Mid-Life Modernisation For Barbaros Class Frigates

TCG Oruçreis with her new Smart-S Mk2 radar and VLS for ESSM missiles. She will undergo a mid-life modernisation to bring her combat management systems up to the same level with her new sensors and weapons. Click here for a pre modernisation photo.

Turkish Navy signed a contract with Aselsan-Havelsan Joint Venture for mid-life upgrade on Barbaros class frigates.

The scope of the contract is to replace the legacy combat management system on board of the 4 MEKO 200 Track IIA/B class frigates, commissioned between 1997 and 2000 to Turkish Navy. These frigates have TACTICOS combat management system built by Dutch company Signaal. (Now Thales). The new Barbaros Combat Management System (BI-SYS), will be a derivate of the existing GENESIS CMS made locally and used on Ada (Milgem) class corvettes and Gabya (Perry) class frigates.

The joint venture is formed between the defence electronic company Aselsan and defense software company Havelsan The Joint Venture, will carry out development of all the hardware and software needed to integrate weapons and sensors on board with the BI-SYS. This phase will be followed by land and sea test before final integration on board of the ships.

Furthermore, a fire control system to control the Mk45 127mm gun will be manufactured with the knowledge gained from a similar FC system developed locally for the 76mm guns.

The delivery of the first ship is planned in November 2020.

Greek Coast Guard Fired Upon Turkish Flag Merchant Ship

Bullet holes on the funnel of M/V Act. Photo: denizhaber.com

A bizarre incident happened today off the coast of Rhodes. Greek Coast Guard fired 2 dozen rounds to the Turkish flagged merchant ship M/V Act to stop her.

According to Greek Coast Guard, the Port Authority on the island received an anonymous call that the ship was carrying drugs. Thus the Greek authorities intercepted M/V Act. The merchant ship however refused to sail to Rhodes as ordered and changed her course to Turkey. Since the warning shot to the bow of the ship did not deter them to go to Turkish waters shots were fired to the funnel of M/V Act.

According to Turkish General Staff, two Turkish Coast Guard vessels and one Turkish Navy fast attack craft was sent to the area.

It is not clear at the moment there the merchant ship is exactly heading and whether Turkish Coast Guard will board the ship and search for the alleged narcotics.

TCG Kınalıada Is Launched And TCG Istanbul Is Placed On Slipway

TCG Kınalıada, finally in her element and a few good men who build her. Photo: denizhaber.com

The fourth and last ship of Ada class corvettes, F-514 TCG Kınalıada was launched today, after 8 years and 9 months since first indigenous warship TCG Heybeliada left the slipway.

Today also marked the start of a new era of Turkish warship construction. The first module of  the frigate TCG Istanbul was laid on the slipway.

The first steel of the frigate was cut on 19. January 2017. The first model of the ship was constructed during the last 6 months. As Tuzla Naval Shipyard has only one slipway to accommodate new buildings, the launching of TCG Kınalıada created space for the frigate.

TCG İstanbul will be the prototype of the second generation of the Milgem class warships. There will be four of them: TCG İstanbul, TCG İzmir, TCG İzmit and TCG İçel. They are a modified version of Ada class corvettes. They will be about 14 meters longer but will have the same width as Ada class. The frigates will be 600 tons heavier.

Construction of TCG İstanbul is expected to be completed within the next 46 months with the intended commissioning date is 2021.

I wish TCG Kınalıada fair winds and following seas.

Foreign Warship On Bosphorus in 2017 (Part 19)

Here are photos of foreign warships, that have passed through Bosphorus, during the last 3 weeks:

Amur class factory ship PM-138 returned from her Syrian deployment. Her southbound passage was on 18. January 2017. Photo: Yörük Işık.

Ropucha class landing ship Azov making her northbound passage through Istanbul. Photo: Serhat Güvenç.

Ropucha class large landing ship Tsezer Kunikov returned from her Syrian deployment. Photo: Yörük Işık.

Destroyer Smetlivy returned back to the Black Sea after a short deployment in the Mediterranean. Photo: Yörük Işık.

Russian Alligator class warship Nikolai Filchenkov returns from her Mediterranean deployment. Photo: Yörük Işık.

The list of the foreign warships passed through Istanbul Strait is here.

National Submarine Workshop

A digitally created rendering of Milden shown during the workshop. The end product may have a much different shape. Interesting to note that it has X type rudders a shrouded propeller. The thin line prodding form the aft of the submarine is like to house a towed array sonar or a towed counter measure. There is a provision for flank array sonar. The sail is streamlined and houses the forward diving planes.

Turkish Naval Forces organised a national Submarine Workshop on 15. and 16. June at Tuzla Naval Shipyard.

This invitation only workshop was attended by marine engineers both military and civilian, representatives of defense companies and scholars.

The aim was to create a viable road map for the National Submarine, to identify competencies and competences of the national companies and potential short comings, risks in design and production phases.

Turkish Navy wants to commission its first indigenous submarine in 2030. Commander of Turkish Naval Forces Admrail Bostanoğlu stated in his opening speech that Turkish Navy was overhauling its submarines in Gölcük Naval Yard for the last 53 years. He also mentioned that Turkey constructed 11 submarines in 35 years and the building of Type 214 submarines was proceeding.

For me the most interesting part of the speech when Admiral Bostanoğlu mentioned that Turkish Navy developed its own engineering solution to 5 major design faults of Type 214 submarines.

These solutions were verified by TKMS and incorporated into the design of Turkish Type 214’s. Therefore the Turkish submarines will have slightly different dimensions compared to the one’s already serving in Greek, Portuguese and South Korean navies.

Admiral Bostanoğlu indicated the following objectives where local work and innovations is needed:

  • Integrated sonar and fire control system
  • High resolution optronics systems
  • Periscope
  • LPI navigation radar
  • ECM system capable of detecting LPI radars
  • Enhanced COMING and SIGINT capabilities
  • Accurate inertial navigation system
  • EHF and SHF satellite communication system
  • Link 16/22 ability
  • AIP
  • High powered batteries
  • Long range land attack capable cruise missiles
  • Locally developed torpedoes and mines
  • Torpedo and mine countermeasures.

Milden is the Turkish abbreviation of MİLli DENizaltı meaning National Submarine in English. It will be quite a buzz word for the next decade like Milgem.

It is not a secret that Turkey aims to develop and built its own submarines and reduce its dependency to foreign suppliers in critical areas. This workshop indicates that the local know-how and production abilities reached a critical mark where a local development is considered feasible.

What Do We Know About Temren Missile?

Turkish Seahawk helicopter firing a Temren missile during Deniz Kurdu 2017 exercise in May 2017. Photo: Turkish Naval Forces

Temren means arrowhead in Turkish. The missile is designed primarily to be used by naval helicopters against small surface targets. It is possible to adapt the missile to be used from small combatants in the future.

The missile is a derivate of the long range anti-tank missile UMTAS developed by Roketsan.

My understanding is that the request for Temren came for Turkish Navy and the project was initiated by them. The absence of publicly available information and the unusual lack of marketing documents and news releases from Roketsan’s side indicate that the project is managed also by Turkish Navy rather than Undersecreteriat For Defence industries (UDI).

Since there is not much publicly available information the rest of the text is my based of on sparse information available on internet, on some gossips and on my opinion.

According to Roketsan:

UMTAS, with its Imaging Infrared Seeker and Laser Seeker options, is an anti-tank missile, having a range of 8 km and lock on before/after launch and “fire and forget/fire and update” properties, used against armored targets, from air to ground as well as ground to ground. UMTAS, with its maximum range of 8 km and minimum range of 500 m is capable of operating all weather conditions and day/night.
UMTAS has a RF Data Link that enables missile to receive target updates after firing.

As stated, Temren is a UMTAS modified for maritime operations. Thus, it should have an IIR seeker to improve its aim.

8 kilometers is a good range for an airborne anti-tank missile and makes UMTAS on par with Hellfire. Traditionally, naval vessels have a better defence against aircraft compared to tanks. For naval engagements, a 8-kilometer-range, is not enough as it will put the firing helicopter well inside the effective reach of MANPADS and light anti-aircraft missiles like RAM.

Temren should have longer range than the stated range of UMTAS, to give Temren a true stand-off radius. A longer range for Temren can be achieved either by making missile larger to place the extra propellant or making the missile lighter by making the warhead simpler or smaller. A tandem warhead designed against armored vehicles may be an overkill for naval targets. Thus, Temren might have just a HE warhead that weighs less than the original.

The first test firing was performed in January 2015. So the developent of the missile must have been started somewhere in 2013 -2014. A Temren was also fired during the recent Deniz Kurdu 2017 naval exercise last month.

The missile has the potential to be fitted on smaller surface vessels. It is safe to assume that work is also being performed to integrate the Temren with stabilised weapon systems on naval vessels, giving them a stronger punch.

It is not clear whether the serial production of the Temren missile has started or the missile has been inaugurated into Turkish Navy

 

 

 

 

Bulgarian Naval Helicopter Crashed

F-41 BS Drazki during her northbound transit in Bosphorus, on 3 June 2011.

On 9. June 2017, a Panther helicopter of Bulgarian Navy collided with the frigate Drazki and crashed into the sea. The two of the 3 strong crew were rescued. The pilot unfortunately lost his life.

Bulgarian Navy purchased 3 AS 565MB Panther helicopters from Airbus in 2011. The Panther has replaced older Soviet era helicopters for naval operations. Since none of the Bulgarian warships have landing platforms or hangars, all the helicopters are land based.

On 9 June the helicopter was conducting a naval training with the frigate Drazki and other warships when the helicopter collided with the mast of the frigate and crashed. The pilot Captain Georgi Atanasov died while the Captain Pavel Simeonov and captain Anatoly Apostolovwere rescued by the sailors from the ship. The survivors are in stable condition.

