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Foreign Warship On Bosphorus in 2017 (Part 17)

Here are photos of foreign warships, that have passed through Bosphorus, during the two weeks:

US Navy destroyer USS Oscar Austin escorted by Turkish Coast Guard vessels TCSG-5 and TCSG-303, left Black Sea after spending 17 days.

Alligator class landing ship Nikolai Filchenkov made a quick return to the Mediterranean after spending 9 days in the Black Sea. This she 6th deployment YTD. Photo: Yörük Işık.

Ropucha class landing ship Azov made her first southbound passage through Istanbul in 2017. Her last passage was on 15th August 2016

Ropucha class landing ship Tsezar Kunukov one of the workhorses of the Russian Black Sea Fleet made another northbound passage through Istanbul. Photo: Alper Böler.

Ropucha class landing ship Yamal made her southbound deployment. Photo: Alper Böler.

Russian Alligator class landing ship Nikolai Filchenkov returned in 10 days from its 5th Syrian deployment. Photo: Alper Böler

Dvinitsa-50 northbound. Photo: Yörük Işık.

The list of the foreign warships passed through Istanbul Strait is here.

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The Evaluation of TCG Istanbul’s Design

During the IDEF 2015 12th International Defense Industry Fair, Turkish Navy shared the first conceptual drawing of the second generation of Milgem class. There was a poster about TCG Istanbul on the Turkish Naval Forces booth during IDEF 2017 too.

I though it would be interesting to compare the photos and see how the design of TCG Istanbul has evolved.

Not surprisingly there are a few changes in design on the outside. Any changes made inside the ship remains elusive. The changes are focused between the bow and midships. It seems as the design of the ship from midships to aft has been found satisfactory.

The most important change is in the shape of the bridge and the mast.Lets look at them:
1. If the darker patches along the hull indicate openable hatches, there is a new hatch at location 1. On Ada class corvettes this area is used for replenishment. Since the design of TCG İstanbul is based on Ada class it is safe to assume that this area will be used for replenishment too. Thus there was a need to implement a hatch there to ease the operations there.

2. The location of the SATCOM antennas has changed. In 2015 there were located towards to the end of the mast. In 2017 there were moved a few meters to the front.

3. There are new antennas there. Their place and shape suggests antennas for an on board electronic warfare system. Probable a local development. The antennas of STACOM and ESM are pretty close. I hope they won’t create any interference.

4. The photos are not quite detailed but the electro-optical tracking and detection system has changed. In 2015 it was round and ball-shaped like ASELFLIR 300D. In 2017 it has a distinct rectangular shape of Denizgözü-Ahtapot. So the old system used on Ada class corvettes and Tuzla class patrol boats was replaced with a new generation sensor.

5. The shape of the bridge, and the forward part of the mast has changed. In 2015 the forward surfaces had a more slanted slope. In 2017 the slopes are more steep. The roof of the bridge is also less clustered and has more clean lines.

6. The all closed bow guards rails has been modified. The newer version has a bow bulwark and open guard rails. This must have changed the stealthiness of the ship. But the trade-off between becoming a little less stealth and having a flexible forward maneuvering area must be important for the handlers.

The sensors with the exception of the EO system and addition of ESM system and the weapons seem to be unchanged.

On Board The TCG Bayraktar

Mr. Hakan Kılıç, military aviation and ballistics missiles and BMD researcher, visited the newest warship of  Turkish Navy: TCG Bayraktar. He took photos during his visit and kindly allowed me to used them.

The photos you are about to see are his, but comments are mine.

The stern of TCG Bayraktar. The stern door leads directly to the vehicle bay that covers the whole length of the ship in a true Ro-Ro style.

The vehicle bay. The photo was taken from aft looking to the bow door. The deck is uncluttered and many hatches give an easy access to the deck.

The galley. Since an army marches on its stomach this is one of the most important part of the ship.

The helm at the bridge.

Looking from bridge to the starboard crane and LCVP’s. The port side LCPV are part visible. There is ample place on the deck to park vehicles or store additional material.

A close up view of the top starboard LCVP. TCG Bayraktar carries 4 of them. The black surface on the deck must be the ramp to the lower decks.

The flight deck of TCG Bayraktar. It can support landing of a 15 ton helicopter

A close up to the counter measures on board. The Ultra Sea Sentor launcher is in foreground. The Sea Sentor suit has a passive array to detect submarines, a command and control module and this counter measure launcher. A locally made chaff and flare launcher -similar to Mk36 – can be seen on the background.

The black thing in the middle of the image is, one of laser warning receivers. On the right the main mast of the ship can be seen with the ARES 2N ECM antennas and a SMART-S MK2 3D radar on top. The shape of the mast and antenna arrangement is the same of Ada class corvettes.

A commercial of the shelf navigation and helicopter approach radar looking to the aft of the ship. The pipes and sprinklers of the wash down system are visible. They help to clean away the contamination in case of a NBC warfare and to cool the ship so she is less visible to heat seeking sensors.

