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National Submarine Workshop

A digitally created rendering of Milden shown during the workshop. The end product may have a much different shape. Interesting to note that it has X type rudders a shrouded propeller. The thin line prodding form the aft of the submarine is like to house a towed array sonar or a towed counter measure. There is a provision for flank array sonar. The sail is streamlined and houses the forward diving planes.

Turkish Naval Forces organised a national Submarine Workshop on 15. and 16. June at Tuzla Naval Shipyard.

This invitation only workshop was attended by marine engineers both military and civilian, representatives of defense companies and scholars.

The aim was to create a viable road map for the National Submarine, to identify competencies and competences of the national companies and potential short comings, risks in design and production phases.

Turkish Navy wants to commission its first indigenous submarine in 2030. Commander of Turkish Naval Forces Admrail Bostanoğlu stated in his opening speech that Turkish Navy was overhauling its submarines in Gölcük Naval Yard for the last 53 years. He also mentioned that Turkey constructed 11 submarines in 35 years and the building of Type 214 submarines was proceeding.

For me the most interesting part of the speech when Admiral Bostanoğlu mentioned that Turkish Navy developed its own engineering solution to 5 major design faults of Type 214 submarines.

These solutions were verified by TKMS and incorporated into the design of Turkish Type 214’s. Therefore the Turkish submarines will have slightly different dimensions compared to the one’s already serving in Greek, Portuguese and South Korean navies.

Admiral Bostanoğlu indicated the following objectives where local work and innovations is needed:

  • Integrated sonar and fire control system
  • High resolution optronics systems
  • Periscope
  • LPI navigation radar
  • ECM system capable of detecting LPI radars
  • Enhanced COMING and SIGINT capabilities
  • Accurate inertial navigation system
  • EHF and SHF satellite communication system
  • Link 16/22 ability
  • AIP
  • High powered batteries
  • Long range land attack capable cruise missiles
  • Locally developed torpedoes and mines
  • Torpedo and mine countermeasures.

Milden is the Turkish abbreviation of MİLli DENizaltı meaning National Submarine in English. It will be quite a buzz word for the next decade like Milgem.

It is not a secret that Turkey aims to develop and built its own submarines and reduce its dependency to foreign suppliers in critical areas. This workshop indicates that the local know-how and production abilities reached a critical mark where a local development is considered feasible.

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What Do We Know About Temren Missile?

Turkish Seahawk helicopter firing a Temren missile during Deniz Kurdu 2017 exercise in May 2017. Photo: Turkish Naval Forces

Temren means arrowhead in Turkish. The missile is designed primarily to be used by naval helicopters against small surface targets. It is possible to adapt the missile to be used from small combatants in the future.

The missile is a derivate of the long range anti-tank missile UMTAS developed by Roketsan.

My understanding is that the request for Temren came for Turkish Navy and the project was initiated by them. The absence of publicly available information and the unusual lack of marketing documents and news releases from Roketsan’s side indicate that the project is managed also by Turkish Navy rather than Undersecreteriat For Defence industries (UDI).

Since there is not much publicly available information the rest of the text is my based of on sparse information available on internet, on some gossips and on my opinion.

According to Roketsan:

UMTAS, with its Imaging Infrared Seeker and Laser Seeker options, is an anti-tank missile, having a range of 8 km and lock on before/after launch and “fire and forget/fire and update” properties, used against armored targets, from air to ground as well as ground to ground. UMTAS, with its maximum range of 8 km and minimum range of 500 m is capable of operating all weather conditions and day/night.
UMTAS has a RF Data Link that enables missile to receive target updates after firing.

As stated, Temren is a UMTAS modified for maritime operations. Thus, it should have an IIR seeker to improve its aim.

8 kilometers is a good range for an airborne anti-tank missile and makes UMTAS on par with Hellfire. Traditionally, naval vessels have a better defence against aircraft compared to tanks. For naval engagements, a 8-kilometer-range, is not enough as it will put the firing helicopter well inside the effective reach of MANPADS and light anti-aircraft missiles like RAM.

Temren should have longer range than the stated range of UMTAS, to give Temren a true stand-off radius. A longer range for Temren can be achieved either by making missile larger to place the extra propellant or making the missile lighter by making the warhead simpler or smaller. A tandem warhead designed against armored vehicles may be an overkill for naval targets. Thus, Temren might have just a HE warhead that weighs less than the original.

The first test firing was performed in January 2015. So the developent of the missile must have been started somewhere in 2013 -2014. A Temren was also fired during the recent Deniz Kurdu 2017 naval exercise last month.

The missile has the potential to be fitted on smaller surface vessels. It is safe to assume that work is also being performed to integrate the Temren with stabilised weapon systems on naval vessels, giving them a stronger punch.

