An Afternoon On TCG Burgazada

TCG Burgazada. The third Milgem class corvette.

TCG Burgazada. The third Milgem class corvette.

During the IDEF 2019 defense exhibition last week I had the privilege to visit TCG Burgazada.

TCG Burgazada is the third of the four Ada class corvettes. She was commissioned on 4th November 2018 and is the newest warship of the Turkish Navy.

Turkish Navy always considered the first two ships as prototypes. The lessons learned in constructing and using these ships were to be incorporated in the subsequent ships as there were under construction. Thus TCG Burgazada is slightly updated compared to TCG Heybeliada and TCG Büyükada, though these changes are subtle and mostly not visible from the outside at all.

One exception is the new Aselsan Seaeye-Ahtapot electro-optic sensor on the aft mast while the previous ships use Aselflir 300. Aselflir 300 was originally designed for airborne platforms and was installed without much modification. Thus the mean time between regular maintenance is quite short for a maritime system and the whole sensor must be taken down for the maintenance. These shortcomings are rectified in Seaeye-Ahtapot and the operators are quite happy with its performance. But Aselsan needs to come up with a better and catchier name.

The other changes are under the skin. The main machinery has 10.000 more horsepower making TCG Burgazada faster than the other Ada class ships.

TCG Burgazada has Aselsan made Hızır countermeasure system for torpedo attacks. She is the first ship to be fitted with this system. The system consists of two decoy launchers on both sides of the funnel and one towed array and decoy. Though the system is very similar to Ultra built torpedo countermeasure system used on the other ships I believe the logistics of a locally built system is preferred by the end user.

One could still get “the new ship smell” when walking through the passageways.

I wish fair winds and following seas to TCG Burgazada and her crew.

My Impressions From 4.Naval Systems Seminar

On Monday and Tuesday, I was in Ankara attending the 4th Naval Systems Seminar, a highlight for the Turkish naval industry. This is the first part of my impressions from the seminar. In this part I will focus on the general mood of the seminar and will share what I found important from the opening key speeches. In the next part I will try to share my impressions from company presentations I have attended.

If I try to summarize the general mood of the 4th Naval Systems Seminar I would say “Steady as she goes” and “Patience”. The last one actually said by the Undersecretary FoRDefense Industries Mr. Murat Bayar. Why patience? Because the Turkish defense industry and the foreign companies need to be patience in the coming years regarding Turkish naval projects.

I start my impressions of the 4th Naval systems Seminar by telling who was absent from the event:
The most obvious absentee was the Turkish Navy. The number of the officers in uniform were less than the fingers in my one hand.

This absence can be interpreted in two ways: First the navy is pulling itself backwards as a procurement source and redefines its role as the requirement definition authority and end-user. But even then representatives of the navy should be present to exchange ideas, to observer new technologies and to talk about new projects. The second explanation for the absence of the Turkish Navy may be the shock of the Sledgehammer. At a time when 26 out of 48 admirals of the Navy are being bars, the navy may net be in a mood for new acquisition.

The absence of new projects was also very noteworthy. In previous Naval Systems Seminars the companies were very keen to tell you in an excited way about their new solutions, upcoming systems. They were eager to tell you about the things they will be doing in the future. This year most of the companies told us how they are doing things and what they did. The lack of new building projects was remarkable. The only announcement for a new project was the the declaration of the contract signing date for the Moships and Ratship: 28th October 2011.

The Turkish shipyards that are currently constructing ships for the Turkish Navy were also absent: RMK, Yonca-Onuk, Dearsan.

So who was there? The British. They were there and were doing full court press. UKTI DSO was one of the guest supporters of the seminar and provided additional support for the simultaneous translation service. All large-caliber British guns such as BAE Systems, Rolls Royce, BMT Defence Services, MDBA, IHS Janes, UKTI DSO were present was well as representatives of British armed Forces.

The large Turkish defense contractor like Aselsan and Havelsan were present. Also present were shipyards ADIK and Istanbul Shipyard. The other companies attending the seminar were mostly subsystem or component suppliers.

