Deniz Yıldızı 2016 Naval Exercise Started In Black Sea

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TCG Tekirdağ

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TCG Karamürselbey

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TCG İmbat

The annual naval exercise Deniz Yıldızı (Sea Star) has started in Black Sea today. The exercise will end on 5th April 2016.

The scope of the exercise shows that Turkish Navy intends to show a strong presence in the Black Sea. According to Turkish Navy website There will be live firings against high-speed airborne and seaborne targets. For me the most noteworthy aspect of this exercise will be the simultaneous port visits of Turkish naval units in Varna, Constanta, Odessa and Batumi. 4 out of 5 Black Sea nations will be visited on the next week-end on 3rd and 4th April 2016 by various Turkish warships. This is an impressive way of showing the flag, an important message.

The following ships along with two submarines were observed making a northbound passage through Bosphorus in the last couple days:

Number Name Type
S-XXX TCG Submarine
S-XXX TCG Submarine
P-337 TCG İmbat
P-1207 TCG Tekirdağ
M-262 TCG Enez Mine hunter
M-267 TCG Ayvalık Mine hunter
M-268 TCG Akçakoca Mine hunter
L-401 TCG Ertuğrul Landing ship
NL-124 TCG Karamürselbey Landing ship

German Company Under Investigation For Bribery In Turkish Submarine Deal

State Prosecutors of the city state Bremen have opened a second front in their case against Atlas Elektronik.

Authorities are investigating Atlas Elektronik a joint venture between ThyssenKrupp and Airbus since 2013, for possible kickbacks in the submarine business with Greece. Some irregularities came on with Turkish Reis class (Type 214) project according to the spokesperson of Bremen City Prosecutor’s Office.

It is suspected that the company may have bribed Turkish officials. On 16 February 2016, related business documents and data material was confiscated from the Headquarters of Atlas Electronic in Bremen.
on the premises safe.

The investigations in Greece revealed that bribes totaling €62 million paid for armament contracts between 2000 and 2007.

In Turkish Type 214 project Atlas Elektronik is responsible for delivering very critical and highly specialized combat management system ISUS-90/72 and active and passive sonars.

It is too early to say whether this new investigation will have any negative effects on delivery of Atlas Electronic supplied items.

Turkish Coast Guard Order Of Battle

A few weeks earlier I have compiled the order of battle of Turkish Navy here. This is the order of battle for Turkish Coast Guard:

Active Building Planned
Offshore patrol vessels 4
Large patrol craft 58
Small patrol craft 47
Control craft 85
Search and rescue craft 44
Helicopters 14
Planes 3

A detailed version of the above list:

Active Building Planned
Dost class off shore patrol vessels 4
Type 80 class 18
Sar 35 class 4
Sar 33 class 10
Türk class 4
Kaan 33 class 13
Kaan 29 class 9
Kaan 19 class 17
Kaan 15 class 18
Piket  class 2
Hector 42 class 10
Saget class 23
Various RHIP type craft 62
Search and rescue craft 44
AB-412 helicopters 14
CN-235 MPA planes 3

For more information about the future shipbuilding project for Turkish Navy and Turkish Coast Guard, here is an interesting read.

Turkish Parliament Extended The Anti-Piracy Mission Of Turkish Navy

On 10 February 2016, The Grand National Assembly of Turkey, extended the presence of Turkish Navy in  Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, and adjacent seas.

The first bill allowing Turkish government to deploy Turkish Naval Forces for anti piracy operations was accepted in 10 February 2009. It was extended in one year periods ever since.

Turkish warship are  tasked with:

  • Performing reconnaissance and patrol duties,
  • Calling on ships suspected of piracy/ armed robbery, on the radio, boarding them if their flag country approves and interfering in accordance with the international law if the ship is not showing any flag,
  • Escorting and protecting merchant ships,
  • Helping merchant ships under attack of pirates/sea robbers,
  • Intervening, stopping, neutralizing, and confiscating any vessels used by pirates/sea robbers, and using appropriate force if necessary,
  • Arresting and detaining pirates/sea robbers and armed persons in these vessels,
  • Accepting the representatives of the countries that will prosecute pirates/ armed robbers on board, for the preparations of judicial proceedings, according to the UN resolution 1851.
  • Arresting and detaining, pirates/armed robbers on board until they are being handed over to the countries that will prosecute them,
  • Turning in, the suspects of pirates/sea robbers with the exception of the case that these are Turkish citizens, to the authorities the nation where the pirates/sea robbers will be prosecuted,
  • Executing all kinds of policing duties including interrogation, collecting evidence.

