An Epilogue To An Incident

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As I wrote this post on 31st December 2016 at 16.00 local time, the Turkish flagged vessel M/V Alcatras was still grounded in Lambi beach, Kos island.

But as you can see from the videos below some of her cargo was transferred to another Turkish flagged vessel and is gone back to Turkey.

A Prototype Of A Turkish Air Defence Gun System Is Aground On A Greek Island

alcatras

The above photo shows Aselsan’s naval version of Korkut air defence gun system. The below photo shows the grounded vessel Alcatras and her cargo. A is the 3D search radar. The shape of the radar and the neck of the mast is very distinct. B is the fire control radar on the turret. Though the turret is covered on the boat, the shape and the height is consistent with the uncovered turret. The arrow shows the direction of the barrels. The photo above is from Twitter user @TyrannosurusRex. The photo below is from The Toc.

I don’t know what to say. Should I call it a Greek tragedy or a Turkish comedy? A brand-new prototype of locally developed naval air defence system ended up, grounded on a Greek Island.

The whole episode started like many others. The Turkish flagged M/V Alcatras experienced a rudder failure as she was sailing from Tuzla, Istanbul to Antalya, according to the captain’s statement. Being unable to steer she run aground on Kos island at approximately 100 m from the beach of Lambi. Such incidents do happen in the Aegean Sea quite often.

M/V Alcatras is a 28 meters long vessels. She bears all the characteristics of a large Turkish fishing vessel designed to work on the seas around Turkey. But she is has no fishing gear installed. She is registered as a diving tender. The old photos of the vessel in Marine Traffic shows a typical working boat, with the superstructure in front and a large working area at aft.

When M/V Alcatras was grounded in Kos however she was loaded with what appears as two white containers for accommodation or for working and one green container. Furthermore she has one medium hight mast with a covered top and another structure also totally covered. This is the valuable cargo. The mast and the covered cargo have the distinct shape of the naval air defence gun system developed by Aselsan.

Aselsan has developed for Turkish Army a self propelled air defense gun system called Korkut. One Korkut unit consists one command and control vehicle with a 3D search radar (marked A on the photo above) and 3 gun vehicles, each fitted with a twin 35mm air defence gun and a fire control radar. The twin guns are Oerlikon GDF-002 units produced under licence by MKEKThe development of Korkut has recently reached the field testing phase and some vehicles were delivered to Turkish Army for this purpose.

The naval Korkut was loaded on M/V Alcatras in Istanbul and she was heading to Antalya. There are no naval construction facilities in Antalya. M/V Alcatras was not merely transporting the system from Tuzla to Antalya. It is safe to assume once in Antalya, the vessel was to conduct tests on the open sea. Hence there are containers on board too. The location of the turret proivdes a wide arc of fire from the side.

There were rumors that a navalised air defence gun system based on Korkut was also on development but there was no concrete evidence. First the photo of the prototype was published on Twitter. Later the news about the grounding of a Turkish vessel with a mysterious cargo was published. Now, we and our neighbours know that we have developed a prototype of such a system.

The Greek website OnAlert reported that the cargo of M/V Alcatras was transferred to another vessel to lighten up the around ship.

Since there is no official statements about the incident, there is a (though small) possibility that my story may turn out to be wrong. And I would like to thank Alper Böler for his carefull observation.

New Image Of TF-2000

 

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The computer created image of TF-2000. Image: Turkish Navy

Turkish Navy published a new computer rendering of TF-2000 air defence warship. Since the ship design is not finalised yet, this image should be seen as an indicative. As is, the ship resembles the contemporary European AAW warships very much. A proven and familiar design shows that Turkish Navy has chosen a more or less conservative approach in designing TF-2000.

According to the image the ship will have the following sensors and weapons:

  1. 1 x (2?) Seahawk helicopter
  2. 4 x STAMP remote controlled gun systems
  3. 2 x 21 cell Mk49 RAM launcher
  4. 5 x 8 cells of VLS, probably for air defence missiles
  5. 2 x 2 torpedo launcher
  6.  Long range search radar, probably L-band
  7. Electro-optic sensor mast
  8. 16 x surface to surface missiles
  9. ÇAFRAD phased array radar
  10. 8 cells of VLS
  11. 1 x 127mm gun

It is interesting to note that there is two different kind of VLS, indicating that there will be at least two different types of air defence missiles. The smaller VLS (10) might also be reserved for another type of weapon such as cruise missiles.

The anti-ship missile load, conservatively located in amidships, is the double of what we usually see on Turkish warships.

The development of the main sensor system of the ship was contracted to ASELSAN in 2013.

It is nice to see that the TF-2000 air defence warship project is coming along slowly but nicely.

 

Local Air Defence Missile System For TF-2000

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A model of Hisar air defence missile. Photo: Roketsan.

Defence acquisition agency Undersecreteriat For Defence industries (UDI) has started a development project for air defence missiles to be used TF-2000 warship.

According to the website of UDI, the aim of the project is to procure short/medium and long-range air defence missile,  which can be integrated with the combat management system, multi-purpose phased array radar system and TF-2000 platform and capable of force and zone air defense.

The project model is local development. There will be a short/medium ranged missile and a long ranged missile. The shot text also mentions the system of the missile. What we should understand from it is at the moment a bit unclear. The UDI states that a request for proposal regarding the design and development phase is under preparation.

At the moment Turkey has developed two air defence missiles:

  • Hisar-A low altitude missile system
  • Hisar-O medium altitude missile system.

These missiles were developed for the army to protect military bases, ports, facilities and troops against threats from the air. Their targets are military aircraft, attack helicopters, cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles. According to Roketsan producer of the missiles, they present a modular structure with the integrity of a family and are designed to be compatible with different platform integrations.

Both missiles have high explosive fragment warhead, mid-course guidance with inertial navigation and data link terminal guidance with IIR (imaging infrared seeker). The range of Hisar-A is 15 km and the range of Hisar-O is 25km. It is too early to say, whether the recently announced naval air defence missiles will be developed from the existing Hisar missiles or build from the scratch.

The command and control and fire control systems for the land based Hisar air defence system is done by military electronics company Aselsan. Aselsan is also developing the phased array radar to be used for the TF-2000 air defence frigate. Thus the development of the electronics for the air defence system will be carried out by them.

With the initiation of this project, Turkey takes another step to the realisation of TF-2000 air defence frigate.

Aselsan Will Supply Electronic Support Measures For Pakistani Submarines

SMART-S Mk2 3D radar and ARES-2N EW antennas

5 ARES-2N EW antennas can be seen below the SMART-S Mk2 3D radar on the mast of TCG Heybeliada.

Turkish military electronic company Aselsan was chosen to supply ARES-2SC  electronic support measures system for the Agosto 90B submarines in Pakistan Navy, according to IHS Jane’s.

ARES family of ESM systems are developed by Aselsan to be used both on surface ships and on submarines. The ARES ESM system detects, intercepts, identifies, classifies, tracks, direction-finds (DF), localizes, platform correlates, records and provides audio warnings of threat signals within the 2 to 18 GHz frequency band.

ARES-2N is integrated into Turkish Ada class corvettes and the ARES-2NS, especially for submarines, is fitted to the 2 modernized Ay class submarines. This system is also selected for the Reis (Type 214) class submarines.

The main difference between ARES-2N and ARES-2NS is, that the latter has smaller antennas and a single operator console due to the limited space available on submarines.

The system on Pakistan submarines will be the second generation ARES-2SC that has a dedicated ESM mast antenna, as well as a separate omnidirectional radar warning receiver (RWR) antenna designed for installation on periscopes.

Aselsan officials Told Jane’s during Indodefence 2016, that the company has recently been selected to provide the ARES-2SC system as part of the upgrade of the Pakistan Navy’s Agosta 90B submarines. In this case, it will give the main ESM to STM (as prime contractor), while it will separately supply the periscope-mounted RWR antenna to Airbus DS Optronics for mounting on a new search periscope.

 

Turkish Coast Guard To Receive 6 Damen Vessels

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A 3D-rendering of SAR Vessel 1906 by Damen Shipyards.

The Dutch shipyard, Damen has signed a contract with the International Organisation for Migration, for the supply of six, Search and Rescue (SAR) vessels for delivery in 2017. The boats are being financed by the European Union and will be operated by the Turkish Coast Guard, to support the refugees and migrants rescue operations, according to Defence Turkey Magazine.

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.

The “Missing Turkish Warships” Farce – An Epilog

F-240 TCG Yavuz,

F-240 TCG Yavuz

15 days ago, Turkey lived its longest night. There were many stories, rumors and allegations in the air before the dust settled  down and we could gain a better inside to the things that happened.

One of the rumors was that 14 warships of Turkish Navy were missing after the failed coup attempt and they may be seeking refuge in other countries.  This story was initiated in British Press (here, here and here) and spread like a wild-fire. I have expressed my thoughts before. Now I am trying to find a closure to that story.

In the last 15 days there has been no follow-up stories. No additional information such as the names and types of the ships has surfaced either.

While it is most difficult to prove something has not happened. When you have eliminate all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth as Sherlock Holmes says. Thus I am trying to eliminate all which is impossible:

  • It is impossible to hide 14 warships in the confined waters of the Aegean, the Black Sea and Mediterranean. These ships would have been observed either from the land based observations stations from hundreds of civilian and many military warships cruising in these seas.
  • It is impossible for foreign press to be silence about a Turkish warship entering their port and asking for refuge.
  • It is impossible for these 14 ships to stay on open seas without replenishing their fuel, water and other provisions. Depending their type they must be running low on fuel, water and food.
  • It is impossible for a government or a naval force to remain silent about such a big and important story. If 14 ships were really missing, someone either from Turkey or abroad would have talked about it by now.