For me it was nice to see that the number of the attending universities was more than previous seminars. This means that more and more young people are interested and doing academical research in defense related issues. If an effective way to convert promising R&D projects from our Universities into commercial products can be found then the future will be bright for the Turkish defense industry.

I believe the speeches made by the Undersecretary For Defense Industries Mr. Murat Bayer and Mustafa Şeker, Head of Naval Systems,Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (UDI), at the opening session were brilliant in capturing the sprit and the mood.

Mr. Bayar started his speech by talking about the long distances covered by Turkish naval shipbuilding since the initiation of the Milgem project. He told that after the decrease in commercial shipbuilding, all the shipyards in Turkey were looking up to the naval projects for survival. But the coming naval projects were not enough for the survival of the shipyards doing business with the Turkish Navy let alone to allow new players to enter into market.

He told that Turkish shipyards must find new markets in order to remain profitable and to stay in business. Mr Bayar added that any military systems, that Turkey owns the intellectual rights was successfully exported. Therefore the key for the successful export of Turkish naval industry lies in creating new designs that can be exported without the need of an export approval from a third country.

Mr. Bayar views propulsion and weapon systems as two key areas where Turkey should invest more. Other than these two, Turkey is capable to produce all the major subsystems of a modern warship.

Turkish naval exports

The last 5 years were good times for the Turkish naval shipbuilding industry. The value of the signed contracts is more than 2 billion USD. At least 5000 people are working on military ship building projects in Turkish yards. But the future is not as rosy as the coming projects are smaller. This is why Mr. Bayar told to the audience that we should have patience and find new markets for our growing naval shipbuilding industry.

Mr. Mustafa Şeker, the newly appointed Head of Naval Systems,UDI, started his speech by explaining the new structure of the undersecretary for Defence Industries. This restructuring of the UDI can be attributed to the growing concern for the life cycle support management of the initiated projects. As the number of the indigenous ships and sub systems used by Turkish Navy increases, the support these ships and the subsystems through their life becomes an important issue. With the new structure inside UDI it is hoped that the institution can now focus more on this issue.

Like Mr. Bayar, Mr. Şeker also advises caution to protect the gained capabilities and trained human force in the shipbuilding industry. He talked about the Turkish naval exports both potential and realized and stressed that the export of Turkish naval products seems to be a valid option for the continuity of the success.

At the end of this speech Mr. Şeker highlighted the following issues as critical for the future of the Turkish naval shipbuilding industry:

The work and the performance of the selected firms, by the strategic goals must be monitored and supported

The sub-contractors should be given opportunities or the sub-systems development and procurement by increasing the proportion of local content

The acquisition of new technologies must be emphasized

Materials/systems suitable for dual use should be developed

Export-oriented international cooperation should be supported

4th Naval Systems Seminar

4th Naval Systems Seminar will be performed under the auspices of Undersecretary for Defence Industries next week, between 17th and 18th of October 2011 at ODTÜ – KKM (METU CCC) for two days.

Sessions will cover the Naval Platforms (Ship and Machinery) and the Naval Systems (Weapon & Electronics). Click for the program.

The naval systems seminar has started as a one day event, three years ago. The aim was to bring the ship building industry, Turkish Navy and the procurement agency together to exchange ideas.

This seminar has grown in attendance and in influence. It is a good place to be if you want to have a look to the current status of Turkish naval shipbuilding. I hope to report you from the seminar next week.

My Impressions From Previous Naval Systems Seminars

Mahan Was In Istanbul, Not As An Admiral But As A Salesperson

DDG-72 USS Mahan

I was not able to report about this earlier as putting the information I hace gathered during IDEF took much more than I have thought.

Last week, during the IDEF’11, we had a US Navy destroyer visiting Istanbul. DDG-72 USS Mahan is an Arleigh Burke class destroyer. She was in Istanbul for a 3day port visit. Well actually it was just a little bit more than a regular port visit. I guess it was also a sales visit as during IDEF as a contract was signed between Lockheed Martin and Havelsan for the integration of SPY radar systems into the Turkish combat managment systems.

