Albanian Patrol Vessels Visit Izmir

Albanian offshore patrol vessels ALS Oriku (left) and ALS Butrinti in İzmir Port in mid-July.

In mid-July, ALS Oriku arrived in İzmir, Turkey to replace her sister ALS Butrinti and.

The 42,8 meter long, boats have 260 tons of displacement. Their 20mm remotely controlled gun turrets were installed in 2018.

ALS Butrinti has patrolled on behalf of NATO Standing NATO Maritime Group Two Task Unit 01 since January 2018. Her replacement ALS Oriku will be deployed in the region until the end of the year.

While the boats are swapped in 6-month periods, the crews only serve for about 3 months. The 21-strong crew of ALS Oriku represents the 12. Albanian Contingent.

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The Long Arm Of Turkish Coast Guard

The approximate site of the interception. It is 750 nautical miles away from the nearest Turkish naval base.

The Turkish Coast Guard made an illegal substance interception 750 nautical miles away from Turkey.

The operation was conducted somewhere 78 nautical miles off Tripoli, Libya and 150 nautical miles off Sfax, Tunisia. This is the most distant operation ever carried by the Turkish Coast Guard.

The Turkish flagged fishing boat M/V Pervin Oğulları was carrying 5000 kg of marijuana. This is the third long-distance drug bust of the Turkish Coast Guard

Acting on a tip-off, Turkish security forces established that suspected drug traffickers aboard M/V Pervin Oğulları sailed away from the Izmir, Turkey in early February to the coasts of Mauritania, Morocco, and Algeria, to acquire large amounts of drugs.

The drugs were intercepted on their way to Turkey before the traffickers were able to distribute them to smaller vessels before smuggling them into Turkey.

Two Dost class offshore patrol vessels of the Turkish Coast Guard, TCSG Umut and TCSG Yaşam took part in the operation and carried two helicopters and 25 law enforcement officers, 15 of them from the Gendarmerie.

The 6 crew of the fishing boat has been arrested along with 7 others in Turkey. The fishing boat was brought to Izmir, Turkey where it has started it’s ill-fated voyage.

Here is a 20-minute long video of about the operation including the footage of the actual boarding conducted at 04.00 am on 15 April 2019.

The commissioning of Dost class vessels has really increased the operational range of Turkish Coast Guard and it is nice to see that these vessels are deployed properly for long distance operations freeing up warships.

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, Charlemagne, 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 the 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 seemed 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 afterward, 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 to 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 the 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 experienced 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.’

TCG Gökçeada Deployed To The Indian Ocean

TCG Gökçeada heading into a sand storm. Photo: Turkish Naval Forces

TCG Gökçeda will start her goodwill visit to Doha, Qatar on 28th January 2019.

The frigate departed from Aksaz Naval Base on 13th January 2019 for a 3-month deployment to the Indian Ocean which will be her third. The frigate passed through the Suez Canal on 16th January and proceed to Djibouti her first port of call.

Following her visit to Qatar, TCG Gökçeada will sail to Pakistan and will take part in the exercise AMAN-19.

Pakistan started to organize AMAN multinational exercises in 2007 to promote regional cooperation and stability, greater interoperability and to display a united resolve against terrorism and crimes in the maritime domain including Piracy. AMAN-19 is the sixth such exercise planned.

After completion of the exercise, TCG Gökçeada will join CTF-151, the multinational task force against piracy off the coast of Somalia and will return home on 17th March 2019.

 

 

Turkish Anti-Ship Missiles Contract Signed

A test firing of Atmaca missile. Date unknown.

On 2nd November 2018, The Presidency of Defence Industries –former Undersecreteriat of Defence Industries- the main defense acquisition agency of Turkey announced that a contract for the serial production of Atmaca (Hawk) anti-ship missile was signed.

