Turkish Anti-Ship Missiles Contract Signed

A test firing of Atmaca missile. Date unknown.

On 2nd November 2018, The Presidency of Defence Industries –former Undersecreteriat of Defence Industries- the main defense acquisition agency of Turkey announced that a contract for the serial production of Atmaca (Hawk) anti-ship missile was signed.

The contract was signed between PDI and Roketsan the leading company in the country for designing, developing and manufacturing rockets and missiles, as the main contractor. Aselsan the main defense electronics company is acting as sub-contractor and providing the RF seeker head and guidance section.

Since its start, the Atmaca Project has always been shrouded by thick layers of secrecy. And this habit continues still. Neither the value of the contract nor the number of missiles to be procured was revealed. The scheduled commissioning date of the missiles was also not made public. The press release about however mentioned that the first missiles are to be installed on board of the TCG İstanbul. TCG İstanbul is a İ class frigate currently under construction in Istanbul Naval Shipyard.

Turkish Navy EOD Team Destroys An Old Mine

The deadly catch. Photo: Balıkesir Haber Ajansı

This week a fishing boat operating off the coast of Ayvalık, Balıkesir found a mine in its net.

They have informed the Coast Guard and the harbor master. The old and probably inert mine was brought to the shore on board. A Turkish Navy EOD team was called by the Coast Gaurd. The EOD team brought the mine to an inhabited area and destroyed it by detonation.

The mine is believed to be from 1. World War era. Every year fishermen return with such deadly catch and provide the EOD teams always an opportunity for action.

Turkish Navy Conducted The Second SINKEX In 2018

The Turkish Navy conducted another sinking exercise SINKEX last week on 17th October. This is the second SINKEX Turkish Navy has conducted in 2018 and the third, in the last 12 months.

This exercise was not previously announced. But it was anticipated since the decommissioned navy tanker ex- TCG Taşkızak was observed being towed to the Black Sea on 16th October 2018. The previous sinking exercises were also conducted in the Black Sea. The tanker sunk in 5 minutes 36 seconds after the impact of the torpedo.

This yet unidentified Ay class submarine seen here sailing southbound through
Istanbul on 19th October 2018 was most probably the submarine that fired the torpedo that sunk the ex- TCG Taşkızak during the SINEX.

 

The short video of the exercise, shows an unguided torpedo being fired from an Ay class submarine. The torpedo seems shorter than contemporary modern torpedos and does not have a guidance wire. Therefore I believe it was an Mk-37 torpedo.

 

TCG Edincik Gets A New Mine Hunting Sonar

The legacy DUBM 20B sonar system on board of TCG Edincik, here off Istanbul in 2017, was replaced by indigenously developed MATESS system.

It was revealed during the industry day of the Nusret 2018 mine warfare exercise, that the Turkish minehunter TCG Edincik was fitted with the mine detection sonar of Aselsan.

Aselsan started to development of MATESS, mine detection sonar as a private project without a firm order from Turkish Navy. When the system was evolved to certain maturity, it was installed on board of Edincik class minehunter TCG Edincik.

The minehunter started her life as FS Calliope in 1971 in French Navy. In 1999 she and her 4 sisters were bought by the Turkish Navy. She was renamed as TCG Edincik and transferred in 1998. In her original configuration, she was fitted with DUBM 20B minehunting sonar.

According to Aselsan MATESS is a mine detection and object avoidance sonar, providing automatic detection, localization and classification capability for underwater objects, supporting ships navigation safety at high reliability.

The system is made up from the transducer array, transmitter and receiver, signal processing and user interface units.

Aselsan expects the testing of the sonar system on TCG Edincik will end in late December and in early 2019 the system will officially be inaugurated to Turkish Navy. Her attendance to the Nusret mine warfare exercise should be regarded as a part of the testing and evaluation process of the MATESS by Turkish Navy.

