The Disappearing Red Star of Marshal Ustinov

When Marshal Ustinov arrived in Istanbul on 5th January, she had painted two red stars on her bridge indicating that this ship was awarded for excellence.

А for artillery and ПВО for anti-aircraft. As shown below:

This is a close up to the bridge area. Two stars are clearly visible.

 

This is a screen capture from an HD video uploaded by @benkendim to youtube. Again, two stars are visible.

However, a third star was painted overnight, as it was visible during her aborted berthing maneuver on 6th January 2019.

The third red star is clearly visible one day after the above photo was taken.

 

This is again a screen capture from an HD video uploaded by @benkendim to youtube. And yes there are not two but three stars visible.

Interesting to note that all these photos are from the starboard side of the ship. I was not able to see the port side of the ship until she passed through the Bosphorus to return home.

And when she was returning back to Russia on 8th January, oddly enough she had only two stars painted on her port side.

This is again a screen capture from an HD video uploaded by @benkendim to youtube. And yes there are not two but three stars visible.

If I had to guess why there is not a third star on the port side of the ship I would say the information for the award arrived from the naval headquarters when the ship was already sailing towards Istanbul and the bosun has only enough red paint to paint on the one side of the bridge.

Ivan Khurs Deployed to the Mediterranean

Yesterday, Ivan Khurs a Project 18280 class intelligence-gathering warship of Russian Black Sea Fleet transited through Istanbul.

This is the start of her first Mediterranean deployment. She was launched in 2017 and joined the Russian Black Sea Fleet in 2018. Her inaugural voyage to her base in Sevastopol was in December 2018. She has passed through Istanbul ob 27th December 2018 after sunset. So we are not able to see much of her.

Since her recent deployment happened in broad daylight we are able to observer Ivan Khurs.

Below are 3 photos of the various antennas onboard Ivan Khurs.

Russian Submarine Krasnodar Transited Southbound Trough Istanbul

Today improved Kilo class (Proj. 636.3) submarine of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, Krasnodar made an unexpected southbound passage through Bosphorus.

The submarine one of the six units built specially for the Black Sea Fleet has been deployed in the region since 7.8.2017. She has 6 533mm torpedo tubes and carries a combination of up to 18 torpedoes, SS-N-27 anti-ship, and Kalibr land attack missiles.

While a southbound passage of a Russian submarine is very rare, it is has happened before. Russian Kilo class (Proj. 877) submarine Alrosa suffered an engine fire in 2009 and had to go to the Baltic for extensive repairs. She did even take part in the NATO exercise Bold Monarch 2011. Yes, it was different times then.

The Montreux Convention regulates the passage of submarines. While the submarines of non-Black Sea nations are forbidden to pass through the Straits, the submarines of the Black Sea riparian States may pass under certain conditions

Article 12.

Black Sea Powers shall have the right to send through the Straits, for the purpose of rejoining their base, submarines constructed or purchased outside the Black Sea, provided that adequate notice of the laying down or purchase of such submarines shall have been given to Turkey. Submarines belonging to the said Powers shall also be entitled to pass through the Straits to be repaired in dockyards outside the Black Sea on condition that detailed information on the matter is given to Turkey. In either case, the said submarines must travel by day and on the surface and must pass through the Straits singly.

The provision in the convention is very clear. If Krasnodar exited the Black Sea for repairs then this passage does not break the rules of the convention. If the submarine, however, joins her 2 sisters all ready stationed in the Med since 2017 and conducts military operations, then this will be a clear breach of the Montreux Convention. We will know better in a few days.

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.

Republic Day 2017


Today we are celebrating the 94th anniversary the creation of Turkish Republic.

I am grateful to those who made it possible for me and my family to live in this beautiful country under our own flag.

And I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our independence with a couple of elegantly decorated ships.

Vietnamese Warship Sighted


The Dutch-flagged heavy load carrier M/V Rolldock Star made a short stop in Istanbul on 16 September 2017. She has departed from Novorossiysk, Russia and is on her way to Vietnam. Her cargo is the first ship of the second batch of Gepard class frigates Vietnam has ordered.

