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.’

Advertisements

Armoured Amphibious Attack Vehicles For TCG Anadolu Has Been Ordered

A digital rendering of the future Turkish AAAV by FNNS.

On 7 March 2017, a contract was signed between defence acquisition agency Undersecreteriat For Defence industries (UDI) and FNSS a joint venture between Turkey’s Nurol Holding and BAE Systems, to design and build 27 armoured amphibious attack vehicles.

These AAAV’s will be deployed on board of the future multipurpose amphibious assault ship TCG Anadolu. The break down of the order is 23 amphibious armored assault vehicles, 2 amphibious assault command vehicle and 2 amphibious assault rescue vehicles.

Technical specifications of the AAAV’s has not been disclosed yet. But since BAE Systems, the manufacturer of the AAV7A1 of USMC, is part of FNSS, I would not be surprised if the Turkish AAAV’s have similar performance and appearance as their US cousins.

Turkish Parliament Extended The Anti-Piracy Mission Of Turkish Navy

On 8th February 2017, 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 6.12.2008
F-491 TCG Giresun 17.02.2009 17.06.2009
F-490 TCG Gaziantep 17.06.2009 6.10.2009
F-495 TCG Gediz 21.06.2009 15.10.2009
F-496 TCG Gökova 16.10.2009 8.02.2010
F-492 TCG Gemlik 8.02.2010 24.04.2010
F-493 TCG Gelibolu 27.02.2010 13.08.2010
F-494 TCG Gökçeada 5.08.2010 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 7.12.2011
F-491 TCG Giresun 28.11.2011 19.06.2012
F-492 TCG Gemlik 7.06.2012 10.12.2012
F-496 TCG Gökova 10.12.2012 15.06.2013
F-497 TCG Göksu 6.06.2013 7.12.2013
F-493 TCG Gelibolu 7.12.2013 14.03.2014
F-494 TCG Gökçeada 10.03.2014 17.06.2014
F-492 TCG Gemlik 5.08.2015 29.12.2015
F-512 TCG Büyükada 6.02.2015 7.04.2015
F-495 TCG Gediz 6.04.2015 24.07.2015

TCG Alemdar Is Commissioned Into Service

a582

TCG Alemdar during acceptance trials. Photo: Milliyet

Today the new submarine rescue ship A-582 TCG Alemdar was finally commissioned into service. The ceremony was planned for an earlier date, but had to be postponed.

TCG Alemdar is the most capable submarine rescue vessel in Eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea region.

TCG Alemdar was designed from the keel as a submarine rescue ship for Turkish Navy. 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. She is certified both for NATO NSRS and US SRDRS
systems. The built-in A-frame of TCG Alemdar will be able to support US Navy DSRVs.

She is a most welcomed addition to Turkish Navy. Auxiliary ships like TCG Alemdar may not have the appeal of a front line warships such as corvettes or frigates but these inglorious auxiliaries enable the other ships to function and save them when they are in a dire situation.

I wish TCG Alemdar calm seas and following winds.

Aselsan Will Supply Electronic Support Measures For Pakistani Submarines

SMART-S Mk2 3D radar and ARES-2N EW antennas

5 ARES-2N EW antennas can be seen below the SMART-S Mk2 3D radar on the mast of TCG Heybeliada.

Turkish military electronic company Aselsan was chosen to supply ARES-2SC  electronic support measures system for the Agosto 90B submarines in Pakistan Navy, according to IHS Jane’s.

ARES family of ESM systems are developed by Aselsan to be used both on surface ships and on submarines. The ARES ESM 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.

ARES-2N is integrated into Turkish Ada class corvettes and the ARES-2NS, especially for submarines, is fitted to the 2 modernized Ay class submarines. This system is also selected for the Reis (Type 214) class submarines.

The main difference between ARES-2N and ARES-2NS is, that the latter has smaller antennas and a single operator console due to the limited space available on submarines.

The system on Pakistan submarines will be the second generation ARES-2SC that has a dedicated ESM mast antenna, as well as a separate omnidirectional radar warning receiver (RWR) antenna designed for installation on periscopes.

Aselsan officials Told Jane’s during Indodefence 2016, that the company has recently been selected to provide the ARES-2SC system as part of the upgrade of the Pakistan Navy’s Agosta 90B submarines. In this case, it will give the main ESM to STM (as prime contractor), while it will separately supply the periscope-mounted RWR antenna to Airbus DS Optronics for mounting on a new search periscope.