Apart from the two task force deployments in 2011 and 2014, since 2009 following Turkish frigates took part in anti-piracy operations in the region:

Number Name Start of Deployment End of Deployment
F-496 TCG Gökova 29.10.2008 06.12.2008
F-491 TCG Giresun 17.02.2009 17.06.2009
F-490 TCG Gaziantep 17.06.2009 06.10.2009
F-495 TCG Gediz 21.06.2009 15.10.2009
F-496 TCG Gökova 16.10.2009 08.02.2010
F-492 TCG Gemlik 08.02.2010 24.04.2010
F-493 TCG Gelibolu 27.02.2010 13.08.2010
F-494 TCG Gökçeada 05.08.2010 22.10.2010
F-490 TCG Gaziantep 22.10.2010 25.01.2011
F-491 TCG Giresun 25.01.2011 15.06.2011
F-495 TCG Gediz 18.09.2011 07.12.2011
F-491 TCG Giresun 28.11.2011 19.06.2012
F-492 TCG Gemlik 07.06.2012 10.12.2012
F-496 TCG Gökova 10.12.2012 15.06.2013
F-497 TCG Göksu 06.06.2013 07.12.2013
F-493 TCG Gelibolu 07.12.2013 14.03.2014
F-494 TCG Gökçeada 10.03.2014 17.06.2014
F-492 TCG Gemlik 31.08.2014 18.12.2014
F-492 TCG Gemlik 5.8.2015 29.12.2015

Turkish Navy Order Of Battle

It has been a while since I have last updated the order of battle for Turkish Navy. Here is the current one:

Active Building Planned
Submarines (Note-1) 13 1 5
Frigates (Note-2) 16 8
Corvettes 8 2
Fast Attack Craft – Missile (Note-3) 21 4
Patrol Craft (Note-4) 34
Mine hunters/Mine sweepers (Note-5) 15 6
LPD (Note-6)  1 1
LST 4 2
LCT/LCU/LCM/LCAC (Note-7) 33  8
Fleet Support Tankers (Note-8) 2 2 1
Tankers / Replenishment Ships 4
Training Ships (Note-9) 10 2
Salvage Ships 2 3
Helicopters (Note-10) 33 6
Planes 8 6

A detailed version of the above list:

Active Building Planned
209 Type 1400 submarines 8
209 Type 1200 submarines 5
214 Type 1800 submarines 1 5
MEKO 200 class frigates 8
Gabya (Perry) class frigates 8
TF-2000 class frigates 4
İstif class frigates 4
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
Kartal class fast attack craft 2
Turkish type fast attack craft 4
Tuzla class patrol craft 16
Patrol craft 18
Aydın class minehunters 6
Edincik (Circé) class minehunters 5
Mine hunters/sweepers 4 6
LPD  1 1
LST 4 2
LCT/LCU/LCM/LCAC 33  8
Support tankers 6 2 1
Training ships 10 2
Salvage ships 2 3
AB-212 ASW helicopters 9
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: Turkish Navy decommissioned a number of older patrol boats as new boats are commissioned. Thus the real number may less than 34.
Note 5: The procurement of 6 new mine sweepers is planned.
Note 6: The construction of the first LPD TCG Anadolu will start in Autumn 2016.
Note 7: 6 LCM and 2 LCAC may be procured with the LPD but the acquisition of these smaller vessels is not definite yet.
Note 8:Two oil tankers are constructed by a private shipyard. Additionally procurement of one fleet replenishment ship is planed.
Note 9: It is planned to acquire two sailing training ships.
Note 10: The AB-212 helicopter are most used for utility duties. 6 additional Seahawk have been ordered.

For more information about the future shipbuilding project for Turkish Navy and Turkish Coast Guard, here is an interesting read.

 

Russian Warship Fires Warning Shots To A Turkish Fishing Vessel

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Smetlivy seen here heading to the Mediterranean in September.

