Kurtaran 2019 Submarine Rescue Exercise

TCG Alemdar. The main submarine rescue ship of the Turkish Navy.

Turkish Navy organized the third initiation of Kurtaran series submarine rescue exercises between 27 and 31 May 2019.

This year the submarines TCG Gür, TCG 1. İnönü and TCG Dolunay, submarine rescue ship TCG Alemdar, rescue and salvage ships TCG Işın and TCG Akın, frigate TCG Gelibolu, minehunter TCG Akçay, patrol boat TCG Köyceğiz, one P-235 maritime patrol aircraft, one SH-70 ASW helicopter from Turkish Navy took part in the exercise as well as one AS-535 Cougar helicopter from Turkish Army, one C-130 Hercules cargo plane from the Turkish Air Force. One P-8 Poseidon ASW plane from US Navy also participated in the exercise.

Turkish Navy operates one dedicated submarine rescue mother ship TCG Alemdar and two rescue and salvage ships TCG Işın and TCG Akın. All of them have taken part in the exercise. TCG Alemdar can act as mother ship both for NATO Submarine Rescue System and US Navy Submarine Rescue System if needed.

Kurtaran 2019 started on 27th May with the pre-deployment briefing. On 28th May the surface units and aircraft honed their skill in finding the 3 submerged disabled submarines (DISSUB) sitting at the bottom of the sea.

On 29th May, the first training was to render assistance to submariners who were forced to leave the DISSUB by rush escape. Turkish Navy Parachute Search and Rescue Team similar in function to the Royal Navy’s Submarine Parachute Assistance Group made jumps from a C-130 cargo plane to help these submariners. The team of 12 jumped in 3 parts as the plane made 3 passes over the submariners waiting to be rescued. The Parachute Search and Rescue Team quickly inflated several life rafts and biding them creating a support base. They have used the RHIBs to collect the submariners from the water and rendering the first aid at the support base. Later they were brought to TCG Alemdar.

There is a wide range of medical facilities on board of TCG Alemdar including one full functional operation room, one x-ray room, a five-bed medical ward, and two hyperbaric chambers. Each chamber can hold 22 persons. The SMERAT team performed a quick triage and treated the patients according to their injuries and sufferings. Those who needed to be transferred to a more advanced medical facility were evacuated by the Land Forces’ Cougar helicopter.

TCG Alemdar search with her onboard sensors for the DISSUB played by TCG 1. İnönü. After locating the submarine TCG Alemdar positioned herself over the submerged disabled submarine. Using her active position controlling systems the rescue ship was able to stay on the exact spot for the remainder of the exercise.

First, the remotely operated underwater vehicle TCB Istakoz 1 was lowered to the submarine. The ROV was constructed by a Turkish company and can operate up to 1000 meters depth. Following the contact with the DISSUB, a diver immersed to the submarine inside the atmospheric diving system. The diver in ADS brought an emergency life support store containing urgently needed supplies by the submarine. The diver placed the emergency life support store inside the submarines escape trunk located inside the sail. The diver in ADS also connected the down-haul cable to a special pad-eye on the submarine hatch. The cable was later used by the submarine escape chamber to align itself with the submarine and mate.

The McCann bell type submarine escape chamber was lowered to the submarine. This type of submarine escape chamber is old but proven technology and can be used for evacuating personnel from the submarine if the pressure inside the submarine is not above one atmosphere and the submarine is not deeper than 207 meters. The chamber descended to the submarine and mated successfully. Two submariners entered the chamber and it resurfaced.

This was the final training for the day. TCG 1. İnönü reemerged from the depths and both vessels returned to the base. While TCG Alemdar was training with TCG 1.İnönü, the other two ships TCG Işın and TCG Akın were also conducting similar activates with the other submarines.

On 30th May, the submarine TCG 1. İnönü bottomed at 30 meters depth. During this exercise, sailors left the submarine via the escape trunk, donned Mk 10 Submarine Escape Immersion Ensemble and surfaced freely. The units waiting on the surface rescued them.

