TCG Kınalıada Joins Turkish Navy

TCG Kınalıada in Istanbul Naval Shipyard. This photo was taken on May 2019 by Gökhan Karakaş.

The fourth and the final Ada class Corvette TCG Kınalıada was commissioned to the Turkish Navy on 29th September 2019.

TCG Kınalıada has entered into service 8 years after the first ship of the class was commissioned. Her entry also means the completion of Milgem class corvette production for the Turkish Navy.

On the outside, TCG Kınalıada may very much look like the first ship TCG Heybeliada, but she incorporates significant improvements reflecting the advance of the Turkish defense industry during the last decade:

  1. TCG Kınalıada is the first ship ever to be fitted with the indigenous Atmaca anti-ship missile. The corvette is expected to conduct a live firing of the missile in November. When officially commissioned Atmaca will be fitted back to the existing warships in the inventory.
  2. TCG Kınalıada and TCG Burgazada are fitted with Aselsan Seaeye-Ahtapot electro-optic sensor on the aft mast while the previous ships use Aselflir 300. Aselflir 300 was originally designed for airborne platforms and was installed without much modification for a service on a warship. Thus the meantime between regular maintenance is quite short for a maritime system and the whole sensor must be taken down for the maintenance. These shortcomings are rectified in Seaeye-Ahtapot. It has a better tracking range and resolution.
  3. TCG Kınalıada and TCG Burgazada have Aselsan made Hızır countermeasure system for torpedo attacks.  The system consists of two decoy launchers on both sides of the funnel and one towed array and decoy. Though the system is very similar to a torpedo countermeasure system SeaSentor manufactured by Ultra, used the other ships. The logistics of a locally constructed system is preferred by the end-user.
  4. Another important change inside TCG Kınalıada is the new Genesis Advent combat management system with network-enabled capability. This new CMS has native data link capability and can manage Link 11,16 and 22 at the same time. It increases situational awareness. When ships are installed with Genesis Advent they will be able not only to see and share the same tactical picture but also to control and train each other’s sensors and weapon systems.

When I was watching the commissioning ceremony, I couldn’t stop thinking about, what would have happened, if the tender for the construction of 6 Milgem class, won by RMK Marine Shipyard had not been canceled back in 2013. Since the cancelation of the project happened before the completion of the contract negotiation thus we will never know the planned delivery dates. But surely we would have 2 to 3 more Milgem type corvettes in inventory as we do have now.

Even the best ship cannot be in two places at the same time.  And we need more warships now both to rejuvenate our aging fleet and to protect our interest in the blue homeland.

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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 Antiship Missile Makes Debut

The above image is to be believed a photo of Atmaca anti ship missile. The photo was taken by a test firing on a terrestrial range. Probably to test the flight characteristics and or the range.

The project must started at least 10 years ago. In his memorials Admiral Özden Örnek, Commander of Turkish Navy between 2003 and 2005, recalls that, he has been briefed by Roketsan that %85 of  the current anti-ship missile in inventory, could be made by indigenous components. He approves the proposal and gives the deadline as 2015.

There was very few publicly available information about the status of the project and the missile itself. Undersecreteriat For Defence industries (UDI) signed a contract for the R&D phase with Roketsan as main contractor, in 2009. The defense electronic company Aselsan is developing the RF seeker head and guidance section, Roketsan is responsible from the body and flight characteristics of the missile.

In 2016 a test firing on a terrestrial shooting range was conducted. The above photo, published from this test is the first ever photo of the Atmaca surface to surface anti-ship missile.

The photograph has strong barrel distortion as it was taken with a very wide-angle objective. The distortion makes it very difficult to judge the distances and the length of the objects correctly.

The launcher mount and the 4 canisters mounted on have very strong resemblance to an Mk-141 Harpoon missile launcher. I have put a standard Mk-141 launcher and the Atmaca launcher of the same photo and marked some features. The similarities are just too much, to be just a coincidence. Thus I believe that Atmaca was fired from a Mk-141 Harpoon canister. And for the rest of the text I will base my assumptions on this fact.

The longest version of surfaced launched Harpoon is Block 1D / RGM-84F. This missile is 5,23 or 5,28 meters long with the booster. It has a diameter of 0,343 meters and a wing span of 0,8 meters.

Since Atmaca was fired from a standard Harpoon canister it cannot be longer than RGM-84F. Thus the length of Atmaca missile with the booster is less than or equal to 5,23 meters.