Nusret 2018 Mine Warfare Exercise

The Bulgarian mine hunter BNG Tsibar, seen here passing southbound through Istanbul on 10th October 2018 takes part in Nusret 2018 MCM exercise.

The Romanian hydrographic research vessel Cătuneanu is participating to the Nusret 2018 exercise too. Here is she seen passing through Istanbul on 13th October.

Mine warfare exercise Nusret 2018 has started in İzmir today. The exercise led by the Turkish Navy aims to provide training for the planning and execution of mine warfare and to improve the interoperability in mine warfare, between warships from participant countries.

The exercise is named after the famous minelayer Nusret. In even years the exercise is held in İzmir Bay and in odd years it is held in Çanakkale and Saros Bay.

This year 18 surface units including 4 Aydın class minehunters, 3 Edincik class minehunters, one minelayer, one corvette and one patrol boat from Turkish Navy, Standing Nato Mine Warfare Group 2 (SNMCMG-2) and Romanian hydrographic research ship are participating in the exercise. A detailed list of the participating units is at the bottom of this post.

One Turkish and one Romanian autonomous underwater vehicles teams and one Greek and one Romanian underwater explosive ordnance disposal units are also taking part in Nusret 2018.

The exercise has 3 phases. The first phase is the assembly of the participating units in the Port of İzmir. Followed by mine laying operation from one Turkish C-130 cargo plane and L-402 TCG Bayraktar. This phase is followed by active mine hunting warfare operations. The last phase will be a Photex of the participants and social and cultural activates among the crews to foster cooperation and mutual understanding.

Number Name Type Country
32 BGS Tsibar Minehunter Bulgaria
M-645 FS Orion Minehunter France
A-513 FGS Rhein Auxillary Germany
M-62 HS Evropi Minehunter Greece
5555 ITS Termoli Minehunter Italy
ROS Catuneanu Hydrographic Vessel Romania
M-34 ESPS Turia Minehunter Spain
F-512 TCG Büyükada Corvette Turkey
L-401 TCG Bayraktar Minelayer / LST Turkey
M-264 TCG Erdemli Minehunter Turkey
M-20X TCG Edincik Minehunter Turkey
M-262 TCG Enez Minehunter Turkey
M-263 TCG Erdek Minehunter Turkey
M-265 TCG Alanya Minehunter Turkey
M-266 TCG Amasra Minehunter Turkey
M-268 TCG Akçakoca Minehunter Turkey
M-270 TCG Akçay Minehunter Turkey
P-1206 TCG Karşıyaka Patrol boat Turkey

For further reading:
Nusret 2017
Nusret 2016
Nusret 2015
Nusret 2014
Nusret 2013
Nusret 2012
Nusret 2011
Nusret 2010

The Participants of Mavi Balina 2018 Naval Exercise

TCG Bandırma (left) and TCG Gemlik (right) receiving fuel underway from replenishment ship TCG Akar. Photo: Turkish Navy

Mavi Balina (Blue Whale) 2018 invitation naval exercise is going to end today with a post-exercise briefing in Aksanz Naval Base in Marmaris.

Mavi Balina is a biannual anti-submarine warfare exercise where the participating units had the opportunity to increase their readiness for actual submarine warfare operations.

Here is a list of the surface units took part in the exercise:

Number Name Type Country
F-245 TCG Oruçreis Frigate Turkey
F-490 TCG Gaziantep Frigate Turkey
F-491 TCG Giresun Frigate Turkey
F-492 TCG Gemlik Frigate Turkey
F-493 TCG Gelibolu Frigate Turkey
F-502 TCG Bandırma Corvette Turkey
F-512 TCG Büyükada Corvette Turkey
P-1204 TCG Tarsus Patrol Boat Turkey
A-580 TCG Akar Tanker Turkey
F-804 HNLMS De Ruyter Frigate Netherlands
F-105 ESPS Cristobal Colon Frigate Spain
F-253 PNS Saif Frigate Pakistan
F-211 ROS Regele Ferdinand Frigate Romania

Lest We Forget: DM-357 TCG Muavenet

On 2nd October 1992, 11 minutes past midnight, during the NATO’s Display Determination ’92 naval exercise, two Sea Sparrow surface to air missiles fired accidentally from the aircraft carrier CV-60 USS Saratoga, hit the bridge of the Turkish destroyer DM-357 TCG Muavenet. 5 sailors including the commander of the ship were killed instantly and 15 badly hurt. A fire broke out on board. At the time of the incident, two ships were 3 miles apart and were streaming north in the Aegean.

