New ESM Sensor For Burak Class Corvettes

The above photo, taken in March 2018 shows TCG Bartın with her original ESM sensor on top of her mast. The below photo, taken in January 2023, shows TCG Bartın with her new ESM sensor.

The above photo, taken in March 2018 shows TCG Bartın with her original ESM sensor on top of her mast. The below photo, taken in January 2023, shows TCG Bartın with her new ESM sensor.

TCG Bartın was spotted fitted with a new set of electronic support measures systems this week when this ship made a port visit in Istanbul.

This was the first time that the Burak, (ex-Aviso) class corvettes fitted with this new and unnamed system. These ships were procured from the French Navy in the early 2000s.

A close-up view of the new ESM system.

A close-up view of the new ESM system.

While there is no publicly available information regarding this new ESM system, it is safe to assume that it was a labor of a collaboration between the Turkish Naval Forces and Aselsan. This outside sensor does not look like the one installed on board Ada and Meko 200 T1 class warships. Thus it must be specially designed to fit on the mast of Burak class corvettes.

This is not the first time that Aselsan has replaced a legacy ESM system on board a Turkish warship. In 2017, Aselsan started to replace the Signaal Rapids/Ramses ESM suit with a locally made one. That system was made of a new ESM sensor, dedicated or shared multi-function operator consoles, and a decoy launching system.

The new system installed on board TCG Bartın, has a new ESM sensor, as it was recognizable from the outside. I believe there will be a new dedicated or shared multi-function operator console inside the combat management center to display the data received by the sensors. To shorten the reaction time the decoy launchers are probably connected to the new ESM suite.

Existing Aselsan ESM systems have the capability of detecting, intercepting, identifying, classifying, tracking,  direction finding, localizing, platform correlating, and recording electromagnetic emissions.

This new system will without a doubt increase the ship’s situational awareness and enable the crew to make more informed decisions.

PNS Khalid Handed Over To The Pakistan Naval Forces After Modernisation

STM Defense Technologies Engineering and Trade Inc., one of the leading companies in the Turkish defense industry, reached another important milestone as the second Agosta 90B class submarine PNS Khalid was delivered to the Pakistan Navy Command with a ceremony. The first submarine of the project, the PNS Hamza was delivered on April 21, 2021.

STM won the tender for the submarine modernization project in 2016. This was the first time that a Turkish company was modernizing a naval vessel, not in service of the Turkish Navy. The tender, which initially included the semi-life modernization of one Agosta 90B class submarine, was later expanded to include the modernization of the second and third submarines. As part of the modernization, various sensor and weapon systems are updated with the latest technology systems, particularly systems assembled and integrated by STM.

The original sonar suites, periscope systems, information distribution systems, command and control systems, radars, and ESM re replaced as part of the modernization. Additional features beyond the current capabilities of the submarines were also gained during the modernization. The project, systems from many local and domestic companies such as ASELSAN and HAVELSAN were also exported as part of the project. All necessary structural repairs related to the submarine and materials used are also certified by DNV (Det Norske Veritas), an international classification organization.

The project is being carried out at Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works in Pakistan, with engineering, design, materials, training, documentation, and technical support provided by STM.

Electronic Warfare Exercise With Unmanned Vessels

This week, Turkish Naval Forces conducted an electronic warfare exercise off the coast of Antalya.

The embedded short video shows ULAQ unmanned surface vessel with an EW suite and antenna. This version of ULAQ was made public when it was shown to the members of the Ankara Military Attache Corps.

The details of the new configuration have not been shared with the public. However, on the panel The Future of Unmanned Naval Systems and Turkey’s Potential held during the SAHA Expo last week, it was reviled that the Sefine Shipyard – Aselsan joint venture the Merlin USV was also in Antalya.

The Merlin took part in REPMUS 22 and Dynamic Messenger 22 exercises held at the Maritime Operational Experimentation Center (CEOM) in Troia, Portugal.

Besides the USV, there was one Yavuz class frigate, one Ada class corvette, and one Kılıç class fast attack craft participating in the exercise.