The exercise ended on 31st May with the post-exercise briefing.

TCG 1. İnönü. She dived to 75 meters and waited at the bottom of the sea.

Turkish Navy Parachute Search and Rescue Team jumped from a C-130 Hercules cargo plane of Turkish Air Force

The injured submarines rescued by the Turkish Navy Parachute Search and Rescue Team rushed to the medical area on board TCG Alemdar.

The command consoles of the two hyperbaric chambers on board of TCG Alemdar.

An AS-532 Cougar helicopter of the Turkish Land Forces is waiting to pick up the evacuee to bring him to the land.

TCB Istakoz 1 is the name of this ROV. Istakoz means lobster in Turkish. I can only admire the humor of the godfather of this device. It has two arms with 7 functions. Two pilots are required to use this ROV. One operates the ROV, the other arms.

An image from an ROV as it is attaching ventilation cables to the submarine TCG Doğanay.

the pilot inside the atmospheric diving suits concentrates on his tasks before starting his long and lonely dive into the dark sea.

This is an emergency life support store. It can fit inside the escape trunk of NATO submarines and used to deliver urgently needed supplies to the DISSUB

The crew enters the submarine rescue chamber.

Turkish Coast Guard boat TCSG-27 intercepts a sailing boat that mistakenly entered the training area.

TCG 1. İnönü resurfaces after playing DISSUB for 10 long hours.

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18 March 2017 Naval Parade

On 18th March 2017, to commemorate the Turkish Victory over the Allied Armada 102 years ago a naval parade was held in Çanakkale.

10 ships two Ada class corvettes, 6 fast attack craft and 2 patrol boats took part in this years parade which was followed by a beautiful show of Turkish Air Force’s air demonstration team Turkish Stars.

The ships arrived in three rows. The east row was made of TCG Tufan, TCG Zıpkın and TCG Yıldız. The main row consisted of TCG Büyükada, TCG Heybeliada, TCG Türkeli and TCG Karabiga, all locally made warships. The west row had TCG Kılıç, TCG Mızrak and TCG Martı.

 

Turkish Navy fleet approaches the Çanakkale Martyrs’ Memorial, the largest Turkish military graveyard in the area.

TCG Büyükada was the lead ship.

TCG Heybeliada was following TCG Büyükada.

TCG Kılıç

TCG Mızrak

TCG Tufan

TCG Zıpkın

TCG Martı

TCG Türkeli

TCG Yıldız with TCG Karabiga in foreground.

The parade fleet as it was exiting Çanakkale Strait.

The show of Turkish Stars was breath-taking even for a ship spotter.

Click here for previous naval parades.

18th March 2016 Naval Parade

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TCG Nusret, the replica of the Ottoman mine layer Nusret. She took part in the naval parade too. She is a commissioned ship in Turkish Navy.

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TCG Amasra, having the Commodore on board, formed the lead section of the parade with TCG Nusret and TCG Akçakoca.

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TCG Akçakoca

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TCG Anafartalar, was one of the two submarines in the parade.

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TCG Gür

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TCG Salihreis, led the frigates and corvettes section.

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TCG Göksu

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TCG Büyükada.

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TCG Bartın

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TCG Mızrak, led the patrol boat section of the parade.

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TCG Atak

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TCG Tuzla

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TCG Karabiga

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TCSG-94. She and her sister TCSG-91 were part of the patrol boat section.

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TCSG-91

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TCG Akçay. She was open to public visit.

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TCG Oruçreis. Like the mine hunter TCG Akçay she was too open for public visit. It must be a nice diversification from SNMG-2 duties in Northern Aegean.

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This is one of the several coast guard boats, that provided close security during the ceremonies.

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TCSG-23 was another coast guard boat that provided close security during the naval parade.

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TCB-70 was the lead helicopter of the 3 units strong naval aviation display.

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Turkish Coast Guard’s aviation branch send a 3 helicopter strong detachment for the commemorations. This is TCGS-504

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Turkish Stars, the air display team of Turkish Airforce showed their skills. The display was not visible from where I was standing. But I have managed to take a photo one of the planes as they were leaving.

