First Steel Is Cut For Turkish TCG Bayraktar

LST_NG_2 copy LST_NG copy

Suddenly and silently the construction of the first of the two new LST class ships has started.

The first steel was cut on 14 May 2014 at ADİK Shipyard. The first ship will be called as TCG Bayraktar; the name proves that the old TCG Bayraktar, an old LST-511 class landing ship is out of commission.

The contract for the construction of two new LST class landing ships was signed between ADIK shipyard and SSM in 16 June 2011. It took almost two years for the shipyard to find the 370 million Euro credit to cover the project as required by the contract.

The shipyard expect to hand the ship to Turkish Navy in 34 months on 17 February 2017.

TCG Karamürselbey On Bosphorus

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Turkish Sarucabey class landing ship NL-124 TCG Karamürselbey passing southbound, through Bosphorus on 29 September 2013. Photo: Deniz Yaman. Used with permission.

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Turkish Sarucabey class landing ship NL-124 TCG Karamürselbey passing northbound, through Bosphorus on 7 October 2013. Photo: Eser Çelebiler. Used with permission.

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Turkish Sarucabey class landing ship NL-124 TCG Karamürselbey passing northbound, through Bosphorus on 7 October 2013. Photo: Eser Çelebiler. Used with permission.

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Turkish Sarucabey class landing ship NL-124 TCG Karamürselbey passing northbound, through Bosphorus on 7 October 2013. Photo: Eser Çelebiler. Used with permission.

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Turkish Sarucabey class landing ship NL-124 TCG Karamürselbey passing northbound, through Bosphorus on 7 October 2013. Photo: Eser Çelebiler. Used with permission.

Russian Ropuchas and Alligators are not the only landing ships pass through the Bosphorus. Here are photos of our indigenous NL-124 TCG Karamürsel showing her two recent passages.

She is the sister of NL-123 TCG Sarucabey and both are enlarged version of the now deleted Çakabey class.These ships can carry 600 troops, 11 tanks and 2 LCVP’s and have mine laying capability as a secondary role. Hence the letter “N” on the pennant number. Both were constructed now closed Taşkızak Naval Shipyard.

Most probably both TCG Sarucabey and TCG Karamürselbey will be replaced by the new landing ship class being constructed at ADIK Shipyard.

The Modernization of NL-125 TCG Osmangazi

NL-125 TCG Osmangazi, on 30th August 2011 in İzmir

NL-125 TCG Osmangazi is the biggest amphibious ships of Turkish Navy. And until the two LST ships under construction at ADIK Shipyard join the Navy, she is also the newest. She was launched in 1990 and commissioned in 1994. She is the third generation of indigenous designed large amphibious ships and has all the design characteristics of Turkish large landing ships. She can carry 900 troops and 15 main battle tanks.

She has a large bow door. This means the ship can beach to unload its cargo. This limits her draught and affects the shape of her hull.

The two small doors at her stern are for mine lying. All large amphibious ships of Turkish navy have a secondary mine laying capability. Hence the “L” in her pennant. The large anchor between the hatches is used to drag the ship away from the beach after she has unloaded her cargo . As she has no dock in her stern the four LCVP’s she has are carried on davits on the both sides of her super structure.

In 2011, she underwent an extensive modernization in Alaybey Naval Shipyard in Izmir. This modernization done by Turkish Navy changed the ship considerably. Therefore it deserves a closer look.

Prior her modernization she had two 40mm twin barreled Bofors AA guns in A position and one twin barreled 35mm Oerlikon AA gun in X position. The manually loaded and controlled Bofors guns were not adequate to protect the ship against today’s airborne treats.

Therefore they have been replaced by two Oerlikon 35mm AA guns. Probably the existing Oerlikon turret was taken from the aft of the ship and replaced. The second guns must come from the storage. This type of AA guns were installed by Turkish Navy to the now deleted Gearing class destroyers to enhance their AA defenses. They were not used since. These guns can be very handy for suppression of ground defenses around the beachhead, as they have high fire rate.

A Mk-15 Phalanx CIWS was installed where the 35mm Oerlikon used to be. Thus TCG Osmangazi becomes the first amphibious ships to have a modern close in weapon systems. Surely the Phalanx system will shorten the reaction time against air threats. This mount must be taken from a decommissioned frigate.

The most interesting addition is the SLQ-32(V)2 EW antenna group above the pilothouse. This antennas and the inside components must be taken from and old Knox or Perry class frigate. As all Perry class frigates still have their SLQ-32 installed the unit may be taken from the two Perry’s given for cannibalization or from a recently decommissioned Knox class ship. This EW system is the first one installed on an amphibious ship.