One of the missiles hit the ship approximately after a flight of ten seconds. The first missile hit the front of the ship’s bridge and destroyed it. The second missile exploded in the air probably because of the blast of the first missile and peppered the ship with shrapnel. Ships radar antenna, forward gun turrets, hedgehog launcher suffered from the shrapnel damage. The pieces of the second missile penetrated the forward gun turret, cabins of the supply officer and XO.

A fire started at the ammunition chamber of the Hedgehog system. The explosion of the Hedgehog rounds would have caused the loss of the ships. After the hits, general quarters were sounded and the firefighting teams started to tackle the fire. On the other hand, the damage control teams were throwing the ready ammunition in the forward gun turrets and other explosives near the fire over the board as a safety measure.

The fire was under control in 10 minutes but the water caused damage in the decks that were not harmed in the initial blast.

The extent of the damage resulting both from missile impact and fire is obvious. It was quite a skill to bring the fire under control before reaching to the gun turret in B position. If the fire has spread further to the turrets and ammunition chambers of the guns, then she would not have survived.

These two photos were taken after TGC Muavenet was towed to Gölcük Naval Base.

All the firefighting and damage control efforts were done in the absence of the commander of the ship. This fact speaks for the professionalism of the officers and the bravery of the whole crew.

They simply did not give up the ship.

Commander Kudret Güngör
Ensign Alertunga Akan
Petty Officer 3th Class Serkan Aktepe
Sergeant Mustafa Kılınç
Private Recep Akan

Paid the ultimate price for the defense of their country.

For further reading:
US Navy Court of Inquiry

Turkish Navy Court of Inquiry

Wikipedia

An interesting but technical legal article about why the USA did not pay indemnities to the Turkish sailors

Bosphorus Naval News

And one video documentary about the incident:

http://vimeo.com/58526103

_____

Mavi Balina 2018 Naval Exercise Starts Tomorrow

Romanian frigate ROS Regele Ferdinand seen here passing through Istanbul on 25th September 2018. She is going to take part in Mavi Balina Exercise.

Mavi Balina (Blue Whale) 2018 invitation naval exercise will be held between 28th September and 7th October in the eastern Mediterranean.  Turkish Navy will host ships, airplanes, helicopters, boarding teams and observers from, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Pakistan, Romania, Saudi Arabia and the United States of America. Furthermore Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) will take part in the exercise too.

Mavi Balina is a biannual anti-submarine warfare exercise. Participating units will have the opportunity to increase their readiness for actual operations and to increase their ability to perform joint operations.

Turkish Navy will participate with 4 frigates, 5 submarines, 2 corvettes, 1 replenishment ship, 1 patrol boat 3 maritime patrol planes, and 6 helicopters.  Airplanes from Turkish Airforce will also take part.

NATO Maritime Group Two will deploy the flagship The Dutch frigate HNLMS De Ruyter, the Spanish frigate ESPS Cristóbal Colón, the Greek frigate HS Elli and one yet undisclosed Turkish frigate.

Pakistan will join with the frigate PNS Saif and one maritime patrol plane. Romania will deploy the frigate ROS Regele Ferdinand and one helicopter. One maritime patrol plane from US Navy will take part in the exercise too.

Algeria, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Pakistan, Romania, Saudi Arabia NATO, and the United States will send 19 observers

18 visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) team members and 7 VBSS trainers from Azerbaijan are going to take part in Mavi Balina exercise. Their training will be evaluated by 3 men strong VBSS audit and evaluation team from NATO MARCOM.

10th Anniversary

When I started this blog 10 years ago, I had no idea where it would take me. I had –and still have- things to share and things to say and I knew blogging was –and still is- the right media to address the world.

Blogging in English was a deliberate choice and to be frankly quite a challenge. My grammar and typing mistakes may hurt the eyes of native speakers, but I sincerely hope that the content you got may ease your pain.

It was not a smooth sailing. When a Turkish Court blocked the Blogspot, the original platform I was using, I had no idea whether I should continue or not and if yes how. The migration to WordPress, 8 years ago, was a big leap of faith for me but it worked fine. The Twitter account of this blog has been a good addition and an excellent platform for instant blogging.

Personally, the most satisfying moments were, when I was creating the news instead of relaying press releases or news articles prepared by somebody else.

Through this blog I was able to meet many wonderful people, must online, some in person and share ideas, information and thoughts. I am very grateful for this.

I would like to thank my family. Actually, I can’t thank them enough for every minute I spent on this blog is a minute less spent with them.

And finally, I would like to thank all my readers and followers. Without your continued feedback, interest and engagement this journey would not be this interesting.

A Large Piece Of Grey, Steel Lump

TCG Bayraktar during her acceptance test in 2017. She seems to have become the de facto training ship of Turkish Navy.

On 3rd September the second year cadets of Turkish Naval Academy boarded TCG Bayraktar for a 20 day training cruise in the Black Sea.

318 Turkish students and 7 guest students from South Korea, Albania, Senegal, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Azerbaijan will sail through the Black Sea and visit Varna Bulgaria, Poti Georgia, Trabzon Turkey.

TCG Bayraktar seems to be the favorite training platform of the Turkish Navy replacing the old Rhein class ships TCG Cezayirli Hasan Paşa and TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa. These two ships, initially built as tender for Germany Navy were transferred to Turkish Navy in 1980’ies. In Turkish service, they are mainly used as used for training cruises of Turkish Naval Petty Officer Vocational School and Turkish Naval Academy. Besides training cruises, both ships are used in flagships duties.

But for the last two years, TCG Bayraktar was deployed for the training cruises. While I can understand why TCG Bayraktar is now the chosen platform for the training cruises. She is landing ship with a capacity to carry 350 persons. She has an 1100 square meter closed parking area and a 690 square meter large open deck. So there is enough place for the cadets to live and to train.

TCG Bayraktar has modern command and control facilities, advanced damage control systems and weapons. So she is an effective platform to teach the cadets and show them how to live and fight on ships.

TCG Bayraktar is a convenient platform for training unfortunately not the most representative one nor were the Rhein class ships. Turkish Navy needs a dedicated training ship. And I would like it to be a sailing ship.

Almost one decade ago, in December 2008, the Defence Industry Executive Committee approved the commencement of training ship project. On 29 January 2009, Undersecretariat for Defense Industries issued a request for information (RfI) document about schooner type ships. But nothing since then happened. For some years the project was listed in the official presentations of UDI under the future acquisition projects. Now they even don’t do that. I have no doubt that nobody in Undersecretariat for Defence Industries or in Turkish Navy is talking about this project anymore.

I personally STILL look forward to seeing these schooners in service. I believe that only sailing can teach a young and aspiring sea cadet about the forces that will shape his/her life in the coming twenty-thirty years.

There is no better way than sailing and challenging the elements, in order to develop good ship handling skills and a feeling for the sea. Today’s naval warfighting has become something like an arcade game. All command, control, and communication are done in the bowels of the ship. Yet a commander of any warship must be a sailor first and bring the ship back to the port safely.

I can not think of a person who would not be impressed by seeing a tall ship sailing into their port. TCG Bayraktar is a large piece of grey steel lump, impressive but unimaginative. In terms of naval soft power, these schooners will a force multiplier for the Turkish Navy when and if they enter into the service.

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