Like in previous years, on 18th March 2016, Turkish Navy organised a Naval Parade in Çanakkale Strait to commemorate Turkish Victory over the Allied Armada 101 years ago.

6 Navy and Coast Guard helicopters, 3 maritime patrol planes and 6 Army helicopters took part in a fly over. And the Turkish Stars, the aerobatics demonstration team of the Turkish Air Force made a display. The focal point of the commemorations was the Çanakkale Martyrs’ Memorial, was off the limit for me. But I was never the less able to take photos of the warships taking part in the parade, Coast Guard Boats, providing security and ships that were open for public.

What Will Happen On Maritime Front After The Shooting Of The Russian Fighter?

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Russian warship Korolev passing through Bosphorus on 28th November 2015

On 24 November 2015, one Turkish F-16 fighter, shoot down a Russian Su-24M fighter-bomber violating Turkish airspace.

The events happening after this incident are beyond the scope of this blog. I am going to try to explain this recent Turco-Russian crisis from a maritime point of view.

So what is going to happen on maritime front after the shooting down of the Russian fighter? The short answer is: Nothing.

The first reaction on Russian side, in maritime domain was to withdraw the naval officer working as a liaison between Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and Turkish Navy and suspend participation in the Black Sea Force (BLACKSEAFOR).

In accordance with the decision by the Russian Defense Ministry on terminating military contacts with Turkey, the participation of our Black Sea Fleet in the BLACKSEAFOR drills has been suspended,” said Komoyedov who was previously commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.
“Also, a representative of the Russian Navy in charge of coordination between the Black Sea Fleet and the Turkish Navy has been recalled from Turkey,” Komoyedov said. “He has returned home,” he added.

The withdraw from BLACKSEAFOR is purely for the Russian public consumption. The BLACKSEAFOR was created by Turkey as a call of naval task force very similar to NATO’s Standing Maritime Groups. The Purpose of the BLACKSEAFOR was to develop the interoperability between the Black Sea nations and the create a mutual trust and cooperation between the navies. But the BLACKSEAFOR was stabbed in the back by Russia with the Georgian – Russian war in 2008. That conflict destroyed much of the work done by then. The annexation of Crimea by Russia was the final nail in the coffin. Since that event BLACKSEAFOR was in coma and the yearly activations of the task force were cancelled.therefore Russian decision of leaving BLACKSEAFOR has no value.

Another reaction was the deployment of the Slava class cruiser Mosvka off the coast of Syrian town Latakia.

“Cruiser” Moskva “, armed with air defense system” Fort “, on Wednesday morning took the position area in the region of Latakia. His means of radar and missile system will be able to provide cover videoconferencing Russian air group in Syria, “- a spokesman said.

On the eve of the chief of the Main Operations Directorate of the General Staff, Lieutenant-General Sergey Rudskoy told reporters that the cruiser “Moskva”, equipped with air defense system “Fort”, takes the area near Latakia to strengthen defense. The exact date when not given.

Besides Mosvka, the following Russian ships are in the region:

  • Kashin class destroyer Smetliviy
  • Nanuchka III class corvette Mirazh
  • Vishnya class intelligence-gathering ship Vasiliy Tatischev
  • Tanker Ivan Bubnov
  • Tug MB-31
  • Amur class repair ship PM-56
  •  Oceanographic research ship Admiral Vladimirsky

And the following Russian ships are on the way to the region:

  • Ropucha class large landing ships Korolev and Tsezar Kunikov
  • Auxiliary cargo ship Vologda-50

Mosvka has passed through Turkish Straits on 25 September 2015 and she remained in the Eastern Mediterranean since that day.  Moskva has 8 vertical launcher for SA-N-6 ‘Grumble’ surface to air missiles with 8 rounds for each launcher. The SA-N-6 ‘Grumble’ also known as S-300F (Fort) is a navalised version of the S-300 surface to air missile system.  The ship based missile is the 5V55RM which has a minimum range of 5 kilometers and a maximum range on 75 kilometers.

