TCG Kınalıada Joins Turkish Navy

TCG Kınalıada in Istanbul Naval Shipyard. This photo was taken on May 2019 by Gökhan Karakaş.

The fourth and the final Ada class Corvette TCG Kınalıada was commissioned to the Turkish Navy on 29th September 2019.

TCG Kınalıada has entered into service 8 years after the first ship of the class was commissioned. Her entry also means the completion of Milgem class corvette production for the Turkish Navy.

On the outside, TCG Kınalıada may very much look like the first ship TCG Heybeliada, but she incorporates significant improvements reflecting the advance of the Turkish defense industry during the last decade:

  1. TCG Kınalıada is the first ship ever to be fitted with the indigenous Atmaca anti-ship missile. The corvette is expected to conduct a live firing of the missile in November. When officially commissioned Atmaca will be fitted back to the existing warships in the inventory.
  2. TCG Kınalıada and TCG Burgazada are fitted with Aselsan Seaeye-Ahtapot electro-optic sensor on the aft mast while the previous ships use Aselflir 300. Aselflir 300 was originally designed for airborne platforms and was installed without much modification for a service on a warship. Thus the meantime between regular maintenance is quite short for a maritime system and the whole sensor must be taken down for the maintenance. These shortcomings are rectified in Seaeye-Ahtapot. It has a better tracking range and resolution.
  3. TCG Kınalıada and TCG Burgazada have Aselsan made Hızır countermeasure system for torpedo attacks.  The system consists of two decoy launchers on both sides of the funnel and one towed array and decoy. Though the system is very similar to a torpedo countermeasure system SeaSentor manufactured by Ultra, used the other ships. The logistics of a locally constructed system is preferred by the end-user.
  4. Another important change inside TCG Kınalıada is the new Genesis Advent combat management system with network-enabled capability. This new CMS has native data link capability and can manage Link 11,16 and 22 at the same time. It increases situational awareness. When ships are installed with Genesis Advent they will be able not only to see and share the same tactical picture but also to control and train each other’s sensors and weapon systems.

When I was watching the commissioning ceremony, I couldn’t stop thinking about, what would have happened, if the tender for the construction of 6 Milgem class, won by RMK Marine Shipyard had not been canceled back in 2013. Since the cancelation of the project happened before the completion of the contract negotiation thus we will never know the planned delivery dates. But surely we would have 2 to 3 more Milgem type corvettes in inventory as we do have now.

Even the best ship cannot be in two places at the same time.  And we need more warships now both to rejuvenate our aging fleet and to protect our interest in the blue homeland.

First Steel Cut For Pakistan Navy Milgem Project Ship


Pakistan Navy Chief OF Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi and the President of the Turkish Republic, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan jointly cut the first steel of the first Milgem class warship for Pakistan. The ceremony was held on 29th September 2019 in Istanbul Naval Shipyard.

In July 2018, a contract was signed between Military Factory and Shipyard Management Corporation (ASFAT) of Turkey and the Pakistani National Defense Ministry Ammunition Production and Karachi Shipyard for the construction of four Milgem class warships. The construction of the first ship will take 54 months and she is expected to be launched in 2012 and delivered to Pakistan Navy in 2023. The remaining ships will follow her in 6-month intervals. The last ship will be handed over in 2025.

The contract has also provisions for transfer of design rights and construction know-how from Turkey to Pakistan.

The first batch of two ships will be constructed in Istanbul Naval Shipyard while the remaining two in Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works.

The exact configuration of the Pakistan Milgem Class ships has not made public. During the Aman Naval Exercise held in February 2019, Admiral Abbasi said that Pakistan ships will be fitted with a 16-Cell VLS behind the main gun for Chinese made medium-range air defense missiles probably LY-80/HHQ-16 variant.

The main offensive weapons of the Pakistan ship could be either Chinese C-802 or local Harbah ASCMs. A CGI image used during the ceremony shows Turkish Aselsan built Gökdeniz close-in weapon system on the Pakistan ship in place of the RAM missile launcher of the Turkish ships.

Turkish Naval Forces Day Commemorated With A Sail Parade

The 27th September, the anniversary of the Battle of Preveza, is celebrated as the Turkish Naval Forces Day.

On 27th September 1538, a naval battle for the supremacy in the Mediterranean was fought between the Ottoman Navy commandeered by Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa and the fleet of a Christian alliance assembled by Pope Paul III and commandeered by Andrea Doria. With the victory at Preveza and the subsequent victory in the Battle of Djerba in 1560, the Ottoman Empire successfully repulsed the efforts of Venice and Spain, the two principal Mediterranean powers, to stop the Turkish drive to control the Mediterranean.

To commemorate the day Turkish Naval Forces organized a sail parade through Istanbul. 8 warships and two special forces RHIB’s took part in the ceremony. All these ships minus TYCG Sancaktar are open for public on Friday afternoon and on Saturday in Istanbul. In all Turkey, 45 ships will be open for public to visit.

F-247 TCG Kemalreis the flagship of the Turkish Navy.

F-246 TCG Salihreis. She too has extra space and equipment to act as a flagship.

F-241 TCG Turgutreis. First-generation of MEKO 200 type frigates in service.

F-512 TCG Büyükada. The second Ada (Milgem) class corvette. She was launched 8 years ago on this day and commissioned 6 years ago again on this day.

F-511 TCG Heybeliada. The first indigenous warship constructed in Turkey. She was commissioned 8 years ago on this day.

L-403 TCG Sancaktar. The newest landing ship in inventory. She has extensive command and control facilities for land operations. 

P-335 TCG Atak. 

P-337 TCG İmbat. Both TCG Atak and TCG İmbat are the last generation of fast attack craft in the Turkish Naval Forces.

Turkish Coast Guard RHIB With Thermal Camera

It is interesting to note that the Turkish Coast Guard changes the configuration of hardware of small vessels depending on the region they are operating.

The above photo shows two small RHIBs of the Turkish Coast Guard. One of the left KB4307 was photographed on 1st July 2019 in İstanbul. One of the right KB4309 was photographed in Çeşme ten days later.

Both have a Raymarine radar. KB4309 has additionally one fixed mount thermal camera. The camera is either ML132 or ML232 from the USA company FLIR. In 2010 FLIR bought Raymarine so essentially FLIR and Raymarine are one. Why the RHIB in Çeşme has the thermal camera and the one Istanbul doesn’t have? The answer is illegal immigration and human trafficking. Çeşme being very close to the Greek Island Xios has been a hot spot for those who want to get across the sea and those who want to stop it.

The thermal camera on KB4309 helps its crew to see the boat full of immigrants in the night and probably records the events for further investigations.

The SNMG-2 Is Back In Istanbul

The flagship of the SNMG-2 HMNLS Eversten in Istanbul.

Turkish contribution to SNMG-2, TCG Yıldırım in Istanbul after sailing the Black Sea for 21 days.

On 29 March four ships of NATO Standing Maritime Force 2 transited northbound through Turkish Straits and entered the Black Sea.

This was the start of the task force’s first Black Sea deployment in 2019.

The French National Marine contribution to the SNMG-2 FS Var also arrived in Istanbul but she did not proceed to the Black Sea with the rest of the group. She remained in the city for a 4-day port visit and later returned to France as her deployment with the task force was over.

Once in the Black Sea Bulgarian frigate, Drazki and Romanian frigate Regele Ferdinand joined the task force before SNMG-2 split in two.

The Canadian frigate HMCS Toronto and the Spanish frigate ESPS Santa Maria sailed to Odessa, Ukraine. According to NATO press release, while in Odesa, the ship captains meet with local military and elected officials, worked with Ukrainian Navy personnel and welcomed local Ukrainian civilians aboard during scheduled open ship periods.

The Canadian and Spanish frigates conducted PASSEX with Ukrainian Matka class (Project 206 MP) corvette Priluki. This exercise was dutifully observed by the Russian intelligence-gathering ship Ivan Khurs.

Turkish town Trabzon was the first stop for the remaining four ships of the task force namely HMNLS Eversten the flagship, TCG Yıldırım, BGS Drazki, and ROS Regele Ferdinand. Following a short 3-day visit, they have sailed to Poti Georgia. Like in Ukraine, following the visit to Poti, SNMG-2 ships conducted a Passing Exercise with the Georgian Coast Guard vessels.