The contract was signed between PDI and Roketsan the leading company in the country for designing, developing and manufacturing rockets and missiles, as the main contractor. Aselsan the main defense electronics company is acting as sub-contractor and providing the RF seeker head and guidance section.

Since its start, the Atmaca Project has always been shrouded by thick layers of secrecy. And this habit continues still. Neither the value of the contract nor the number of missiles to be procured was revealed. The scheduled commissioning date of the missiles was also not made public. The press release about however mentioned that the first missiles are to be installed on board of the TCG İstanbul. TCG İstanbul is a İ class frigate currently under construction in Istanbul Naval Shipyard.

NATO Naval Taskforces End Their Deployment To The Black Sea

The flagship of Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two FGR Rhein, during her southbound transit through Istyanbul.

Turkish contribution to Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two, TCG Anamur making her southbound passage through Istanbul as the taskforce departs from the Black Sea. A new minehunter will replace her for the future deployment of SNMCMG-2.

On early July, flagships of Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) and Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two (SNMCMG2) HNLMS De Ruyter and FGS Rhein arrived in Bulgarian port Burgas for the Bulgarian led exercise Breeze 2018. Replenishment ship FS Marne of Marine Nationale and Greek fast attack craft HS Daniolos followed them. BREEZE 2018 from 13 to 20 July.

The exercise was designed to enhance the interoperability of the participating units and strengthen cooperation by practicing different warfare techniques in a multi-dimensional scenario. Multinational participating forces and their crews will be tested in a wide range of warfare tactics focusing on regional security.

Bulgaria as host took part with 16 combat and auxiliary ships and cutters, 2 helicopters and staff of 930 members. Two aircraft of the Bulgarian Air Force and units of the Land Forces were also involved in the exercise with most ships. Turkey was the second largest contributor to the exercise with TCG Fatih for SNMG-2 and minehunter TCG Anamur for SNMCMG-2, submarine TCG Gür, fast attack craft TCG İmbat and one patrol plane.

In total 25 combat and auxiliary ships and cutters, 1 submarine, 4 aircraft, 5 helicopters and 2,340 service members from the navies of Bulgaria, Belgium, Greece, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, the USA, Turkey, France, the Netherlands took part in the exercise, which was held from 13th to 20th July.

Following the conclusion of the exercise Sea Breeze Greek fast attack craft HS Daniolos and French replenishment tanker, FS Marne exited the region while the remaining ships of both NATO Standing Maritime Groups made a port visit in Odessa between 23rd and 25th July. During this port visit, the warships were warships were open to the public. According to the Turkish Navy, TCG Fatih and TCG Anamur have hosted 2413 visitors for 6 hours when they were open to the public.

After the port visit, all NATO warships conducted a passing exercise (PASSEX) with Ukrainian naval forces. The flagship of the Ukrainian Navy Hetman Sagaidachny and warships BerdyanskVyshgorod, Kremenchuk, Lubny, and Pochaiv also took part in this PASSEX.

Upon leaving Odessa, NATO naval task forces separated. While SNMCMG-2 sailed towards Constanta Romania to conduct mine warfare exercise with Romanian Navy, SNMG-2 sailed to Samsun Turkey.

On the first day of August 2018, both HNLMS De Ruyter and FGS Rhein departed from the Black Sea ending their deployment in the region.

TCG Sancaktar Handed Over To Turkish Navy

On 7th April 2018, TCG Sancaktar was handed over to Turkish Navy. She is the second ship of Bayraktar class landing ships, TCG Bayraktar being the first off the class.

The contract for the construction of new LST’s was signed in 2011. The value of the contract was 370 million Euros. The first ship was delivered in February 2017.

The ships can carry 350 persons, 20 MBT and between 24 – 60 vehicles. The closed parking area is 1100 square meters and the open deck parking area is 690 square meters.

It was rumored that TCG Sancaktar might be sold to another country but this sale apparently did not materialize.

