>Problems With The Infiltration Boats Or Is It Just A Journalistic Fart?

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Last week Zaman newspaper run a story about alleged irregularities by the acceptance of special forces infiltration boat.

According to the article during the acceptance test the commission noticed a number of deficiencies in the main propulsion system and speed and handling performances of the boat. Although the inspection team did not approve the acceptance of the boat, the newspaper states the boat was never the less accepted by Turkish Navy an admiral in charge took the responsibility and admitted the boats despite the deficiencies. 

After the publication of this article, Turkish Defence Ministry released an announcement on the subject saying that the responsibility of the acceptance of the boats lies within Undersecretariat for Defence Industries as the procurement agency and all acceptance test are conducted by UDI. According to the statement there are some deficiencies with second boat which was only temporarily accepted. It is hoped that this reported problems will be rectified before the permanent acceptance.

The ministry also mentioned that this was the official acceptance procedures for all ongoing naval projects. 

Well Zaman newspaper is openly anti military and the article has some obvious gross mistakes in it such a mixing the term LOA with the turning radius. They have also not much clue how the acquisition process between the end user, the manufacturer and the procurement agency works and who is responsible for what. But they were quick to jump to a conclusion that something fouls was within the navy.  

Interestingly they seem to have removed the above mentioned article from their website. We thank Google for its cache in times like these.

On the other hand Yonca Onuk needs to work on the performance issues of these boats as mentioned by the statement of Defence Ministry.

>Official NATO Statement On M/V Leopard’s Hijacking

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TCG Gaziantep shadowing M/V Leopard
Photo: NATO

Turkish warship TCG Gaziantep – part of the NATO’s counter piracy mission, Operation Ocean Shield, boarded and searched Motor Vessel (MV) Leopard after it had been attacked by armed pirates.

In the afternoon of January 12th MV Leopard was attacked by two pirate skiffs. As the pirates fired small calibre weapons, the crew retreated to a secure area in the ship known as a ‘citadel’.

A Japanese maritime patrol aircraft soon arrived at the scene and established communications with the crew. In a short message the master of MV Leopard informed the Japanese aircraft that armed pirates were on board. In the meantime TCG Gaziantep, who was about 250 nautical miles away, was tasked to steam to the position of MV Leopard.

As TCG Gaziantep approached the area, her helicopter over flew MV Leopard, however, there was no sign of the crew or the pirates on board. The Turkish boarding team subsequently searched the ship and it became clear that the pirates had left, and, having taken the 6 man crew with them, boarded a pirate ‘mother ship’.

The crew of the NATO warship is now guarding MV Leopard, ensuring it remains navigationally safe, whilst arrangements are being made to transport it back to port.

Click here to read the original text. Click here for the Turkish General Staff’s oficial statement.

>Update: Turkish Naval Commandoes On Board of M/V Leopard

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Turkish special forces boarding Leopard.
Photo: Genelkurmay Başkanlığı

According to a new press release from Turkish General Staff, the boarding team on board of M/V Leopard finished its throughout search for the crew without finding them.

Meanwhile the owners of the M/V Leopard contacted NATO Standing Naval Task Group SNMG-2/CTF-508 and informed that the pirates contacted them, and confirmed the fact that all the crew of M/V Leopard, 2 Danes and 4 Filipinos, were kidnapped.

TCG Gaziantep is ordered to remain in the vicinity of the merchant ship until tugs hired by Leopard’s owner will arrive and start towing her.

Click here for the first press release.

>Look What The Net Dragged In

>Last week a fishing boat operating of the coast of Hopa, Artvin found this in its net.

The 150 kilo, British made mine was tangled in the net as the fishermen were collecting the net. They have placed the mine on the deck of their boat and returned to the harbor.

The local security forces summoned an underwater EOD team  from Istanbul to inspected the mine. Later it was taken to military shooting range where it was destroyed by demolition charges.

Every year a couple of sea mines are found and destroyed in Turkey. This year alone in two different occasions a mine was found in Didim, and Karasu.

Click here for more photos.

>Old, Rusty And Dangerous

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Mine, destroyed. Photos from Hürriyet

Mines, whether buried under dirt or lurking in the deeps of the seas are in my humble view are the most loathsome weapons as they can be still deadly after decades.

The scenes of old battlefields are ripe with them all over the world. There are an estimated 80,000 unexploded mines remain in the Baltic, mostly laid by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union during World War II.

Every year a couple of sea mines are found and destroyed in Turkey. Most of these mines are dating back to the 1st World War. On 8th September a mine was discovered by a swimmer off a popular beach in Didim.

An underwater EOD team arrived from Istanbul inspected the mine. It had a diameter of 70 cm and estimated around 200 kg. Later it was taken off the shore, where it was destroyed by demolition charges.

A similar mine was found on the Black Sea in April 2010.

>Video Of Infiltration Boat Of Special Forces

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I have made a short video from the photos of the infiltration boat. It is not a real movie, just still photos pasted after one other, thus the video is shaky and not fluent. But never the less I believe it shows radiates the speed and agility of the boat.

>Live Firing Exercise of Turkish Navy

>Turkish Navy conducted an exercise in west Black sea and at northern entrance of Bosphorus on 10th March 2010.

Seven frigates, six fast attack craft and two submarines took part in the first part of the exercise, in western Black Sea. The order of battle was not made public. According to official statement TCG Gökova and TCG Salihreis took part. I also saw (with my own Mk-1’s) that F-244 TCG Barbaros sailed north on 9th March 2010 Tuesday. Thus these three frigates must have taken part in the exercise.

The frigates TCG Salihreis and TCG Gökova conducted live missile firings. TCG Salihreis fired one Sea Sparrow SAM missile and TCG Gökova fired one SM-1 Standart SAM missile to drons. According to official statement both missiles hit their targets.

Naval special forces teams demonstrated in Poyrazköy Bay at the northern entrance of Bosphorus their infiltration, recon, ambush and EOD techniques.

Several high ranking officers including the Chief of Turkish General Staff General Başbuğ attended the exercise.

A three minute video of the exercise was made public. Click here for a slightly larger version with a worse resolution.

The first 2 minutes of the video show the actions of naval special forces. In the last minute the live firings of the SAM missiles can the destruction of one drone can be seen.

At the very end of the video, General Başbuğ awards, successful sailors.

>New Infiltration Boats for Special Forces

>A video about the new boats for Turkish naval special forces has been released by TRT. This is the first video and first hard evidence that these boats are actually being built.

You can watch the video here.

When finished the boats will look like this model.

The boats are made in Yonca-Onuk shipyard, which is specialized in building composite hulled fast intervention and patrol boats. Turkish Coast Guard acquired 40 boats in various classes (MRTP 15; MRTP 29; MRTP 33 locally knows as Kaan class) from Yonca-Onuk shiyard.

The two infiltration boats called as MRTP 22 U class are the boats this shipyard sold to Turkish Navy. They are 24 meters long and have 48 tons displacement. Powered by two 2200 hp engines and water-jets, they can make up to 55 knots.

Currently Turkish naval special forces teams use RHIB’s.

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