Notes On Deniz Yıldızı 2018 Naval Exercise

On 26 March 2018 Turkish Navy started its spring exercise Deniz Yıldızı 2018. Ships departed from their ports and the first phase of the exercise was held in the Marmara Sea. On 27 March 2018 Turkish warships passed northbound through Istanbul and continued the exercise in the Black Sea. The exercise will end on 5th April

Though it has not been officially announced, the decommissioned oiler ex Binbaşı Saadetin Gürcan, that was observed being towed to the Black Sea in February is believed to be sunk as a target.

This weekend these warships are dispersed all over the ports in the Black Sea for a well earned weekend break. Turkish warships are simultaneously visiting Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, and Ukraine. It is neither an easy nor a simple act of sending 8 warships to foreign cities for port visits and small scale exercises at the same time.

The list of the warships taking part in the exercise and their port of call for the weekend is below:

Number Name Type Port Country
S-360 1. İnönü Submarine Varna Bulgaria
P-1207 Tekirdağ Patrol Boat Varna Bulgaria
A-578 Darıca Tug Varna Bulgaria
F-242 Fatih Frigate Batumi Georgia
P-343 Volkan Fast Attack Craft Batumi Georgia
F-504 Bartın Frigate Constanta Romania
P-331 Kalkan Fast Attack Craft Constanta Romania
Novorossiysk Russia
Novorossiysk Russia
A-572 Yüzbaşı İhsan Tulunay Tanker Giresun Turkey
F-240 Yavuz Frigate Hopa Turkey
P-341 Martı Fast Attack Craft İğneada Turkey
S-350 Yıldıray Submarine Karadeniz Ereğli Turkey
A-580 Akar Tanker Karadeniz Ereğli Turkey
F-245 Oruçreis Frigate Rize Turkey
F-247 Kemalreis Frigate Samsun Turkey
S-349 Batıray Submarine Samsun Turkey
F-243 Yıldırım Frigate Sinop Turkey
F-500 Bozcaada Corvette Trabzon Turkey
P-335 İmbat Fast Attack Craft Trabzon Turkey
P-336 Zıpkın Fast Attack Craft Zonguldak Turkey
F-246 Salihreis Frigate Odessa Ukraine
F-512 Büyükada Corvette Odessa Ukraine

It is interesting to note that Novorossiysk, Russia was declared the fifth foreign port of call by Turkish Navy on 16th March 2018, in the pre-exercise press release. However, Novorossiysk was not mentioned by the daily dispatch of Turkish General Staff on 31st March 2018, as one of the ports where Turkish Navy ships are conducting a visit.

On the other hand, the same dispatch mentioned 23 warships are taking part in the Deniz Yıldızı exercise but only disclosed names and location of 21 warships. So there could be two warships conducting a port visit in Novorossiysk, Russia or not.

Another interesting thing to note is the absence of Gabya ex-Perry class frigates. Turkish Navy operates 8 Gabya class frigates. None was observed to pass to the Black Sea recently.

Here are the photos of some of the participants:

A-572 TCG Yüzbaşı İhsan Tulunay.

A-580 TCG Akar

F-243 TCG Yıldırım. Note the new ESM mast.

F-245 TCG Oruçreis

F-247 TCG Kemalreis

F-500 TCG Bozcaada

F-504 TCG Bartın. Both TCG Bozcaada and TCG Bartın have their original MM-38 Exocet missiles still installed.

F-512 TCG Büyükada

TCG İmbat

P-343 TCG Volkan

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TCG Burgazada Started Her Sea Trials

TCG Burgazada sets sail for her first cruise. Photo: SSM

Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) published photos from the first test cruise of TCG Burgazada on 20 March.
The photos show an unfinished ship sailing on the Marmara Sea. Though SSM did not disclose the exact date when the photos were taken it is assumed that they were taken on 19 March 2018.

The cruise conducted as part of the factory acceptance tests. The ship was launched on 18 June 2016 and is expected to be commissioned in September 2018


This photo also taken during the test cruise shows three interesting things:

  1. New Aselsan made HIZIR torpedo countermeasure system launcher is installed instead of Ultra SeaSentor system used in the first pair.
  2. The antennas of the Aselsan built ARES-2N ESM system is not mounted
  3. The back looking AselFLIR-300D has not been installed yet.

