TCG Bayraktar Commissioned

A two months old photo of the ship taken during trials. The lack of the CIWS are noteworthy. The orange thing on board is a floating target used for the gun trials.

According to a tweet from Minister of National Defence the first ship of Bayraktar class landing ships L-402 TCG Bayraktar was commissioned in Turkish Navy on 14 April 2017.

Since the ship will be under the shipyard’s warranty for 12 months, this is regarded as a temporary commissioning. A permanent commissioning is when Turkish Navy fully becomes responsible form the ship.

The original weapon load of the ship was two 40 mm guns, two Mk-15 Phalanx CIWS and two 12,7 mm machine guns on stabilized platforms.

When I saw the ship two months ago, the Mk-15 Phalanx CIWS systems were not fitted. The Mk-15’s are also missing in the current photos of the ship. It is highly possible that Turkish Navy will install the close-in weapon system itself since there should be around 10 in inventory. These weapons have been taken from old Knox class  frigates as they were decommissioned.

I wish TCG Bayraktar fair winds and following seas.

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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.

Comments On Live Firings Made During Deniz Yıldızı Exercise

Deniz Yıldızı 2017 naval exercise has ended on 7th April 2017 and participating warships are returning to their home bases.

Live missile firings made this year’s event will one of the best remembered.

During the second phase of the exercise between 31 March and 3 April, in total 6 warships and one submarine launched 8 missiles.

Below is the official video from the live missile firings made during Deniz Yıldızı 2017. Watch the video and then read my comments further below.

What do we see?

  • The submarine TCG Çanakkale performed the first ever submerged UGM-84 Harpoon missile launch in Turkish Navy.
  • Furthermore the corvette TCG Heybeliada fired a RGM-84F Harpoon Blok II missile capable of striking targets on land also a first for Turkish Navy.
  • Frigates TCG Gökçeada, TCG Fatih, TCG Barbaros, corvette TCG Büyükada and fast attack craft TCG İmbat, conducted surface to air missile firings.
  • An unidentified missile -probably RGM-84F Harpoon Block II but nor certainly- hit a specially constructed target area.

What do we not see?

  • The sinking of ex USS Duncan. She was towed to the Black Sea on 26 March to be used as a target. Was she even used?
  • The rumored firing of a Mk-24 Tigerfish torpedo. Turkish Navy had a bad experience with Tigerfish in 2001. Did the history repeated itself?
  • The impact of the second Harpoon missile, if the impacting missile on the video is indeed a Harpoon. If not, we don’t see impacts of both Harpoons.
  • Firings made from land to the sea. The navtex broadcasts of Directorate General of Coastal Safety and the NOTAM broadcasts of Directorate General of Civil Aviation mentioned that missile firings from land toward sea.

Turkish Navy Conducting Simultaneous Port Visits In 5 Countries

TCG Oruçreis arrives in Varna. Photo: Nikolay Zlatev.

10 Turkish warships are conducting port visits in 5 different ports, in 5 different countries.

The long needed rest came after the end of the first phase of naval exercise Deniz Yıldızı 2017. The exercise has started on 27 March and will end on 7 April.

Of course the small size of the Black Sea helps. But Turkey is the only Black Sea nation that can perform such a diplomatic show of force. It is not a small event to do port visits in 5 different nations at the same time.

This is the list of the ships doing port visits. Most of them  will be open for public to visit.

Name Type Port Country
TCG Oruçreis Frigate Varna Bulgaria
TCG Tuzla Patrol Boat Varna Bulgaria
TCG Kalkan Fast Attack Craft Batumi Georgia
TCG Yıldırım Frigate Batumi Georgia
TCG Turgutreis Frigate Constanta Romania
TCG Yıldız Fast Attack Craft Constanta Romania
TCG Büyükada Corvette Novorossiysk Russia
TCG Barbaros Frigate Novorossiysk Russia
TCG Heybeliada Corvette Odessa Ukraine
TCG Gaziantep Frigate Odessa Ukraine

TCG 1. İnönü In Durres

TCG 1. İnönü in Durres port. Photo: Durres Lajm

It is not usual for submarines to make port visit in foreign countries.  TCG 1. İnönü visited the Albanian port Durrës between 30 March and 1 April 2017.

