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Doğu Akdeniz 2017 Naval Exercise Started In Eastern Mediterranean

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook arrives in Aksaz, Turkey. Photo: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Theron J. Godbold

Doğu Akdeniz 2017 naval exercise kicked off yesterday at Turkish Naval Base in Aksaz, Marmaris

The biannual, invitation exercise will take in areas near Aksaz in the Eastern Mediterranean between 7 and 16 November 2017.

Turkey has invited the NATO Standing Maritime Task Force-2 (SNMG-2), the United States and Romanian Naval Forces. They will join the Naval Forces, Air Forces and Coast Guard elements from Turkey.

25 warships and submarines 27 helicopters and airplanes and 3500 personnel from 5 participating countries will take part in the exercise. The exercise is a multinational maritime exercise designed to improve combined combat capabilities, increase operational capacity and strengthen relationships among NATO allies.

This is the list of the participating ships and submarines as fas as I could comply:

Number Name Type Nationality Fleet
F-245 TCG Oruçreis Frigate Turkey
F-24X TCG XXX Frigate Turkey
F-24X TCG XXX Frigate Turkey
F-24X TCG XXX Frigate Turkey
F-24X TCG XXX Frigate Turkey
F-511 TCG Heybeliada Corvette Turkey
P-344 TCG Rüzgar Fast attack craft Turkey
P-345 TCG Poyraz Fast attack craft Turkey
P-347 TCG Fırtına Fast attack craft Turkey
P-338 TCG Bora Fast attack craft Turkey
P-33X TCG XXX Fast attack craft Turkey
S-35X TCG XXX Submarine Turkey
S-35X TCG XXX Submarine Turkey
S-35X TCG XXX Submarine Turkey
A-580 TCG Akar Tanker Turkey
A-XXX TCG XXX Tanker Turkey
L-402 TCG Bayraktar LST Turkey
A-XXX TCG XXX Tug Turkey
SG-703 TCSG Yaşam OPV Turkey CG
L-12 HMS Ocean LSH UK SNMG-2
F-244 TCG Barbaros Frigate Turkey SNMG-2
41 BGS Drazki Frigate Bulgaria SNMG-2
265 ROS Admiral Horia Macelariu Corvette Romania
75 USS Donald Cook Destroyer USA

Furthermore following military and civilian search and rescue and emergency responce teams will tke part in the exercise:

 

  1. Turkish Land Forces Command Natural Disaster Relief teams and ambulance helicopters,
  2. Turkish Air Force Command, search and rescue helicopter and AKİP (Search and Rescue Specialist Staff) team,
  3. Ministry of Interior (Gendarmerie General Command), JAK (Gendarme Search and Rescue) teams,
  4. Transport, Maritime and Communications Ministry, Coastal Security General Directorate, Nene Hatun emergency response ship,
  5. Ministry of Health mobile hospital, command control instrument and UMKE (National Medical Rescue Team) teams,
  6. The Turkish Red Crescent

An important part of the exercise will be the attempts to provide coastal safety during disasters by means of disaster and emergency operations, search and rescue, humanitarian aid and air sanitary evacuation procedures.  The command, control and communications capabilities of the newest amphibious ship of Turkish Navy, TCG Bayraktar will be tested and evaluated in this scenario extensively.

 

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Happy Navy Day!

The 27th September, the anniversary of the Battle of Preveza, is celebrated as the Navy Day.

On 27th September 1538, a naval battle for the supremacy in the Mediterranean was fought between the Ottoman Navy commandeered by Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa and the fleet of a Christian alliance assembled by Pope Paul III and commandeered by Andrea Doria.

With the victory at Preveza and the subsequent victory in the Battle of Djerba in 1560, the Ottoman Empire successfully repulsed the efforts of Venice and Spain, the two principal Mediterranean powers, to stop the Turkish drive to control the Mediterranean. This only changed with the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.

