A Large Piece Of Grey, Steel Lump

TCG Bayraktar during her acceptance test in 2017. She seems to have become the de facto training ship of Turkish Navy.

On 3rd September the second year cadets of Turkish Naval Academy boarded TCG Bayraktar for a 20 day training cruise in the Black Sea.

318 Turkish students and 7 guest students from South Korea, Albania, Senegal, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Azerbaijan will sail through the Black Sea and visit Varna Bulgaria, Poti Georgia, Trabzon Turkey.

TCG Bayraktar seems to be the favorite training platform of the Turkish Navy replacing the old Rhein class ships TCG Cezayirli Hasan Paşa and TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa. These two ships, initially built as tender for Germany Navy were transferred to Turkish Navy in 1980’ies. In Turkish service, they are mainly used as used for training cruises of Turkish Naval Petty Officer Vocational School and Turkish Naval Academy. Besides training cruises, both ships are used in flagships duties.

But for the last two years, TCG Bayraktar was deployed for the training cruises. While I can understand why TCG Bayraktar is now the chosen platform for the training cruises. She is landing ship with a capacity to carry 350 persons. She has an 1100 square meter closed parking area and a 690 square meter large open deck. So there is enough place for the cadets to live and to train.

TCG Bayraktar has modern command and control facilities, advanced damage control systems and weapons. So she is an effective platform to teach the cadets and show them how to live and fight on ships.

TCG Bayraktar is a convenient platform for training unfortunately not the most representative one nor were the Rhein class ships. Turkish Navy needs a dedicated training ship. And I would like it to be a sailing ship.

Almost one decade ago, in December 2008, the Defence Industry Executive Committee approved the commencement of training ship project. On 29 January 2009, Undersecretariat for Defense Industries issued a request for information (RfI) document about schooner type ships. But nothing since then happened. For some years the project was listed in the official presentations of UDI under the future acquisition projects. Now they even don’t do that. I have no doubt that nobody in Undersecretariat for Defence Industries or in Turkish Navy is talking about this project anymore.

I personally STILL look forward to seeing these schooners in service. I believe that only sailing can teach a young and aspiring sea cadet about the forces that will shape his/her life in the coming twenty-thirty years.

There is no better way than sailing and challenging the elements, in order to develop good ship handling skills and a feeling for the sea. Today’s naval warfighting has become something like an arcade game. All command, control, and communication are done in the bowels of the ship. Yet a commander of any warship must be a sailor first and bring the ship back to the port safely.

I can not think of a person who would not be impressed by seeing a tall ship sailing into their port. TCG Bayraktar is a large piece of grey steel lump, impressive but unimaginative. In terms of naval soft power, these schooners will a force multiplier for the Turkish Navy when and if they enter into the service.

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Turkish Naval Special Forces In Training Jump

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On 25 June I was at the northern entrance of the Bosphorus for a day trip. At first the sound of the aircraft engine did not grab my attention but the blooming parachutes did.

The plane is a CASA CN-235 cargo plane, very similar to the ASW planes of the Turkish Navy. But the lack of the MAD boom and the radar receivers on top clearly indicates that this plane is the cargo version. The place where the jumps were made is close to a training facility of Turkish Naval special forces. Thus I assume that it was them who jump out of the plane.

Turkish Navy Training Ships In Venice

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A-577 TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa and A-579 TCG Cezayirli Gazi Hasan Paşa in Venice. Photo: Dilek Yaylalı.

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A-577 TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa in Venice. Photo: Dilek Yaylalı.

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A-579 TCG Cezayirli Gazi Hasan Paşa in Venice. Photo: Dilek Yaylalı.

The two training ships of the Turkish Navy A-577 TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa and A-579 TCG Cezayirli Gazi Hasan Paşa are cruising in Mediterranean with the Turkish Naval Petty Officer Vocational School on board.

Every year the cadets take part in these open sea cruises as a port of their training.

During this year’s cruise the two ships will visit Split, Croatia, Venice, Italy, İzmir and Çanakkale before returning to home.

The above photos show the ship during their visit to Venice, Italy between 18 and 23 May 2014.

Turkish Warships Ended Their Visit In Odessa

A-1600 TCG İskenderun enters into port of Odessa. Photo by Vladimir Trofimov, Odessa, specially for BSNews

A-1600 TCG İskenderun enters into port of Odessa. Photo by Vladimir Trofimov, Odessa, specially for BSNews. Used with permission. 

As reported earlier, Turkish Navy training ship A-577 TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa and the transporter A-1600 TCG İskenderun made an  official visit to Odessa, Ukraine.

The ships are carrying the students of the Turkish Naval Petty Officer Vocational School. Their first port of call was Samsun, Turkey. The ships will sail to Varna, Bulgaria after leaving Odessa.

The always information website BlackSea News has an excellent post with many photos about this visit of the Turkish ships. 

The Summer Cruise Of Turkish Naval Cadets

A-577 TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa, passing through Bosphorus in 2012.

A-577 TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa, passing through Bosphorus in 2012.

The training ship A-577 TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa and the transporter A-1600 TCG İskenderun are in Odessa, Ukraine for a 3 day official visit.

The ships are carrying the students of the Turkish Naval Petty Officer Vocational School. Their first port of call was Samsun, Turkey. The ships will sail to Varna, Bulgaria after leaving Odessa.

According to the blog Ships Bk, this is the third time TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa visits Odessa and the first time for TCG İskenderun.

Turkish Warships Visit Novorossiysk During Training Cruise

Two ships of Turkish Navy A-1600 TCG Iskenderun and A-579 TCG Cezayirli Gazi Hasan Paşa, have finished their port visit to Novorossiysk, Russia.

The ships are on an open sea training cruises for the freshman of the Naval Petty Officer Training School, to prepare the future mariners for their duties. The cruise will end on 3rd June 2012.

According to Rusnavy.com:

Turkish Navy task unit consisting of training ships Iskenderun and Cezayirli Gazi Hasan Paşa called at Russian port Novorossiysk paying formal visit. About 500 naval cadets are on board the Turkish ships.

Purpose of the visit is strengthening of military cooperation between the two countries and exchange of naval training experience.

The task unit is headed by Capt Serdar Gundoglu. Solemn meeting ceremony took place at Novorossiysk seaport. Ladies dressed in Russian national costumes presented traditional bread and salt to the foreign guests.

Later on, a regular moorage security meeting was held on board Turkish ship Iskenderun. The meeting was attended by representatives of local police, harbor security service, and Novorossiysk Naval Base command.

Today the guests paid courtesy visits to Novorossiysk Mayor Vladimir Sinyagovsky and Novorossiysk Naval Base Commander (senior naval officer) Capt 1 Rank Sergei Pinchuk, and visited museum cruiser Mikhail Kutuzov.

When staying in Novorossiysk, Turkish naval cadets will attend the wreath-laying ceremony at the Square of Heroes and visit navigation training center of Novorossiysk State Maritime Academy. It is also planned to hold sport competitions in soccer, volleyball and basketball between Russian and Turkish mariners.

Turkish Naval Academy Training Craft

Six of the eight training craft of the Turkish Naval Academy were seen during a navigation and formation training at Bosphorus. I guess this is a good opportunity to try WordPress’ new photo gallery tool.

Enjoy!

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