Electronic Warfare Exercise With Unmanned Vessels

This week, Turkish Naval Forces conducted an electronic warfare exercise off the coast of Antalya.

The embedded short video shows ULAQ unmanned surface vessel with an EW suite and antenna. This version of ULAQ was made public when it was shown to the members of the Ankara Military Attache Corps.

The details of the new configuration have not been shared with the public. However, on the panel The Future of Unmanned Naval Systems and Turkey’s Potential held during the SAHA Expo last week, it was reviled that the Sefine Shipyard – Aselsan joint venture the Merlin USV was also in Antalya.

The Merlin took part in REPMUS 22 and Dynamic Messenger 22 exercises held at the Maritime Operational Experimentation Center (CEOM) in Troia, Portugal.

Besides the USV, there was one Yavuz class frigate, one Ada class corvette, and one Kılıç class fast attack craft participating in the exercise.

The presence of two especially for electronic warfare configured unmanned surface vessel indicates that the Turkish Navy is spending time learning the potential of these vessels closely and developing concepts to use these vessels in action.

One Ada class corvette in the background and one Yavuz class frigate off the coast of Antalya during the electronic warfare exercise. Photo: Mert Şekersoy. Used with permission.

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.

 

Electronic Warfare Exercise In Antalya

SPS Blas De Lezo (left) TCG Fatih (right) in Antalya. Photo: denizhaber

According to Turkish General Staff website Spanish frigate SPS Blas De Lezo, along with Turkish frigates TCG Fatih, TCG Gaziantep and TCG Barbaros, are conducting an electronic warfare exercise off the coast of Antalya. although not mentioned in the statement the Bulgarian frigate Drazki was also observed in the region.

Both SPS Blas De Lezo and TCG Barbaros are part of NATO SNMG-2 naval task force and this EW exercise is performed in cooperation with NATO Electronic Warfare trials. The exercise will end on 4th November.

 

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