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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:

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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

Mid-Life Modernisation For Barbaros Class Frigates

TCG Oruçreis with her new Smart-S Mk2 radar and VLS for ESSM missiles. She will undergo a mid-life modernisation to bring her combat management systems up to the same level with her new sensors and weapons. Click here for a pre modernisation photo.

Turkish Navy signed a contract with Aselsan-Havelsan Joint Venture for mid-life upgrade on Barbaros class frigates.

The scope of the contract is to replace the legacy combat management system on board of the 4 MEKO 200 Track IIA/B class frigates, commissioned between 1997 and 2000 to Turkish Navy. These frigates have TACTICOS combat management system built by Dutch company Signaal. (Now Thales). The new Barbaros Combat Management System (BI-SYS), will be a derivate of the existing GENESIS CMS made locally and used on Ada (Milgem) class corvettes and Gabya (Perry) class frigates.

The joint venture is formed between the defence electronic company Aselsan and defense software company Havelsan The Joint Venture, will carry out development of all the hardware and software needed to integrate weapons and sensors on board with the BI-SYS. This phase will be followed by land and sea test before final integration on board of the ships.

Furthermore, a fire control system to control the Mk45 127mm gun will be manufactured with the knowledge gained from a similar FC system developed locally for the 76mm guns.

The delivery of the first ship is planned in November 2020.

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.

First Damen SAR 1906 Boat Is Getting Ready For The Service

In November 2016, Dutch shipyard Damen has signed a contract with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Ankara, Turkey for the supply of six, search and rescue (SAR) vessels for delivery in 2017.

The boats are designed for SAR operations in all-weather and can self right within seconds after a capsize or even a 360° roll. The 19 meter long boat, has a maximum speed of 31 knots and can carry up to 120 survivors.

The six boats will be built by Damen’s Turkish Shipyard in Antalya. The first two boats are scheduled for delivery in the first half of 2017 and the deliveries will be finished by the end of 2017.

These will be the first Damen built boats for Turkish Coast Guard. And these boats are going to be the first dedicated and purpose designed search and rescue vessels of Turkish Coast Guard. Damen was not a supplier for Turkish Coast Guard. The fact that the contract was financed by EU funds must have helped the Dutch company. Turkish Coast Guard usually prefers local shipyards and local designs.

Below is a video of the self righting test of the first boat courtesy of Mr. Murat Güçlü.

Turkish Antiship Missile Makes Debut

The above image is to be believed a photo of Atmaca anti ship missile. The photo was taken by a test firing on a terrestrial range. Probably to test the flight characteristics and or the range.

The project must started at least 10 years ago. In his memorials Admiral Özden Örnek, Commander of Turkish Navy between 2003 and 2005, recalls that, he has been briefed by Roketsan that %85 of  the current anti-ship missile in inventory, could be made by indigenous components. He approves the proposal and gives the deadline as 2015.

There was very few publicly available information about the status of the project and the missile itself. Undersecreteriat For Defence industries (UDI) signed a contract for the R&D phase with Roketsan as main contractor, in 2009. The defense electronic company Aselsan is developing the RF seeker head and guidance section, Roketsan is responsible from the body and flight characteristics of the missile.

In 2016 a test firing on a terrestrial shooting range was conducted. The above photo, published from this test is the first ever photo of the Atmaca surface to surface anti-ship missile.

The photograph has strong barrel distortion as it was taken with a very wide-angle objective. The distortion makes it very difficult to judge the distances and the length of the objects correctly.

The launcher mount and the 4 canisters mounted on have very strong resemblance to an Mk-141 Harpoon missile launcher. I have put a standard Mk-141 launcher and the Atmaca launcher of the same photo and marked some features. The similarities are just too much, to be just a coincidence. Thus I believe that Atmaca was fired from a Mk-141 Harpoon canister. And for the rest of the text I will base my assumptions on this fact.

The longest version of surfaced launched Harpoon is Block 1D / RGM-84F. This missile is 5,23 or 5,28 meters long with the booster. It has a diameter of 0,343 meters and a wing span of 0,8 meters.

Since Atmaca was fired from a standard Harpoon canister it cannot be longer than RGM-84F. Thus the length of Atmaca missile with the booster is less than or equal to 5,23 meters.

The main wing of the Turkish missile is larger than its US counterpart. There are two hinges on the main wing of Atmaca compared to one on Harpoon wings. Therefore the wing span of Atmaca is greater than Harpoons. This change was obviously made to improve the flight performance of the missile. The control fins of the Turkish missile is considerably smaller than the US missile. The air intake of Atmaca is place between the wings and fins while the air intake of Harpoon is placed between the wings.