The presence of two especially for electronic warfare configured unmanned surface vessel indicates that the Turkish Navy is spending time learning the potential of these vessels closely and developing concepts to use these vessels in action.

One Ada class corvette in the background and one Yavuz class frigate off the coast of Antalya during the electronic warfare exercise. Photo: Mert Şekersoy. Used with permission.

Testing Of DÜFAS Sonar System Has Started

TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa. Note the Gökdeniz CIWS turret has been replaced with other equipment. Photo: Oğuz Eroğuz.

The detail equipment installed on board of TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa. Photo: Oğuz Eroğuz.

The detail equipment installed on board of TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa. Photo: Oğuz Eroğuz.

The Turkish Navy started to test a new towed sonar array on board of TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa.

Previously the Rhein class auxiliary ship was used as the test bed for the Aselsan made Gökdeniz CIWS system. Photos, recently taken show that the Gökdeniz CIWS turret was removed from the ship. The aft of the ship is now occupied with a metal shelter, one large cable spool a winch and some davits like metal construction.

It was previously reported that the testing of the DÜFAS towed array system would commence in 2022. While the initial reporting mentions the test would be conducted on board of a Gabya class frigate, it is possible that these tests are now conducted on board of TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa as the photographic evidence suggests.

DÜFAS is a towed low frequency active sonar project initial by the Research and Development department of SSB and being developed by Aselsan, Armelsan and Nanotech.

Mine Scare In The Black Sea

Mine damage on Musca class minesweeper Lieutenant Dimitrie Nicolescu. Photo: Dobrogea TV

On 8 September 2022, a Romanian ship reported a floating mine approximately 25 nautical miles northeast of Constanta harbour. The mine is believed to be one of the mines laid during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Romanian Naval Forces deployed Musca class minesweeper Lieutenant Dimitrie Nicolescu to destroy the mine. However, when the minesweeper arrived at the site the weather and sea conditions worsened. With a wind speed of 10 – 12 m/s and wave height of 1.5 – 2 meters, the minesweeper was not able to deploy the RHIB with the EOD team on board. At night the mine swept through the storm and hit the ship on her astern port side.

According to Romanian Naval Forces, the detonation created a small hole, at the water line. The damage appears to be limited though there had been some ingress through the hole. the 75-strong crew on board has not suffered any injuries.

The minesweeper Lieutenant Dimitrie Nicolescu returned to her homeport Constanta with the help of the navy tugs Grozavul and Viteazu, that provided assistance and research against the mines.

Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine 30 mines have been found and destroyed in the Black Sea. Here is the list of them

Date Mines Location Country Action
26.03.2022 1 Anchorage area Türkeli north of Bosphorus Turkey Turkish navy EOD teams dragged the mine to their Exercise area near the northern entrance of the Bosphorus and destroyed it.
28.03.2022 1 Off the shore of İğneada town Turkey Turkish navy EOD teams neutralised the mine in location.
28.03.2022 1 39 nautical miles off the Black Sea, across from Capu Midia Romania Romanian navy EOD teams neutralised the mine in location.
6.04.2022 1 Off the shore of Kefken town Turkey Turkish navy EOD teams neutralised the mine in location.
6.04.2022 1 Crimean shore Russia Mine washed ashore on an unspecified Crimean beach.
30.06.2022 1 27 nautical miles east of the mouth of the Kamchia river Bulgaria Bulgarian naval EOD team neutralised the mine in location.
31.07.2022 1 2 nautical miles off Eforie town Romania Romanian navy EOD teams neutralised the mine in location.
8.09.2022 1 25 nautical miles northeast of Constanta harbour Romania Romanian Navy mine sweeper Lieutenant Dimitrie Nicolescu was damaged when the mine could not be neutralised by EOD teams due to bad weather
1.07.2022 22 Ukrainian coast Ukraine 20 mines were destroyed by Ukrainian forces. Locations and dates are unknown.

As always any corrections or additions to the list above are welcomed.

