>My Impressions From Shipbuilding, Machinery & Marine Technology Trade Fair

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I have attended the firstday of the SSM exhibition and conference. It was not quite as I wasexpecting.

Mr. Serdar Demirel,Head of Naval Department, Undersecretariatfor Defence Industries, was also listed as a speaker. He was therebut during his short speech he mentioned that he did not expected tomake any speeches today, therefore he was not prepared at all. Wellthis is a major f.ck-up for the organizators.
Naval shipbuildingprojects are the life line of the Turkish ship building industry inthese dire years. Thus although SMMM is a civilian orientated tradefair the military side of Turkish shipbuilding industry could havebeen stressed better.
One factor for the obviouslack of interest and presence of shipyards with ongoing militaryprojects may be the upcoming IDEF exhibition in May 2011.International Defence Industry Fair is the trade fair for the defenceindustry in this region and most probably the companies allocatedtheir budgets for this event.
After the openingspeeches, the first session of the conference started with anexcellent presentation of Mr. Taner Akkaya, Military ProjectsCoordinator, Dearsan Shipyard. He talked about the New Type PatrolBoat project.

The first boat of thisclass P-1200 TCG Tuzla was delivered to Turkish Navy on 4 January2011. Currently Turkish Navy is conducting its own acceptance testsbefore this boat is officially commissioned. In an unprecedented moveTurkish Navy decided to give a proper name to these boats. In TurkishNavy tradition such boats were called TCG ABxy. AB is theabbreviation of A(vcı) B(otu), which means hunter/patrol boat and xyis the last two numbers of the boats pennant number. But the firstboat of this class is christened as TCG Tuzla in honor of the mostimportant shipbuilding region of Turkey.

Before handing the boatover to the Turkish Navy, Dearsan realized 63 FAT’s, 81 HAT’s, 71SAT’s and a 2400 miles long cruise. The trials speed was 2,5 knotsover the contract value. The shipyard more fuel tanks than demanded.These additional fuel tanks increase the endurance of the boats from3 days to 7 days. During the trials the boat covered 1300 miles at14 kntos %30 more than specified in the contract.

Mr. Akkaya stressedthrough his presentation that Dearsan’s in house designing team wasresponsible for the design of these boats from sketch. This might bein defence of the rumors that these boats resemble very much RAN’sArmidale class very much. He also mentioned the difficulties theyhave experienced with the sub contractors. Most of the sub contractswere chosen from companies that previously participated in Milgemproject and know how to work for a naval shipbuilding project. Neverthe less some sub contractors did not have the necessary security,class and quality certifications and these companies were financed byDearsan for the certification process. This highlight one importantweakness of the industry: creating, maintaining and updating thedocuments such as user manuals, quality and warranty certificates andsuch.

An interesting point in MrAkkaya’s presentation was when he mentioned an article of thecontract they have signed for this project. According to article 14Turkish State, as a party of the contract promised that all StateInstitutions would provide all the possible help for the fulfillmentof this contract. This is a very odd clause and is an obvious signthat Turkey takes these shipbuilding projects very seriously.
What Mr Akkaya did not sayduring his presentation was the fact that Dearsan succeeded inselling two of these boats to Turkmenistan. The estimated contractvalue is 100 million USD.

Following thispresentation was a questions and answer season with Mr. Akkaya andMr. Demirel. I will not write all the questions and answers inlength, just highlights that I found worth sharing:

  • Turkish Navy and Undersecretariat for Defence Industries are very proud on Milgem andthe impact Milgem project had over the Turkish shipbuilding industry.The Milgem project achieved an important change for a civilian marketoriented industry that had no idea on military shipbuildingstandarts.
  • UDI regards the secondship of the Milgem class TCG Büyükada as a second prototype. Somechanges and improvements were incorporated in this ship, that werepreviously unthinkable or considered too bold. But soon a privateshipyard will be selected as the producer for the remaining Milgems.
  • Marine propulsion is setas the next important milestone bu UDI. This fact was emphasizedagain today. UDI is currently in talks with MTU, MAN and other marinepropulsion manufacturers for production in Turkey. Marine propulsionis regarded very critical:
  • a) It is the most crucialsub system that is not produced in Turkey.
    b) If Turkey manages toinstall indigenous built propulsion in locally built warships a verybig hurdle in exporting Turkish warships will be overcome.

