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The Politics Of Not Transferring Ships To Turkey (Which Are Not Needed Anyway)

TCG Gediz with her new Smart Mk2 3D radar

TCG Gediz with her new Smart Mk2 3D radar and Mk-41 VLS. 

The US Congress passed the Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2013. With this act the President of USA is authorized to sell or to grant decommissioned US Navy warships to other countries.

Usually the US Congress passes one Naval Transfer Act (NTA) once or twice in every legislation. And in each NTA certain warships and their prospective recipients are mentioned. Please mind that NTA is simply an authorization of US President by the Congress to offer these warships. The NTA does not means that the received recipients will accept this offer at the end.

In previous Naval Transfers Act of years 2005, 2006, 2007, 2012 Turkey has been offered  many ships from small mine hunters to large destroyers, by USA. And Turkey has not accepted any of these offers.

In previous Naval Transfers Act of years 2003, 2008 Turkey was not offered any warships.

I have a difficult time to understand the fuss around the omission of Turkey from Naval Transfer Act 2013. I guess some cheap politicians are trying to make some cheap gains by making something out of nothing.

But the inclusion of Turkey proved controversial, as members of Congress pointed out Turkey’s increasingly hostile stance toward Israel and its threats against natural gas exploration by American companies near Cyprus. “I believe we should hold off on sending powerful warships to Turkey and encourage the government in Ankara to take a less belligerent approach to their neighbors,” said Representative Eliot Engel during that debate.

But if the US lawmakers tried to give some kind of a signal to the Turkish government by not adding Turkey to the list of the nations that may get a frigate is beyond my understanding. But if they did; the message was not delivered as the medium is not the correct one. And what was the messages in year 2003 and 2008 where no warships have been offered to Turkey?

Anyway, I do not think that any ship that US is prepared to transfer to Turkey is not powerful compared to what Turkish Navy operates.

Below is a comparison chart between the Gabya/Perry class frigates operated by both navies:

Turkish Navy (Gabya) US Navy (Perry)
Mk-13 launcher capable of firing SM-1 Standard SAM and Harpoon ASM missiles +
Mk-41 VLS capable of firing ESSM SAM missiles (with a potential of SM-2 Standard SAM) +
Integrated, modern combat management system +
3D air search radar +
Additional 25mm gun +

Turkish frigates have more punch, better sensors and a up-to-date combat management system compared to their counterparts in US Navy service.

The only reason I can think, why Turkish Navy would want to have an old Perry class frigate from US Navy service is, to cannibalize it to provide spare parts to ours. But thank fully Perry class frigates are used besides USA, by Australia, Bahrain, Egypt, Pakistan, Poland, Spain, Turkey. Thus finding spare parts is not all to difficult.

As I have already told, the lack of the warships especially Perry class frigates from NTA 2013, will not have any effect on the Turkish Navy at all from a technical point of view. On the contrary, we do not have to spend money and man power which are also needed for our ongoing local warship production projects. USA might be transferring warships to its allies but the ships have to be overhauled in US shipyards as NTA dictates, which means the allies have to transfer money to USA.

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3 Responses to The Politics Of Not Transferring Ships To Turkey (Which Are Not Needed Anyway)

  1. Dave Shirlaw says:

    One point to remember about the FFGs – the inventory of SM-1 missiles (long out of production) is very low.

    • Hi Dave, Thanks for the interesting link. A good read. It’s true that the inventory of SM-1 is getting low. Thankfully Australian and Turkish Perry’s can mend this with SM-2 and ESSM’s in their MK-41’s.

  2. Dave Shirlaw says:

    SeaWaves Magazine: Fighting Forward: Last Oliver Perry Class Frigate Deployment http://seawavesmagazine.blogspot.com/2015/01/fighting-forward-last-oliver-perry.html

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