TCG Heybeliada On Sunset

This is F-511 TCG Heybeliada sailing on sunset at the entrance of Bosphorus on 11 September 2011. She is expected to enter into service on 27th September 2011.

TCG Oruçreis Will Take Part In DANEX / Northern Coasts 2011 Naval Exercise

The Turkish frigate F-245 TCG Oruçreis will take part in the DANEX Northern Coasts 2011 naval exercise as the flagship of the NATO’s Standing Maritime Group-2.

This is one of the largest exercise to be conducted in Denmark, will start on 12th September 2011 and will last till 23rd September.  Over 50 warships of different types from 22 nations will take part in this naval exercise. The purpose of the exercise is to prepare the participants for possible operations and the strengthening of multinational cooperation through joint practice of tactics and military operations.

The exercise is to give sufficient training and educational opportunities mainly for smaller units, such as corvettes, patrol boats and minesweepers. The practice area covers the western Baltic Sea between Bornholm and Skagen.

For the extended list of participating units please click here.

The Barbaros Action Plan

A few days ago the Turkish Daily Sabah run an article about the Barbaros Action Plan of Turkish Navy.

The owners of Sabah have a very personal and close relationship with Turkish Prime Minister Mr. Erdoğan. That creates a dilemma. Did Sabah run that article because they have received some insider information from sources close to Prime minister or did they wrote this article to appear niche to Ankara and to create a public opinion that supports Ankara’s latest measures against Isreal.

Any way the article has found a relative large audience on the internet and is used by many analysts pundits, bloggers etc as a source for their writings about the latest Turco – Isreali crisis.

But to be honest here is not much in that article beyond the very obvious fact that the presence of Turkish Navy in the Eastern Mediterranean will increase. Well this should be not news to anyone, ( including regular readers of this blog) as Turkish Navy is trying to increase its presence in the last couple of years.

SABAH is releasing an important detail regarding the Turkish Navy’s presence. Declaring their Plan B in response to Israel’s attitude following the release of the Palmer report, it turns out that the decision to “take all precautionary measures to establish further presence in the Eastern Mediterranean” is actually a part of an important plan of action.

In upcoming days, Turkey will begin to display a more active presence along with maritime components in both the east and southern regions of Cyprus. Within this framework, the number of frigates, assault boats, submarines and naval station planes serving in the Mediterranean Shield Operation which provide security in the Eastern Mediterranean will also be on the incline.

The Barbaros Action Plan, which aims to display the Turkish Navy’s presence in neighboring seas, now plans for Turkish maritime components to be in constant navigation not only in the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean but also in the Adriatic Sea, the Red Sea as well as the Indian Ocean.

In 2010, the first display of presence conducted by the Turkish Sea Task Group had the Turkish Navy paying visits to ports in the Aegean, the Mediterranean and the Adriatic. During that time the public of the nation’s visited were allowed to come on board to see the ships. The following is a list of the Turkish Navy’s activities in the Mediterranean, Aegean and Black Sea as well as the Adriatic, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean:

Well Turkish Navy is maintaining a regular and strong presence especially in the Black Sea and Turkish frigates has been present in the fighting against piracy in Gulf of Aden since 2008. So far there is nothing new there except the part I have emphasized. And this was expected after the statements of Mr. Davutoğlu and Mr. Erdoğan last week.

I do not see anything really newsworthy in the Sabah’s article. It just states the obvious,  shares a little information about the ongoing operations of Turkish Navy and gives the plan a name.

MEDITERRANEAN SHIELD TO BE ACTIVATED: It turns out that there are new procedures being put into place to further activate the Mediterranean Shield which was first established by the National Security Council in 2006 in order to establish security in the region following the establishment of the Ceyhan region as a center for energy. Upon Israel’s insistence on continuous postponement in regards to the apology issue, the number of frigates in the Mediterranean Shield program will be increased from two to four, the number of assault boats from three to five and the number of coast guard ships will be increased from one to three.

This paragraph raises the questions a) Whether the Operation Mediterranean Shield was deactivated? b) If so when it was deactivated? As far as Turkish Navy is concerned this Operation started as a national mission in accordance with NATO’s Active Endeavor is aimed to protect the oil terminals in Ceyhan Adana and to provide a deterrence through constant presence in the SLOC’s  east of Cyprus, leading to Ceyhan. I think that this inconsistency is due to the poor wording of the journalist or his/her lack of knowledge about the active operations of Turkish Navy.

One important question never mentioned in this article is whether Turkish Navy is going to set up permanent task forces or task groups. Both task groups established in 2010 and 2011 were temporary organisations with a specific purpose.  The Task Group in 2010 sailed trough the Mediterranean including the Adriatic Sea and visited several African and European States. This year’s task group sailed through the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. It conducted anti piracy patrols, escorted convoys and visited several African, Middle East and South East Asian States. In fact one frigate from this task force F-492 TCG Gemlik is still in the region. But the task forces are disbanded when their scheduled cruises ended. So whether Turkish Navy is going to create constant task forces is for me the question.