Ships Lost, Damaged Or Seized During The Russian Invasion of Ukraine (Part 3)

It’s been six months since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine. I have been trying to keep a list the of damage and losses to the ships, since the start of the invasion.

The list below is the list of the ships that have been damaged, sunk or seized since 24 February 2022.

I welcome any additions, changes or corrections.

Date Ship Type Country Event and Location Losses
24.02.2022 Yasa Jupiter Civilian merchant ship Marshall Island Damage by an airstrike, off the coast of Odessa No losses
25.02.2022 Millennial Spirit Civilian merchant ship Moldovia Damage from artillery fire by Russian warships 12nm off Yuzny port 2 injured
26.02.2022 Namura Queen Civilian merchant ship Panama Damage by an airstrike, location unknown 1 injured
26.02.2022 Sapfir Civilian merchant ship Ukraine Seized by the Russians on Snake Island No losses
1.03.2022 Anonim Raptor class patrol boat Russia Claimed to be hit by Ukrainian armed forces, no evidence in the Sea of Azov Unknown
1.03.2022 Anonim Raptor class patrol boat Russia Claimed to be hit by Ukrainian armed forces, no evidence in the Sea of Azov Unknown
3.03.2022 Banglar Samriddhi Civilian merchant ship Ukraine Airstrike near Yuzny Unknown
3.03.2022 Slovyansk Island Patrol boat Bangladesh Damage by a missile hit near Olvia port 1 dead
4.03.2022 Helt Civilian merchant ship Panama Claimed to have been struck by a mine off the coast of Odessa No losses
4.03.2022 Hetman Sahaydachniy Krivak III class frigate Ukraine Scuttled at the pier by her own crew in Mykolaiv No losses
14.03.2022 Akkerman Gurza-M class patrol boat Ukraine Seized by the Russians in the port of Berdiansk No losses
14.03.2022 Arabat Zhuk class coast guard vessel Ukraine Seized by the Russians in the port of Berdiansk No losses
14.03.2022 BG-108 Zhuk class coast guard vessel Ukraine Seized by the Russians in the port of Berdiansk No losses
14.03.2022 BG-14 UMS 1000 class coast guard vessel Ukraine Seized by the Russians in the port of Berdiansk No losses
14.03.2022 BG-24 UMS 1200 class coast guard vessel Ukraine Seized by the Russians in the port of Berdiansk No losses
14.03.2022 BG-308 Kalkan class coast guard vessel Ukraine Seized by the Russians in the port of Berdiansk No losses
14.03.2022 BG-310 Kalkan class coast guard vessel Ukraine Seized by the Russians in the port of Berdiansk No losses
14.03.2022 BG-311 Kalkan class coast guard vessel Ukraine Seized by the Russians in the port of Berdiansk No losses
14.03.2022 Korets Sorum class tug Ukraine Seized by the Russians in the port of Berdiansk No losses
14.03.2022 Vyshhorod Gurza-M class patrol boat Ukraine Seized by the Russians in the port of Berdiansk No losses
21.03.2022 Raptor bot Raptor class patrol boat Russia Hit with an anti-tank missile, in the Sea of Azov, towed back Unknown
24.03.2022 Novocherkassk Ropucha class LST Russia Explosion and fire; sank in Berdiansk port Unknown
24.03.2022 Ruşen Mete Civilian merchant ship Russia Explosion and fire damage in Berdiansk port 8 injured
24.03.2022 Saratov Alligator class LST Russia Explosion and fire damage in Berdiansk port 3 dead, 2 injured
24.03.2022 Tsezar Kunikov Ropucha class LST Sierra Leone Fire damage from the explosion in Berdiansk port Unknown
30.03.2022 Preyaslav Project 1824B intelligence vessel Ukraine Ukrainian intelligence vessel, hit by Russian special forces and artillery, in Dyneper River Unknown
5.04.2022 Azburg Civilian merchant ship Dominican Republic Hit by Russian artillery in Mariupol harbour, sunk. 1 injured
6.04.2022 Donbas Amur class repair ship Ukraine Hit by Russian artillery in Mariupol harbour. Unknown
9.04.2022 Apache Civilian merchant ship Malta Hit by Ukrainian artillery in Mariupol harbour. No losses
10.04.2022 Kremenchuk Gurza-M class patrol boat Ukraine Seized by the Russians in the port of Mariupol No losses
11.04.2022 Smata Civilian merchant ship Liberia Seized by the Russians in the port of Mariupol No losses
13.04.2022 BG-22 UMS 1200 class coast guard vessel Ukraine Sunk in Mariupol harbour Unknown
13.04.2022 BG-23 UMS 1200 class coast guard vessel Ukraine Sunk in Mariupol harbour Unknown
13.04.2022 Donbas Tarantul class coast guard vessel Ukraine Sunk in Mariupol harbour Unknown
13.04.2022 Moskva Slava class cruiser Russia Hit by anti-ship missiles, burned and sunk under tow At least 39
15.04.2022 Lubnia Gurza-M class patrol boat Ukraine Sunk in Mariupol harbour Unknown
15.04.2022 Meotida Damen TSHD 750 Ukraine Sunk in Mariupol harbour Unknown
18.04.2022 Tzarevna Civilian merchant ship Malta Hit by artillery in Mariupol harbour Unknown
2.05.2022 Raptor bot Raptor class patrol boat Russia Hit by MAM-L missile fired from TB-2 near Snake Island Unknown
2.05.2022 Raptor bot Raptor class patrol boat Russia Hit by MAM-L missile fired from TB-2 near Snake Island Unknown
4.05.2022 Serna LCM Project 11770 LCM Russia Hit by MAM-L missile fired from TB-2 near Snake Island Unknown
4.05.2022 Raptor bot Raptor class patrol boat Russia Hit by MAM-L missile fired from TB-2 near Snake Island Unknown
4.05.2022 Raptor bot Raptor class patrol boat Russia Hit by MAM-L missile fired from TB-2 near Snake Island Unknown
1.06.2022 Brentix Civilian merchant ship Tanzania Hit by artillery in Ochakov harbour Unknown
4.06.2022 Vinnytsia Grisha class corvette Ukraine Sunk/scuttled in Ochakov harbour. Not in use since January 2021. Unknown
17.06.2022 Spasatel Vasily Bekh Project 22870 tug Russia Hit by two anti-ship missiles 10 death, 23 injured
29.06.2022 D-106 Project 1176 LCM Russia Hit a mine off the coast of Mariupol and sunk Unknown
6.07.2022 Millennial Spirit Civilian merchant ship Moldovia Hit again by Russian missiles when drifting abandoned No losses

