TCG Anafartalar In Bold Monarch 2011

NATO released a video showing how the US SRDRS Submarine Rescue Diving and Recompression System deployed on Exercise Bold Monarch docked with the Turkish submarine S-356 TCG Anafartalar. You will see the Commanding Officer emerge into the rescue vehicle to pass a box of Turkish Delight to his rescuers in this demonstration of a successful mission.

Turkish Navy Task Force Departed For Indian Ocean

On 30 May the Turkish Naval Task Force left Aksaz Naval Base in Marmaris for a 70 day deployment in the Indian Ocean.
The task force is composed of F-244 TCG Barbaros as flagship, F-492 TCG Gemlik, F-493 TCG Gelibolu and A-595 TCG Yarbay Kudret Güngör. Another Turkish frigate F-491 TCG Giresun is already in the region as part of NATO’s SNMG-2 Task Group but she will not take part in the national task force.

During their deployment the task force will provide security for 8 convoys in the IRTC and patrol some troubled waters. Furthermore the task force will visit 8 cities in 8 countries. The task force will conduct low-key naval exercises such as PASSEX with their host navies.

The commander of the task force is Rear Admiral Sinan Ertuğrul. He is not a stranger to the region. He was at the helm of the CTF-151 for 3 months in 2010. This will be his second task force command in the same region.

In 2010 Turkish Navy announced that it has created a temporary task force with the aim of promoting peace and international security through maritime security, creating situational awareness, showing the flag and maintaining maritime presence in areas of interest, executing exercises and training with countries in the region, performing port visit to improve bilateral relations. Last years task force sailed through the Mediterranean.

You can read my posts on the previous Turkish Navy Task Force here.

The schedule for this years seems to be a busy one:

30/05/11 Departure Aksaz All
06/06/11 Convoy Protection (Eastward) Golf of Aden 2 Frigates
08/06/11 Convoy Protection (Westward) Golf of Aden 2 Frigates
08/06/11 Patrol (7 Days) Golf of Aden 1 Frigate 1 Tanker
10/06/11 Convoy Protection (Eastward) Golf of Aden 2 Frigates
12/06/11 Convoy Protection (Westward) Golf of Aden 2 Frigates
14/06/11 Convoy Protection (Eastward) Golf of Aden 2 Frigates
19/06/11 Port visit Muscat All
22/06/11 Replenishment Abu Dhabi 1 Frigate 1 Tanker
23/06/11 Port visit Doha All
01/07/11 Port visit Karachi All
07/07/11 Port visit Mumbai All
15/07/11 Convoy Protection (Westward) Golf of Aden 2 Frigates 1 Tanker
17/07/11 Convoy Protection (Eastward) Golf of Aden 2 Frigates 1 Tanker
19/07/11 Convoy Protection (Westward) Golf of Aden 2 Frigates 1 Tanker
21/07/11 Patrol (4 Days) Al Hudeyde 1 Frigate
21/07/11 Patrol (5 Days) Aqaba 1 Frigate
26/07/11 Port visit Al Hudeyde 1 Frigate
26/07/11 Port visit Jeddah 1 Frigate 1 Tanker
29/07/11 Port visit Aqaba 1 Frigate
02/08/11 Operation Active Endevour Mediterrean All
08/08/11 Arrival Aksaz All

Another Arrest In Sledgehammer

Yesterday, Air Force General Bilgin Balanlı was arrested. He is accused to be a part of the alleged Sledgehammer conspiracy. He is the highest ranking officer to be arrested in this case (yet)

According to news reports his main crime might be to order periodic areal reconnaissance flights over a large farm turned into a private village in Eskişehir. This village is populated solely by the members of the Naqshbandi order of Sufi Islam.

General Balanlı is the commander of the Turkish Armed Forces War College. According to the customs of Turkish Armed Forces the holder of this post is promoted to be the head of Turkish Air Force. Thus with the arrest of the future Commander of Turkish Air Force ( İf not arrested Gen. Balabanlı was be the commander of TuAf in August 2011) has broken the line of succession.

He is the 31st general in Hasdal Military penitentiary, Istanbul. As a comparison, there are only 30 generals in the HQ of the Turkish General Staff. In other words there are enough generals in custody to run an armed forces in size of Turkey’s.

As expected the trial of the Sledgehammer case is proceeding very slowly so that it might take years before it ends.

I know enough history that fate does not have mercy on nations that purged their officers like we do now.

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.


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