One of the main duties of Turkish Navy is to be present in any part of the world where Turkey has a national interest. This is why we keep a frigate around year for the last couple of years in Gulf of Aden: to protect the Turkish ships passing through the region among other nations ships. Current political situation forces Turkish Navy to be in Eastern Mediterranean.

TCG Oruçreis In Copenhagen

TCG Oruçreis in Copenhagen. Official Turkish Navy Photo.

While the waters in eastern Mediterrean is getting warmer the NATO’s second smallest naval task force SNMG-2 ended its visit in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The SNMG-2 consisting of the Turkish frigate F-245 TCG Oruçreis (flagship) and the Greek frigate F-464 HS Kanaris set sail from Copenhagen following a short summer dispersal, on Monday 05 September 2011.

According to NATO

After departure, the force starts conducting a serial of exercises. In the coming weeks the force will work up to NATO Response Force (NRF) validation.  Rear Admiral (LH) Sinan Azmi TOSUN said: “
After a refreshing break, it is good to be back. The force is motivated to go through an intense training period enabling NATO to combat security challenges at sea.”

Besides an intensive warfare training programme with other Allied and friendly navies, SNMG2 will be employed in Operation Active Endeavour, NATO’s counter terrorist operation in the Mediterranean. In this context, the force will support NATO’s cooperation programme, Mediterranean Dialogue, and conduct other activities to further strengthen the well-established relationships between NATO and its partners.

I am quite sure that the Danish people really appreciated the sacrifice done by Turkish and Greek navies by sending two frigates to protect their capital, at a time when the ships are needed for stand offs in Med.

Click here for a video of TCG Oruçreis in Danish capital.

TCG Gemlik in Sri Lanka

F-492 TCG Gemlik arriving in Colombo Sri Lanka. Official Sri Lanka Navy Photo.

While the tension rises in the Eastern Mediterranean, the lone frigate F-492 TCG Gemlik is continuing her goodwill visits in the Indian Ocean.

The remaining ship of the Turkish Navy Task Group, she arrived in Colombo on 5th September 2011. Sri Lanka Navy ceremonially welcomed them in accordance with naval traditions. The purpose of the visit is to strengthen friendly ties between the two Navies.

According to Sri Lanka Navy website TCG Gemlik will remain at port of Colombo till 08th September 2011 and its crew will participate in special programs organized by the Sri Lanka Navy to promote goodwill and cooperation between the two Navies.

The Modernization of NL-125 TCG Osmangazi

NL-125 TCG Osmangazi, on 30th August 2011 in İzmir

NL-125 TCG Osmangazi is the biggest amphibious ships of Turkish Navy. And until the two LST ships under construction at ADIK Shipyard join the Navy, she is also the newest. She was launched in 1990 and commissioned in 1994. She is the third generation of indigenous designed large amphibious ships and has all the design characteristics of Turkish large landing ships. She can carry 900 troops and 15 main battle tanks.

She has a large bow door. This means the ship can beach to unload its cargo. This limits her draught and affects the shape of her hull.

The two small doors at her stern are for mine lying. All large amphibious ships of Turkish navy have a secondary mine laying capability. Hence the “L” in her pennant. The large anchor between the hatches is used to drag the ship away from the beach after she has unloaded her cargo . As she has no dock in her stern the four LCVP’s she has are carried on davits on the both sides of her super structure.

In 2011, she underwent an extensive modernization in Alaybey Naval Shipyard in Izmir. This modernization done by Turkish Navy changed the ship considerably. Therefore it deserves a closer look.

Prior her modernization she had two 40mm twin barreled Bofors AA guns in A position and one twin barreled 35mm Oerlikon AA gun in X position. The manually loaded and controlled Bofors guns were not adequate to protect the ship against today’s airborne treats.

Therefore they have been replaced by two Oerlikon 35mm AA guns. Probably the existing Oerlikon turret was taken from the aft of the ship and replaced. The second guns must come from the storage. This type of AA guns were installed by Turkish Navy to the now deleted Gearing class destroyers to enhance their AA defenses. They were not used since. These guns can be very handy for suppression of ground defenses around the beachhead, as they have high fire rate.

A Mk-15 Phalanx CIWS was installed where the 35mm Oerlikon used to be. Thus TCG Osmangazi becomes the first amphibious ships to have a modern close in weapon systems. Surely the Phalanx system will shorten the reaction time against air threats. This mount must be taken from a decommissioned frigate.

The most interesting addition is the SLQ-32(V)2 EW antenna group above the pilothouse. This antennas and the inside components must be taken from and old Knox or Perry class frigate. As all Perry class frigates still have their SLQ-32 installed the unit may be taken from the two Perry’s given for cannibalization or from a recently decommissioned Knox class ship. This EW system is the first one installed on an amphibious ship.