There is clearly a lot of work to do to finish the ship on time. I think the test on Monday was done to check the performance of the propulsion system, whether the engines were functioning properly, how did they react to the controls, whether the acceleration and deacceleration of the ship were within the limits.

I wish TCG Burgazada fair winds and following seas.

TCG Preveze Arrives In Durrës

TCG Preveze arrives in Durres. Photo: balkanweb.com

Turkish submarine TCG Preveze arrived in Albanian port Durrës for a port visit.

In accordance with the cooperation plan between the Albanian Maritime Force and Turkish Navy, the submarine TCG Preveze arrived at the port of Durrës for a several day harbor visit. 

While in port TCG Preveze will host members of the Albanian Maritime Force, representatives of the Durres Port Authority, Military Police.

This is the second time TCG Preveze visits Durrës. She was there 3 years ago. The message, sending the submarine named after an important naval victory by Ottoman Navy  against the Papal fleet in the Gulf of Arta, near Preveza should be clear.

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

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

The First Block Of TCG Anadolu Is Laid

The first block of TCG Anadolu laid on the slipway. Photo: Navantia

The first keel block of TCG Anadolu was laid on 7th February 2018, nine 21 months after the construction has started.

The contract for the construction of the ship was signed in May 2015 after a four year long tender process.

The delivery of the ship is scheduled for the year 2021.

TCG Anadolu is based on Navatia’s Juan Carlos 1 design. She will be very similar to SPS Juan Carlos 1 in Spanish Navy and HMAS Adelaide and HMAS Canberra in Royal Australian Navy.

However, unlike her nears sisters in Spanish and Australian navies, the Turkish ship will only have diesel engines. There will be five MAN 16V32/40 engines each creating 7.680kW and propelling the ship up to 21 knots. The range is estimated to be 9.000 nautical miles.

TCG Akçay Discovers An Old Mine Off Romanian Coast

M-270 TCG Akçay, seen here passing northbound through Istanbul 16 days ago.

Aydın class minehunter TCG Akçay has discovered a mine probably a relic of Second World War, as she was conducting training operations with SNMCMG-2 off the coast of Romania.

The NATO task force made its northbound passage through Turkish Straits 16 days ago.

The mine was discovered at 8 A.M. local time while TCG AKÇAY, under the command of Turkish Navy Lieutenant Commander Abdulla Yildiz, was using her mine hunting sonar to scan the sea bed and the water below her. The crew detected an object, which was thought to be a potential mine.  TCG AKÇAY then used her Remote Controlled Mine Discovery Vehicle (RCMDV) to investigate the possible mine further.  The RCMDV is remotely controlled from the mine hunter and used to identify mine-like objects using an onboard camera. If necessary, the RCMDV can also lay a 100kg explosive charge to destroy the mine.

SNMCMG2 was conducting mine countermeasure training with the Romanian Navy just off the Romanian coast near Constanta when the historic ordinance was discovered.  The area in question is shown on maritime charts as a formally mined area and this means that this is likely to be an historic mine.  The mine sits on the seabed at approximately 40 metres depth.  Images show that the mine is still attached to the ‘sinker’ or weight, which means that it likely didn’t deploy correctly when it was laid. Normally these mines were suspended mid water, attached to the weight on the seabed.

“Finding this historic mine demonstrates NATO’s capability to find uncharted mines in the Black Sea,” said Royal Navy Commander Justin Hains, Commander of SNMCMG2. “We work hard to practice our skills to ensure safe sea lanes. Identification and disposal of historic ordnance is just part of the mission.”

NATO is liaising with the Romanian authorities with regards to the neutralization or disposal of the mine

Like A Lamb to The Slaughter

On 8th February 2018, three Turkish Navy tugs towed the hulk of an old tanker ex- TCG Bnb. Sadettin Gürcan to the Black Sea.

The tanker was named after the commander of the submarine TCG Atılay that sunk with all hands in 1942. She hit a mine while submerged and never resurfaced.

The tanker was laid down at Gölcük Naval Shipyard in 1968 and commissioned in 1970. She served till 2016.

As there are no shipbreakers in the Black Sea and the markings on the hull of ex- TCG Bnb. Sadettin Gürcan is consistent with a target, she will be used in a sinking exercise.