New Sensors For Gabya Class Frigiates

A photo of TCG Gaziantep with the new electro-optic sensor. Photo: Oğuz Eroğuz. Used with permission.

The Turkish Navy started to upgrade the Gabya class frigates with a new electro-optic sensor.

The sensor was first observed on board TCG Gökçeada a couple months ago, the new electro-optic sensor appeared on board TCG Gaziantep this week. The ship was in overhaul. The E/O seems to be installed on a special pedestal on top of the bridge.

While there are no official announcements either from the Turkish Navy or Aselsan the system used on board seems to be the Denizgözü-Ahtapot version.

According to Aselsan Ahtapot is an E/O reconnaissance and surveillance system. The system has high-performance IR, HDTV and Spotter cameras, and an eye-safe laser range finder.

The sensor was specifically designed for naval use on board large ships. The first ship it was installed was on TCG Burgazada.

The lack of a dedicated E/O reconnaissance and surveillance system on board Gabya class frigates was an important shortcoming. With the installation of Ahtapot E/O, this shortcoming will be rectfied.

The Keel Of The Bulgarian Corvette Laid In Varna

A model of the Hrabri. Photo: MTG Dolphin

On 17th June 2022, the keel of the first of two new Multipurpose Modular Patrol Vessels (MMVP) for the Bulgarian Naval Forces was laid with a ceremony. The vessel is named  Hrabri, meaning “Brave” in Bulgarian.