The SPY phased array active radar is the backbone of the US Navy’s AEGIS air and anti ballistic missile defence system. The Arleigh Burke class USS Mahan is a good showcase both for SPY and AEGIS. And Havelsan is the leading Turkish software and systems company in defense industry. The signed contract of course raises the question whether the next generation of Turkish warships will have SPY radars and components of AEGIS systems on board.

If you are still not convinced, may be the remarks of Ambassador Francis J. Ricciardone

Finally, I join Commander Mondlak and his crew in inviting you to tour the proud USS Mahan. This fine example of American high technology and advanced engineering, and is itself the result of partnerships between numerous American companies, including Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, McDonnell Douglas, General Electric, Alliant, Gould, and Sikorsky, many of whom are represented at IDEF.

We must wait for years to see if the sales drive of USS Mahan was successful or not.

IDEF’11 Update Part 2: Companies

This is the second installment of my impression from the IDEF’11. In this post I will try to focus more on companies and products rather than procurement projects. As 621 companies attended the fair I will focus about those that made the most impressions.

Acoustic decoys for submarines and surface ships

Aselsan: This company had the biggest stand of the fair and showed a number of many different equipment ranging from echo sounder to a main battle tank. ASELSAN has proved that it is a powerful company in military electronics. Currently they are capable to produce:

Remote controlled, stabilized gun platforms
Fire control guns for guns
Launcher and command and control system for ASW rockets
Torpedo countermeasure systems and decoys for submarines and surface ships
Integrated communications suites
Laser warning receivers
Electro optical systems
Electronic warfare suites and sensors
Radar systems

The ARES-2N naval radar ES system detects, intercepts, identifies, classifies, tracks, Direction-Finds (DF), localizes, platform correlates, records and provides audio warnings of threat signals within the 2 to 18 GHz frequency band.. The system is integrated into Milgem ans selected for Ay class submarine modernization program.

The ASELFLIR 300D includes a high resolution IR camera, a laser rangefinder/designator, a laser spot tracker, a CDTV, and a spotter TV camera. This EO system is used on Heybeliada, Coast Guard SAR and New Type Patrol Boat classes.

They are developing expendable active jammers which can be fires from the existing chaff/flare launchers.

In a short future the company will be able to provide all the necessary electronics for a warships plus the self defense systems including decoys.

Roketsan: Roketsan is producing the rocket of the ASW rocket system. The rockets individually wrapped in a fiberglass hull have a HE explosive warhead and a time fuse. The maximum range of the rocket is 2000 meters. The aiming and launching is controlled from a purpose built console by ASELSAN.

Havelsan: Havelsan has established themselves as a combat management systems provider. The GENESIS systems architecture they have received from ARMERKOM is the base of all the current CMS developed by Havelsan. The orginal GENESIS CMS developed for G class frigates has derivatived into CMS for MILGEM and New Type Patrol Boats. CMS by Havelsan will be used in New Type 214 submarines, LST’s and LHD’s too.

One of the contracts signed during the fair was between Havelsan and Lockheed Martin for the integration of SPY phased radar systems to the CMS made by Havelsan. The SPY radars are the backbone of the US Navy’s AEGIS air and anti ballistic missile defence system.

Well this question must be asked: On one hand there is a local electronics power house like ASELSAN that is trying to develop naval radar systems on the other hand you sign a deal with a US company about the most important and significant air defence radar systems. How will this deal effect the local development and why it was necessary.

Gate: This company is developing a range of underwater remotely operated vehicles. The ROV Gelibolu can operate at depths up to 1500 meters. It’s primary use will be submarine rescue on board Moship. Other tasks are deep sea survey, seismic research, sample collection and such. The ROV has two manipulator arms and 7 thrusters.

Another underwater vehicle build by GATE is GMK-C. Unlike the Gelibolu GMK-C is autonomous. It can operate up to 100 meter depth and can be equipped with forward looking or side-scan sonars, cameras and other types of sensors or transponders.