 

The “Missing Turkish Warships” Farce – An Epilog

F-240 TCG Yavuz,

F-240 TCG Yavuz

15 days ago, Turkey lived its longest night. There were many stories, rumors and allegations in the air before the dust settled  down and we could gain a better inside to the things that happened.

One of the rumors was that 14 warships of Turkish Navy were missing after the failed coup attempt and they may be seeking refuge in other countries.  This story was initiated in British Press (here, here and here) and spread like a wild-fire. I have expressed my thoughts before. Now I am trying to find a closure to that story.

In the last 15 days there has been no follow-up stories. No additional information such as the names and types of the ships has surfaced either.

While it is most difficult to prove something has not happened. When you have eliminate all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth as Sherlock Holmes says. Thus I am trying to eliminate all which is impossible:

  • It is impossible to hide 14 warships in the confined waters of the Aegean, the Black Sea and Mediterranean. These ships would have been observed either from the land based observations stations from hundreds of civilian and many military warships cruising in these seas.
  • It is impossible for foreign press to be silence about a Turkish warship entering their port and asking for refuge.
  • It is impossible for these 14 ships to stay on open seas without replenishing their fuel, water and other provisions. Depending their type they must be running low on fuel, water and food.
  • It is impossible for a government or a naval force to remain silent about such a big and important story. If 14 ships were really missing, someone either from Turkey or abroad would have talked about it by now.

Turkish General Staff published the numbers of discharged soldiers and number of the vehicles used during the coup attempt. According to this official declaration only 3 ships were used.

The involvement of the commander and the executive commander of TCG Yavuz was known since 15th July, as they have detained the Commander of The Fleet, Admiral Kösele on board during that night.

It was published that Type 80 class Coast Guard boat, TCSG-96 has left its port during the night of 15th July, without an order. The boat later returned to its port without any incidents.

It is not clear, from Turkish General Staff’s publication, whether they consider TCSG-96 among the above mentioned 3 ships. If not, then there were 3 Turkish Navy warships and one Coast Guard went rogue on that night

If so -which would be wrong, since a coast guard boat is not a warship- then there is one unidentified ship left that took part in the coup attempt.

The “Missing Turkish Warships” Farce

Turkey is in a very turbulent situation since the failed coup attempt last Saturday.

There is a lot of information, misinformation and disinformation about the things happened during the last weekend. One of the is the story about 14 missing warship of Turkish Navy.

As far as I know the story was originated in British newspapers and spread like a wild-fire.

Several Turkish navy ships are still unaccounted for, their commanders suspected to be among the plotters who sought to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Admiral Veysel Kosele, the commander of the Turkish navy, has not been heard from since the failed coup on Friday, a source told The Times.

It is currently unknown whether he was part of the coup or was tricked on to the boat after coup plotters told him there was a terrorist attack and then taken hostage, local media reports suggested.

The 14 missing ships were reportedly on active duty in either the Aegean or the Black Sea and have not tried to make contact with naval headquarters or report back to the port.

It is suspected they may be heading to Greek ports. On Saturday, eight Turkish military officers took a helicopter to Greece to seek asylum.

Despite several days the sources that originated this story failed to show evidence such as the names of the missing ships or more details about them to further support their story.

There are also some gross factual errors in the story. Admiral Kösele is the Commander of Turkish Fleet. Admiral Bülent Bostanoğlu is the Commander of Turkish Naval Forces. And the Command of Turkish Fleet is one of the subcommands of the Naval Forces. And the whereabouts of Admiral Kösele is well know. He was interned on board of TCG Yavuz for a couple of hours and he was released later.

The Black Sea and the Aegean are too small for 14 ships to hide. Furthermore there Greek and Russian Armed Forces are tracking the movement of Turkish warships. They would announce to the world, with a lot of Schadenfreude, if there where any Turkish ships in their ports.

I know that there are at least 4 ships (one mine hunter, one command ship, one frigate and one submarine) in Black Sea taking part in Romanian naval exercise. They have not returned yet. Thus an uniformed land based source may think that they are still unaccounted for.
I sincerely hope that this 14 missing Turkish Warships farce will end very soon and we can focus on things that are real and matter.

Turkish Company Will Upgrade Pakistan’s Submarines

Pakistan’s Ministry of Defence Production selected Turkish company Savunma Teknolojileri Mühendislik (STM) to upgrade Pakistani Khalid class submarines.

The contract was signed on 22 June and is about the upgrade of one submarine with an option for two. Pakistan operates 3 Khalid submarines.