Turkish General Staff published the numbers of discharged soldiers and number of the vehicles used during the coup attempt. According to this official declaration only 3 ships were used.

The involvement of the commander and the executive commander of TCG Yavuz was known since 15th July, as they have detained the Commander of The Fleet, Admiral Kösele on board during that night.

It was published that Type 80 class Coast Guard boat, TCSG-96 has left its port during the night of 15th July, without an order. The boat later returned to its port without any incidents.

It is not clear, from Turkish General Staff’s publication, whether they consider TCSG-96 among the above mentioned 3 ships. If not, then there were 3 Turkish Navy warships and one Coast Guard went rogue on that night

If so -which would be wrong, since a coast guard boat is not a warship- then there is one unidentified ship left that took part in the coup attempt.

More Milgem’s For Turkish Navy

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Coming soon to a slipway near you.

Turkish defence acquisition agency Undersecreteriat For Defence industries (UDI) has issued a request for proposal for 4 more Milgem class corvettes.

To be honest, I did not expect that UDI would prepare a tender for more Milgem class warships, adding a new twist to the long and winding project. The reasoning behind this move can be

  • to free Istanbul Naval Shipyard for further construction projects such as İ class
  • to give support and work to the Turkish private shipyards

The RfP documents has not much valuable information. The competition is open to Turkish shipyards. And the contenders must have a floating dock or a slipway at least 115 meter or longer. The dealine for delivering the proposals is 30th November 2016.

This second batch of four ships will probably have the same design and armament of the existing ships.

TCG Sancaktar Launched

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TCG Sancaktar being launched. Photo: Denizhaber

Amid the turmoil created by the failed coup attempt, the second New Type LST, TCG Sancaktar was launched on 16th July 2016. I wish her calm seas and friendly winds.

The first ship of the new landing ship class TCG Bayraktar was launched on 3rd October 2015.

The contract for the construction of a new LST’s was signed between Ministry of Defence and ADIK-Furtrans shipyard on 11 May 2011. The value of the contract is 370 million Euros. It took almost two years for the shipyard to find the 370 million Euro credit to cover the project as required by the contract.

The new landing ships will have a crew of 129 and will carry 350 soldiers. The ships will have a citadel to protect the crew from effects of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. The closed parking area is 1100 square meters and the open deck parking area is 690 square meters sufficient for approximately 20 main battle tanks and between 24 – 60 vehicles.

The armament consists of 2 single barreled 40mm Oto Melara guns, 2 Mk15 Phalanx CIWS, 2 machine guns on a stabilized remote-controlled chassis.

The ships will have a Smart Mk2 3D air/surface search radar (which not common for an amphibious ship) 2 AselFLIR 300D EO director, torpedo counter measures systems, laser warning receiver and Link 16/22 system. All these sensors and weapons will be controlled by a 5 consoles of GENESIS CMS.

Here is a video of the launching:

The “Missing Turkish Warships” Farce

Turkey is in a very turbulent situation since the failed coup attempt last Saturday.

There is a lot of information, misinformation and disinformation about the things happened during the last weekend. One of the is the story about 14 missing warship of Turkish Navy.

As far as I know the story was originated in British newspapers and spread like a wild-fire.

Several Turkish navy ships are still unaccounted for, their commanders suspected to be among the plotters who sought to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Admiral Veysel Kosele, the commander of the Turkish navy, has not been heard from since the failed coup on Friday, a source told The Times.

It is currently unknown whether he was part of the coup or was tricked on to the boat after coup plotters told him there was a terrorist attack and then taken hostage, local media reports suggested.

The 14 missing ships were reportedly on active duty in either the Aegean or the Black Sea and have not tried to make contact with naval headquarters or report back to the port.

It is suspected they may be heading to Greek ports. On Saturday, eight Turkish military officers took a helicopter to Greece to seek asylum.

Despite several days the sources that originated this story failed to show evidence such as the names of the missing ships or more details about them to further support their story.

There are also some gross factual errors in the story. Admiral Kösele is the Commander of Turkish Fleet. Admiral Bülent Bostanoğlu is the Commander of Turkish Naval Forces. And the Command of Turkish Fleet is one of the subcommands of the Naval Forces. And the whereabouts of Admiral Kösele is well know. He was interned on board of TCG Yavuz for a couple of hours and he was released later.

The Black Sea and the Aegean are too small for 14 ships to hide. Furthermore there Greek and Russian Armed Forces are tracking the movement of Turkish warships. They would announce to the world, with a lot of Schadenfreude, if there where any Turkish ships in their ports.

I know that there are at least 4 ships (one mine hunter, one command ship, one frigate and one submarine) in Black Sea taking part in Romanian naval exercise. They have not returned yet. Thus an uniformed land based source may think that they are still unaccounted for.
I sincerely hope that this 14 missing Turkish Warships farce will end very soon and we can focus on things that are real and matter.
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