The procurement of modern surface combatants to meet NATO Requirements were in consideration for a long time. These new MMVP’s will replace two Pauk (Project 1241P) and one Tarantul (Project 1241.1M) class corvettes.

While the details of information such as the armament, sensors and specifications have not been made public yet according to NVL, the vessels, which are around 90 meters long, with around 2,300 tons of displacement, are based on the proven OPV 90 design from the NVL portfolio and feature an integrated Combat Management System. The Swedish company SAAB announced in December 2020 that it was going to provide the combat management system for these ships.

The ships are going to be armed with one 76mm main gun furthermore four -probably European-made- anti-ship missiles, eight VL-MICA anti-aircraft missiles in vertical launcher cells, one Rheinmetall Millenium close-in weapon station, and lightweight torpedoes are among the weapons. The MMVP’s are going to be the first ships in Bulgarian Naval forces with a flight deck and a hangar and they will be able to accommodate the AS-565MB Panther naval helicopter in Bulgarian service.

The total volume of the MMPV project is around 420 million euros. Delivery of the first vessel is scheduled for the third quarter of 2025, and the second vessel a year later. The construction of the second ship will begin in early 2023.

It was high time for Bulgaria to invest in its naval forces. These are the first new warship constructions for the Bulgarian Navy for over a century.

Today Ukrainian Armed Forces are using Switchblade loitering ammunition from the USA, CAESAR self-propelled guns from France and NLAW anti-tank missiles from the UK successful again the invading Russian forces. None of these weapons was in the Ukrainian inventory at the start of the war. Ukraine and its Allies were able to deploy these weapons, train their users efficiently and field them against the enemy in a period of mere weeks.

Unfortunately, navies do not have this type of luxury. It takes a few years to build a new warship but takes generations to establish a coherent naval fighting organization. Even if one of the Allies of Ukraine would have donated one or more warships to help bolster Ukrainian naval Forces it would take months to properly train the sailors to efficiently use all the systems on board.

It is time for investment in naval forces. If Ukraine has a more capable naval force with larger ships carrying more sting it could have been easier to arm them with alternative weapon systems to counter the Russian blockage against the Ukrainian ports.

Unlike Ukraine, Bulgaria has the luxury of being a member of NATO. While NATO membership may provide a country with a fair amount of protection and security, it is never a substitute for investing in its own armed forces.

Ships Lost, Damaged Or Seized During The Russian Invasion of Ukraine (Part 2)

I have been trying to keep a list the of damage and losses to the ships, since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine,

The list below is the list of the ships that have been damaged, sunk or seized since 24 February 2022.

A photo from the good days of Moskva. This image was taken in January 2016. This was the last time I have seen this ship