The work on the first submarine will be finished in 45 months. Pakistani media said the modernisation programme would focus on mission systems and sensors within the submarine, including a new combat management system. According to media reports STM has beaten the French company DCNS that designed and constructed the Khalid class submarines.

This contract is a major milestone for STM. STM was established in 1991 to provide system engineering, technical support, project management, technology transfer and logistics support services for Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM). The contract is important since Turkish does not operate any French designed submarines. All Turkish Navy submarines are Type 209 variants. Thus STM will have to develop its solution on a new and previously unknown platform. This might be a challenge.

STM is also the main contractor of the logistic support ship currently being constructed in Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works Ltd in Pakistan.

This is however is not the first time Turkey is helping Pakistan Navy to maintain its submarines. Tench class submarine PNS Ghazi was sent to Turkey for a $1.5 million refit in 1967-68.

 

New Maritime Patrol Planes For Turkish Navy?

TCB701 kopya

A contract was signed on 2008 to buy 10 ATR 72-500 ASW from Italy. 8 years later we are still waiting patiently for the planes. All we got in the mean time are two unarmed ATR-72-600 planes for utility missions.

TCB652 kopya

6 of these C-235 ASW planes are the backbone of Turkish airborne ASWand AsuW missions. When the acquisition project of these planes started in 1998, CASA was still an independent company, the C-295 has just made its maiden flight and its ASW version did not exist even in the dreams of the CASA/EADS/Airbus Military engineers.  P-8A Poseidon was not even on the drawing board.

ANKARA, Turkey — The Turkish Navy is considering the purchase of long-range patrol aircraft to add to its fleet of CN-235 and ATR72s, navy and procurement officials said.
“The requirement comes in line with the government’s foreign policy priorities,” explained one procurement official.
Navy officials say the planned aircraft should be able to fly 1,000 to 1,200 nautical miles away from their main base in Turkey and fly 12 to 15 hours.
“Our current fleet may not respond to our future roles,” said one Navy official. “The new patrol aircraft should ideally have anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare roles.”
Naval industry sources say the Turkish description of the requirement would probably point to the Boeing P-8 Poseidon (formerly the Multimission Maritime Aircraft or MMA). The P-8 Poseidon was developed for the US Navy by Boeing Defense, Space & Security, modified from the 737-800ERX.
The P-8 also conducts shipping interdiction, along with an electronic signals intelligence role which involves carrying torpedoes, depth charges, SLAM-ER missiles, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and other weapons. It is able to drop and monitor sonobuoys. The aircraft is designed to operate in conjunction with the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton Broad Area Maritime Surveillance unmanned aerial vehicle.
Procurement officials say they hope to issue a request for information for the planned acquisition soon.
“We are hoping to see a competitive contest,” one official said.
But industry sources say the description of the acquisition narrows options.
“There will not be too many bidders, judging from the description of the requirement,” said one source.

The technical requirement describes a plane that is able to fly 1,000 to 1,200 nautical miles away from their main base in Turkey and fly 12 to 15 hours. As far as I know there is only two planes exist that can fill this expectations. Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon and Ilyushin’s Il-38.

Given the political climate between Turkey and Russia I think a snowball in hell has better odds than Mr. Putin selling military airplanes to Turkey. This leaves us with one real contender: P-8A

I have no idea who the unnamed procurement official was, but I am glad that I am not in his/her shoes. It will be very hard to create an illusion of  competitive contest with one contestant.

Australia paid for 8 P-8A planes USD2.88 billion and India paid for 8 P-8I Neptune (Indian designation) planes USD2.1 billion. If this procurement project goes ahead it will be most expensive acquisitions for Turkish Naval Aviation. There are better places where we can wisely spend a couple billion US Dollars such as the air defence ship project TF-2000.

I will be most surprised if this announced interest in P-8A Poseidon planes materializes into a contract very soon. The acquisitions projects for maritime patrol and ASW planes are beleaguered with massive delays.

For further reading:

12 Years After The Contract Thales Finally Delivers Maritime Patrol Aircraft To Turkish Navy

Finaly: The First ATR-72 Maritime Utility Plane Is Delivered

Turkish Navy To Get 8 ATR-72-600 Planes Instead Of 10 As Originaly Agreed

Finally: The First Maritime Surveillance Plane Officially Inaugurated

First flight of CN235 ASW for Meltem programme

Deniz Yıldızı 2016 Naval Exercise Started In Black Sea

P1207

TCG Tekirdağ

CDY_7576

TCG Karamürselbey

CDY_7501

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
%d bloggers like this: