>My Impressions From Shipbuilding, Machinery & Marine Technology Trade Fair

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I have attended the firstday of the SSM exhibition and conference. It was not quite as I wasexpecting.

Mr. Serdar Demirel,Head of Naval Department, Undersecretariatfor Defence Industries, was also listed as a speaker. He was therebut during his short speech he mentioned that he did not expected tomake any speeches today, therefore he was not prepared at all. Wellthis is a major f.ck-up for the organizators.
Naval shipbuildingprojects are the life line of the Turkish ship building industry inthese dire years. Thus although SMMM is a civilian orientated tradefair the military side of Turkish shipbuilding industry could havebeen stressed better.
One factor for the obviouslack of interest and presence of shipyards with ongoing militaryprojects may be the upcoming IDEF exhibition in May 2011.International Defence Industry Fair is the trade fair for the defenceindustry in this region and most probably the companies allocatedtheir budgets for this event.
After the openingspeeches, the first session of the conference started with anexcellent presentation of Mr. Taner Akkaya, Military ProjectsCoordinator, Dearsan Shipyard. He talked about the New Type PatrolBoat project.

The first boat of thisclass P-1200 TCG Tuzla was delivered to Turkish Navy on 4 January2011. Currently Turkish Navy is conducting its own acceptance testsbefore this boat is officially commissioned. In an unprecedented moveTurkish Navy decided to give a proper name to these boats. In TurkishNavy tradition such boats were called TCG ABxy. AB is theabbreviation of A(vcı) B(otu), which means hunter/patrol boat and xyis the last two numbers of the boats pennant number. But the firstboat of this class is christened as TCG Tuzla in honor of the mostimportant shipbuilding region of Turkey.

Before handing the boatover to the Turkish Navy, Dearsan realized 63 FAT’s, 81 HAT’s, 71SAT’s and a 2400 miles long cruise. The trials speed was 2,5 knotsover the contract value. The shipyard more fuel tanks than demanded.These additional fuel tanks increase the endurance of the boats from3 days to 7 days. During the trials the boat covered 1300 miles at14 kntos %30 more than specified in the contract.

Mr. Akkaya stressedthrough his presentation that Dearsan’s in house designing team wasresponsible for the design of these boats from sketch. This might bein defence of the rumors that these boats resemble very much RAN’sArmidale class very much. He also mentioned the difficulties theyhave experienced with the sub contractors. Most of the sub contractswere chosen from companies that previously participated in Milgemproject and know how to work for a naval shipbuilding project. Neverthe less some sub contractors did not have the necessary security,class and quality certifications and these companies were financed byDearsan for the certification process. This highlight one importantweakness of the industry: creating, maintaining and updating thedocuments such as user manuals, quality and warranty certificates andsuch.

An interesting point in MrAkkaya’s presentation was when he mentioned an article of thecontract they have signed for this project. According to article 14Turkish State, as a party of the contract promised that all StateInstitutions would provide all the possible help for the fulfillmentof this contract. This is a very odd clause and is an obvious signthat Turkey takes these shipbuilding projects very seriously.
What Mr Akkaya did not sayduring his presentation was the fact that Dearsan succeeded inselling two of these boats to Turkmenistan. The estimated contractvalue is 100 million USD.

Following thispresentation was a questions and answer season with Mr. Akkaya andMr. Demirel. I will not write all the questions and answers inlength, just highlights that I found worth sharing:

  • Turkish Navy and Undersecretariat for Defence Industries are very proud on Milgem andthe impact Milgem project had over the Turkish shipbuilding industry.The Milgem project achieved an important change for a civilian marketoriented industry that had no idea on military shipbuildingstandarts.
  • UDI regards the secondship of the Milgem class TCG Büyükada as a second prototype. Somechanges and improvements were incorporated in this ship, that werepreviously unthinkable or considered too bold. But soon a privateshipyard will be selected as the producer for the remaining Milgems.
  • Marine propulsion is setas the next important milestone bu UDI. This fact was emphasizedagain today. UDI is currently in talks with MTU, MAN and other marinepropulsion manufacturers for production in Turkey. Marine propulsionis regarded very critical:
  • a) It is the most crucialsub system that is not produced in Turkey.
    b) If Turkey manages toinstall indigenous built propulsion in locally built warships a verybig hurdle in exporting Turkish warships will be overcome.

  • UDI sees a considerableexport potential in Milgem, NTPB and Fast LCT classes as theseprovide original solutions for navies. And the foreign sales of theseships are officially supported by UDI.

The trade fair willcontinue till Friday, 28 January. The conference will end tomorrowevening.

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