TCG Alemdar Ready For The Service

The model of Moship

The model TCG Alemdar.

The commissioning of the submarine rescue mother ship A-582 TCG Alemdar was scheduled for today. The ceremony was cancelled because some high-ranking politicians are unable to attend. Never the less it is good to know that this project has come to an end.

The first steel for TCG Alemdar was cut in April 2012 and the keel was laid in December 2012. The ship was launched on 29th April 2014.

The project may seem to have taken too long but it is the first time that a private shipyard has constructed a ship with complex and specialized sub systems. According to the contract signed between the Istanbul shipyard and UDI, the shipyard acted as a main contractor for the project that included the submarine rescue systems like ROV’s, hyperbaric chamber etc. As far as I know such expertise was not available to the shipyards at that time.

Last week TCG Alemdar was nearly involved in an accident. As part of the acceptance tests, the ship was in Marmara Sea and conducting a 4 point anchoring operation. During the test fast ferry M/V Hızır Reis passed over one of the anchoring cables. The tender boat of TCG Alemdar capsized during the incident and 5 persons on board had fallen to the sea. The survivors were rescued shortly but suffered some hypothermia.

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Turkish Navy Submarine Rescue Operation

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The Atmospheric Diving Suit being lowered into the sea. Photo: AA

Last week Turkish Navy demonstrated its underwater search and rescue capabilities by using an atmospheric diving suit (ADS).

According to the training scenario the Atılay class submarine TCG Dolunay at a dept of 100 meters, released her distress buoy 13 miles off the coast of Mediterranean city Mersin . When the news of the distresses submarine reached the HQ of the Salvage Command of Turkish Navy the ADS , its pilot and the support crew were flown to İncirlik Air Force base in Adana. From here they were brought to Mersin harbor and loaded to the tug A-590 TCG İnebolu.

When TCG İnebolu arrived to the location of the distressed submarine, the ADS was lowered to the submarine. The pilot inside ADS connected fresh air supply from the surface to the submarine. The circulation of the fresh and used air is vital for the bottomed submarine until further rescue equipment arrives to the scene.

The ADS known as Hardsuit Quantum 1200 by its manufacturer,  Oceanworks, is in operation since 2007 and can operate till 365 meter of depth.  Although it is very risky to submerge a person to such depths having a human on the scene can have some advantages over using ROVs. A similar ADS with a higher depth rating (600m) will be on board  of the submarine rescue mother ship (MOSHIP) A-601 TCG Alemdar when she is commissioned.

Here is a nice video of ADS at work:

TCG Alemdar Launched

a601

A-601 TCG Alemdar after the launching. Photo: Istanbul Shipyard

This breaking story is almost one month old and show that the Turkish Shipyard have a lot to learn in public relation and in explaining to the public what they are accomplishing.

On 29 April 2014, the submarine rescue mother ship also known as MOSHIP, A-601 TCG Alemdar was launched by Istanbul Shipyard.

Istanbul Shipyard a private company, was selected to build one submarine rescue ship and two salvage and rescue ships by SSM in June 2010.

The main task of this ship will be rescue submarines that are unable to resurface themselves. She will be able to provide life support to the stranded crew of a distressed submarine up to 600 meters depth. She will carry ROV’s, atmospheric diving suits and other necessary equipment.

With fourteen modern diesel-electric submarines in service, the Turkish Navy is the biggest operator of conventionally powered submarines among both European and NATO countries. However, the existing submarine rescue and salvage ships in the Turkish Navy were built in the 1950s and they are now reaching the end of their life-spans.

It is important for the Turkish Navy to maintain an appropriate degree of salvage and recovery capability to support its large submarine force, so it is a joy to see that a very complex ship with many complex equipment on board was launched.

This is the video of the launching:

TCG Işın The Workhorse of The Salvage Command

A-589 TCG Işın

A-589 TCG Işın one of the salvage vessels of Turkish Navy has been very busy since 16th January 2012.

On 16th January one T-37 training plane from Turkish Air Force crashed off Foça, İzmir during a routine training flight. A-589 TCG Işın was of the ships that was dispatched to find the wreck of the planer and to recover the bodies of the pilots.