Turkish Navy Is Taking Part In Deniz Kurdu 2017

On 13 May 2017 Turkish warships set sail to participate in annual Deniz Kurdu exercise.

The exercise is held in Marmara, Aegean and Mediterranean Sea and will continue till 26 May 2017.

The purpose of the exercise is:

  • to test the efficiency level of the current command control structure under realistic conditions
  • to determine the functionality of the support provided to the other forces
  • to evaluate the to what extent the units of Turkish Naval Command can fulfill their duties and responsibilities  during the transition from a crisis environment to a conventional warfare environment.

14 frigates, 6 corvettes, 17 fast attack craft, 9 submarines, 6 mine hunters, 13 logistic support ships, 4 patrol boats, 4 MPA/ASW planes, 19 helicopters are taking part in this exercise. 9 boats and 1 SAR vessel from Turkish Coast Guard and numerous planes from Turkish Air Force is also taking part in this exercise.

The table below shows, the percentage of the participating Turkish Naval units, compared to the total ships in service.

In service Participating to DK 2017 %
Frigates 16 14 88%
Submarines 12 9 75%
Corvettes 8 6 75%
Fast Attack Craft 19 17 89%
Mine hunters 11 6 55%
Patrol boats 16 4 25%
Logistic support ships 5 13 260%
Planes 8 4 50%
Helicopters 35 19 54%

As one can see the majority of Turkish Naval units are taking part in Deniz Kurdu 2017.

The numbers for logistics supports ships does not make any sense. Turkish Navy has 5 replenishment ships that can be counted as logistics support ship. I have no idea how number for logistic ships was calculated as 13. As more news and photos start to be published we may learn more.

But other numbers are impressive and show that the majority of Turkish warships are, now at sea and honing their skills.

Foreign Warship On Bosphorus in 2017 (Part 16)

Here are photos of foreign warships, that have passed through Bosphorus, during the last week:

Boris Chilikin class replenishment ship Ivan Bubnov made her northbound passage just a few hours after Yamal.

Yamal has returned from her 5th Syrian deployment in 2017. Photo: Alper Böler

Arleigh Burke class destroyer USS Oscar Austin is the 3rd US Navy ship enter the Black Sea in 2017. This is her first deployment to the region. Photo: Kerim Bozkurt.

Sorum class tug MB-304 made her northbound passage with mine sweeper Kovrovets.

Natya class mine sweeper Kovrovets returned from her Syrian deployment after 126 days.

Romanian Border Police boat MAI-1102 returned from her Aegean deployment. She was replaced by MAI-1101. Photo: Alper Böler.

Nikolai Filchenkov heading for her 5th Syrian deployment in 2017. Photo: Yörük Işık.

The list of the foreign warships passed through Istanbul Strait is here.

TCG Kınalıada Coming Along Nicely

TCG Burgazada (left) is in dry dock and being fitted out. TCG Kınalıada (right) is still on the slipway. Her shape indicates all major constructing is almost finished. She seems to be almost ready for launching in September.

There are some interesting steel blocks lying just to the left of the slipway. They can’t be made for TCG Kınalıada since her shape is full and there is no room to add these blocks. Thus they must the first blocks of TCG İstanbul. They will be placed on the slipway once TCG Kınalıada is launched.

The fitting out of the third Ada class (Milgem) corvette TCG Burgazada is proceeding on the dry dock. The fabrication of the hull of the fourth and final Ada class corvette TCG Kınalıada is almost finished.

The pre-fabrication of the first İ class frigate is continuing. First two blocks of the hull is ready to be placed on the slipway once the last Ada class corvette is launched.

Foreign Warship On Bosphorus in 2017 (Part 15)

Here are photos of foreign warships, that have passed through Bosphorus, during the last 2 weeks

HMS Daring exited Black Sea just after 6 days. She visited Bulgaria and Romania.

Romanian Border Guard vessel MAI-1101 transited southbound through Istanbul Strait. She is replacing MAI-1102 deployed on Frontex. Photo:Alper Böler

Tsezar Kunikov returned from her Syrian deployment on the same day, as Yamal passed southbound. Photo: Alper Böler.

Ropucha class landing ship Yamal deployed for her 5th Syrian Express deployment. Photo: Yörük Işık.

Russian auxiliary cargo ship Dvinitsa-50 made a southbound passage through Istanbul after a long absence. Photo: Yörük Işık.

After a 2 year absence, one Royal Navy Type-45 class destroyer HMS Daring, was observed northbound in Istanbul Strait.

Yamal here seen returning from her 4th deployment.

Alligator class landing ship Nikolai Filchenkov returned from her Syrian deployment. Photo: Yörük Işık.

The list of the foreign warships passed through Istanbul Strait is here.