I have no information about the changes happened inside the ship. The large ventilators on the pilothouse suggests that the habitability of the ships was also improved.  If  there was a CIC prior the modernization it must been upgraded. If there was no CIC prior the modernization there is one now. This is a preparation for the future LST’s as they are going to have a combat management system installed.

The Turkish Navy performed a simple but very efficient overhaul on this ship and improved her fighting ability considerably. The fact that almost all the newly installed weapons and sensors were taken from decommissioned ships indicates that the budget was tight and there will be no similar upgrades to the other amphibious ships.

When enter into service, the two LST’s being constructed at ADIK Shipyard will have a more capable sensor and C3I ability than all the existing LST’s. The modernization done to TCG Osmangazi should be seen as a step to upgrade the current amphibious ships and create a working platform similar to the future ships. This will increase the compatibility between the ships and prepare the sailors to the next generation of ships.

A Landing Ship Docked, For The Turkish Navy (UPDATED)

LPD Model of RMK

Some time ago, I have read a very interesting and thought evoking post on the influential blog information dissemination, about the large amphibious ships (LAS) becoming the dreadnoughts of the 21. centuries maritime domain.

Well read the post yourselves and decide if it is true or not. But if you ask me amphibious ships (landing ship docked, landing ship platform, landing ship helicopter ) are the only real multi purpose ships of any navy can posses. The are the naval equivalent of Swiss army knives.

The potential uses for a large amphibious ships can be:
• force projection (the most obvious use)
• evacuation of combatants and non-combatants
• command ship for task force
• logistical supply platform during a humanitarian crisis or disaster
• mother-ship for small boat operations and helicopters
• mine warfare (as all large amphibious ships of Turkish Navy have mine laying capability)

In 2006 , The Commander of  Turkish Naval Forces Admiral Yener Karahanoğlu, laid down the long terms amphibious ship acquisition goals for Turkish Navy:
• One LPD
• Two LST’s
• 8 fast LCT’s
• 27 AAV/AAAV’s

According to this road map in 2007,  Ministry of Defence’s Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (UDI), submitted a RfP for 8 LCT’s. From the four companies that bid, ADİK shipyard was chosen. On June 2009, a contract was signed between UDI and ADİK for the production of 8 ships. The exact value of the contract was not made public but it is estimated to be around 100 million EUR. The first ship Ç-151 was launched on 2 October 2010. Her sea trials are continuing. The second ship Ç-152 was launched on March 2011.

For the LST’s UDI submitted a RFP on May 2008. On 6 January 2010 again ADİK shipyard was declared as the winner of the bid. UDI is in contract negations with this company.And a contract for the construction of two new LST’s was signed between Ministry of Defence and same shipyard just last week. The ships will be delivered in 48 months.

And as you read this blog the third important amphibious ship procurement project will enter into the next phase. Today was last day for companies to submit their proposals for the Landing Platform Dock. Now the evaluation of the proposals by UDI will commence.

LPD model of Fincantieri

During the years the requirements of the Turkish Navy changed so that the size of the LPD has increased. It is estimated that today’s proposals will have a displacement between 25.000 to 28.000 tons range. The ship will have a landing deck big enough to accommodated 4 helicopters of 15 ton class at the same time. According to the RfP the flight deck should be able to support aircraft up to 35 tons weight. . The total personnel on board the ship’s crew plus air detachment and embarked troops is around 1000.

Seven shipyards, ADIK, Çelik Tekne, Dearsan Shipyard, Desan Shipyard, Istanbul Shipyard, RMK Marine and SEDEF received the RfP in February and have been given time till today to prepare their proposals. Some of the teamed with foreign companies. Candidates include DCNS, Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding, Navantia, Hanjin Heavy Industries and China State Shipbuilding Corporation are believed to be interested in cooperating with Turkish shipyards for the LPD.

RMK, contrary to the expectations did not cooperated with Fincantieri for this project. In fact a reprasentitve from Fincantieri told me during IDEF that his company would not take part in the bid as their largest amphibious desing was only 20.000 tons. The RMK shipyard has developed its own design with some help from BMT.

Navantia teamed with Sedef Shipyard. Their offer will be something between Juan Carlos 1 and Galicia class ships. Sedef is the first private shipyard ever to produce a ship for the Turkish Navy: A-595 TCG Yarbay Kudret Güngör. I would be a life saver for the local shipyard is they can repeat their one time hit again.