The deployment of the cruiser, the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, off the coast of Latakia will increase the protection for air base used by Russia and is more or less for the Russian public consumption.   I am quite sure that the captain of Moskva is not happy to act as a picket fence. As a picket fence the cruiser will be the first line of defence and there are not enough Russian warships to escort this capital ship should the crisis escalate.

In the unlikely event of escalation of the crisis between Turkey and Russia the cruiser Mosvka is alone and very vulnerable to the most potent Turkish weapon to be used: submarines.

According to the website of Turkish General Staff two submarines are conducting patrols in Eastern Mediterranean. TCG Dolunay is in the region since 11th November 2015 and TCG Burakreis since 7th November 2015.

Both sides have many warships in the Eastern Mediterranean in close vicinity and the tensions are high at the moment. But never the less I think any military escalation is very unlikely as this could potentially led to a large confrontation and in such event Turkey may evoke its right to close the Turkish Straits according to the article 20 of Montreux Convention.

Article 20. In time of war, Turkey being belligerent, the provisions of Articles 10 to 18 shall not be applicable; the passage of warships shall be left entirely to the discretion of the Turkish Government.

The Montreux Convention dictates a 8 day notification period for the Black Sea Powers. This means if any Black Sea nation wants to move their ships through Turkish Straits, they have to notify Turkey 8 days prior this crossing. Therefore if Russian Navy has decided on 24th November  after the shooting down of Su-24M, to send more warships to Syria, 2nd December 2015 is the earliest day these ships can pass through Turkish Straits.

Russia must have an unlimited access to Turkish Straits. The so called Syrian Express deployments of Russian Ropucha and Alligator class landing ships and auxiliaries are vitally important to keep Russian troops inside Syria supplied. If Russia cannot send its ships through Turkish Straits for any reason, the Russian soldiers deployed in Syria may find themselves in a very similar position of General Paulus’ Army. This is an important reason, why the Russian counter aggression to the shooting of its plane is (and will remain) asymmetrical. This is why Russians are trying to hurt Turkey with diplomatic and economical responses rather than military actions.

Turkish Stars

I am not much interested in aerial events, but the demonstration made by Turkish Stars following the Naval Parade in Çanakkale was so impressive I have decided to do an exception and post some airplane photos.

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Beyaz Fırtına Naval Exercise Has Started

The naval exercise Beyaz Fırtına 2014 has kicked off today.

The exercise area incorporates Marmara Sea, Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean and will end on 1 July 2014.

During these 13 days following units will take part in the exercise:

From Turkish Navy:

  • 53 warships of various types and classes
  • 4 maritime patrol planes
  • 13 ASW helicopters

From Turkish Air Force:

  • 8 combat airplanes
  • 1 target towing plane

From Turkish Coast Guard:

  • 17 vessels of various types and classes
  • 4  helicopters

From Turkish National Intelligence Organisation:

  • 1 intelligence aircraft

According to Turkish Navy website live missile and torpedo firings will be executed against target ships.

The Search For The Body Of Captain Nail Erdoğan Is Suspended

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A-589 TCG Işın. This old photo was taken on Bosphorus.

Turkish Navy stopped its search for the body of Turkish Air Force Captain Nail Erdoğan and the wreck of his plane a F-16D Fighting Falcon Block 40 of the 192nd Squadron with serial number 91-0023.

The pilot, Lieutenant Colonel Osman Çiçekli survived by using his ejection seat but Captain Nail Erdoğan died on 8 October 1996 when his F-16 D fighter plane crashed into the Aegean south of Samos island after a dog fight with Greek airplanes.

Turkish Navy was conducting a detailed search activity where the plane was assumed to have crashed. Aydın class mine hunters M-266 TCG Amasra and M-268 TCG Akçakoca, and the salvage ship A-589 TCG Işın were searching for the wreck of the plane since 14 April 2014, while fast attack craft P-341 TCG Martı provided escort.

The mine hunters cruised the search area for 614 hours. During this time they made sonar scans for 420 hours and used their PAP 104 Mk5 ROV’s for 19 hours. TCG Işın cruised for 260 hours and during this cruise she used her ROV for 48 hours. The divers on TCG Işın used the  ADS-1600 atmospheric diving suit for 19 hours.

During the deployment of these ships, 101 underwater contacts were investigated and most of them turned out to me geological objects. The few man-made object brought to surface was examined by Air Force experts and it was determined that these artifacts were not related to the missing plane.

According to a statement made by Turkish General Staff, the search has been finished at least for now until new information about the position of the airplane surfaces.

Deniz Aslanı Search And Rescue Exercise

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SG-702 TCSG Güven and SG-703 TCSG Umut in İzmir, before the start of the exercise. Photo: Zeynep Yaylalı

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SG-702 TCSG Güven and SG-703 TCSG Umut in İzmir, before the start of the exercise. Photo: Zeynep Yaylalı

Last week between 6 and 9 May 2014, Turkish Armed forces conducted the Deniz Aslanı Search And Rescue exercise.

The first phase of the exercise the rescuers responded to a simulated ship sinking with 92 passengers and 12 crew on board. In the send phase of the exercise survivors of a plane crash were located and rescued by the participating units.

The Gabya class frigate F-496 TCG Gökova from Turkish Navy, the Dost class OPV’s TCSG Umut and TCSG Güven plus 6 patrol boats from Turkish Coast Guard and numerous air units took part in the exercise.

Nusret 2013 Mine Warfare Exercise Starts Today

The Nusret 2013 mine warfare exercise organised by Turkish Navy starts today in Çanakkale.

The exercise will end on 1 December 2013 and will be conducted in Saros Bay, east of Gallipoli peninsula.

According to Turkish Navy foreign participants are NATO mine warfare task force SNMCMG-2 and 1 mine hunter from Greece. From Turkish Navy one frigate, 4 mine hunters, 3 mine sweepers, 1 mine layer, 2 patrol boats, 1 mine retriever, 1 helicopter and one EOD team will participate. 3 patrol boats from the Turkish Coast Guards and planes from Turkish Air Force will also take part in the exercise.

Doğu Akdeniz 2013 Naval Exercise

Turkish Navy announced that the Doğu Akdeniz 2013 naval exercise will start on 4th November. The invitation only exercise will continue till 14 November 2013.

Besides ships, planes of Turkish Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force, SNMG-2 task force of NATO and one US Navy destroyer will also take part in the exercise which will be conducted in like its name implies in Eastern Mediterranean.

The purpose of the exercise is to develop mutual cooperation and to provide training opportunities to the participating forces on regional crisis intervention along a provided scenario.

5 naval helicopters, 1 maritime patrol plane, one underwater assault team and one naval WMD response team, planes from Turkish air force and NATO Maritime Security Center of Excellence will participate in the exercise along with the ships listed below:

Number Name Type Country
F-X TCG X Frigate Turkey
F-X TCG X Frigate Turkey
F-X TCG X Frigate Turkey
F-X TCG X Corvette Turkey
F-X TCG X Corvette Turkey
P-X TCG X Fast Attack Boat Turkey
P-X TCG X Fast Attack Boat Turkey
P-X TCG X Fast Attack Boat Turkey
P-X TCG X Fast Attack Boat Turkey
S-X TCG X Submarine Turkey
S-X TCG X Submarine Turkey
S-X TCG X Submarine Turkey
A-X TCG X Tanker Turkey
A-X TCG X Tanker Turkey
NL-X TCG X LST Turkey
P-X TCG X Patrol Boat Turkey
P-X TCG X Patrol Boat Turkey
F-101 ESPS Alvaro De Bazan Frigate Spain
F-246 TCG Salihreis Frigate Turkey
F-219 FGS Sachsen Frigate Germany
DDG-55 USS Stout Destroyer USA

Any additions and corrections are most welcome.

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