I have no information about the changes happened inside the ship. The large ventilators on the pilothouse suggests that the habitability of the ships was also improved.  If  there was a CIC prior the modernization it must been upgraded. If there was no CIC prior the modernization there is one now. This is a preparation for the future LST’s as they are going to have a combat management system installed.

The Turkish Navy performed a simple but very efficient overhaul on this ship and improved her fighting ability considerably. The fact that almost all the newly installed weapons and sensors were taken from decommissioned ships indicates that the budget was tight and there will be no similar upgrades to the other amphibious ships.

When enter into service, the two LST’s being constructed at ADIK Shipyard will have a more capable sensor and C3I ability than all the existing LST’s. The modernization done to TCG Osmangazi should be seen as a step to upgrade the current amphibious ships and create a working platform similar to the future ships. This will increase the compatibility between the ships and prepare the sailors to the next generation of ships.

TCG Kumkale On Builders Trial

The fourth boat of the New Type Patrol Boat class, P-1203 TCG Kumkale has started the builders trials. She was sighted on 25 August 2011.

P-1203 TCG Kumkale on builders trialsP-1203 TCG Kumkale on builders trials

P-1203 TCG Kumkale on builders trials

TCG Gediz Escorts Turkish Aid Ship To Mogadishu

The Mk-41 on TCG Gediz.

The first MK-41 VLs equipped Gabya (Perry) class frigate F-495 TCG Gediz is on her way to Gulf Of Aden.

In 2009 it was announced that four of the eight Gabya class frigates in Turkish inventory would receive a 8 cell Mk-41 VLS for ESSM and a new 3D radar for improved observation and fire control capabilities. This upgrade is similar to the modernization project conducted by Royal Australian Navy known as Project SEA 1390 or FFG UP.

Thales Smart S Mk-2 is selected as the new 3D radar, but it is not installed on the frigate.  This will be the first overseas deployment for TCG Gediz after her modernization. She will join CTF-151 and will conduct anti piracy operations.

M/V Burak A. Photo: Ulf Kornfeld via

But before joining the CTF-151 she will escort the Turkish flagged merchantman M/V Burak A till port of Mogadishu. M/V Burak A left Istanbul on 19th August 2011 and is carrying 5.000 tons of humanitarian aid for Somali. Among the cargo are 8 full equipped ambulances, 1 forklift, 5 jeeps, 6 generators, 500 tents, 5000 blankets and 4.500 tons of food and medical supplies.

TCG Gediz will escort M/V Burak A, to Mogadishu port and will provide security during the unloading of the humanitarian aid. After escorting the merchant ship away from dangerous waters she will join the CTF-151.

It was not made public how long the frigate will stay in Gulf of Aden but by judging older deployments to the region I assume it will not shorter than 3 months.

Currently both ships are in the Mediterranean, heading to Port Said.

TCG Gemlik Departs From Japan

TCG Gemlik in Tokyo. Official Turkish Navy Photo.

F-492 TCG Gemlik is continuing her Far East tour. The frigate left TNTG in mid July and proceeds alone. She made port visits in Medan Indonesia, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, Singapore, Shanghai China and Japan.

TCG Gemlik made two visits Japan. The first visit was to the small fishery town of Kushimoto and the southern tip of Honshu island.

This town has a special place in Turkish history. On the stormy night of 18 September 1890 the three masted Turkish frigate Ertuğrul hit the rocks of the coast of Kushimoto and sunk. 553 sailors parished only 63 survived. the frigate was returning to tUrkey after completing a goodwill visit to Japan. This tragedy created a bond between the two nations. There is a Memorial for Ertuğrul in Kushimoto and a Turkish Museum.

Every five year Turkish Navy sends a warship to Japan to commemorate the tragedy. This is why the first port visited by TCG Gemlik was Kushimoto.

After Kushimoto, TCG Gemlik sailed to Tokyo for a port visit between 9th and 12th August.

The frigate has left Japan and has arrived today in Pusan South Korea where she will stay till 18th August.

For more photos from TCG Gemlik’s visit to Tokyo, click here.

Turkish Navy Task Group Returned Home

TCG Barbaros and TCG Gelibolu mooring at Aksaz Naval Base. Official Turkish Navy Photo.

On Monday 8th August 2011, the Turkish Navy Task Group minus the frigate F-492 TCG Gemlik returned to Aksaz Naval Base, Marmaris as planned.

The Task Group spend the last 70 days in Indian Ocean providing naval escort for Turkish and non-Turkish flagged vessels in the Gulf of Aden and conducted anti-piracy escorts in designated segments on the internationally recommended transit corridor (IRTC)

Besides the anti-piracy operations, TMTG will also visited ports in Oman, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Pakistan, India, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and conducted passage exercises with these countries and other multinational force in the area.

Click here to read earlier news about the task group.


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