On 31th January a Cambodian flagged merchant ship M/V Vera sunk off the coast of Ereğli, Zonguldak after taking water during a powerful snow storm.  TCG Işın is at the scene of the incident and is searching for the bodies of the missing 8 sailors.

TCG  Işın started her life as ARS-25 USS Safeguard. She was laid down on 5 June 1943 by the Basalt Rock Company in Napa, California; launched on 20 November 1943; and commissioned on 30 September 1944 at the Southern Pacific Docks,Vallejo, California. In US Navy service she took part in 2. World War, Korean War and Vietnam War.

The model of Moship

She was decommissioned from US Navy and struck from the Naval Vessel Register, 6 August 1987. She was transferred under the Security Assistance Program, to Turkey, 18 August 1987. Although the article in Wikipedia claims her fate is unkonwn, I can tell she is well and still working hard.

She can tow large ships and refloat stranded ships. with the equipment on board she can support assisted dives up to 190 feet.

She will be replaced as the new Moship and Ratships ordered by the Turkish Navy from Istanbul Shipyards will enter service in a couple of years.

My Impressions From 4.Naval Systems Seminar

On Monday and Tuesday, I was in Ankara attending the 4th Naval Systems Seminar, a highlight for the Turkish naval industry. This is the first part of my impressions from the seminar. In this part I will focus on the general mood of the seminar and will share what I found important from the opening key speeches. In the next part I will try to share my impressions from company presentations I have attended.

If I try to summarize the general mood of the 4th Naval Systems Seminar I would say “Steady as she goes” and “Patience”. The last one actually said by the Undersecretary FoRDefense Industries Mr. Murat Bayar. Why patience? Because the Turkish defense industry and the foreign companies need to be patience in the coming years regarding Turkish naval projects.

I start my impressions of the 4th Naval systems Seminar by telling who was absent from the event:
The most obvious absentee was the Turkish Navy. The number of the officers in uniform were less than the fingers in my one hand.

This absence can be interpreted in two ways: First the navy is pulling itself backwards as a procurement source and redefines its role as the requirement definition authority and end-user. But even then representatives of the navy should be present to exchange ideas, to observer new technologies and to talk about new projects. The second explanation for the absence of the Turkish Navy may be the shock of the Sledgehammer. At a time when 26 out of 48 admirals of the Navy are being bars, the navy may net be in a mood for new acquisition.

The absence of new projects was also very noteworthy. In previous Naval Systems Seminars the companies were very keen to tell you in an excited way about their new solutions, upcoming systems. They were eager to tell you about the things they will be doing in the future. This year most of the companies told us how they are doing things and what they did. The lack of new building projects was remarkable. The only announcement for a new project was the the declaration of the contract signing date for the Moships and Ratship: 28th October 2011.

The Turkish shipyards that are currently constructing ships for the Turkish Navy were also absent: RMK, Yonca-Onuk, Dearsan.

So who was there? The British. They were there and were doing full court press. UKTI DSO was one of the guest supporters of the seminar and provided additional support for the simultaneous translation service. All large-caliber British guns such as BAE Systems, Rolls Royce, BMT Defence Services, MDBA, IHS Janes, UKTI DSO were present was well as representatives of British armed Forces.

The large Turkish defense contractor like Aselsan and Havelsan were present. Also present were shipyards ADIK and Istanbul Shipyard. The other companies attending the seminar were mostly subsystem or component suppliers.

For me it was nice to see that the number of the attending universities was more than previous seminars. This means that more and more young people are interested and doing academical research in defense related issues. If an effective way to convert promising R&D projects from our Universities into commercial products can be found then the future will be bright for the Turkish defense industry.

I believe the speeches made by the Undersecretary For Defense Industries Mr. Murat Bayer and Mustafa Şeker, Head of Naval Systems,Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (UDI), at the opening session were brilliant in capturing the sprit and the mood.

Mr. Bayar started his speech by talking about the long distances covered by Turkish naval shipbuilding since the initiation of the Milgem project. He told that after the decrease in commercial shipbuilding, all the shipyards in Turkey were looking up to the naval projects for survival. But the coming naval projects were not enough for the survival of the shipyards doing business with the Turkish Navy let alone to allow new players to enter into market.

He told that Turkish shipyards must find new markets in order to remain profitable and to stay in business. Mr Bayar added that any military systems, that Turkey owns the intellectual rights was successfully exported. Therefore the key for the successful export of Turkish naval industry lies in creating new designs that can be exported without the need of an export approval from a third country.