Today the Russian destroyer Smetlivy and the Turkish fishing boat Geçiciler Balıkçılık got dangerously close. The Russian warship had to fire warning shots to the unarmed Turkish fishing vessel to turn away. The incident happened 22 kilometers east of the Greek Island Lemnos in the Norther Aegean.

Earlier today the crew of Russia’s “Smetlivy” destroyer was forced to use firearms to prevent a collision with a Turkish seiner vessel in the northern part of the Aegean Sea, according to Russia’s Ministry of Defense.
Russian Frigate Uses Firearms to Prevent Collision With Turkish Vessel in Aegean Sea
The destoyer’s crew spotted an approaching Turkish ship at a distance of approximately one kilometer (0.6 miles). The seiner did not attempt to establish radio contact with the Russian ship and did not respond to signal lamps or flairs.
Upon the Turkish seiner’s dangerously close approach to the anchored “Smetlivy” at a distance of 600 meters (656 yards), the Russian patrol ship fired a shot beyond the hitting range of the firearms to avoid collision.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the Turkish vessel immediately changed its course and, without contacting the Russian crew, kept moving by the “Smetlivy” destroyer at a distance of 540 meters (590 yards).

The above was the Russian version of the event. The Turkish version is different:

However, Muzaffer Gecici, who is the owner of the Turkish vessel Geciciler Balikcilik, has flatly denied the Russian claims saying that his boat and the Russian warship had a distance of at least 1 mile (1.6 km). 
He also stated that the Russian warship was not on the move and nobody heard any warning shots from the destroyer, adding that his vessel is technologically well-equipped and that he has already given footage from the incident to the Turkish Coast Guard. 
Meanwhile, the Russian ministry has released another statement after it summoned Turkey’s military naval attache in Moscow, Rear Admiral Ahmet Gunes, saying that the Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov had “a conversation” with Gunes.  
The statement has puzzlingly tried to link the latest incident in the Aegean with Russia’s “counter-terrorism tasks in Syria” blaming Turkey with “reckless actions” against “the Russian military contingent” in the country.
The statement has also claimed that the Turkish vessel, which is a small civilian fisher boat, was able to provoke the Russian military guard ship Smetlivy.

The Russian Navy should start to use acoustic hailing devices. These devices have a very powerful audio output capability with a vert focused narrow beam. They can make your message, be heard in large distances miles away. With the aid of these devices a warship can hail and warn any other vessel in her vicinity that does not respond to radio contact, to signal lamps or flairs before starting to shot.

What Will Happen On Maritime Front After The Shooting Of The Russian Fighter?

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Russian warship Korolev passing through Bosphorus on 28th November 2015

On 24 November 2015, one Turkish F-16 fighter, shoot down a Russian Su-24M fighter-bomber violating Turkish airspace.

The events happening after this incident are beyond the scope of this blog. I am going to try to explain this recent Turco-Russian crisis from a maritime point of view.

So what is going to happen on maritime front after the shooting down of the Russian fighter? The short answer is: Nothing.

The first reaction on Russian side, in maritime domain was to withdraw the naval officer working as a liaison between Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and Turkish Navy and suspend participation in the Black Sea Force (BLACKSEAFOR).

In accordance with the decision by the Russian Defense Ministry on terminating military contacts with Turkey, the participation of our Black Sea Fleet in the BLACKSEAFOR drills has been suspended,” said Komoyedov who was previously commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.
“Also, a representative of the Russian Navy in charge of coordination between the Black Sea Fleet and the Turkish Navy has been recalled from Turkey,” Komoyedov said. “He has returned home,” he added.

The withdraw from BLACKSEAFOR is purely for the Russian public consumption. The BLACKSEAFOR was created by Turkey as a call of naval task force very similar to NATO’s Standing Maritime Groups. The Purpose of the BLACKSEAFOR was to develop the interoperability between the Black Sea nations and the create a mutual trust and cooperation between the navies. But the BLACKSEAFOR was stabbed in the back by Russia with the Georgian – Russian war in 2008. That conflict destroyed much of the work done by then. The annexation of Crimea by Russia was the final nail in the coffin. Since that event BLACKSEAFOR was in coma and the yearly activations of the task force were cancelled.therefore Russian decision of leaving BLACKSEAFOR has no value.

Another reaction was the deployment of the Slava class cruiser Mosvka off the coast of Syrian town Latakia.