Both ships have a good command and control facilities and management software. All lessons learned from operating and commanding amphibious forces from these ships will be used in the development of the software and systems to be used on TCG Anadolu.

I wish TCG Sancaktar fair winds and following seas

 

Turkish Navy Started To Operate UAVs

A TAI built ANKA-B unmanned aerial vehicle used by Turkish Navy. Photo: Undersecretariat for Defence Industries.

In April, Turkish Navy started to use a UAV for reconnaissance and surveillance missions. Turkish procurement agency Undersecretariat for Defence Industries released the first photos of the UAV. The craft is an ANKA, advanced medium altitude long endurance (MALE) class built by Turkish Aerospace Industries. According to the company the UAS, performs day and night, all-weather reconnaissance, target detection/identification and intelligence missions with its EO/IR and SAR payloads, featuring autonomous flight capability including automatic take-off and Landing.

The released photos show the UAV,  an ANKA-B equipped only with a CATS (Common Aperture Targeting System) FLIR. It believed that the UAV is leased until units with advanced sensors as described above, will enter into service. The next version on ANKA-S will be controlled via satellite. This feature enables the UAV to performs further away from its base.

The characteristics of the

    • Wing Span : 17.3m
    • Length : 8m
    • Powerplant : Heavy fuel engine (155 hp)
  • Payload Capacity : 200kg (full endurance)
  • Power 9kW

Turkish Navy wanted to use UAV over the seas for many years. The ultimate aim is to combine the data from UAVs with data coming from other airborne, land and sea-based sensors to create a full maritime picture increase maritime domain awareness. With the inauguration of the first ANKA-B UAV, the vision of creating a fuller maritime picture has come one step closer.

The Father Of Milgem Has Died

Admiral Örnek, on board of frigate TCG Salihreis during Denizkurdu-05 exercise. Photo: Turkish Naval Forces.

Today, in the early morning hours the 20th Commander of Turkish Naval Forces, retired Admiral Özden Örnek has died. He was 75 years old and being treated for an undisclosed illness for the last 15 days at a hospital.

Admiral Örnek was at the helm of Turkish Naval Forces between August 2003 and August 2005. This was a period of time with a lot of fundamental changes in Turkish Navy.

The Milgem project wasn’t started during his tenure but he was tirelessly promoted the idea inside the Turkish armed force and fought for it. He was instrumental in bringing the procurement agency, the shipyard and the design office together and create a working project scope.

In his book Milgem’in Öyksü -The Story of Milgem- published in 2017, he tells the story of his internal and external struggles very outspokenly.

In 2007 a new magazine published a diary allegedly belonging to Admiral Örnek. These counterfeit documents and other digital data was used against him and many prominent Turkish naval officers in Sledgehammer plot. He was sentenced to 20 years in 2012 and spend 41 months behind bars only to be acquitted after the case’s prosecutor argued that digital data in the files submitted as evidence in the case were faked and did not constitute evidence.

Naval officers who had worked with him praise his work and believe that his vision will shape the Turkish Naval Forces in 21. Century.

Admiral Örnek is survived by his wife Sevil, his son Tolga and two grandchildren from his son Burak who died in January 2018.

 

TCG Göksu Deployed To Gulf Of Aden As Turkish Parliament Extends The Presence Of The Navy

TCG Göksu is deployed in the Gulf of Aden for anti-piracy operations.

On 24th February 2018, Frigate TCG Göksu left her home port for deployment in the Gulf of Aden. This is her second deployment in the region. Currently, she is with multinational anti-piracy task force CTF-151.

On 8th February 2018, The Grand National Assembly of Turkey, extended the presence of Turkish Navy in the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, and adjacent seas for one more year.

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

Turkish warships 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 by 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 proper 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 except for 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-493 TCG Gelibolu 21.01.2017 13.03.2017
F-491 TCG Giresun 2.06.2017 19.11.2017
F-496 TCG Gökova 9.07.2017 26.08.2017
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