Turkish Navy Has Started To Hunt Mines With Autonomous Unmanned Vehicles


Turkish Navy has entered the age of autonomous unmanned vehicles (AUV). This transition happened without much fanfare or publicity.

The above photo was published on Turkish General Staff website and shows the deck of the Aydın class minehunter TCG Anamur during the ITALIAN MINEX-18 held in Italy between 21 and 29 May.

The orange and yellow gadgets on the back of the deck are practice mines used during the exercise. The large yellow device partially visible on the left is a French-made PAP-104 underwater unmanned vehicle used for exploration, identification and sometimes for the destruction of mines. That system is remotely controlled and is not fully autonomous. This is the standard ROV of all Turkish minehunters.

The yellow torpedo-like object, in the middle, is of much interest. It is a Gavia autonomous underwater vehicle made by Teledyne Gavia.

According to the information provided by the company, GAVIA (AUV) is a self-contained, low logistics, modular survey platform capable of delivering high-quality data while operating from vessels of opportunity or from the shore.

The system is field proven for applications that include MCM, SAR, and ASW training. The field-changeable and easily transportable modules make it well suited for rapid response to emerging requirements.

At least two 1000m rated systems were delivered in 2016. One is named Uluç Bora and the other Barbaros Dora. In one press release, the company states the end user as Turkish Air Force and the AUV’s will provide TAF with highly effective deep water, rapid response capability. I sincerely believe that the there is a mistake. Usually, all underwater operations are the responsibility of Turkish Navy. And currently, these AUV’s are operated by the Turkish Navy Mine Countermeasures (MCM) command in Erdek.

The most striking specialty of this UAV is its modularity. The vehicle can be configured even on the field by adding modules or taking them out according to the mission requirements. The length and the weight of the AUV’s vary according to the modules it has.

Though it is not confirmed I believe each Turkish GAVIA has in addition to the nose, battery and propulsion modules one DVL-aided INS module, one side scan/bathymetry sonar module, one multibeam profiling module.

Among other naval operators of GAVIA AUV are Poland and Russia.

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104 Years Between Two Blue

On 24 June 1914, the founding of Naval Aviation School was approved by Navy Ministry. Its location was just alongside to the Aviation School in Yeşilköy. There was an additional hangar for seaplanes at the coast a few kilometers south. Today Yeşiköy Atatürk International Airport occupies the land that used to be the school and its runway and Airforce Academy is built on the grounds that used to house the hangar for the seaplanes.

To commemorate the 104. anniversary of Turkish Naval Aviation, I share photos I took today 4 years ago.

TCB44 kopya

TCB44, an AB-212 ASW helicopter. These old birds are getting retired as they finish the service lives.

TCB52 kopya

TCB52, an S-70B Seahawk helicopter. The workhorse of Turkish Naval Aviation.

TCB602 kopya

TCB-602, Socata training plane. These planes kept navy pilots flying during the period when Turkish Navy did not operate any dedicated maritime patrol/ASW plane

TCB652_1 kopya

TCB-652, a P-235 maritime patrol / ASW plane. It took ages to complete the maritime mission systems and sensor and even longer to integrate them to the existing CN-235 chassis. Now they are working around the clock.

TCB652 kopya

TCB-652

TCB701_1 kopya

TCB-701, P-72 utility airplane for Turkish Navy. In 2008 Turkey ordered 10 ATR 72-500 ASW from Italy. 6 years later the order was amended to 2 ATR-72 600 TMUA and 6 ATR-72 600 TMPA planes. 10 years later we are still waiting patiently for ASW the planes. All we got in the meantime are two unarmed ATR-72-600 planes for utility missions.

TCB52_1 kopya

TCB-52, SH-70 Seahawk.

TCB701 kopya

TCB-701

CDY_7349 kopya

3 AB-212 helicopters in formation flight.

CDY_7345 kopya

3 SH-70 Seahawk helicopters in formation flight.

DSC_2654 kopya

3 TB-20 planes in formation flight.

DSC_2638 kopya

3 P-235 ASW planes in formation flight.

DSC_2619 kopya

A member of Turkish naval special forces about to finish his parachute jump from a helicopter.

DSC_2618 kopya

A member of Turkish naval special forces about to finish his parachute jump from a helicopter.

DSC_2558 kopya

A four-man team of Turkish naval special forces fast-roping from a hovering SH-70 Seahawk.

CDY_7210 kopya

Sonobuoy launchers on a P-235 ASW plane.

CDY_7050 kopya

A Penguin anti-ship missile training round.

CDY_7046 kopya

Hellfire missile training rounds.

CDY_7047 kopya

A Mk-54 torpedo training round.

DSC_1895 kopya

A P-235 ASW plane and her crew.

Turkish Navy Conducts Another SINKEX

Turkish Navy disposed of another decommissioned warship by sending it to the Davy Jones’ Locker with a big bang.

Ay class submarine TCG Yıldıray commissioned in service in 1981, sunk the decommissioned tanker TCG Sadettin Gürcan. She was decommissioned in November 2016, after 46 years of service.

The ship was named after Lieutenant Commander Sadettin Gürcan the commander of the submarine TCG Atılay. This submarine was lost with all hands in July 1942 as she hit submerged an old naval mine from First World War off Dardanelles Strait.

The decommissioned tanker was observed being towed towards to the Black Sea in February 2018. She had markings painted on her bow were consistent with previous targets towed to the Black Sea.

According to unconfirmed reports, the torpedo fires from TCG Yıldıray was an SST-4 Mod 0.

Just 8 months ago, in October 2017 Turkish Navy conducted another SINKEX in the Black Sea. In that exercise, the Oliver Hazard Perry-class hull, ex-USS Duncan was sunk by an Mk-24 Mod. 2 Tigerfish torpedo.

On 11th June 2018, two Ay class submarines were observed sailing towards the Black Sea. One of them is TCG Yıldıray. Unfortunately, I am not in a position to tell you which is which but here are the photos of the two submarines:

Turkish Navy Conducted Live Test With Korkut Air Defence System

TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa returns from live fire test of Korkut D.

The unmanned gun turret and the 3D radar mount occupy the place, where once the 100mm gun turret was.

Turkish Navy and Aselsan have conducted live firing tests of the Korkut D gun system on board of TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa. The trials are believed to be performed during the first week of May.
Korkut is a Self Propelled Air Defense Gun System developed by Aselsan.

The initial customer for this system is the Turkish Land Forces. A typical system has one command vehicle and 3 gun vehicles. The command vehicles carry a 3D target acquisition and tracking radar, IFF system, and necessary to command and control systems. The gun vehicles carry an unmanned turret with 2 x 35mm guns, a fire control radar and electro/optical sensors.

The navalized system has a stabilized, unmanned gun turret and a mount for 3D target acquisition and tracking radar.

The Korkut D system made headlines in December 2016 when a Turkish boat carrying it for initial tests, run ashore on the Greek islands Kos island due to bad weather.

This time the test platform was provided by Turkish Navy. TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa is a very versatile ship. She was built for Germany Navy by Schlichting-Werft in Travemünde as a tender for fast attack boats. In Turkish service, she is used as a flagship of small ship formations, training ship for cadets and in a war as an auxiliary minelayer.

Prior to the tests, the original 100mm gun mount in X position on her board was removed, freeing space for the Korkut D gun turret and radar mount.

The position of the turret on board of TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa provides extra elevation angle to engage low flying targets and possibly to engage close small surface targets. The gun turret seems to be not penetrating the deck. This suggests that this is not a permanent installation and the original 100mm gun may return to claim its place on the ship.

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.

 

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

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:

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