Mr. Bayar views propulsion and weapon systems as two key areas where Turkey should invest more. Other than these two, Turkey is capable to produce all the major subsystems of a modern warship.

Turkish naval exports

The last 5 years were good times for the Turkish naval shipbuilding industry. The value of the signed contracts is more than 2 billion USD. At least 5000 people are working on military ship building projects in Turkish yards. But the future is not as rosy as the coming projects are smaller. This is why Mr. Bayar told to the audience that we should have patience and find new markets for our growing naval shipbuilding industry.

Mr. Mustafa Şeker, the newly appointed Head of Naval Systems,UDI, started his speech by explaining the new structure of the undersecretary for Defence Industries. This restructuring of the UDI can be attributed to the growing concern for the life cycle support management of the initiated projects. As the number of the indigenous ships and sub systems used by Turkish Navy increases, the support these ships and the subsystems through their life becomes an important issue. With the new structure inside UDI it is hoped that the institution can now focus more on this issue.

Like Mr. Bayar, Mr. Şeker also advises caution to protect the gained capabilities and trained human force in the shipbuilding industry. He talked about the Turkish naval exports both potential and realized and stressed that the export of Turkish naval products seems to be a valid option for the continuity of the success.

At the end of this speech Mr. Şeker highlighted the following issues as critical for the future of the Turkish naval shipbuilding industry:

The work and the performance of the selected firms, by the strategic goals must be monitored and supported

The sub-contractors should be given opportunities or the sub-systems development and procurement by increasing the proportion of local content

The acquisition of new technologies must be emphasized

Materials/systems suitable for dual use should be developed

Export-oriented international cooperation should be supported

IDEF’11 Update Part 2: Companies

This is the second installment of my impression from the IDEF’11. In this post I will try to focus more on companies and products rather than procurement projects. As 621 companies attended the fair I will focus about those that made the most impressions.

Acoustic decoys for submarines and surface ships

Aselsan: This company had the biggest stand of the fair and showed a number of many different equipment ranging from echo sounder to a main battle tank. ASELSAN has proved that it is a powerful company in military electronics. Currently they are capable to produce:

Remote controlled, stabilized gun platforms
Fire control guns for guns
Launcher and command and control system for ASW rockets
Torpedo countermeasure systems and decoys for submarines and surface ships
Integrated communications suites
Laser warning receivers
Electro optical systems
Electronic warfare suites and sensors
Radar systems

The ARES-2N naval radar ES system detects, intercepts, identifies, classifies, tracks, Direction-Finds (DF), localizes, platform correlates, records and provides audio warnings of threat signals within the 2 to 18 GHz frequency band.. The system is integrated into Milgem ans selected for Ay class submarine modernization program.

The ASELFLIR 300D includes a high resolution IR camera, a laser rangefinder/designator, a laser spot tracker, a CDTV, and a spotter TV camera. This EO system is used on Heybeliada, Coast Guard SAR and New Type Patrol Boat classes.

They are developing expendable active jammers which can be fires from the existing chaff/flare launchers.

In a short future the company will be able to provide all the necessary electronics for a warships plus the self defense systems including decoys.

Roketsan: Roketsan is producing the rocket of the ASW rocket system. The rockets individually wrapped in a fiberglass hull have a HE explosive warhead and a time fuse. The maximum range of the rocket is 2000 meters. The aiming and launching is controlled from a purpose built console by ASELSAN.

Havelsan: Havelsan has established themselves as a combat management systems provider. The GENESIS systems architecture they have received from ARMERKOM is the base of all the current CMS developed by Havelsan. The orginal GENESIS CMS developed for G class frigates has derivatived into CMS for MILGEM and New Type Patrol Boats. CMS by Havelsan will be used in New Type 214 submarines, LST’s and LHD’s too.

One of the contracts signed during the fair was between Havelsan and Lockheed Martin for the integration of SPY phased radar systems to the CMS made by Havelsan. The SPY radars are the backbone of the US Navy’s AEGIS air and anti ballistic missile defence system.

Well this question must be asked: On one hand there is a local electronics power house like ASELSAN that is trying to develop naval radar systems on the other hand you sign a deal with a US company about the most important and significant air defence radar systems. How will this deal effect the local development and why it was necessary.