  • UDI sees a considerableexport potential in Milgem, NTPB and Fast LCT classes as theseprovide original solutions for navies. And the foreign sales of theseships are officially supported by UDI.

The trade fair willcontinue till Friday, 28 January. The conference will end tomorrowevening.

>A "Piece Of Spain That Sails"

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Yesterday, I was cordially invited like all other citizens of Istanbul to the temporary SpanishEmbassy in Istanbul.

It was one of the most interesting and enjoyablehalf an hour I have had. This is a benefit of being unemployed at the moment. I could never spare me time to visit the ship if I was working.

Of course Spain has a permanent representation in Istanbul where you can go by appointmentbut it is no match in advertising for Spain with the one I havevisited: the sailing training ship of the Spanish Navy: Juan Sebastián Elcano.

The four mast schooner Elcano is making a four day visit in Istanbul instead of their yearly trip to the United States and the ship is open for the public.

In the brochure given to us it says

Her role as floating embassy is reviewable as well. Her presence in foreign ports supports Spanish foreign policy and besides showing a beautiful image of our motherland, she also let those Spanish people living abroad to take one step in this “piece of Spain that sails”

She does these things very efficiently I must say. I have alwaysfound the lack of a sailing training ship in Turkish Navy a big andalmost fatal shortage.

Currently, two old ex German supply ships are used for the training cruises of the naval cadets. There are also about 10 sailing yachts at the Turkish Naval Academy. But these assets are not sufficient to teach the future naval officers the challenges of the seas and torepresent Turkey in foreign ports.

In December 2008, the Defence Industry Executive Committee gave approval for the start of training ship acquisition project. And on 29 January 2009,Undersecretariat for Defense Industries issued a Request forInformation (RfI) document about schooner type ships. But nothingsince then happened.

 Until we see our “piece of Turkey that sails” in foreign ports admiredby locals, we have to admire those who come to us.

>TCG Giresun Has Left For Horn of Africa

>Yesterday, without the usual publicity and drum beat Turkish Navy announced that F-491 TCG Giresun, has left Aksaz Naval Base to join the NATO’s Standing Maritime Group 2.

SNMG -2 is currently taking part in Operation Ocean Shield, NATO’s anti piracy operation off the Horn of Africa. TCG Giresun will replace F-490 TCG Gaziantep, which is in the region since mid October.

Previously such deployments of Turkish warships were announced a few days before and media would be invited. The obvious lack of PR work about this deployment is curious.

Turkish Warship Deployments To Horn Of Africa
(Sorted by Ship Name)
No Ship Departure Return Task Force
F 490 TCG Gaziantep 17 Jun 2009 6 Oct 2009 CTF-151
F 490 TCG Gaziantep 15 Oct 2010 1 Dec 2010 CTF-151
F 490 TCG Gaziantep 1 Dec 2010 31 Jan 2011 SNMG-2
F 491 TCG Giresun 17 Feb 2009 17 Jun 2009 CTF-151
F 492 TCG Gemlik 8 Feb 2010 24 Apr 2010 CTF-151
F 493 TCG Gelibolu 5 Mar 2010 5 Aug 2010 SNMG-2
F 494 TCG Gökçeada 5 Aug 2010 1 Dec 2010 CTF-151
F 495 TCG Gediz 21 Jun 2009 6 Oct 2009 SNMG-2
F 496 TCG Gökova 15 Oct 2009 8 Feb 2010 CTF-151
Turkish Warship Deployments To Horn Of Africa
(Sorted by Departure Date)
No Ship Departure Return Task Force
F 491 TCG Giresun 17 Feb 2009 17 Jun 2009 CTF-151
F 490 TCG Gaziantep 17 Jun 2009 6 Oct 2009 CTF-151
F 495 TCG Gediz 21 Jun 2009 6 Oct 2009 SNMG-2
F 496 TCG Gökova 15 Oct 2009 8 Feb 2010 CTF-151
F 492 TCG Gemlik 8 Feb 2010 24 Apr 2010 CTF-151
F 493 TCG Gelibolu 5 Mar 2010 5 Aug 2010 SNMG-2
F 494 TCG Gökçeada 5 Aug 2010 15 Oct 2010 CTF-151
F 490 TCG Gaziantep 15 Oct 2010 1 Dec 2010 CTF-151
F 490 TCG Gaziantep 1 Dec 2010 31 Jan 2011 SNMG-2

>4th Naval Systems Seminar

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4th Naval Systems Seminar will be performed under the auspices of Under secretary for Defence Industries between 17th and 18th of October 2011 at ODTÜ – KKM (METU CCC) for two days.