Date Ship Type Country Event and Location Losses
24.02.2022 Yasa Jupiter Civilian merchant ship Marshall Island Damage by an airstrike, off the coast of Odessa No losses
25.02.2022 Millennial Spirit Civilian merchant ship Moldovia Damage from artillery fire by Russian warships 12nm off Yuzny port 2 injured
26.02.2022 Namura Queen Civilian merchant ship Panama Damage by an airstrike, location unknown 1 injured
26.02.2022 Sapfir Civilian merchant ship Ukraine Seized by the Russians on Snake Island No losses
1.03.2022 Anonim Raptor class patrol boat Russia Claimed to be hit by Ukrainian armed forces, no evidence in the Sea of Azov Unknown
1.03.2022 Anonim Raptor class patrol boat Russia Claimed to be hit by Ukrainian armed forces, no evidence in the Sea of Azov Unknown
3.03.2022 Banglar Samriddhi Civilian merchant ship Bangladesh Airstrike near Yuzny Unknown
3.03.2022 Slovyansk Island Patrol boat Ukraine Damage by a missile hit near Olvia port 1 dead
4.03.2022 Helt Civilian merchant ship Panama Claimed to have been struck by a mine off the coast of Odessa No losses
4.03.2022 Hetman Sahaydachniy Krivak III class frigate Ukraine Sunk at the pier by her own crew in Mykolaiv No losses
14.03.2022 Akkerman Gurza-M class patrol boat Ukraine Seized by the Russians in the port of Berdiansk No losses
14.03.2022 Arabat Zhuk class coast guard vessel Ukraine Seized by the Russians in the port of Berdiansk No losses
14.03.2022 BG-108 Zhuk class coast guard vessel Ukraine Seized by the Russians in the port of Berdiansk No losses
14.03.2022 BG-14 UMS 1000 class coast guard vessel Ukraine Seized by the Russians in the port of Berdiansk No losses
14.03.2022 BG-24 UMS 1200 class coast guard vessel Ukraine Seized by the Russians in the port of Berdiansk No losses
14.03.2022 BG-308 Kalkan class coast guard vessel Ukraine Seized by the Russians in the port of Berdiansk No losses
14.03.2022 BG-310 Kalkan class coast guard vessel Ukraine Seized by the Russians in the port of Berdiansk No losses
14.03.2022 BG-311 Kalkan class coast guard vessel Ukraine Seized by the Russians in the port of Berdiansk No losses
14.03.2022 Korets Sorum class tug Ukraine Seized by the Russians in the port of Berdiansk No losses
14.03.2022 Vyshhorod Gurza-M class patrol boat Ukraine Seized by the Russians in the port of Berdiansk No losses
21.03.2022 Raptor bot Raptor class patrol boat Russia Hit with an anti-tank missile, in the Sea of Azov, towed back Unknown
24.03.2022 Novocherkassk Ropucha class LST Russia Explosion and fire; damage in Berdiansk port Unknown
24.03.2022 Ruşen Mete Civilian merchant ship Sierra Leone Fire damage from the explosion in Berdiansk port 8 injured
24.03.2022 Saratov Alligator class LST Russia Explosion and fire sank in Berdiansk port 3 dead, 2 injured
24.03.2022 Tsezar Kunikov Ropucha class LST Russia Explosion and fire; damage in Berdiansk port Unknown
30.03.2022 Preyaslav Project 1824B intelligence vessel Ukraine Ukrainian intelligence vessel, hit by Russian special forces and artillery, in Dyneper River Unknown
5.04.2022 Azburg Civilian merchant ship Dominica Hit by Russian artillery in Mariupol harbour. 1 injured
6.04.2022 Donbas Amur class repair ship Ukraine Hit by Russian artillery in Mariupol harbour, sunk Unknown
9.04.2022 Apache Civilian merchant ship Malta Hit by Ukrainian artillery in Mariupol harbour. No losses
10.04.2022 Kremenchuk Gurza-M class patrol boat Ukraine Seized by the Russians in the port of Mariupol No losses
13.04.2022 BG-22 UMS 1200 class coast guard vessel Ukraine Sunk in Mariupol harbour Unknown
13.04.2022 BG-23 UMS 1200 class coast guard vessel Ukraine Sunk in Mariupol harbour Unknown
13.04.2022 Donbas Tarantul class coast guard vessel Ukraine Sunk in Mariupol harbour Unknown
13.04.2022 Moskva Slava class cruiser Russia Hit by anti-ship missiles, burned and sunk under tow At least 39

I welcome any additions, changes or corrections.

First Steel Cut For The New OPV


The first steel is cut for the Turkish Navy offshore patrol vessel Akhisar on 9 April 2022.

The OPV is being developed by Asfat and is based on the Milgem class corvettes. By using the hull of the Milgem class ships the OPV will be built in a shorter time and at a lower cost.

The OPV will have a very different main propulsion system from the Ada class corvettes. These ships will have a combined diesel-electric or diesel engine combination (CODELOD). This combination will give the ships a cruising range of 4500 miles and an economical speed of around 15 knots with very low fuel consumption. The crew will be 104.

According to Asfat these OPVs will be built with the fitted for but not with design philosophy, which will allow the integration of newly developed national weapon and sensor systems.

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