The main wing of the Turkish missile is larger than its US counterpart. There are two hinges on the main wing of Atmaca compared to one on Harpoon wings. Therefore the wing span of Atmaca is greater than Harpoons. This change was obviously made to improve the flight performance of the missile. The control fins of the Turkish missile is considerably smaller than the US missile. The air intake of Atmaca is place between the wings and fins while the air intake of Harpoon is placed between the wings.

According to Savunma ve Havacılık magazine a further test firing from a naval unit may happen in 2017 and according to the results of the test a low rate initial production (LRIP) may start in 2018. The initial production is estimated to be between 64 and 100 units.

Atmaca missile is expected to be the main offensive weapon of the upcoming İstif class frigates. The ships with GENESIS combat management system are likely to be fitted with the new missile since the incorporation of the new hardware to existing the software will be less expensive and time consuming.

If Turkish Navy intents to exchange all the Harpoon missiles in its inventory on 1:1 basis with Atmaca missile the at least 350 missiles are needed.

KARTAL CLASS

NUMBER NAME COMMISIONED
P-326 PELİKAN 17 December 1984
P324
Characteristics:
Displacement: 190 tons full load
Dimensions: 42.5 x 7 x 2.4 metres
Speed, Range: 42 knots, 500 miles at 40 kts.
Crew: 39 (4 officers)
Weapons:
Guns: 2 x 40mm/90 Bofors
Missiles: 2 x Penguin Mk2 SSM
Torpedoes: 2 x 533mm single launcher for G-7A
Sensors:
Radars: 1226, navigation
Comments:
All build in Germany based on the Zobel class used by the German Navy. Can carry up to 4 mines. Their keel is made from light metal and have a wooden planking and aluminum superstructure. TCG Meltem was lost in a collision with the Russian training ship Khasan on 25th September 1985. She was later salvaged and scrapped. Although these boats are getting old they are still in service because they very fast and very hard to detect.As these boats have reached the end of their useful lifes theyt are getting decommssioned. In 2013 TCG Denizkuşu, TCG Atmaca, TCG Kartal, in 2014 TCG Şimşek, TCG Kasırga, in 2015 TCG Şahin and TCG Atmaca were retired from active service.

ADA CLASS (Milgem)

NUMBER NAME LAUNCHED COMMISSIONED
F-511 HEYBELİADA 27 September 2008 27 September 2011
F-512 BÜYÜKADA 27 September 2011 27 September 2013
F-513 BURGAZADA 18 June 2016 4 November 2018
F-514 KINALIADA 3 July 2017 29 September 2019

N70_8612s
F511
F511_2
F511_3
F511_4
F511_6
F-512 TCG Büyükada
F512_3blg
DSC_7412
F512
Characteristics:
Displacement: 2300 tons, full load
Dimensions: 99 x 14.4 x 3.75 metres
Speed, Range: 15 knots economical, 29+ knots maximum, 3500 miles at 15 knots.
Crew: 93

Weapons:
Guns: 1 x 76mm, 2 x 12,7mm
Missiles:
8 x Harpoon SSM; Mk-144 Guided Missile Launcher
21 x RAM SAM
Torpedoes: 2 x 324 mm Mk 32 triple launcher for Mk 46 Mod 5; anti-submarine torpedoes.
Helicopters: 1 x S-70-B2 Seahawk

Sensors:
Radars: SMART-S Mk2 3D air/surface search; Sting fire control; ALPER navigation
Sonars: Search/attack
Other: ASELFLIR 300D (on F-511 and F512), Seaeye – Ahtapot (on F-513 and F-514) ARES-2N ESM system

Comments:
MİLGEM is the first indigenous shipbuilding project staged in Turkey. Turkish Navy is responsible for the initial design and for the determining technical specification of the weapon, sensor, machinery, and other subsystems. UDI is responsible for purchasing these systems.

The missions of MİLGEM class are showing the flag, search/rescue, patrol, observation, and anti-submarine warfare.

The sonar of MİLGEM class is being produced in Turkey. The 12,7mm machine guns on the aft are mounted of ASELSAN build STAMP (Stabilized Machine Gun Platform) and they are controlled remotely.

The keel of the first ships TCG Heybeliada was laid on 26th July 2005 in Istanbul Naval Ship Yard and she was launched on 27 September 2008. The sea trials for the first ship started in October 2010.

The second ship, TCG Büyükada was launched on 27th September 2011 and on the same day TCG Heybeliada was commissioned. On 27 September 2013, TCG Büyükada was commissioned into Turkish Navy and the keel for the third ship F-513 TCG Burgazada was laid. she was launched in June 2016.

TCG Kınalıada was launched on 3 July 2017 and commissioned on 29 September 2019. She is the first ship to be fitted with the Atmaca anti-ship missiles.

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