The task force joined in Romanian port Constanta prior to the start of the largest multinational naval exercise in Romania’s territorial waters and in the international waters of the Black Sea: Sea Shield 2019. The Spanish frigate left the taskforce and exited the Black Sea before the task force’s arrival in Romania.

In addition to the ships of SNMG-2, the Greek fast attack craft HS Ritsos, Bulgarian corvette BGS Bodri, and Romanian frigate ROS Marasesti, corvettes ROS Contraamiral Macellariu, ROS Contraamiral Horia Macellariu, missile-carrying fast attack craft ROS Pescarusul, ROS Zborul, minesweepers ROS Lieutenant Lupu Dinescu, ROS Lieutenant Dimitrie Nicolescu also took part, along with Romanian detachment of EOD divers, two mobile anti-ship missile launchers and other support units.

According to the Romanian Defence Ministry approximately 2,200 troops, took part in the exercise who practiced against underwater, surface and air threats, adapted to the typology of security threats in the Black Sea region. The scenario of the exercise was fictional and aimed planning and execution of crisis response operations under the mandate of Security Council resolutions of the United Nations (UNSC), in the context of a security environment characterized by symmetrical and asymmetrical threats.

SNMG-2 exited the Black Sea on 17th April and arrived in Istanbul for a well-deserved port visit. HMNLS Eversten and TCG Yıldırım berthed while HMCS Toronto sailed to the Mediterranean without stopping in the city.

French replenishment tanker FS Var. She arrived in Istanbul with the rest of the task force but did not enter the Black Sea.

Canadian frigate HMCS Toronto. This photo was taken when she was passing through Istanbul. She spent 21 days in the Black Sea and left it sailing directly to the Mediterranean.

This is Spanish frigate ESPS Santa Maria passing northbound through Istanbul. She stayed only 7 days in the Black Sea before exiting it while the rest took part in the Sea Shield naval exercise.

First Logistic Support Ship On Builders Trials

First, of the two logistic support ships, A-574 TCG Yüzbaşı Güngör Durmuş has started her shipyard trials. These two ships will be a welcomed addition to the existing fleet of tankers and replenishment ships of the Turkish Navy.

These ships do not have a rig for underway replenishment alongside but will be able to stream a fuel hose astern for a more old fashioned way.

TCG Yüzbaşı Güngör Durmuş is constructed by Selah Shipyard and should have been handed over to the Navy 18 months ago.

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, Charlemagne, 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 the 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 seemed 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 afterward, 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 to 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 the 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 experienced 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.’

TCG Ufuk Launched

The previously unnamed test and evaluation ship has now a name and a pennant number: A-591 TCG Ufuk.

The ship, the first one in Turkish Navy to bear that name, was launched on 9th February 2019.

TCG Ufuk shows a striking resemblance to Ada class corvettes. Even some main physical attributes like the length, width, drought of the ships are the same. Here is a comparison chart:

TCG Ufuk Ada Class
Length (meters) 99,5 99,5
Width (meters) 14,4 14,4
Draft (meters) 3,6 3,9
Displacement (tons) 2400 2300
Speed (knots) 18+ 29

Two most obvious differences between this ship and the Ada class corvettes are that that TCG Ufuk doesn’t have any weapons.  The test and evaluation ship does have a flight deck to support 10-tonne class helicopters but does not have a hangar.

According to news reports, TCG Ufuk will have an all diesel main propulsion whereas the Ada class ships have a combined gas turbine and diesel engines as main propulsion. The top speed is given as 18+ knots, which is considerably slower than 29 knots top speed of Ada class corvettes.

During the launching ceremony, the President of Turkey Mr. Erdoğan told that this ship was the first intelligence gathering ship built by national means and mentioned the importance of signal intelligence.

The intelligence gathering mission of this ship may explain why the ship will have a 100 tons more displacement compared to Ada class corvettes despite having no weapons and the sensors associated with fire control and why its construction was not published much compared to other defense industry projects.