Gate: This company is developing a range of underwater remotely operated vehicles. The ROV Gelibolu can operate at depths up to 1500 meters. It’s primary use will be submarine rescue on board Moship. Other tasks are deep sea survey, seismic research, sample collection and such. The ROV has two manipulator arms and 7 thrusters.

Another underwater vehicle build by GATE is GMK-C. Unlike the Gelibolu GMK-C is autonomous. It can operate up to 100 meter depth and can be equipped with forward looking or side-scan sonars, cameras and other types of sensors or transponders.

Rolls Royce: I must admit that I was quite surprised to see a model of a fully developed supply ship in the both of this company. I knew that they were supplying gas turbines and nuclear reactors for ships and submarines but I had no idea that they were also producing ships. It is too early to say whether this new ship will become a new Silver Shadow for the company but it is a logical step. Rolls Royce already produces a wide range of shipping equipments such as engines, bearings, rudders, water jets, stabilizers, steering gear, deck machinery just to name a few. Well the only and most obvious omission in this portfolio was a ship hull and they have it now.

The ship in contest for a Norwegian bid resembles in general design and specifications the Berlin class EGV ships of German Navy.

BAE Systems: When BAE systems bought UDI in 2005 they have become a partner in UDI’s joint venture with Nurol Makina in Turkey. This JV, FNSS is a major manufacturer of tracked armored fighting vehicles and personnel carriers. Now BAE wants to expand its business in naval area too. I will report in depth my talk with BAE Systems separately.

Lürssen, Abeking Rasmussen, B&V, HDW: These companies, once dominated the IDEF were present, but in a more humble and subtle way. More or less a shadows of their past.

IDEF’11 Update Part 1: Ongoing Naval Projects

F-511 TCG Heybeliada

Today is the last day of IDEF’11, 10th International Defence Industry Fair. I was visiting the fair for the least two days. It was very tiring event. But there are very to share.

I visited the first IDEF twenty years ago. And I can tell you that there has been a considerable change in the industry. Twenty years ago all the international house hold names of defence industry would come and show their latest gadgets or products and we would marvel at them. Now they are still here but much more humble and sincere. Twenty years ago BAE Systems would show its Type 26 Global Combat Ship and would try to sell it as is. Now they are looking for cooperation and work share and they are ready to have Turkish Navy configure the this as it wishes. I was able to talk about Type 26 with BAE systems in detail. I will write about it later.

The last fair two years ago had a very distinctive naval flair. This year that was not there. Well the obvious reason for this is that the projects of then are swimming ships of today. F-511 TCG Heybeliada, the first ship of Milgem class, P-1200 TCG Tuzla the first ship of the New Type Patrol Boat class were available for external sighting. All these ships were on project phase during the last fair.

This fair’s main attractions were tanks, armoured fighting vehicles, UAV’s and helicopters. But never the less there were a lot of important developments regarding the ongoing naval projects.

Milgem: The first ship TCG Heybeliada will be commissioned in Turkish Navy in July. At the same day the second ship, F-512 TCG Büyükada will be launched.

The model of Moship

Moship/Ratship: The design phase for the submarine rescue ship Moship and two rescue and towing ships Ratship is continuing. I learned out to my surprise that Istanbul Shipyard, the builder was responsible for the whole ship inclusive the mission equipment. That means it is the shipyard will also provide the ROV, the McCann bells and other necessary equipment. It must be a steep learning curve for them. The contract for the production of these ships not signed yet. There was a speculation that it might be signed during the fair but this did not happened.

Model of LST

LST: The contract for the construction of a new LST’s was signed between Ministery of Defence and ADIK_Furtrans shipyard on 11 May 2011. The value of the contract was not disclosed but the ship will be delivered in 48 months. The ships will carry 525 persons, 17 MBT and between 24 – 60 vehicles.

The armament consists of 2 single barrelled 40mm Oto Melara guns, 2 Mk15 Phalanx CIWS, 2 machine guns on a stabilised remote controlled chassis.

The ships will have a Smart Mk2 3D air/surface search radar (which not common for an amphibious ship) 2 AselFLIR 300D EO director, torpedo counter measures systems, laser warning receiver and Link16/22 system. All these sensors and weapons will be controlled by a 5 consoles of GENESIS CMS.

