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A Submarine Sighted

Type 209/1400 class submarine TCG Preveze passing southbound through Bosphorus

On 25 July 2017, a Turkish Navy, Preveze or Gür class submarine was sighted passing through Bosphorus.

Since Turkish Navy stopped painting the pennant number of the submarines on their hulls, it is impossible to identify each individual submarine anymore. While this new painting scheme helps the submarines to blend and prevents IR/FLIR/LLTV using trackers or electro-optic directors any high contrast target, it makes ship spotting difficult.

Last week TCG Preveze took part in naval exercise Breeze in Bulgaria while TCG Batıray took part in naval exercise Sea Breeze 2017 in Ukraine.

Since this is the first Preveze or Gür class submarine returning from the Black Sea and the only one recently reported to be deployed in the region, I think it is safe to say that this submarine is S-353 TCG Preveze.

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Ukranian Naval Exercise Sea Breeze 17 Has Started

US Navy cruiser USS Hue City and Turkish frigate F-241 TCG Turgutreis, off the coast of Ukraine. Photo: US Navy

Sea Breeze 2017 naval exercise has started in Odessa, Ukraine. This is the 17th edition of exercise which takes place in the Black Sea between 10. and 23. July 2017.

This year over 3,000 military personnel, 31 ship and 29 aircraft from the following nations is taking part: Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Unlike previous events this year’s exercise will have no previously written scenario.

The specifics of the Ukrainian-U.S. exercise Sea Breeze 2017 are an altered structure of the headquarters, which this year will make up the exercise control headquarters and a separate naval command headquarters, which is developed in compliance with NATO standards. The method used in holding the exercise will be different from that of the previous exercises as well: the international maneuvers will be held in a “free play” mode,” the press center quoted the head of the working group on planning the exercise nominated by the Ukrainian Navy, Deputy Navy Commander on Training Captain Oleksiy Neizhpapa, as having said.

Neizhpapa added that during the Sea Breeze-2017, the multinational naval command headquarters will exercise planning and control of forces under given conditions, as well as decision-making and supervising with regard to ship tactical groups and coastal and air force components. This will allow for testing the advanced naval command headquarters’ capability of managing forces and operations to meet NATO standards, he said.

Every year, we complicate the exercise program. It’s like in sport. After so many years of cooperation and practice, we are ready for a “free game”. We will work out various scenarios , – said the head of the Sea Breeze-2017 from the American side, Navy Captain Tate Westbrook, the commander of U.S. 6th Fleet’s Task Force 65 and of the U.S. forces on scene.

Under the scenario, as explained by Captain Westbrook, the fleet of surfaces ships will conduct anti submarine warfare, try to find and neutralise the enemy submarine, the role played by the Turkish submarine TCG Batıray.

Well good luck to the ships in their effort against TCG Batıray.  This exercise shows  Turkey as the only NATO nation that can deploy submarines to the Black Sea. Romania has one Kilo class submarine on its naval register but no one has seen that boat deployed and Bulgaria disband its submarine force in 2013.

Here is the list of the participants as far as I could find:

Number Name Type Nationality
S-343 TCG Batıray Submarine Turkey
NL-124 TCG Karamürselbey Landing ship Turkey
F-241 TCG Turgutreis Frigate Turkey
CG-66 USS Hue City Cruiser USA
DDG-64 USS Carney Destroyer USA
265 ROS Contraamiral Horia Macellariu Corvette Romania
111 Maresesti Frigate Romania
U-130 Hetman Sahaidachny Frigate Ukraine

Bulgarian Naval Exercise Breeze 2017 Has Started

Super Vita class fast attack craft, HS Anthypoploiarchos Ritsos passed through Turkish Straits to participate in Breeze 2017 naval exercise.

Naming of military operations and exercises has always been a controversial topic. So it does not help much when Bulgaria names the naval exercise as Breeze when there is Ukrainian – USA joint exercise called Sea Breeze. It is not easy to distinguish between them two. The timing of these exercises makes it even more difficult.