The commissioning of TCG Ufuk is scheduled for July 2020.

Test And Evaluation Ship Takes Shape

A CGI image of the Test and Evaluation Ship showing her general configuration. The lack of weapons, the enclosure of the section between the funnel and the mast are particularly striking features.

 

The project was first made public in a presentation made by Undersecreteriat for Defence Industries, (SSM) during the 7th Naval Systems Seminar in 2017. SSM simply told that they have signed a contract for a Test and Evaluation Ship.

More information was released in a presentation made by the engineering company STM during the same event. According to STM, they are the main contractor of a project, where one Test and Evaluation Ship (TaES) will be constructed by Istanbul Denizcilik Shipyard. The ship will have hull form of Ada class corvettes. Aselsan, as a subcontractor is responsible for the manufacturing of the mission systems to be used on board.

STM also shared the above photo. The ship showed there has a striking resemblance to Ada class corvettes. Two most obvious differences between this ship and the Ada class corvettes are this ship doesn’t have a gun in A position and any other weapons. The space between the mast and the funnel, where 8 Harpoon missiles are installed in Ada class ships doesn’t exist in the TaES. The aft of the superstructure is also slightly different. The superstructure aft of the funnel is larger since the TaES doesn’t have the STAMP remote-controlled gun system and anti-torpedo countermeasures system, the deck on which these systems are installed is added to the hull.

According to news reports, the TaEs will have an all diesel main propulsion whereas the Ada class ships have a combined gas turbine and diesel engines as main propulsion. The top speed of the TaES will be lower than Ada class corvettes.

Since TaES shares the same hull and superstructure of the Ada class corvettes, I believe the physical measurements of the TaES will be same or very similar of Ada class ships.

On the left are the mast and forward superstructure of the first Ada class corvette TCG Heybeliada. On the right are the mast and the forward structure of the Test and Evaluation Ship. Although the shape is similar, the number of supports on the mast of the TaES is much more compared to TCG Heybeliada. Obviously, more sensors will installed on TaES.

The stern view of the TaES and TCG Heybeliada. The TaES does have a flight deck and a hangar. But the shape of the superstructure at the aft is different.

A New Naval Base In The Black Sea

The location of the future naval base of the Turkish Navy in the eastern Black Sea.

Turkish Navy has started the necessary bureaucratical procedures to establish a new naval base in the Black Sea.

Turkish Navy was thinking about establishing a naval base in the eastern Black Sea for almost one decade. The main Turkish naval base in the Black Sea is in Karadeniz Ereğli in the western part of the region. This base is approximately 100 nautical miles away from the northern entrance of Istanbul Strait and close to the strategic mining town Zonguldak. The base shares the port with the civilian shipping and is located figuratively next to the important Erdemir steel factory. This location made sense during the Cold War period. Turkish warships stationed there would stage hit and run attacks to Warsaw Pact warships trying to near the Bosphorus and protect the important infrastructure in the region from seaborne assault.

However, since Turkish Navy started to patrol the Black Sea more vigorously and initiated the Operation Black Sea Harmony in 2004, as a continuation of NATO Operation Active Endeavour in the Mediterranean, the need for a second naval base in the eastern Black Sea become more obvious. A Turkish warship needs to sail approximately 500 nautical miles from Trabzon to Karadeniz Ereğli. This new base will eliminate the long trips from the eastern Black Sea.

According to news reports a suitable land was found in Sürmene town in Trabzon. The Commander of Turkish Naval Forces, Admiral Adnan Özbal has also visited the proposed site in July 2018.

The projected naval base will cover 60 acres. Again, according to news reports, there will be approximately 200 civilian and 400 military personnel. The base will provide logistical support to all type of warships and submarines in the Turkish Navy.

It is too early to say whether any ships will be permanently based in this base and if any what type. The projected site for the base does not seem to be suitable for the basing of a large number of ships, as it is. And it is not clear if any earth moving changes are to be made in the area.

This base will not affect the stay of warships of the nonriparian Black Sea States -especially non-Black Sea NATO members. Their stay will still be subject to Montreux Convention and limited to 21 days.

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