“Cruiser” Moskva “, armed with air defense system” Fort “, on Wednesday morning took the position area in the region of Latakia. His means of radar and missile system will be able to provide cover videoconferencing Russian air group in Syria, “- a spokesman said.

On the eve of the chief of the Main Operations Directorate of the General Staff, Lieutenant-General Sergey Rudskoy told reporters that the cruiser “Moskva”, equipped with air defense system “Fort”, takes the area near Latakia to strengthen defense. The exact date when not given.

Besides Mosvka, the following Russian ships are in the region:

  • Kashin class destroyer Smetliviy
  • Nanuchka III class corvette Mirazh
  • Vishnya class intelligence-gathering ship Vasiliy Tatischev
  • Tanker Ivan Bubnov
  • Tug MB-31
  • Amur class repair ship PM-56
  •  Oceanographic research ship Admiral Vladimirsky

And the following Russian ships are on the way to the region:

  • Ropucha class large landing ships Korolev and Tsezar Kunikov
  • Auxiliary cargo ship Vologda-50

Mosvka has passed through Turkish Straits on 25 September 2015 and she remained in the Eastern Mediterranean since that day.  Moskva has 8 vertical launcher for SA-N-6 ‘Grumble’ surface to air missiles with 8 rounds for each launcher. The SA-N-6 ‘Grumble’ also known as S-300F (Fort) is a navalised version of the S-300 surface to air missile system.  The ship based missile is the 5V55RM which has a minimum range of 5 kilometers and a maximum range on 75 kilometers.

The deployment of the cruiser, the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, off the coast of Latakia will increase the protection for air base used by Russia and is more or less for the Russian public consumption.   I am quite sure that the captain of Moskva is not happy to act as a picket fence. As a picket fence the cruiser will be the first line of defence and there are not enough Russian warships to escort this capital ship should the crisis escalate.

In the unlikely event of escalation of the crisis between Turkey and Russia the cruiser Mosvka is alone and very vulnerable to the most potent Turkish weapon to be used: submarines.

According to the website of Turkish General Staff two submarines are conducting patrols in Eastern Mediterranean. TCG Dolunay is in the region since 11th November 2015 and TCG Burakreis since 7th November 2015.

Both sides have many warships in the Eastern Mediterranean in close vicinity and the tensions are high at the moment. But never the less I think any military escalation is very unlikely as this could potentially led to a large confrontation and in such event Turkey may evoke its right to close the Turkish Straits according to the article 20 of Montreux Convention.

Article 20. In time of war, Turkey being belligerent, the provisions of Articles 10 to 18 shall not be applicable; the passage of warships shall be left entirely to the discretion of the Turkish Government.

The Montreux Convention dictates a 8 day notification period for the Black Sea Powers. This means if any Black Sea nation wants to move their ships through Turkish Straits, they have to notify Turkey 8 days prior this crossing. Therefore if Russian Navy has decided on 24th November  after the shooting down of Su-24M, to send more warships to Syria, 2nd December 2015 is the earliest day these ships can pass through Turkish Straits.

Russia must have an unlimited access to Turkish Straits. The so called Syrian Express deployments of Russian Ropucha and Alligator class landing ships and auxiliaries are vitally important to keep Russian troops inside Syria supplied. If Russia cannot send its ships through Turkish Straits for any reason, the Russian soldiers deployed in Syria may find themselves in a very similar position of General Paulus’ Army. This is an important reason, why the Russian counter aggression to the shooting of its plane is (and will remain) asymmetrical. This is why Russians are trying to hurt Turkey with diplomatic and economical responses rather than military actions.

INS Trikand In Istanbul

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INSTrikand in Istanbul.

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INS Trikand being pushed to the dock by the tugs.

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The business end of INS Trikand. From left to right: 100mm gun A 190E, SA-N-/ Gadfly launcher for surface to air missiles, VLS launcher for Brahmos anti ship missiles; 12 barreled anti submarine mortar.

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Top of the pilothouse. From left to right: Ratep 5P-10E Puma fire control radar for 100mm gun and Plank Shave (Garpun-B) fire control radar for anti ship missiles. One commercial navigation radar.

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For self-protection the INS Trikand has two AK 630 multi barreled guns.