Breeze 2017 is the Bulgarian exercise. The warships participating to this exercise have gathered in Varna.The exercise started on 14 July 2017 and will end on 23 July.

The purpose of the exercise is to develop cooperation and interoperability by performing actual maritime training among the multinational forces in the Black Sea. Besides the host, Turkey, USA, England, Italy, Poland, Romania and Greece are participating After Bulgaria, Turkey has the second largest number of units taking part in the exercise.

Here is the list of the participants as far as I could find:

Number Name Type Nationality
S-343 TCG Preveze Submarine Turkey
P-330 TCG Kılıç Fast attack craft Turkey
P-1214 TCG Karadeniz Ereğli Patrol boat Turkey
F-241 TCG Yıldırım Frigate Turkey
D-37 HMS Duncan Destroyer UK
P-71 HS Anthypoploiarchos Ritsos Fast attack craft Greece

National Submarine Workshop

A digitally created rendering of Milden shown during the workshop. The end product may have a much different shape. Interesting to note that it has X type rudders a shrouded propeller. The thin line prodding form the aft of the submarine is like to house a towed array sonar or a towed counter measure. There is a provision for flank array sonar. The sail is streamlined and houses the forward diving planes.

Turkish Naval Forces organised a national Submarine Workshop on 15. and 16. June at Tuzla Naval Shipyard.

This invitation only workshop was attended by marine engineers both military and civilian, representatives of defense companies and scholars.

The aim was to create a viable road map for the National Submarine, to identify competencies and competences of the national companies and potential short comings, risks in design and production phases.

Turkish Navy wants to commission its first indigenous submarine in 2030. Commander of Turkish Naval Forces Admrail Bostanoğlu stated in his opening speech that Turkish Navy was overhauling its submarines in Gölcük Naval Yard for the last 53 years. He also mentioned that Turkey constructed 11 submarines in 35 years and the building of Type 214 submarines was proceeding.

For me the most interesting part of the speech when Admiral Bostanoğlu mentioned that Turkish Navy developed its own engineering solution to 5 major design faults of Type 214 submarines.

These solutions were verified by TKMS and incorporated into the design of Turkish Type 214’s. Therefore the Turkish submarines will have slightly different dimensions compared to the one’s already serving in Greek, Portuguese and South Korean navies.

Admiral Bostanoğlu indicated the following objectives where local work and innovations is needed:

  • Integrated sonar and fire control system
  • High resolution optronics systems
  • Periscope
  • LPI navigation radar
  • ECM system capable of detecting LPI radars
  • Enhanced COMING and SIGINT capabilities
  • Accurate inertial navigation system
  • EHF and SHF satellite communication system
  • Link 16/22 ability
  • AIP
  • High powered batteries
  • Long range land attack capable cruise missiles
  • Locally developed torpedoes and mines
  • Torpedo and mine countermeasures.

Milden is the Turkish abbreviation of MİLli DENizaltı meaning National Submarine in English. It will be quite a buzz word for the next decade like Milgem.

It is not a secret that Turkey aims to develop and built its own submarines and reduce its dependency to foreign suppliers in critical areas. This workshop indicates that the local know-how and production abilities reached a critical mark where a local development is considered feasible.

Turkey Makes A Sales Pitch For Type 214 Submarines To Indonesia

This presentation by TKMS from 2014, shows the local Turkish content in the Type 214 submarines, which is substantial compared to the previous submarine construction projects.

6 years ago Indonesia was looking for new submarines to replace her old German Type 209 class boats. Turkey and South Korea were in competition to supply the new submarines.

That was odd, very odd since both nations can only construct German submarines under license but neither has a locally developed submarines design. In other words, Turkey and South Korea were offering newer German Type 209 class submarines to Indonesia, to replace her old German Type 209 class submarines. And Germany was not in the competition.