Sessions will cover the Naval Platforms (Ship and Machinery) and the Naval Systems (Weapon & Electronics)

The naval systems seminarhas started as a one day event, three years ago. The aim was to bringthe ship building industry, Turkish Navy and the procurement agencytogether to exchange ideas. Last the event has spread on two days andmore than 850 attended.

My Impressions From 3.Naval Systems Seminar (Part 1)

My Impressions From 3.Naval Systems Seminar (Part 2)

>TCG Gaziantep’s Guard Duty Of MV Leopard Ends

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TCG Gaziantep shadowing MV Leopard
Photo: NATO

According to Turkish General Staff, on 16 January 2010, TCG Gaziantep handed over theresponsibility of guarding and escorting MV Leopard to Italian frigate ITS Zeffiro.

MV Leopard was attacked by sea pirates 200 miles off the coast of Oman, after her security team has disembarked and the crew was taken as hostages. But unlike the previous hijackings the crew was transferred from MV Leopard to the pirate mother ship. But before being taken hostage the crew was able to disable the main engines.

MV Leopard was found by Turkishfrigate TCG Gaziantep, drifting abandoned in the ocean.

If I am interpreting this announcement correctly the tugs hired by the owner of MV Leopard Shipcraft A/S have not arrived yet, so the abandoned merchant ship must be still guarded.

>Official NATO Statement On M/V Leopard’s Hijacking

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TCG Gaziantep shadowing M/V Leopard
Photo: NATO

Turkish warship TCG Gaziantep – part of the NATO’s counter piracy mission, Operation Ocean Shield, boarded and searched Motor Vessel (MV) Leopard after it had been attacked by armed pirates.

In the afternoon of January 12th MV Leopard was attacked by two pirate skiffs. As the pirates fired small calibre weapons, the crew retreated to a secure area in the ship known as a ‘citadel’.

A Japanese maritime patrol aircraft soon arrived at the scene and established communications with the crew. In a short message the master of MV Leopard informed the Japanese aircraft that armed pirates were on board. In the meantime TCG Gaziantep, who was about 250 nautical miles away, was tasked to steam to the position of MV Leopard.

As TCG Gaziantep approached the area, her helicopter over flew MV Leopard, however, there was no sign of the crew or the pirates on board. The Turkish boarding team subsequently searched the ship and it became clear that the pirates had left, and, having taken the 6 man crew with them, boarded a pirate ‘mother ship’.

The crew of the NATO warship is now guarding MV Leopard, ensuring it remains navigationally safe, whilst arrangements are being made to transport it back to port.

Click here to read the original text. Click here for the Turkish General Staff’s oficial statement.

>Update: Turkish Naval Commandoes On Board of M/V Leopard

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Turkish special forces boarding Leopard.
Photo: Genelkurmay Başkanlığı

According to a new press release from Turkish General Staff, the boarding team on board of M/V Leopard finished its throughout search for the crew without finding them.

Meanwhile the owners of the M/V Leopard contacted NATO Standing Naval Task Group SNMG-2/CTF-508 and informed that the pirates contacted them, and confirmed the fact that all the crew of M/V Leopard, 2 Danes and 4 Filipinos, were kidnapped.

TCG Gaziantep is ordered to remain in the vicinity of the merchant ship until tugs hired by Leopard’s owner will arrive and start towing her.

Click here for the first press release.

>Turkish Naval Commandoes On Board of M/V Leopard

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Leopard and TCG Gaziantep
Photo: Genelkurmay Başkanlığı

According to Turkish General Staff’s announcement, on 13 January 2010, Danish-flagged cargo ship M/V Leopard, called on the radio for help, stating she had been attacked by sea pirates. Subsequently the contact to the ship was lost. The ship was 200 miles off the coast of Oman at that time.

NATO’s Standing Naval Task Group Commander (SNMG-2/CTF-508) in the region, assigned TCG Gaziantep, which was the closest ship to the distressed M/V Leopard, to help the merchant ship.

Reaching the position of the ship at noon, TCG Gaziantep realized after sea and aerial reconnaissance, that M/V Leopard’s engines were silent and there was no trace of any human action on board.

