Aselsan Gökdeniz CIWS System Will Be Tested On Board TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa

Today the Rhein class auxiliary ship, TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa, left her homeport in Tuzla, İstanbul and headed to the Black Sea.

TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa and her sister TCG Cezarli Hasan Paşa have two 100mm gun turrets. The aft turet on board of TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa was removed in 2018. She was used as test ship for the Aselsan made close in weapon system Korkut-D in May 2018.

After the completion of these tests, the Korkut-D mount and the associated hardware was removed from the ship.

Today TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa was spotted with a new gun system installed. While the whole gun system and the associated radars and other sensors were under wraps the shape of the system is very distinguishable. The system to be tested is the Gökdeniz close-in weapon system.

Gökdeniz consists of one unmanned gun turret with two 35mm guns, an X band 3-D tracking radar and one fire control radar with electro/optical sensors. All subsystems of the Gökdeniz system are recognizable on board.

The gun turret has been remodelled from her initial version making it suitable to be retrofitted in place of the existing CIWS systems on board. The guns can use the ATOM 35mm airburst ammunition developed by ASELSAN. ATOM is a smart ammunition, having a base fuze increasing the effectiveness of the barreled guns. Thus such ammunition is an important option to fight against small and high-speed targets.

The X band tracking radar has a range of 100km. With its phased array, multi-beam antenna the radar can track multiple air targets simultaneously.

The Gökdeniz close-in weapon system will be installed onboard Barbaros class frigates during their mid-life upgrade, İ class frigates and in the future other ships.

Rostov-na-Donu Returns Home

The Russian submarine Rostov-na-Donu passing through Istanbul, escorted by the Turkish Coast Guard vessels

Today improved Kilo-class (Proj. 636.3) submarine of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, Rostov-na-Donu made northbound passage through Bosphorus.
13.12.2015. During her passage, Turkish Coast Guard vessels TCSG-312 and KB-4309 escorted the submarine.

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.

She passed southbound through Istanbul on 23.06.2020 for overhaul at the Admiralty Yard in St. Petersburg.

Russian Minehunter Georgy Kurbatov Passed Through Istanbul

The Project 12700 Aleksandrit class minehunter Georgy Kurbatov made her inaugural passage through Istanbul this afternoon. She was towed by the Project 22870 class rescue Tug SB-739 Spasatel Vasily Bekh.

It was not clear why the mine hunter was towed. One reason is to preserve her engines and not to used unnecessarily. Another reason is not to reveal her engine and propeller signature to other parties. Or may be simply she had some technical troubles and needed to be towed.

The passage of these two warships was preceded in the morning by the transit of Project 23120 class logistics support vessel Vsevolod Bobrov. It, too was her first passage through Istanbul.

HMS Defender and HNLMS Eversten In Istanbul

The Dutch frigate HNLMS Eversten (left) and HMS Defender at Sarayburnu quay.

Two warships attached to the United Kingdom Carrier Strike Group (UK CSG) has arrived in Istanbul on 8th June for a 5-day port visit. HMS Defender a Type 45 class destroyer and HNLMS Eversten a De Zeven Provinciën class frigate are conducting a visit in Istanbul before proceeding to the Black Sea as advertised by each nation’s Ministries of Defence before the UK CSG set sail.

On 10th June a UK Industry Day was hosted onboard HMS Defender. This event provided an opportunity to discuss trends and possible areas of cooperation on defense and security sectors between the UK and Turkey.

Agusta-Westland AW-159 Wildcat HMA2 on board HMS Defender. Photo: Özgür Ekşi, used with permission.

Foreign Warships On Bosphorus in 2021 (Part 3)

USS Thomas Hudner an Arleigh Burke Flight III class destroyer became the second US Navy warship to enter the Black Sea. This is her first-ever Black Sea deployment.

The first ship from Eisenhower CSG to enter the Black Sea was the Ticonderoga class cruiser USS Monterey. This is her first Black Sea deployment. Photo: Arkeonaval

Bulgarian minehunter BGS Tsibar, which joined the NATO taskforce SNMCMG-2 in the Black Sea sailed southbound with the rest of the group. Photo: Yörük Işık.

ESPS Tajo, the Spanish unit attached to SNMCMG-2 exited the Black Sea after taking part in Romanian exercise Poseidon 21 and visiting Odesa with the taskforce. Photo: Yörük Işık.

When ESPS Méndez Núñez transited northbound through Istanbul, she became the third Spanish ship and second Alvaro de Bazan class frigate deployed to the Black Sea

Russian Buyan-M class corvette Vyshniy Volochek finished her 4-month deployment to the Mediterranean and returned back To the Black Sea.

The Russian tug SB-739 returned alone from her long journey through the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean where she escorted Russian surface ships.

The outgoing flagship of NATO taskforce SNMG-2, ESPS Cristóbal Colón passed northbound through Istanbul. Photo: Arkeonaval

The Russian large landing ship Saratov started her third Mediterranean deployment in 2021. Photo: Ben Kendim

The list of the foreign warships that passed through the Istanbul Strait is here.

Foreign Warships On Bosphorus in 2021 (Part 2)

Here are photos of foreign warships, that have passed through Bosphorus, during the last 14 days:

A frequent visitor of Bosphorus the Russian Alligator class large landing ship Saratov returned from her second Syrian deployment. Photo: Yörük Işık

Natya class minesweeper of the Russian Black Sea Fleet Valentin Pikul made her northbound passage through Istanbul on 25th February, ending her deployment since December 2020. Photo: Nazlı Ece Pehlivan

The Greek minehunter HS Evropi sailed northbound with the rest of the NATO SNMCMG-2, but she is not listed among the participants of the taskforce. Photo:Binaltmışiki

The Spanish contribution to SNMCMG-2 ESPS Tajo entered the Black Sea on 25th February. This is the first Black Sea deployment of her. Photo: Binaltmışiki

The Buyan-M Class corvette of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, armed with Kalibr missiles made her first southbound passage in 2021. She is now deployed in the Mediterranean. Photo: Yörük Işık

The Ropucha class large landing ship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, Novocherkassk returned from her first Syrian deployment. Photo: Nazlı Ece Pehlivan

The minehunter HS Evropi returned to Greece on 6 March, after taking part in Romanian-led naval exercise Poseidon. Photo:Binaltmışiki

Foreign Warships On Bosphorus in 2021 (Part 1)

Here are photos of foreign warships, that have passed through Bosphorus, during the last 7 days:

The Russian intelligence-gathering ship Priazove returned from her Mediterranean deployment. Her southbound passage was on 14.8.2020. Photo: Cavit Ege Tulca

 

Russian Ropucha class landing ship Novocherkassk sailed southbound for her first Syrian deployment in 2021. Photo: Cavit Ege Tulca

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.

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