Rolls Royce: I must admit that I was quite surprised to see a model of a fully developed supply ship in the both of this company. I knew that they were supplying gas turbines and nuclear reactors for ships and submarines but I had no idea that they were also producing ships. It is too early to say whether this new ship will become a new Silver Shadow for the company but it is a logical step. Rolls Royce already produces a wide range of shipping equipments such as engines, bearings, rudders, water jets, stabilizers, steering gear, deck machinery just to name a few. Well the only and most obvious omission in this portfolio was a ship hull and they have it now.

The ship in contest for a Norwegian bid resembles in general design and specifications the Berlin class EGV ships of German Navy.

BAE Systems: When BAE systems bought UDI in 2005 they have become a partner in UDI’s joint venture with Nurol Makina in Turkey. This JV, FNSS is a major manufacturer of tracked armored fighting vehicles and personnel carriers. Now BAE wants to expand its business in naval area too. I will report in depth my talk with BAE Systems separately.

Lürssen, Abeking Rasmussen, B&V, HDW: These companies, once dominated the IDEF were present, but in a more humble and subtle way. More or less a shadows of their past.

IDEF’11 Update Part 1: Ongoing Naval Projects

F-511 TCG Heybeliada

Today is the last day of IDEF’11, 10th International Defence Industry Fair. I was visiting the fair for the least two days. It was very tiring event. But there are very to share.

I visited the first IDEF twenty years ago. And I can tell you that there has been a considerable change in the industry. Twenty years ago all the international house hold names of defence industry would come and show their latest gadgets or products and we would marvel at them. Now they are still here but much more humble and sincere. Twenty years ago BAE Systems would show its Type 26 Global Combat Ship and would try to sell it as is. Now they are looking for cooperation and work share and they are ready to have Turkish Navy configure the this as it wishes. I was able to talk about Type 26 with BAE systems in detail. I will write about it later.

The last fair two years ago had a very distinctive naval flair. This year that was not there. Well the obvious reason for this is that the projects of then are swimming ships of today. F-511 TCG Heybeliada, the first ship of Milgem class, P-1200 TCG Tuzla the first ship of the New Type Patrol Boat class were available for external sighting. All these ships were on project phase during the last fair.

This fair’s main attractions were tanks, armoured fighting vehicles, UAV’s and helicopters. But never the less there were a lot of important developments regarding the ongoing naval projects.

Milgem: The first ship TCG Heybeliada will be commissioned in Turkish Navy in July. At the same day the second ship, F-512 TCG Büyükada will be launched.

The model of Moship

Moship/Ratship: The design phase for the submarine rescue ship Moship and two rescue and towing ships Ratship is continuing. I learned out to my surprise that Istanbul Shipyard, the builder was responsible for the whole ship inclusive the mission equipment. That means it is the shipyard will also provide the ROV, the McCann bells and other necessary equipment. It must be a steep learning curve for them. The contract for the production of these ships not signed yet. There was a speculation that it might be signed during the fair but this did not happened.

Model of LST

LST: The contract for the construction of a new LST’s was signed between Ministery of Defence and ADIK_Furtrans shipyard on 11 May 2011. The value of the contract was not disclosed but the ship will be delivered in 48 months. The ships will carry 525 persons, 17 MBT and between 24 – 60 vehicles.

The armament consists of 2 single barrelled 40mm Oto Melara guns, 2 Mk15 Phalanx CIWS, 2 machine guns on a stabilised remote controlled chassis.

The ships will have a Smart Mk2 3D air/surface search radar (which not common for an amphibious ship) 2 AselFLIR 300D EO director, torpedo counter measures systems, laser warning receiver and Link16/22 system. All these sensors and weapons will be controlled by a 5 consoles of GENESIS CMS.