In December 2011 it was announced that Daewoo Shipbuilding had been awarded a contract, to build 3 submarines. The first submarine is scheduled for delivery later in this year.

Jane’s Navy International reports that in early 2017, a team from Gölcük Naval Shipyard and TKMS ,the company that created Type 209 and Type 214 submarines and  visited Indonesian Navy Headquarters.

In 2015, Gölcük Naval Shipyard commenced a 10 year programme, to build 6 Type 214, locally know as, Reis class submarines, for Turkish Navy. A contract with TKMS was signed in 2009. The first boat TCG Pirireis is expected to launch in 2019.

According to JNI, the Indonesian Navy has received an offer from Gölcük Shipyard to supply a variant of the Reis class submarine. The meetings and presentations on the Type 214 class in Jakarta will be followed by a visit of Indonesian naval officials to Gölcük Shipyard’s facilities, where they will observe construction work on TCG Pirireis. This visit is currently scheduled to take place from 7 to 12 May 2017, in parallel to the IDEF 2017 exhibition.

It will be interesting to see which side the Germans will take. South Korea could not win 6 years ago, without help and support from Germany. Both Turkey and South Korea have an ongoing Type 214 construction program both can and probably will compete again. The Indonesian submarine project will definitely interesting to watch.

Lest We Forget: TCG Dumlupınar

On 4 April 1953, two Turkish submarines, TCG Dumlupınar and TCG 1. İnönü, entered Dardanelles southbound. They were returning from the NATO naval exercise Blue Sea.

TCG Dumlupınar was leading the two ship formation. When the submarine reached Cape Nara, the narrowest point of the Strait, a Swedish flagged cargo ship M/V Naboland collided with the submarine. The accident happened at 02:15 in the morning.

M/V Naboland rammed TCG Dumlupınar from starboard forecastle just aft of the forward diving planes. The submarine rolled to port with force of the impact and sunk immediately. 5 submariners who were in the sail, at the time of the collision survived. Rest of the crew, 81 men, were trapped inside her hull. The boat sunk at the narrowest point of Dardanelles at 85 meters where the currents are also the strongest.

22 sailors trapped in the aft torpedo compartment, were able to release the submarine’s sunk buoy. There was a frantic effort to reach the submarine and is possible to rescue the trapped sailors for the next 72 hours.

Since that fateful day, on every 4th of April, we remember those, that have a watery grave, where no rose will grow.

TCG 1. İnönü In Durres

TCG 1. İnönü in Durres port. Photo: Durres Lajm

It is not usual for submarines to make port visit in foreign countries.  TCG 1. İnönü visited the Albanian port Durrës between 30 March and 1 April 2017.

According to Albanian press:

Her visit to our country made in the framework of strengthening relations between the navies of the two countries and NATO operations. The submarine is about 62 m long and has a total carrying capacity of our 1456. It is equipped with eight torpedo visible, and other military equipment, the number of which has been withheld for military reasons.

It is engaged in the protection of Turkish national security and in the framework of the activities of NATO forces in support of global peace and security. The submarine, the Turkish production in 2008, has a crew of 45 soldiers of various ranks. After entering the port, command of the submarine crew and officers are expected in separate meetings with the mayor of Durres Vangjush Dako and then by the Prefecture of Durres Roland Xhelili.

It is interesting to note that Turkish submarines regularly visit Durrës. As far as I know, the following  Turkish submarines were in Durrës:

The Participants In Dynamic Manta 2017

The participants to Dynamic Manta 2017 ASW exercise. Click to enlarge.  Photo: NATO Allied Maritime Command

NATO Allied Maritime Command posted photos of the participants to Dynamic Manta 2017 anti submarine warfare exercise at Flicker.

It was announced that, 6 submarines and 10 surface ships were going to take part in this war game. The above photo shows all the submarines and most of the surface units.