National Electronic Warfare Suite

A comparison between the new EW configuration on board TCG Fatih (left) and the old one.

The new electronic warfare suite on board of TCG Fatih has been accepted after rigorous testing according to Aselsan.

The system is made of the following units:

  • Electronic Support Measures
  • Decoy Launching System
  • Dedicated or Shared Multi-Function Consoles

The heart of the system is the CPU of the EW processing and its interface with the operator. Aselsan has developed and installed similar systems to Ada class corvettes and Bayraktar class landing ships. So they have a good knowledge of development and implementation of EW systems. The most important physical obstacle was the mast on with the ESM antennas were installed. On Ada and Bayraktar class ships, these antennas are integrated into the closed mast. There was no place or top weight problems. On TCG Fatih, however, the antennas had to be put on top of the thin part at the end of the main mast of the ship. Therefore Aselsan used the antenna solution they have developed for Ay class submarines. Since it was compact enough to fit on a pole on a submarine, so it was also good enough to be mounted on the mast.

According to Aselsan, tests have been conducted both for ECM / EW suit and for the decoy launching system before the system was accepted by Turkish Navy.

It is not clear at the moment if this EW suite will be back fitted to the other Yavuz class frigates or if this EW system is part of the mid-life modernization program of Barbaros class frigates.

 

Nusret 2017 Mine Warfare Exercise

M-62 HS Evropi takes part in naval mine warfare exercise Nusret 2017. This is a photo of her from her Black Sea deployment in 2016.

Each year Turkish Navy organizes a mine warfare exercise named after the famous minelayer Nusret.

In even years the exercise is held in İzmir Bay and in odd years it is held in Çanakkale and Saros Bay. This year the exercise will be held between 25 November and 3 December  2017 in Saros Bay.

The aim of the exercise is to provide training for the planning and execution of mine warfare and to improve the interoperability in mine warfare, between warships from participant countries.

Turkish Armed Forces will take part with 6 mine hunters, one minelayer/command ship, one frigate, one patrol boat, one mine retriever, one Coast Guard vessels, one naval EOD team, one helicopter, 2 F-16C fighters and one C-130 cargo plane. For the first time, a Turkish autonomous underwater vehicle and its crew are listed among participants.

Bulgaria participates in one mine warfare ship. Greece and Qatar will each deploy one EOD team.

The below is the list of the participating warships as far as I could identify:

Number Name Type Nationality Fleet
H-88 HMS Enterprise Command Ship UK SNMCMG-2
M-265 TCG Alanya Minehunter Turkey SNMCMG-2
5558 ITS Crotone Minehunter Italy SNMCMG-2
62 BGS Shkval Minesweeper Bulgaria SNMCMG-2
M-62 HS Evropi Minehunter Greece SNMCMG-2
32 Tsibar Minehunter Bulgaria
M-260 TCG Edincik Minehunter Turkey
M-261 TCG Edremit Minehunter Turkey
M-263 TCG Erdek Minehunter Turkey
M-267 TCG Ayvalık Minehunter Turkey
M-269 TCG Anamur Minehunter Turkey
M-270 TCG Akçay Minehunter Turkey
L-402 TCG Bayraktar Landing ship Turkey
F-XXX TCG XXX Frigate Turkey
P-12XX TCG XXX Patrol boat Turkey

For further reading:
Nusret 2016
Nusret 2015
Nusret 2014
Nusret 2013
Nusret 2012
Nusret 2011
Nusret 2010

TCG Akın Decommissioned

Here is a photo from 2015 showing TCG Akın sailing through Bosphorus.

Today the long career of TCG Akın in naval service has finished. The ship can have a well-earned rest after 75 years.

TCG Akın began her life as USS Greenlet, a Chanticleer-class submarine rescue ship in the United States Navy. She was launched in 1942 and served in US Navy during World War 2, Korean War and Vietnam War. She was even in Tokyo Bay when Japan surrendered in 1945.

On 12 June 1970, she was decommissioned from US Navy service and immediately commissioned in Turkish Navy at Pearl Harbor Naval Submarine Base. Her transfer to Turkey took 40 days.

She was the sole dedicated submarine rescue ship untill the commissioning of TCG Alemdar in 2017.

I wish this old and elegant lady to be restored as a museum but most like she will either sunk during an exercise or scrapped.

Anyway, thank you for the service.

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