New Type Patrol Boats: The first boat of this class P-1200 TCG Tuzla was launched in 2011 and was handed over to Turkish Navy in 4 January 2011. The second boat P-1201 TCG Karaburun was handed over to Turkish Navy on 19 April 2011 for temporary acceptance. The third and fourth boats, P-1202 TCG Köyceğiz and P-1203 TCG Kumkale are launched as early 2001 and they are currently under going sailing acceptance tests and harbour acceptance test respectively. The fifth boat P-1205 TCG Tarsus will be launched in this month.

In the mean time the construction of the two boats ordered by Turkmenistan in October 2010 is continuing. Dearsan shipyard has shipped the boats in kits, along with the equipment necessary for the construction. According to IDEF’11 Show Daily, the construction of two boats is about to be completed and the installation of the propulsion system will commence soon. These have a very similar weapon and sensor configuration to Turkish boats. The main difference is the Turkmenistan boats will have a Thales Variant 2D air/surface search radar and a pair of 25mm Aselsan STOP systems.

Type 214 Submarines: Interestingly there was very little information available about the current status of this programme. But credit contract for this programme was signed at the end of 2010 thus I assume everything is going as scheduled. Currently STM the main subcontractor of this project is sourcing 18000 components and materials to be used. This is a time consuming process. I do not expect any important development in this project before summer.

>MRTP 16 Fast Intervention Boats For UAE


During the IDEX 2011, Murad BAYAR, Undersecretary for Defence Industries announced that a protocol on production of STAMP systems in United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be signed between two countries.

In IDEX 2009, UAE awarded an USD 125 million contract to build 34 fast interceptors to Abu Dhabi Ship Building (ADSB). The Turkish shipyard Yonca Onuk is the principal subcontractor in this contract and will built the initial 12 boats. The remaining 22 will be constructed in ADSB’s shipyard.

The boats will be used by UAE Critical National Infrastructure Authority (CNIA) to protects its critical off-shore installations.

So far 5 boats are delivered. The first boat was shipped to UAE in March 2010. The sixth and seventh boats are launched in December 2010 and are currently conducting sea trials.

These boats based on the KAAN 15 class fast intervention boats, used by the Turkish Coast Guard.  The UAE  boats are fitted with ASELSAN’s STAMP stabilized machine gun platform. The producer and the type of the machine gun that will arm these boats be are yet to be disclosed.

I know, I will not receive any Oscar’s for this time lapse video. But nevertheless it gives you a general idea about these boats.

>My Impressions From Shipbuilding, Machinery & Marine Technology Trade Fair


I have attended the firstday of the SSM exhibition and conference. It was not quite as I wasexpecting.

Mr. Serdar Demirel,Head of Naval Department, Undersecretariatfor Defence Industries, was also listed as a speaker. He was therebut during his short speech he mentioned that he did not expected tomake any speeches today, therefore he was not prepared at all. Wellthis is a major for the organizators.
Naval shipbuildingprojects are the life line of the Turkish ship building industry inthese dire years. Thus although SMMM is a civilian orientated tradefair the military side of Turkish shipbuilding industry could havebeen stressed better.
One factor for the obviouslack of interest and presence of shipyards with ongoing militaryprojects may be the upcoming IDEF exhibition in May 2011.International Defence Industry Fair is the trade fair for the defenceindustry in this region and most probably the companies allocatedtheir budgets for this event.
After the openingspeeches, the first session of the conference started with anexcellent presentation of Mr. Taner Akkaya, Military ProjectsCoordinator, Dearsan Shipyard. He talked about the New Type PatrolBoat project.

The first boat of thisclass P-1200 TCG Tuzla was delivered to Turkish Navy on 4 January2011. Currently Turkish Navy is conducting its own acceptance testsbefore this boat is officially commissioned. In an unprecedented moveTurkish Navy decided to give a proper name to these boats. In TurkishNavy tradition such boats were called TCG ABxy. AB is theabbreviation of A(vcı) B(otu), which means hunter/patrol boat and xyis the last two numbers of the boats pennant number. But the firstboat of this class is christened as TCG Tuzla in honor of the mostimportant shipbuilding region of Turkey.