According to marvelous book Empires of The Sea by the historian Roger Crowley, the importance of the Battle of Preveza lays in its psychological effects as the battle shattered the morale of the Christian Alliance that fought against the Ottoman Empire for the control of the Mediterranean.

I could not think about a better day today to update the order of battle for Turkish Navy:

Active Building Planned
Submarines (Note-1) 12 1 5
Frigates (Note-2) 16 1 7
Corvettes 8 2
Fast Attack Craft – Missile (Note-3) 19 4
Patrol Craft 16
Mine hunters/Mine sweepers (Note-4) 15 6
LPD (Note-5)  1 1
LST 4 1
LCT/LCU/LCM/LCAC (Note-6) 21 8
Fleet Support Tankers 2 1
Tankers / Replenishment Ships (Note-7) 5  2
Training Ships 10
Salvage Ships 19 1
Helicopters (Note-8) 33 6
Planes 8 6

Here is a detailed version of the above list:

Active Building Planned
209 Type 1400 submarines 8
209 Type 1200 submarines 4
214 Type 1800 submarines 1 5
MEKO 200 class frigates 8
Gabya (Perry) class frigates 8
TF-2000 class frigates 4
İstanbul class frigates 1 3
Milgem class corvettes 2 2
Burak (Type A 69) class corvettes 6
Kılıç class fast attack craft 9
Yıldız class fast attack craft 2
Doğan class fast attack craft 8
Turkish type fast attack craft 4
Tuzla class patrol craft 16
Aydın class minehunters 6
Edincik (Circé) class minehunters 5
Mine hunters/sweepers 4 6
LPD  1 1
LST 5 1
LCT/LCU/LCM/LCAC 21 8
Support tankers 5 2 1
Training ships 10
Salvage ships and tugs 19 1
AB-212 ASW helicopters 11
S-70B ASW helicopters 24
ATR-72 ASW planes 2 6
CN-235 ASW planes 6

Note 1: The construction of the first Type 214 class submarine TCG Pirireis has started on 10th October 2015.
Note 2: The second batch of 4 Ada class corvettes has been enlarged to the new İstif class frigates.
Note 3: Procurement of 4 (plus 6 optional) fast attack of local design armed with missiles is planned.
Note 4: The procurement of 6 new minesweepers is planned.
Note 5: The construction of the first LPD TCG Anadolu will start in Autumn 2016.
Note 6: 6 LCM and 2 LCAC may be procured with the LPD but the acquisition of these smaller vessels is not definite yet.
Note 7: Two oil tankers are constructed by a private shipyard. Additionally, procurement of one fleet replenishment ship is planned.
Note 8: The AB-212 helicopters are mostly used for utility duties. 6 additional Seahawk have been ordered.

Victory Day 2017

F-241 TCG Turgutreis left and F-246 TCG Salihreis right in Istanbul to commemorate Victory Day.

We are grateful to those who paid the ultimate price for our independence and for our country.

This year we celebrate the 95th anniversary of the victory in the Battle of Dumlupınar, the final battle in the Turkish War of Independence in 1922.

The Battle of Dumlupınar was fought from 26 August to 30 August 1922, at the end of the battle the invading Greek Army was definitely and distinctively beaten and the almost all the invading foreign forces were repelled.

This victory opened the way of the independent Turkish Republic, which is more valuable to us than anything else.

TCG Gökova Arrived In Qatar

F-496 TCG Gökova arrives at Hamid Port in Qatar. Photo: AA

On 1. August 2017, Turkish Gabya class frigate TCG Gökova arrived in Qatar. The ship is docked in Hamad Port, southeast of the capital Doha.

The ship will take part in Qatari – Turkish military exercise that will held between 1 and 8 August 2017. Turkish land forces stationed in Qatar and TCG Gökova will take part in this exercise.