In 2012 Vietnam has ordered a pair of additional Gepard 3.9 class frigates from Gorky Shipyard in Zelenodolsk. The second batch is different as they are optimized for ASW role and have 533mm torpedo tubes, the first two pair lack.

Gepard 3.9 is the export class of the 11661E class patrol ship. She is 102 m long, 2,200 tons displacement, 103 crew members, a maximum speed of 23 knots, 9200 km operating range.

The warship is not named yet and has the temporary pennant number of 486.

Back From Vacation

I have been silent for the last couple weeks. I was on vacation. And returned with the following photos:

Fast tanker RFA Wave Ruler

Cable laying ship USS Zeus.

Type 23 class frigate, HMS Montrose

Survey vessel HMS Scott. Ship’s emblem on her funnel, tells us where she spends most of her time.

Type-23 frigate HMS Somerset.

Trafalgar class submarine Ex- HMS Torbay being decommissioned, while HMS Bulwark in the background being deactivated.

HMS Albion being re-activated to replace HMS Bulwark.

Another Trafalgar class submarine ex- HMS Triumph being deactivated.

Type-23 class frigate HMS Argyll.

The former flagship of Royal Navy HMS Ocean.

Chinese Warships Visited Istanbul

Type 054A frigate 532 Jingzhou (left) and Type 052C destroyer 150 Changchun docked to Istanbul Sarayburnu quay.

Type 093 replenishment tanker 890 Chaohu

Between 18 and 21 July 2017 a task force of 3 Chinese warship made a visit to Istanbul

Task Group 150 consisting of Type 052C destroyer 150 Changchun, Type 054A frigate 532 Jingzhou and Type 093 replenishment tanker 890 Chaohu have left China on 23 April 2017, on the 68th anniversary of the founding of the PLAN, for a goodwill voyage to some 20 countries in Asia, Europe, Africa and Oceania.

The task force headed by Admiral Miao Hua were welcomed by Chinese Military Attaché to Ankara Zheng Qinli, Consul General to Istanbul Qian Bo and a group of Chinese citizens.

This year’s visit was very similar to the previous PLAN visit to Istanbul in 2012 and 2015. In both cases the PLAN fleet was made of one destroyer, one frigate and one replenishment ship.

In 2012 and in 2015 however the destroyer and the frigate have passed through the Bosphorus and entered the Black Sea. This year the ships stayed in Istanbul and have not transit through the Strait northbound. The PLAN task force spend 4 days in Istanbul and left for the Mediterranean.

Here are some close up photos of the destroyer Changhun:

And here are some close up photos of the frigate Jingzhou:

TCG Kınalıada Coming Along Nicely

TCG Burgazada (left) is in dry dock and being fitted out. TCG Kınalıada (right) is still on the slipway. Her shape indicates all major constructing is almost finished. She seems to be almost ready for launching in September.

There are some interesting steel blocks lying just to the left of the slipway. They can’t be made for TCG Kınalıada since her shape is full and there is no room to add these blocks. Thus they must the first blocks of TCG İstanbul. They will be placed on the slipway once TCG Kınalıada is launched.

The fitting out of the third Ada class (Milgem) corvette TCG Burgazada is proceeding on the dry dock. The fabrication of the hull of the fourth and final Ada class corvette TCG Kınalıada is almost finished.

The pre-fabrication of the first İ class frigate is continuing. First two blocks of the hull is ready to be placed on the slipway once the last Ada class corvette is launched.

Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group Two In Istanbul

The Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group Two arrived in Istanbul on 24 March 2017. The task group had made her northbound passage through the city 20 days before.

During this 20 days the task force first took part in Poseidon 2017. The mine warfare exercise was held between 5 and 15 March 2017.

After the completion of the exercise the task force sailed to Odessa, Ukraine. There the ship were open to public and received thousands of visitors during their stay there.

One day short of their allowance by the Montreux Convention the Task force sailed southbound through Istanbul Strait and docked in Istanbul port for a well-earned post visit.

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