abeking Rasmussen, B&V, HDW: These companies, once dominated the IDEF were present, but in a more humble and subtle way. More or less a shadows of their past.

IDEF’11 Update Part 1: Ongoing Naval Projects

F-511 TCG Heybeliada

Today is the last day of IDEF’11, 10th International Defence Industry Fair. I was visiting the fair for the least two days. It was very tiring event. But there are very to share.

I visited the first IDEF twenty years ago. And I can tell you that there has been a considerable change in the industry. Twenty years ago all the international house hold names of defence industry would come and show their latest gadgets or products and we would marvel at them. Now they are still here but much more humble and sincere. Twenty years ago BAE Systems would show its Type 26 Global Combat Ship and would try to sell it as is. Now they are looking for cooperation and work share and they are ready to have Turkish Navy configure the this as it wishes. I was able to talk about Type 26 with BAE systems in detail. I will write about it later.

The last fair two years ago had a very distinctive naval flair. This year that was not there. Well the obvious reason for this is that the projects of then are swimming ships of today. F-511 TCG Heybeliada, the first ship of Milgem class, P-1200 TCG Tuzla the first ship of the New Type Patrol Boat class were available for external sighting. All these ships were on project phase during the last fair.

This fair’s main attractions were tanks, armoured fighting vehicles, UAV’s and helicopters. But never the less there were a lot of important developments regarding the ongoing naval projects.

Milgem: The first ship TCG Heybeliada will be commissioned in Turkish Navy in July. At the same day the second ship, F-512 TCG Büyükada will be launched.

The model of Moship

Moship/Ratship: The design phase for the submarine rescue ship Moship and two rescue and towing ships Ratship is continuing. I learned out to my surprise that Istanbul Shipyard, the builder was responsible for the whole ship inclusive the mission equipment. That means it is the shipyard will also provide the ROV, the McCann bells and other necessary equipment. It must be a steep learning curve for them. The contract for the production of these ships not signed yet. There was a speculation that it might be signed during the fair but this did not happened.

Model of LST

LST: The contract for the construction of a new LST’s was signed between Ministery of Defence and ADIK_Furtrans shipyard on 11 May 2011. The value of the contract was not disclosed but the ship will be delivered in 48 months. The ships will carry 525 persons, 17 MBT and between 24 – 60 vehicles.

The armament consists of 2 single barrelled 40mm Oto Melara guns, 2 Mk15 Phalanx CIWS, 2 machine guns on a stabilised remote controlled chassis.

The ships will have a Smart Mk2 3D air/surface search radar (which not common for an amphibious ship) 2 AselFLIR 300D EO director, torpedo counter measures systems, laser warning receiver and Link16/22 system. All these sensors and weapons will be controlled by a 5 consoles of GENESIS CMS.

New Type Patrol Boats: The first boat of this class P-1200 TCG Tuzla was launched in 2011 and was handed over to Turkish Navy in 4 January 2011. The second boat P-1201 TCG Karaburun was handed over to Turkish Navy on 19 April 2011 for temporary acceptance. The third and fourth boats, P-1202 TCG Köyceğiz and P-1203 TCG Kumkale are launched as early 2001 and they are currently under going sailing acceptance tests and harbour acceptance test respectively. The fifth boat P-1205 TCG Tarsus will be launched in this month.

In the mean time the construction of the two boats ordered by Turkmenistan in October 2010 is continuing. Dearsan shipyard has shipped the boats in kits, along with the equipment necessary for the construction. According to IDEF’11 Show Daily, the construction of two boats is about to be completed and the installation of the propulsion system will commence soon. These have a very similar weapon and sensor configuration to Turkish boats. The main difference is the Turkmenistan boats will have a Thales Variant 2D air/surface search radar and a pair of 25mm Aselsan STOP systems.

Type 214 Submarines: Interestingly there was very little information available about the current status of this programme. But credit contract for this programme was signed at the end of 2010 thus I assume everything is going as scheduled. Currently STM the main subcontractor of this project is sourcing 18000 components and materials to be used. This is a time consuming process. I do not expect any important development in this project before summer.

TCG Giresun Saves M/V Full City (UPDATED)

 The Panama flagged and Chinese owned merchant ship M/V Full City was attacked by Somali pirates yesterday (05.05.2011) morning. She was 400 nautical miles off the coast of India.

The Turkish frigate F-491 TCG Giresun, the nearest coalition warship was ordered to proceed and help the attacked merchant ship.

During the deployment TCG Giresun contacted the Chinese naval units in the region and received the information that the crew of M/V Full City was able to hide themselves inside a citadel before being captured by the pirates. 

Upon arriving to M/V Full City, that was damaged by the rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire of the pirates, communication with the crew of the ship was established.  Later the naval special forces teams of board of the Turkish frigate, fast-roped to the ship and secured her.

When the search revealed that there were no pirates on board, and all the crew was safe and sound M/V Full City continues her journey.

The deployment of TCG Giresun turned out to be a exciting one. This is the sixth occasion where the frigate had to intervene.

The damage of RPG fire is visible

TCG Giresun Frees Yemeni Dhow
TCG Giresun Helps M/V Hanjin Tianjin
TCG Giresun Finds 2 Pirate Skiffs And Arrests The Pirates
TCG Giresun Helps M/T Guanabara
TCG Giresun Foils A Pirate Attack To M/V Kıran Asya

All photos from Turkish General Staff webpage.

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UPDATE: According to influential naval blog Information Dissemination, a ASW patrol plane of Indian Navy scared the pirates on board of M/V Full City away, before the arrival of TCG Giresun.

An Indian Navy TU-142 maritime reconnaissance aircraft made several low sorties over the MV Full City, 450 nautical miles (850 km) off Karwar in Karnataka, warning the pirates to immediately leave the vessel or face the wrath of Indian Navy and Coast Guard ships that were fast closing in.

The warnings worked and the pirates scampered into the skiff from which they had boarded the vessel and sailed toward a nearby mothership, which immediately set off toward Somalia at full speed, the official said, requesting anonymity due to service rules.

And as it seems, USN found the dhow used as mothership during the attack to M/V Full City and estroyed paraphernalia on the dhow, including weapons, excessive fuel and other equipment commonly used in the commission of acts of piracy. They also sank a small skiff towed by the dhow; these skiffs are often used for actual attacks and boardings by pirates.

Turkish naval special forces team with the Chinese crew

TCSG Dost Continues Her Sea Trials

SG-701 TCSG Dost leaving the dock for a sea trial.

The first ship of the new search and rescue ship class, SG-701 TCSG Dost continues her builder trials. She was launched in June 2010.

TCSG Dost is the first ship of a batch of 4 ships at RMK Marine Shipyard. The second ship SG-702 TCSG Güven was launched in December 2010.

With the commissioning of these ships Coast Guard will be able to perform its duties mainly search and rescue in sea state 5 and higher. These ships will be the first Turkish Coast Guard vessels can support helicopter operations.

Based on Italian Commandante-Siro class, the ships will have a displacement of 1,700 tons. Main features of the vessels: length 88.40 metres, breadth 12.20 metres, maximum speed 22 knots, range 3,000 nautical miles at a speed of 15 knots.

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