According to news report, the naval exercises are taking place in Hamad Port, Doha Naval Base and Qatari territorial waters. The exercises are conducted as part of military cooperation agreements between Turkey and Qatar in the fight against extremism and terrorism.

In July, the Qatari Emiri Naval Forces conducted a joint naval exercise with Royal Navy, in Qatar’s territorial waters.

TCG Gökova left Turkey last month. On 9. July 2017, bulk carrier M/V Blue Fury, left Turkey with 11 thousand tons of food and aid on board. The ship’s destination was Yemen.
The cargo on board of M/V Blue Fury was organised by Turkish Red Crescent, and Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD). She was escorted along her voyage by TCG Gökova.

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.

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

 

 

 

 

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.

Commander Of The Ukrainian Navy Visited Turkey

Vice Admiral Ihor Voronchenko (left) and his entourage on board of a Ada class corvette. Photo: Turkish Naval Forces.

The Commander of Ukrainian Navy, Vice Admiral Ihor Voronchenko visited Turkey this week.

As official guest of Turkish Naval Forces, he arrived in Ankara on 19th April. After talks focused on discussions of regional security in the Black Sea, as well as aspects of bilateral cooperation with his Turkish counterpart, Vice Admiral Vorochenko, visited Gölcük Naval Basel and Yıldızlar Training Center.

He has returned to Ukraine on 22th April.

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.

Where An Epoch Lies

Nusret

“Stop wayfarer! Unbeknownst to you this ground, You come and tread on, is where an epoch lies.”

18 March 1915 must have been an unforgettable day for a ship spotter.

A mighty Allied fleet consisting of HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Agamemnon, HMS Lord Nelson, HMS Inflexible, HMS Prince George, HMS Triump, HMS Ocean, HMS Majestic, HMS Swiftsure, HMS Vengeance, HMS Irresistible, HMS Albion from Royal Navy, Gaulois, Charlemange, Bouvet, Suffren from French Navy were ready to fight the forts protecting Dardanelles.

The Royal Navy and French warships tried to force their way through the Dardanelles to affect the capture of Istanbul then capital of Ottoman Empire. This, it was hoped, would take Turkey out of the war and enable the Allies to shore up the Russian war effort on the Eastern Front, so relieving pressure on the Western Front.

Most of the ships of the Allied Fleet were old or made nearly obsolete with the fast advance of the new ships of the Dreadnought area. The first class capital ships were kept at home to protect it.

Nevertheless it was a fine and powerful Fleet and an epoch changing fight.

Everything seem to be on the side of the Allied naval forces until at around 14.00 on March 18, when a small cloud of yellowish smoke, which turned black afterwards, came out of the starboard quarter of the French warship Bouvet. The old battleship had struck one of the mines laid ten days earlier by small Ottoman minelayer Nusret. Bouvet sank in a matter of minutes. After a very short time, HMS Inflexible and shortly later HMS Irresistible also struck mines planted by Nusret.

Of the 18 capital ships that sailed in the Dardanelles that morning HMS Ocean, HMS Irresistible and Bouvet never returned. HMS Inflexible and Gaulois had to be beached at the nearby island of Tenedos, in order for their men to be rescued. Suffren was heavily damaged by Turkish guns and later had to be docked at Malta for intensive repairs.

The failure of the naval forces forced the Allies to land troops on the Gallipoli Peninsula to capture it and so remove the lethal gun barriers. It led bloody trench warfare and many thousands of dead on both sides.

As it dissipated over the waters the words of a famous Turkish poem that honors then sacrifice of the Gallipoli Campaign and its role in establishing nationhood rang through the minds of many who were there. One verse in particular seems to perfectly express Remembrance and the epic nature of the events experience by all nations who fought at Gallipoli, but especially the Turkish people:

‘Stop wayfarer! Unbeknownst to you this ground
You come and tread on, is where an epoch lies;
Bend down and lend your ear, for this silent mound
Is the place where the heart of a nation sighs.’

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