According to Albanian press:

Her visit to our country made in the framework of strengthening relations between the navies of the two countries and NATO operations. The submarine is about 62 m long and has a total carrying capacity of our 1456. It is equipped with eight torpedo visible, and other military equipment, the number of which has been withheld for military reasons.

It is engaged in the protection of Turkish national security and in the framework of the activities of NATO forces in support of global peace and security. The submarine, the Turkish production in 2008, has a crew of 45 soldiers of various ranks. After entering the port, command of the submarine crew and officers are expected in separate meetings with the mayor of Durres Vangjush Dako and then by the Prefecture of Durres Roland Xhelili.

It is interesting to note that Turkish submarines regularly visit Durrës. As far as I know, the following  Turkish submarines were in Durrës:

Deniz Yıldızı 2017 Naval Exercise Has Started

The hull of ex USS Duncan will be on the receiving end of at least one UGM-84 Sub Harpoon missile or one Tigerfish torpedo.

The annual naval exercise Deniz Yıldızı has started in Black Sea on Monday. The exercise will end on, 7th April 2016.

The scope of the exercise indicates, Turkish Navy’s intentions showing a strong presence in the Black Sea.

For me, the most noteworthy aspect of this exercise, will be the simultaneous port visits of Turkish naval units in Varna, Constanta, Odessa, Novorossiysk and Batumi. All Black Sea nations, will be visited on the next week-end on 3rd and 4th April 2017. This is an impressive way of showing the flag, an important message.

According to Turkish General Staff website, there will be a Harpoon Block II test firing, from a ship to a land based target. This is going to be a first for Turkish Navy.

Furthermore one live UGM-84 Sub Harpoon missile and one live Mk-24 Tigerfish torpedo will be tested too. Ex USS Duncan that was towed last week, will likely be on the receiving end at least one of them.

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

Number Name Type
A-595 TCG Yarbay Kudret Güngör Tanker
A-XXX TCG XXX Tanker
A-XXX TCG XXX Tanker
F-240 TCG Yavuz Frigate
F-241 TCG Turgutreis Frigate
F-242 TCG Fatih Frigate
F-243 TCG Yıldırım Frigate
F-244 TCG Barbaros Frigate
F-245 TCG Oruçreis Frigate
F-247 TCG Kemalreis Frigate
F-490 TCG Gaziantep Frigate
F-494 TCG Gökçeada Frigate
F-496 TCG Gökova Frigate
F-505 TCG Bafra Corvette
F-511 TCG Heybeliada Corvette
F-512 TCG Büyükada Corvette
M-260 TCG Edincik Mine hunter
M-263 TCG Erdek Mine hunter
NL-125 TCG Osmangazi Landing ship
P-1200 TCG Tuzla Patrol Boat
P-12XX TCG XXX Patrol Boat
P-330 TCG Kılıç Fast Attack Craft
P-331 TCG Kalkan Fast Attack Craft
P-335 TCG İmbat Fast Attack Craft
P-336 TCG Zıpkın Fast Attack Craft
P-341 TCG Martı Fast Attack Craft
P-348 TCG Yıldız Fast Attack Craft
S-349 TCG Batıray Submarine
S-353 TCG Preveze Submarine
S-358 TCG Çanakkale Submarine
S-3XX TCG XXX Submarine

The First And Final Passage Of Ex USS Duncan Through Bosphorus

3 navy tugs are pulling the hull of ex USS Duncan against the current towards Black Sea. Just a shell of the former frigate is left.

The effects of cannibalization can be better seen in this photo.

Perry class frigate USS Duncan was the first ship of this class to be decommissioned active service. She was striken from US Navy service on 5 January 1998. In May 1999 she was sold to Turkish Navy. She has never entered in to service therefore she doesn’t have a Turkish name. She was used as spare part source, to keep other ship working. This practice is lovingly called cannibalization. And you can see the effects of it on the hull of USS Duncan in above photos.