The current solutions of China (Type 071) and South Korea (Dokto class) are less than 20.000 tons. As is they do not have much chance to be successful. I have no information with with Turkish yard they have teamed and how their proposal is prepared. Chinese are showing a growing interest in Turkish defence market. They are competing for the Turkish long ranges SAM system. But in order for the Chinese proposal to be successful they must incorporate Western and local subsystems which are known to Turkish Navy. As Indian naval projects showed, incorporating Western naval systems with Eastern ships can create a lot of problems and headaches and success is not always guarentted.

DCNS’s Mistral has the right size and displacement but political disagreements with France makes it almost impossible for the company to bid.

When commissioned this ship will be the largest ship ever operated by Turkish Navy and it will be our capital ship. The dreadnought era of  Turkish Navy starts today.

UPDATE: Today, Undersecretariat for Defence Industries announced that they have received proposals from the following 3 shipyards:

1. SEDEF Gemi İnşaatı A.Ş.
2. RMK Marine Gemi Yapım Sanayii
3. Deniz Taşımacılığı İşletmesi A.Ş. ve DESAN Deniz İnşaatı San. A.Ş.

The competition will be between the Juan Carlos, RMK/BMT design and Dokto.

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.

>New LST’s For Turkish Navy

>On their latest meeting on 6th January 2010, Defense Industry Executive Committee (SSIK) decided to start contract negotiations for constructions of 2 LST’s.

Currently Turkish Navy operates 5 big amphibious ships:
• Two Ertuğrul (ex- Terreboone Parish) class
• Two Sarucabey class
• One Osman Gazi class

The oldest ships of the fleet are two Ertuğrul class ships L-401 TCG Ertuğrul and L-402 TCG Serdar. Both were launched in 1954 and commissioned into Turkish Navy in 1973 and 1975.These ships can carry 395 troops and 2200 tons cargo. They both outlived L-405 TCG Çakabey first of locally designed LST’s. She was commissioned in 1983 and served till 2000. The design of the Sarucabey class was based on TCG Çakabey. NL-123 TCG Sarucabey and NL-124 TCG Karamürselbey were commissioned in 1985 and 1986. These ships can carry 600 troops and 11 tanks or up to135 mines and can be used as minelayers. Hence the pennant number shows this dual function. NL-125 TCG Osmangazi is based on Sarucabey class but has a bigger capacity. She can carry 900 troops or 15 tanks. She was launchend in 1990 and commissioned in 1994. Originally a second unit of this class was to be built. But she was canceled.

In addition to these big ships Turkish Navy operates 23 LCT’s and 16 LCM’s.

The existing ships are getting old. They are good enough to protect the status quo is the region but they cannot answer the power projection needs of Turkish armed forces in extended ranges and periods.

In 2006 the long terms amphibious ship acquisition goals of Turkish Navy were declared by then Commander Admiral Yener Karahanoğlu as following:
• One LPD
• Two LST’s
• 8 fast LCT’s
• 27 AAV/AAAV’s

According to this road map in 2007 SSM submitted a RFP for 8 LCT’s. From the four companies that bid, ADİK shipyard was chosen. On June 2009, a contract was signed between SSM and ADİK for the production of 8 ships. The exact value of the contract was not made public but it is estimated to be around 100 million EUR.

For the LST’s SSM submitted a RFP on May 2008. On 6 January 2010 again ADİK shipyard was declared as the winner of the bid. SSM will start contract negations with this company.

In the meantime a Request For Information was submitted by SSM for the LPD in 2007. The preparations for the RFP are continuing. SSM also announced a feasibility study the LCAC Program. LCAC’s were not on the main road map but they are very necessary for the LPD to function properly.

The most important ship on the acquisition list is without any doubt the LPD. Turkish Navy never operated any amphibious warships bigger than a LST. LPD’s are very different warships and a whole new concept for the navy. The Turkish Navy is eager to learn how to operate, maintain, load, unload such ships. The logistical job to keep a ship with so many sailors and soldiers, with so many equipment is more or less a science for itself. Last year’s Egemen 2009 naval exercise can be seen as a feasbility study with amphibious ships of various NATO nations. More on LPD and Egemen 2008 click here.

Specifications for the LCT’s:

Length o.a. 79,85m
Beam: 11,70 m
Displacement 1155 tons full load
Speed: 20kts
Range: 400 nm / 16 kts
Propulsion: 2 x 2320 kW
Weapons: 2 x 25mm; 1 x 12,7mm
Crew: 22
Cargo: 320 tons / 250 troops

Specifications for the LST’s:

Length o.a. 135 m
Beam: 16,40 m
Displacement 5200 tons full load
Speed: 18kts
Range: 5000 nm / 15 kts
Propulsion: 2 x 5200 kW
Weapons: 2 x 40mm; 2 x 12,7mm
Crew: 146
Cargo: 1200 tons / 350 troops

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