Before handing the boatover to the Turkish Navy, Dearsan realized 63 FAT’s, 81 HAT’s, 71SAT’s and a 2400 miles long cruise. The trials speed was 2,5 knotsover the contract value. The shipyard more fuel tanks than demanded.These additional fuel tanks increase the endurance of the boats from3 days to 7 days. During the trials the boat covered 1300 miles at14 kntos %30 more than specified in the contract.

Mr. Akkaya stressedthrough his presentation that Dearsan’s in house designing team wasresponsible for the design of these boats from sketch. This might bein defence of the rumors that these boats resemble very much RAN’sArmidale class very much. He also mentioned the difficulties theyhave experienced with the sub contractors. Most of the sub contractswere chosen from companies that previously participated in Milgemproject and know how to work for a naval shipbuilding project. Neverthe less some sub contractors did not have the necessary security,class and quality certifications and these companies were financed byDearsan for the certification process. This highlight one importantweakness of the industry: creating, maintaining and updating thedocuments such as user manuals, quality and warranty certificates andsuch.

An interesting point in MrAkkaya’s presentation was when he mentioned an article of thecontract they have signed for this project. According to article 14Turkish State, as a party of the contract promised that all StateInstitutions would provide all the possible help for the fulfillmentof this contract. This is a very odd clause and is an obvious signthat Turkey takes these shipbuilding projects very seriously.
What Mr Akkaya did not sayduring his presentation was the fact that Dearsan succeeded inselling two of these boats to Turkmenistan. The estimated contractvalue is 100 million USD.

Following thispresentation was a questions and answer season with Mr. Akkaya andMr. Demirel. I will not write all the questions and answers inlength, just highlights that I found worth sharing:

  • Turkish Navy and Undersecretariat for Defence Industries are very proud on Milgem andthe impact Milgem project had over the Turkish shipbuilding industry.The Milgem project achieved an important change for a civilian marketoriented industry that had no idea on military shipbuildingstandarts.
  • UDI regards the secondship of the Milgem class TCG Büyükada as a second prototype. Somechanges and improvements were incorporated in this ship, that werepreviously unthinkable or considered too bold. But soon a privateshipyard will be selected as the producer for the remaining Milgems.
  • Marine propulsion is setas the next important milestone bu UDI. This fact was emphasizedagain today. UDI is currently in talks with MTU, MAN and other marinepropulsion manufacturers for production in Turkey. Marine propulsionis regarded very critical:
  • a) It is the most crucialsub system that is not produced in Turkey.
    b) If Turkey manages toinstall indigenous built propulsion in locally built warships a verybig hurdle in exporting Turkish warships will be overcome.

  • UDI sees a considerableexport potential in Milgem, NTPB and Fast LCT classes as theseprovide original solutions for navies. And the foreign sales of theseships are officially supported by UDI.

The trade fair willcontinue till Friday, 28 January. The conference will end tomorrowevening.

>Shipbuilding, Machinery & Marine Technology Trade Fair


SMM Istanbul 2011 – shipbuilding, machinery & marine technology trade fair, will start tomorrow.

Turkishshipbuilding projects, especially  military projects will be onthe focus in this first major event of the year for theinternational shipbuilding industry.

Amajor element in SMM Istanbul 2011 is the accompanying two-day international conference on 26 and 27 January, providingcomprehensive exchange of knowledge and experience and informingparticipants of the status and future development of the Turkishshipbuilding industry which I intend to attend.

I hope to write about it later this week.

>4th Naval Systems Seminar


4th Naval Systems Seminar will be performed under the auspices of Under secretary for Defence Industries between 17th and 18th of October 2011 at ODTÜ – KKM (METU CCC) for two days.

Sessions will cover the Naval Platforms (Ship and Machinery) and the Naval Systems (Weapon & Electronics)

The naval systems seminarhas started as a one day event, three years ago. The aim was to bringthe ship building industry, Turkish Navy and the procurement agencytogether to exchange ideas. Last the event has spread on two days andmore than 850 attended.

My Impressions From 3.Naval Systems Seminar (Part 1)

My Impressions From 3.Naval Systems Seminar (Part 2)

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