With this accident Bulgarian Navy lost %30 percent of her aviation assets.

End In Sight For Meltem Project ?

These beautiful photos of ATR-72-600 TMPA were taken by Lidie Berendsen in Turin Airport and modified by me.

A new batch of photos from Turkish Navy ATR-72-600 TMPA plane has emerged. The photos from last year showed an unpainted airplane where as this year the plane seems to be fully painted.

The first plane should have been delivered back in February 2017. But like the Meltem-I and Meltem_II projects, this  Meltem-III has been too plagued by notorious delays.

In July 2005, Italian Prime Minister Mr. Berlusconi and his Turkish counterpart Mr. Erdoğan signed a deal on acquisition of 10 maritime patrol planes based on Alenia’s ATR-72 500 turboprop aircraft. According to the $219-million contract the initial deliveries were supposed to be in 2010.

The first ATR-72 500 arrived in Turkish Aerospace Industries in February 2008. TAI worked as Alenia’s local sub-contractor, carrying out all modifications from the base airframe to the ATR-72 MPA configuration. In May 2013, suddenly there was a big change in the project. The project was downsized from 10 planes to 8. 2 utility models for personnel and cargo transportation, and 6 armed maritime patrol models. The good part of this rearrangement was the upgrade from ATR-72 500 which, was no longer in production, to ATR-72 600.

In July 2013 the first utility model was delivered to Turkish Navy. In August 2013 the first base ATR-72 600 was delivered to TAI for the changes to MPA configuration. I think, the plane, seen in the above photo is this first plane.

I was able to identify the following items on board:

  1.  Magnetic anomaly detector antenna
  2. ESM antenna
  3. Radar warning and laser warning antennas
  4. Aft looking countermeasure dispenser or unknown antenna
  5. Countermeasure dispenser
  6. Radar
  7. Torpedoes
  8. FLIR

These planes are armed with two Mk-46 and Mk-54 lightweight torpedoes and will carry Thales AMASCOS maritime patrol mission system that integrates an array of sensors.
According to the original timeline the first plane should have been already in service and the remaining ones join the service in 2018. I have no idea about the new schedule.

And if you have time to read the saga of the Turkish Navy’s maritime patrol plane aquisation project you can click here.

TCG Giresun Escorts Turkish Aid Ship To Somalia

M/V Sebat leaving Mersin harbour. Photo: AFAD.

On 4. June 2017, bulk carrier M/V Sebat, left Turkey with 13 thousand tons of food and aid on board. The ship’s destination is Mogadishu, Somalia.

The cargo on board of M/V Sebat was organised by Turkish Red Crescent, Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) and Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD).

The ship will be escorted by Turkish frigate TCG Giresun. In pervious years Turkish Navy, provided protection to other ships, carrying humanitarian aid from Turkey to the region.

After escorting the aid ship to her destination TCG Giresun will join the piracy task force CTF-151 and perform patrols in Gulf of Aden. There is a Seahawk helicopter a diving chamber, one naval special forces team and one VBSS team on board. The ship will return to Turkey in November 2017.

This is the fifth deployment of TCG Giresun to the region. She was there in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2015.

Turkish Coast Guard And Navy Confiscate Record Size Of Narcotics

M/V Commander Tide being towed towards Aksaz Naval Base by tug TCG İnebolu.

Turkish Navy and Turkish Coast Guard conducted a joint operation and confiscated 1071 kilograms of narcotics of board of M/V Commander Tide.

M/V Commander Tide is a Democratic Republic of the Congo flagged off shore supply vessel. On 30. May 2017, upon receiving a tip-off about the narcotics on board of M/V Commander Tide, frigate TCG Gemlik was deployed to Eastern Mediterranean close the northern entrance of Suez Canal with a helicopter and a naval special forces team on board. Acting as the lookout, the frigate found M/V Commander Tide and started to shadow her.

The route of the ships and the location of the operation. Yellow for coast guard vessels, red for the target.

Two off shore patrol vessels from Coast Guard were deployed with anti-drug police teams, TCSG Yaşam from Mersin and TCSG Güven from Aksaz.  Both ships intercepted their target in international waters of Mediterranean between Turkey and Suez Canal.

On 2. June 2017 before the midnight one naval special forces team boarded the vessels from the sea while a second one fast-roped from a Seahawk helicopter of the navy. The M/V Commander Tide was under control in 26 minutes and her 9 strong Turkish crew were arrested. The ship was towed to Aksaz Naval base by Turkish naval tug TCG İnebolu.

Teams from the police’s anti-drug branch and Muğla Coast Guard Command carried out searches on the ship and found clandestine sections, of which one included 1071 kilograms of heroin hidden in 40 sacks. According to the police, the amount of heroin corresponds to the highest seized by security forces in Turkey’s recent history.

The operation was dedicated to Coast Guard sailor Alper Al, who was killed by an IED attack on May 22, 2016.

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