The absence of Turkish frigate TCG Giresun from the group photos is noteworthy. It is also remarkable, the addition of Italian tanker ITS Etna, since Italian Navy has not announced this earlier.

Is ITS Etna is substituting for another ship, perhaps for the missing Royal Navy ship or was she photobombing the PHOTEX?

Nr of Photo Number Name Type Country
1 78 USS Porter Destroyer USA
2 D-560 ITS Luigi Durand De La Penne Destroyer Italy
3 781 USS California Submarine USA
4 F-459 HS Adrias Frigate Greece
5 D-642 FS Montcalm Destroyer France
6 A-14 ESPS Patiño Tanker Spain
7 S-120 HS Papanikolis Submarine Greece
8 S-360 TCG 1. İnönü Submarine Turkey
9 S-80 ESPS Mistral Submarine Spain
10 A-5326 ITS Etna Tanker Italy
11 340 HMCS St. John’s Frigate Canada
12 F-82 ESPS Victoria Frigate Spain
13 Ruby class Submarine France
14 S-528 ITS Pietro Venuti Submarine Italy
15 F-104 ESPS Méndez Núñez Frigate Spain
F-491 TCG Giresun Frigate Turkey

Dynamic Manta 2017 Started In Italy

TCG 1. İnönü in Catania port. Photo: NATO MARCOM

NATO’s Submarine Warfare Exercise Dynamic Manta 2017 began today off the Sicilian coast, with ships, submarines, aircraft and personnel from 10 Allied nations.

According to NATO press release submarines from France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and the United States, under the control of Commander, Submarines NATO (COMSUBNATO), will join 10 surface ships from Canada, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey and the United States.

Nine Maritime Patrol Aircraft and three shore based helicopters from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States will operate from Sigonella Air Base under the control of Commander, Maritime Air NATO (COMMARAIRNATO).

The aim of this exercise is to provide all participants with complex and challenging warfare training to enhance their interoperability and proficiency in anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare skills, with due regard for safety.

Below is the list of the participant as best as I could find on internet. Additions and corrections are welcomed.

Number Name Type Country
340 HMCS St. John’s Frigate Canada
D-642 FS Montcalm Destroyer France
Submarine France
F-459 HS Adrias Frigate Greece
S-120 HS Papanikolis Submarine Greece
D-560 ITS Luigi Durand De La Penne Destroyer Italy
S-528 ITS Pietro Venuti Submarine Italy
A-14 ESPS Patiño Tanker Spain
F-104 ESPS Méndez Núñez Frigate Spain
F-82 ESPS Victoria Frigate Spain
S-80 ESPS Mistral Submarine Spain
F-491 TCG Giresun Frigate Turkey
S-360 TCG 1. İnönü Submarine Turkey
781 USS California Submarine USA
 78 USS Porter Destroyer USA

Attempted Sabotage On Submarine TCG Gür

A Turkish Type 209/1400 Preveze/Gür class submarine passing through the Bosphorus

A Turkish Type 209/1400 Preveze/Gür class submarine passing through the Bosphorus

This is a very recent and sad story and it breaks my hearth to write about it.  Today Hürriyet newspaper reported about an attempted sabotage on board of Turkish submarine TCG Gür.

I am sure that, we will hear more about it in the coming days, but as today the story is as follows:

A petty officer, whose name is withheld, was on watch at 30th December 2016 on board of submarine TCG Gür. He made several (unauthorized) trips to the machinery department and dropped pieces of metal, nuts and similar things into the main diesel engine of the submarine.

The petty officer was arrested on charges “attempt to destroy the sea transport vehicle belonging to the State’s Armed Forces'” on 5th January 2017.

I am happy to hear that there was no damage to the submarine and at the attempted sabotage was thwarted.

TCG Gür is the first boat of the second batch Type 209/1400 class submarines. She is commissioned in 2003 and is one of the most advanced submarines in our navy.

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