Russian Intelligence Gathering Ship Liman, Sunk Off The Coast Of Istanbul

The stricken Liman look very much just like this ship, her sister Kildin. Here Kildin moving northbound in November 2016.

On 27th April 2017 the Russian intelligence gathering ship Liman sunk off the coast of Istanbul.

The Project 861 / Moma class ship of Russian Black Sea Fleet was approximately 17 nautical miles northwest of the northern entrance of Istanbul Strait when Togo flagged livestock carrier Youzarsif H hit Liman. The accident happened at 08.41 UTC (11:41 local time). There was fog and the visibility was limited. This part of the Black Sea is usually used as a staging area for the ships as the wait for their turn to sail the Bosphorus. Thus there are usually many ships either adrift or sailing with very slow speed.

It was apparently Youzarsif H that hit Liman since Russian ships hull was  breached below the waterline. Both ship are similar in displacement around 1.500 tons and size. The damage to the Russian ship has overwhelmed the damage control party and the ship sunk at 11:48 UTC (14:48 local time).

The proximate location of the incident.

Turkish Directorate General of Coastal Safety dispatched life boats Kıyı Emniyeti 3, Kıyı Emniyeti 6, Kıyı Emniyeyi 8 and tug Kurtarma 3 to the accident site.

Of the 78 sailors on board of Liman, 26 were rescued by life boat Kıyı Emniyeti 3, 37 by Kıyı Eminyeti 8 and 15 by Youzarsif H. There are no casualties.

Liman was one of the 3 Project 861M / Moma class intelligence gathering ships. All are based in the Black Sea. The ship was deployed to the Mediterranean in Winter 2016 and was last seen passing northbound through Istanbul on 26 January 2017.

Liman was not expected to pass southbound through Istanbul Strait. This means she was sailing just outside of the Turkish territorial waters for collecting intelligence.

Intelligence gathering ships are equipped with highly sensitive sensors, special eavesdropping hardware and software to record and decipher the collected data. Some of the sailors on board must be “scientist” specialized gathering and interpreting data. A good question is whether the Russians had time to destroy the sensitive equipment before abandoning the ship. Another question is whether there will be any efforts to raise the ship or salvage any sensitive equipment that was not destroyer by the crew.

Though we don’t have details, how the accident ever happened and who was right according to COLREG, it is kind a ironic, that a ship with a mission to gather all the intelligence around it, fails to see an ungainly merchant ship sailing directly on it.

Turkey Makes A Sales Pitch For Type 214 Submarines To Indonesia

This presentation by TKMS from 2014, shows the local Turkish content in the Type 214 submarines, which is substantial compared to the previous submarine construction projects.

6 years ago Indonesia was looking for new submarines to replace her old German Type 209 class boats. Turkey and South Korea were in competition to supply the new submarines.

That was odd, very odd since both nations can only construct German submarines under license but neither has a locally developed submarines design. In other words, Turkey and South Korea were offering newer German Type 209 class submarines to Indonesia, to replace her old German Type 209 class submarines. And Germany was not in the competition.

In December 2011 it was announced that Daewoo Shipbuilding had been awarded a contract, to build 3 submarines. The first submarine is scheduled for delivery later in this year.

Jane’s Navy International reports that in early 2017, a team from Gölcük Naval Shipyard and TKMS ,the company that created Type 209 and Type 214 submarines and  visited Indonesian Navy Headquarters.

In 2015, Gölcük Naval Shipyard commenced a 10 year programme, to build 6 Type 214, locally know as, Reis class submarines, for Turkish Navy. A contract with TKMS was signed in 2009. The first boat TCG Pirireis is expected to launch in 2019.

According to JNI, the Indonesian Navy has received an offer from Gölcük Shipyard to supply a variant of the Reis class submarine. The meetings and presentations on the Type 214 class in Jakarta will be followed by a visit of Indonesian naval officials to Gölcük Shipyard’s facilities, where they will observe construction work on TCG Pirireis. This visit is currently scheduled to take place from 7 to 12 May 2017, in parallel to the IDEF 2017 exhibition.

It will be interesting to see which side the Germans will take. South Korea could not win 6 years ago, without help and support from Germany. Both Turkey and South Korea have an ongoing Type 214 construction program both can and probably will compete again. The Indonesian submarine project will definitely interesting to watch.

Commander Of The Ukrainian Navy Visited Turkey

Vice Admiral Ihor Voronchenko (left) and his entourage on board of a Ada class corvette. Photo: Turkish Naval Forces.

The Commander of Ukrainian Navy, Vice Admiral Ihor Voronchenko visited Turkey this week.

As official guest of Turkish Naval Forces, he arrived in Ankara on 19th April. After talks focused on discussions of regional security in the Black Sea, as well as aspects of bilateral cooperation with his Turkish counterpart, Vice Admiral Vorochenko, visited Gölcük Naval Basel and Yıldızlar Training Center.

He has returned to Ukraine on 22th April.

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