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The main mast of INS Trikand. From top to down: Top Plate 3D air seach radar (Fregat-M2EM); KEvin Hugnes navigation radar; Nyada MR212/201 (Palm Frond) navigation radar; antennas for ASOR (TK-25E-5) electronic counter measures system.

In the morning hours on 4 October 2015 Istanbul welcomed a very rare visitor: the Indian Navy vessel INS Trikand.

Despite being a large navy, Indian warships very seldom visit Istanbul.

The Talwar (Project 1135.6) class frigate INS Trikand arrived in Istanbul for a 3 day port visit. The youngest ship of this class, INS Trikand will engage extensively with the Turkish Navy according to the twitter account of the Indian DOD spokesman. Apart from professional interactions, a number of sports and social engagements are also planned.
The interaction between two navies has increased in the last few years especially since Turkish Navy started to deploy warships for anti piracy operations in Indian Ocean.In April 2015 frigate TCG Gediz visited Mumbai.

Victory Day 2015

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NL123 TCG Sarucabey in Izmir for celebrations and public visiting.

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TCG Göksu. She was in Istanbul for the celebrations.

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TCG Büyükada. She was in Istanbul too, for the celebrations and public visiting.

 

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

This year we celebrate the 93th 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.

FS Forbin In Istanbul

FS Forbin moored in Istanbul. Photo: Serhat Güvenç. Used with permission.

FS Forbin moored in Istanbul. Photo: Serhat Güvenç. Used with permission.

We are having a distinguished guest since 7 July 2015. The French Horizon class destroyer D-620 FS Forbin is in Istanbul. Although she is classified as anti-air frigate she is to be considered as a destroyer.

The visit of FS Forbin is the first visit of a Horizon class warship in Istanbul ever. Her sister D-621 FS Chevalier Paul was in Marmaris two years ago.

The visit of FS Forbin is not a routing port visit just to show the flag and establish good relationships. The ship needed resupply and maintenance.

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The supply chain of FS Forbin. Photo: Alper Böler. Used with permission.

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Working on the aft SPN 735 surface radar. The radar is not accessible from inside the ship. Two sailors are working on the radar while the crane operator is clearly bored.

The Horizon class ships have two navigation and surface surveillance radars. The forward one is atop of the bridge and the aft one is on the mast that supports the SMART-L radar. It is not possible for the crew to access the aft radar from inside the ship. There are no hatches or stairs. Thus a crane was hired in Istanbul to allow two sailors to perform maintenance or repair work on the aft MM/SPN-753 navigation and surface surveillance radar. So this means there is no way to repair this radar underway. I find the decision to place that radar to an inaccessible place very strange.

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The on board helicopter is an AS-565 Panther with tail number 519. Photo: Alper Böler. Used with permission.

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Photo: Alper Böler. Used with permission.

10-12-CDY_3982The hangar of the ship looks very spacious. The ship accommodate larger helicopters such as NH90, than the currently on board AS-535 Panther.

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Interestingly the funnels and the masts of the Horizon class are not symmetrical.

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Sagem NGDS multi function decoy launcher. Photo: Alper Böler. Used with permission.

Below are more photos of important sensors and weapons of the ship.

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2 Oto Melara 76mm Super Rapid guns. The side by side configuration is not usual.

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A top of the middle mast is the Sagem EOMS NG optronic system. It rotates approximately 60 times a minute.

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Thales S-1850M long range air and surface search radar a variant of SMART-L radar

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DCNS Contralto-V anti-torpedo decoy launchers.

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GIAT 20mm F2 gun.

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Alenia Marconi NA 25 XP fire control system for the OTO Melera guns.

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The front mast. From top to down: Alenia Marconi SPY-790 EMPAR surveillance and fire control radar, sensors for ESM system, Alenia Marconi NA 25 XP fire control system, Thales C&S Surfsat-L SATCOM antenna for Syracuse satellite service, jammer of SIGEN EW Suite, 2 FURNO navigation radars and the fore SPN 735 surface search radar.

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Atop of the bridge: Jammer of SIGEN EW Suite, 2 FURNO navigation radars and MM/SPN-753 navigation and surface surveillance radar plus a number of unidentified sensors.

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Sylver A-50 VLS launcher for Aster 15 and Aster 30 missiles seems to be well protected from the sea.

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