According to Savunma ve Havacılık magazine a further test firing from a naval unit may happen in 2017 and according to the results of the test a low rate initial production (LRIP) may start in 2018. The initial production is estimated to be between 64 and 100 units.

Atmaca missile is expected to be the main offensive weapon of the upcoming İstif class frigates. The ships with GENESIS combat management system are likely to be fitted with the new missile since the incorporation of the new hardware to existing the software will be less expensive and time consuming.

If Turkish Navy intents to exchange all the Harpoon missiles in its inventory on 1:1 basis with Atmaca missile the at least 350 missiles are needed.

Where An Epoch Lies

Nusret

“Stop wayfarer! Unbeknownst to you this ground, You come and tread on, is where an epoch lies.”

18 March 1915 must have been an unforgettable day for a ship spotter.

A mighty Allied fleet consisting of HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Agamemnon, HMS Lord Nelson, HMS Inflexible, HMS Prince George, HMS Triump, HMS Ocean, HMS Majestic, HMS Swiftsure, HMS Vengeance, HMS Irresistible, HMS Albion from Royal Navy, Gaulois, Charlemange, Bouvet, Suffren from French Navy were ready to fight the forts protecting Dardanelles.

The Royal Navy and French warships tried to force their way through the Dardanelles to affect the capture of Istanbul then capital of Ottoman Empire. This, it was hoped, would take Turkey out of the war and enable the Allies to shore up the Russian war effort on the Eastern Front, so relieving pressure on the Western Front.

Most of the ships of the Allied Fleet were old or made nearly obsolete with the fast advance of the new ships of the Dreadnought area. The first class capital ships were kept at home to protect it.

Nevertheless it was a fine and powerful Fleet and an epoch changing fight.

Everything seem to be on the side of the Allied naval forces until at around 14.00 on March 18, when a small cloud of yellowish smoke, which turned black afterwards, came out of the starboard quarter of the French warship Bouvet. The old battleship had struck one of the mines laid ten days earlier by small Ottoman minelayer Nusret. Bouvet sank in a matter of minutes. After a very short time, HMS Inflexible and shortly later HMS Irresistible also struck mines planted by Nusret.

Of the 18 capital ships that sailed in the Dardanelles that morning HMS Ocean, HMS Irresistible and Bouvet never returned. HMS Inflexible and Gaulois had to be beached at the nearby island of Tenedos, in order for their men to be rescued. Suffren was heavily damaged by Turkish guns and later had to be docked at Malta for intensive repairs.

The failure of the naval forces forced the Allies to land troops on the Gallipoli Peninsula to capture it and so remove the lethal gun barriers. It led bloody trench warfare and many thousands of dead on both sides.

As it dissipated over the waters the words of a famous Turkish poem that honors then sacrifice of the Gallipoli Campaign and its role in establishing nationhood rang through the minds of many who were there. One verse in particular seems to perfectly express Remembrance and the epic nature of the events experience by all nations who fought at Gallipoli, but especially the Turkish people:

‘Stop wayfarer! Unbeknownst to you this ground
You come and tread on, is where an epoch lies;
Bend down and lend your ear, for this silent mound
Is the place where the heart of a nation sighs.’

SNMG-2 Ships Arrived In Samsun

NATO SAVAŞ GEMİLERİ SAMSUN’DA NATO'YA AİT İKİ SAVAŞ GEMİSİ SAMSUN LİMANI'NA DEMİR ATTI

HMCS St. John’s in Samsun harbour. Photo: samsunkenthaber.com

Today, Spanish frigate ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbon and Canadian frigate HMCS St. John’s constituting, Standing NATO Martime Group 2, Task Unit 2 arrived in Samsun, Turkey.

The ships  will stay in Samsun for 3 days. They have left Varna, Bulgaria on last Monday with the Bulgarian warship Reshitelni and spend the rest of the week cruising the Black Sea.

The ships have sailed to the Black Sea on 31st January and can stay only 21 days in the region. This means that the ships must make their southbound passage through Bosphorus in the next four days.

 

 

Turkish Parliament Extended The Anti-Piracy Mission Of Turkish Navy

On 8th February 2017, The Grand National Assembly of Turkey, extended the presence of Turkish Navy in Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, and adjacent seas.

The first bill allowing Turkish government to deploy Turkish Naval Forces for anti piracy operations was accepted in 10 February 2009. It was extended in one year periods ever since.

Turkish warship are  tasked with:

  • Performing reconnaissance and patrol duties,
  • Calling on ships suspected of piracy/ armed robbery, on the radio, boarding them if their flag country approves and interfering in accordance with the international law if the ship is not showing any flag,
  • Escorting and protecting merchant ships,
  • Helping merchant ships under attack of pirates/sea robbers,
  • Intervening, stopping, neutralizing, and confiscating any vessels used by pirates/sea robbers, and using appropriate force if necessary,
  • Arresting and detaining pirates/sea robbers and armed persons in these vessels,
  • Accepting the representatives of the countries that will prosecute pirates/ armed robbers on board, for the preparations of judicial proceedings, according to the UN resolution 1851.
  • Arresting and detaining, pirates/armed robbers on board until they are being handed over to the countries that will prosecute them,
  • Turning in, the suspects of pirates/sea robbers with the exception of the case that these are Turkish citizens, to the authorities the nation where the pirates/sea robbers will be prosecuted,
  • Executing all kinds of policing duties including interrogation, collecting evidence.

Apart from the two task force deployments in 2011 and 2014, since 2009 following Turkish frigates took part in anti-piracy operations in the region:

Number Name Start of Deployment End of Deployment
F-496 TCG Gökova 29.10.2008 6.12.2008
F-491 TCG Giresun 17.02.2009 17.06.2009
F-490 TCG Gaziantep 17.06.2009 6.10.2009
F-495 TCG Gediz 21.06.2009 15.10.2009
F-496 TCG Gökova 16.10.2009 8.02.2010
F-492 TCG Gemlik 8.02.2010 24.04.2010
F-493 TCG Gelibolu 27.02.2010 13.08.2010
F-494 TCG Gökçeada 5.08.2010 22.10.2010
F-490 TCG Gaziantep 22.10.2010 25.01.2011
F-491 TCG Giresun 25.01.2011 15.06.2011
F-495 TCG Gediz 18.09.2011 7.12.2011
F-491 TCG Giresun 28.11.2011 19.06.2012
F-492 TCG Gemlik 7.06.2012 10.12.2012
F-496 TCG Gökova 10.12.2012 15.06.2013
F-497 TCG Göksu 6.06.2013 7.12.2013
F-493 TCG Gelibolu 7.12.2013 14.03.2014
F-494 TCG Gökçeada 10.03.2014 17.06.2014
F-492 TCG Gemlik 5.08.2015 29.12.2015
F-512 TCG Büyükada 6.02.2015 7.04.2015
F-495 TCG Gediz 6.04.2015 24.07.2015

First Steel Cut For TCG Istanbul

The first steel for the new frigate TCG İstanbul was cut with ceremony. Photo: Arif Hüdaverdi Yaman, Anadolu Ajansı via Turkish MoD.

On 19 January 2017, first steel was cut for the Turkish frigate TCG İstanbul in Istanbul Naval Shipyard.

Defence Minister and Commander of Turkish Naval Forces attended the ceremony that marked the construction start of Turkey’s first indigenous frigate.

TCG İstanbul will be the first ship of a class of 4 frigates also known as İ (or İstif according to Turkish Naval spelling alphabet) class. The others will be called as TCG İzmir, TCG İzmit and TCG İçel.

The conceptual drawing of this new class was first revealed during the IDEF 2015 International Defense Industry Fair.

The new frigate will be about 14 meters longer but will have the same width as Ada class. TCG İstanbul will be 600 tons heavier and have a deeper draft due to the increased weapon load and other design changes.

The main gun is a 76mm with a stealth cupola. There is 16 cell Mk41 VLS system just behind the gun, for ESSM missiles.

The form of the bridge and the main mast is almost identical to the existing Ada class only slightly enlarge. There will be a Smart-S Mk2 radar and ARES-2 ESM suit on the mast.

One important difference between the ships is the number of the anti-ship missiles carried. The weapon load on İstif class will be the double of Ada class with 16 missiles launchers. This is the twice the usual load of the existing anti-ship missiles normally carried on Turkish warships.

Another difference is the selection of the self-defence weapons. While the Ada class has the Mk49 launcher for RAM anti-air missiles the İstif class will be fitted with a Mk15 Phalanx CIWS.

adavsistif

A comparison between Ada and İstif class

The above mentioned are the external differences between the two generation of Milgem ships. The internal changes are very hard to tell at this time. But nevertheless, one might safely say that the combat management system of the second generation will be an improved version of the first generation.

The construction of TCG İstanbul is expected to be completed within the next 46 months with the intended commissioning date 2021.

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