New Type Patrol Boats: The first boat of this class P-1200 TCG Tuzla was launched in 2011 and was handed over to Turkish Navy in 4 January 2011. The second boat P-1201 TCG Karaburun was handed over to Turkish Navy on 19 April 2011 for temporary acceptance. The third and fourth boats, P-1202 TCG Köyceğiz and P-1203 TCG Kumkale are launched as early 2001 and they are currently under going sailing acceptance tests and harbour acceptance test respectively. The fifth boat P-1205 TCG Tarsus will be launched in this month.

In the mean time the construction of the two boats ordered by Turkmenistan in October 2010 is continuing. Dearsan shipyard has shipped the boats in kits, along with the equipment necessary for the construction. According to IDEF’11 Show Daily, the construction of two boats is about to be completed and the installation of the propulsion system will commence soon. These have a very similar weapon and sensor configuration to Turkish boats. The main difference is the Turkmenistan boats will have a Thales Variant 2D air/surface search radar and a pair of 25mm Aselsan STOP systems.

Type 214 Submarines: Interestingly there was very little information available about the current status of this programme. But credit contract for this programme was signed at the end of 2010 thus I assume everything is going as scheduled. Currently STM the main subcontractor of this project is sourcing 18000 components and materials to be used. This is a time consuming process. I do not expect any important development in this project before summer.

>Modernization Project For Atılay Class Submarines Approved

>On their latest meeting on 18th December 2010, Defense Industry Executive Committee (SSIK) decided to start contract negotiations with STM for the upgrade of Type 209 Atılay class submarines.

According to the latest modernization project for the Type 209, Atılay Class submarines, the oldest two boats will be decommissioned as soon as the first Type 214 submarines enter into fleet.

The periscope, ESM / ECM and communication system of the existing boats will be upgraded. In order to keep costs down a modern purpose built Underwater Command and Control System integration is not planned in the project. These old boats are going to get some might punch though. It is planned to modify four of the torpedo tubes so that they can use Mk48 ADCAP Mod6 AT heavy weight torpedoes.

On the same meeting SSIK also decided to start an acquisition project of 600 tonnes vessels for Turkish Coast Guard. These vessels will be used for extended patrols in adverse sea conditions. There are no details about these vessels yet.

This is the third meeting of the SSIK in 2010.

In the first meeting in January it was decided to start contract negotiations for constructions of 2 LST’s.

In the second meeeting in June, it was decided to start contract negotiations for construction of submarine rescue ship (MOSHIP) and two rescue and towing ships (RATSHIP) with Istanbul Shipyard.

>More On New Salvage and Rescue Ships

>Specifications for submarine rescue ship (MOSHIP) and two rescue and towing ships (RATSHIP)  have been made public.

MOSHIP:
Length: 91m
Beam: 18,5m
Draft: 7,8m
Max continuous speed: min 18 Knots
Economical speed: min 14 Knots
Range: 4500 mil
Crew: 131

The main task will be rescue submarines that are unable to resurface themselves. She will be able to provide life support to the stranded crew of a distressed submarine up to 600 meters depth. She will carry ROV’s, atmospheric diving suits and other necessary equipment.

RATSHIP:
Length: 69m
Beam: 13,5m
Draft: 6,5m
Max continuous speed: min 18 Knots
Economical speed: min 14 Knots
Range: 4500 mil
Crew: 104

The main task of these ships will be all kinds of salvage and rescue opeations on sea.

>New Salvage and Rescue Ships For Turkish Navy

>
On their latest meeting on 15th June 2010, Defense Industry Executive Committee (SSIK) decided to start contract negotiations for construction of submarine rescue ship (MOSHIP) and two rescue and towing ships (RATSHIP) with, Istanbul Shipyard. This marks an important milestone for this acquisition project.

With fourteen modern diesel-electric submarines in service, the Turkish Navy is the biggest operator of conventionally-powered submarines amongst both European and NATO countries. However, the existing submarine rescue and salvage ships in the Turkish Navy were built in the 1950s and they are now reaching the end of their life-spans. It is important for the Turkish Navy to maintain an appropriate degree of salvage and recovery capability to support its large submarine force, so this project is being accorded a relatively high level of priority.

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