TCG İnebolu, TCG Özgür and TCG Darıca, three Turkish Navy tugs, towed the hull of ex USS Duncan through Istanbul northbound, on 22 March 2017. Since there are no scrap yards along the Black Sea coast of Turkey, this journey is not going to end at one scrapyard.

The markings on the hull of the former frigate are consistent with a live firing test. A few days after the passage of ex USS Duncan it was announced that she was going to be used as a target during the Deniz Yıldızı annual naval exercise.

Attempted Sabotage On Submarine TCG Gür

A Turkish Type 209/1400 Preveze/Gür class submarine passing through the Bosphorus

A Turkish Type 209/1400 Preveze/Gür class submarine passing through the Bosphorus

This is a very recent and sad story and it breaks my hearth to write about it.  Today Hürriyet newspaper reported about an attempted sabotage on board of Turkish submarine TCG Gür.

I am sure that, we will hear more about it in the coming days, but as today the story is as follows:

A petty officer, whose name is withheld, was on watch at 30th December 2016 on board of submarine TCG Gür. He made several (unauthorized) trips to the machinery department and dropped pieces of metal, nuts and similar things into the main diesel engine of the submarine.

The petty officer was arrested on charges “attempt to destroy the sea transport vehicle belonging to the State’s Armed Forces'” on 5th January 2017.

I am happy to hear that there was no damage to the submarine and at the attempted sabotage was thwarted.

TCG Gür is the first boat of the second batch Type 209/1400 class submarines. She is commissioned in 2003 and is one of the most advanced submarines in our navy.

TCG Gelibolu Visited Oman

Turkish frigate TCG Gelibolu in Marmara Sea. 14 September 2008

Turkish frigate TCG Gelibolu in Marmara Sea. 14 September 2008

Last week TCG Gelibolu made a courtesy visit to Oman. The ship is deployed to Gulf of Aden. Before arriving in Oman the ship was in Pakistan and took part in the naval exercise AMAN 2017. After the port visit TCG Gelibolu joined CTF-151 to support it in anti piracy operations.

A reception was held on board the vessel with the participation of officials from the Royal Army of Oman, Royal Navy of Oman and embassies.

Speaking at the event, H E Atilay Ersan, Ambassador of Turkey to Oman said, “I am deeply honoured and privileged to welcome you onboard the Turkish frigate TCG Gelibolu on the occasion of its port visit to Muscat. Gelibolu is one of the towns of Çanakkale, a city where I come from.

“Turkey and Oman are enjoying friendly relations of more than five centuries in every field.

“And I must confess that we are improving our cooperation satisfactorily in the area of defence as well. In this regard, I would like to express my sincere thanks to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said and his government for the goodwill and support shown in every field.”

Well the good relations between Turkey and Oman, have not prevented HM Sultan Qaboos to donate a warship to Greek Cypriots in February, just before the visit of TCG Gelibolu. The donated warship is neither new nor sufficiently armed but as a gesture that speaks in volumes.

In my humble opinion Turkey should have canceled the visit of TCG Gelibolu to clearly demonstrate its displeasure with Sultan Nightmare. Since Turkish frigate visited Oman this either means Turkey doesn’t care about the warship that Greek Cypriots got or we don’t care what Sultan Nightmare does. Or worse, we stuck our head under the earth like an ostrich and hope for the best.

Turkey Deploys Two Warships To SNMG-2

f491

TCG Giresun passing through Istanbul in 2014. Photo: Yörük Işık.

Gabya class frigate F-491 TCG Giresun and Tuzla class patrol boat P-1201 TCG Karaburun has been deployed to Standing NATO Maritime Group Two.

According to NATO Maritime Command, TCG Giresun is attached to SNMG-2 Task Unit 2 consisting of Spanish frigate ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbon and Canadian frigate HMCS St. John’s. TCG Giresun will join the task force in Toronto, Italy.

The patrol boat TCG Karaburun is deployed closer to Turkey. She is will support NATO activities in the Aegean Sea as part of the international efforts to stop illegal trafficking and migration. Tuzla class patrol boats have been very active last year in the Aegean Sea and rescued hundreds may be thousands of refugees from the sea.

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