The commander of TCG Gaziantep, asked for permission to be allowed to board the merchant ship, and he was authorized to do so, at 16:00 (18:00 local time)

Turkish naval special forces teams boarded M/V Leopard at night, under the cover of darkness and took the control of the ship. The search on board of the M/V Leopard is continuing.

Click here for update on story.

>UK – Turkey: Naval Industry Inward Mission (Part 2)

>So what about the future?

What can be expect from the up coming event promoting business to business relations between Turkey  UK?

One currently ongoing defence project is procurement of Sea Sentor reactive soft-kill torpedo defence system from UK company Ultra for Milgem class. Ultra, with its Turkish partner Koç Bilgi ve Savunma Teknolojileri is developing a torpedo counter measure system for Turkish Type 214 class submarines.

It is a known fact that BAE Systems Surface Ships, is very much interested in selling Type 45 air defense ship as whole or its components for the TF-2000 project. During the 3. Naval Systems Seminar, BAE SSS made one presentation about Type 45 destroyer. The presentation was dull and the presenter was unimpressive, so that I got the feeling that BAE Systems was not interesting in promoting their ships at that time. Later they did some spin doctoring for damage control. This shows that they mean business.

Thales Naval Electronic Warfare (ex Marconi) offer their Sealion ESM system for the mid life modernization project of Ay class (Type 209/1100) class submarines. Currently four of six submarines use the older generation DR 2000 ESM system from the same company.

Rolls-Royce is interest in supplying the main propulsion systems for the TF-2000 project independent from BAE systems bid.

A safe bet for a possible cooperation would be the LPD project. I believe that this project will receive green light towards the end of 2011 and Brits are in the game. Royal Navy participated to Egemen 2009 amphibious exercise, which can be regarded as a show case of various amphibious ships, with Ocean class LPH, Albion class LPD and Bay class LSD.

With the recently announced reductions in the Royal Navy, Britain can offer a buy one new and get one used for free/at reduced price type deal in Turkey’s LPD project.

I do not see much prospect of cooperation in different class of warships such as submarines, fast attack craft, mine hunters etc. expect for very specialized sub systems, sensors or weapons. The prize projects for UK companies are without the doubt TF-200 air defence frigate and docked amphibious ship. Whether UK companies can succeed in penetrating into a market they have long neglected and a market that has shrunk is size remains a major question mark.

Click for Part 1

>UK – Turkey: Naval Industry Inward Mission (Part 1)

>In February, UK Trade & Investment Defence & Security Organisation (UKTI DSO) will entertain its guest from Turkish maritime industry in a invitation only gathering. This is a clear and unmistakable sign of growing interest of British defence companies in Turkish naval projects

It was about time as the existence of British involvement in Turkey’s naval projects have been very limited until know.

Why?

I am personally a believer and follower of the phrase “Nations do not have permanent allies of enemies only permanent interests.” However in reality, some times the cold calculations of rationality are obstructed by historical events. And the relations between Britain and Turkey regarding naval matters was always very rocky.

My theory why British defence companies have failed to win any contracts for Turkish Naval projects is that Turkish Navy has never forgot the “back stabbing” by British when two Ottoman dreadnoughts Reşadiye and Sultan Osman I that had been ordered by the Ottoman government, were not handed over despite the fact that they had both been completed in 1914. They become HMS Erin and HMS Agincourt

They were not the only ships. In 1938 Turkey ordered four submarines and four destroyers from Britain. As Second World War started before the deliveries, only two of the submarines were delivered during war. The destroyers were handed over in 1946.

Since then the working relations between two navies was always professional and courteous by Royal Navy did never enjoyed the attention US navy enjoyed.

And since 1945, UK companies never won any significant contracts from Turkish Navy. The most important recent defence procurement from UK were Mk 24 Mod.2 Tigerfish torpedoes for Preveze class submarines and Sea Skua anti-ship missiles for AB-212 ASW helicopters. Both were completed in 1990′s.

The Tigerfish caused for a big excitement in Deniz Kurdu 2001 naval exercise, when a Mk24 Mod.2 fired from TCG 18 Mart submarine to a decommissioned ship veered from its course 3000 yards short of its target. The frigates carrying high ranking officials and visitors scrambled away from the path of the run away torpedo. And the Sea Skua missiles may have passed their shelf life already. So both projects were not an stellar example of sucess.

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