It is not clear whether the serial production of the Temren missile has started or the missile has been inaugurated into Turkish Navy

 

 

 

 

TCG Giresun Escorts Turkish Aid Ship To Somalia

M/V Sebat leaving Mersin harbour. Photo: AFAD.

On 4. June 2017, bulk carrier M/V Sebat, left Turkey with 13 thousand tons of food and aid on board. The ship’s destination is Mogadishu, Somalia.

The cargo on board of M/V Sebat was organised by Turkish Red Crescent, Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) and Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD).

The ship will be escorted by Turkish frigate TCG Giresun. In pervious years Turkish Navy, provided protection to other ships, carrying humanitarian aid from Turkey to the region.

After escorting the aid ship to her destination TCG Giresun will join the piracy task force CTF-151 and perform patrols in Gulf of Aden. There is a Seahawk helicopter a diving chamber, one naval special forces team and one VBSS team on board. The ship will return to Turkey in November 2017.

This is the fifth deployment of TCG Giresun to the region. She was there in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2015.

Turkish Coast Guard And Navy Confiscate Record Size Of Narcotics

M/V Commander Tide being towed towards Aksaz Naval Base by tug TCG İnebolu.

Turkish Navy and Turkish Coast Guard conducted a joint operation and confiscated 1071 kilograms of narcotics of board of M/V Commander Tide.

M/V Commander Tide is a Democratic Republic of the Congo flagged off shore supply vessel. On 30. May 2017, upon receiving a tip-off about the narcotics on board of M/V Commander Tide, frigate TCG Gemlik was deployed to Eastern Mediterranean close the northern entrance of Suez Canal with a helicopter and a naval special forces team on board. Acting as the lookout, the frigate found M/V Commander Tide and started to shadow her.

The route of the ships and the location of the operation. Yellow for coast guard vessels, red for the target.

Two off shore patrol vessels from Coast Guard were deployed with anti-drug police teams, TCSG Yaşam from Mersin and TCSG Güven from Aksaz.  Both ships intercepted their target in international waters of Mediterranean between Turkey and Suez Canal.

On 2. June 2017 before the midnight one naval special forces team boarded the vessels from the sea while a second one fast-roped from a Seahawk helicopter of the navy. The M/V Commander Tide was under control in 26 minutes and her 9 strong Turkish crew were arrested. The ship was towed to Aksaz Naval base by Turkish naval tug TCG İnebolu.

Teams from the police’s anti-drug branch and Muğla Coast Guard Command carried out searches on the ship and found clandestine sections, of which one included 1071 kilograms of heroin hidden in 40 sacks. According to the police, the amount of heroin corresponds to the highest seized by security forces in Turkey’s recent history.

The operation was dedicated to Coast Guard sailor Alper Al, who was killed by an IED attack on May 22, 2016.

The Evaluation of TCG Istanbul’s Design

During the IDEF 2015 12th International Defense Industry Fair, Turkish Navy shared the first conceptual drawing of the second generation of Milgem class. There was a poster about TCG Istanbul on the Turkish Naval Forces booth during IDEF 2017 too.

I though it would be interesting to compare the photos and see how the design of TCG Istanbul has evolved.

Not surprisingly there are a few changes in design on the outside. Any changes made inside the ship remains elusive. The changes are focused between the bow and midships. It seems as the design of the ship from midships to aft has been found satisfactory.

The most important change is in the shape of the bridge and the mast.Lets look at them:
1. If the darker patches along the hull indicate openable hatches, there is a new hatch at location 1. On Ada class corvettes this area is used for replenishment. Since the design of TCG İstanbul is based on Ada class it is safe to assume that this area will be used for replenishment too. Thus there was a need to implement a hatch there to ease the operations there.

2. The location of the SATCOM antennas has changed. In 2015 there were located towards to the end of the mast. In 2017 there were moved a few meters to the front.

3. There are new antennas there. Their place and shape suggests antennas for an on board electronic warfare system. Probable a local development. The antennas of SATCOM and ECM are pretty close. I hope they won’t create any interference.

4. The photos are not quite detailed but the electro-optical tracking and detection system has changed. In 2015 it was round and ball-shaped like ASELFLIR 300D. In 2017 it has a distinct rectangular shape of Denizgözü-Ahtapot. So the old system used on Ada class corvettes and Tuzla class patrol boats was replaced with a new generation sensor.

5. The shape of the bridge, and the forward part of the mast has changed. In 2015 the forward surfaces had a more slanted slope. In 2017 the slopes are more steep. The roof of the bridge is also less clustered and has more clean lines.

6. The all closed bow guards rails has been modified. The newer version has a bow bulwark and open guard rails. This must have changed the stealthiness of the ship. But the trade-off between becoming a little less stealth and having a flexible forward maneuvering area must be important for the handlers.

The sensors with the exception of the EO system and addition of ECM system and the weapons seem to be unchanged.

On Board The TCG Bayraktar

Mr. Hakan Kılıç, military aviation and ballistics missiles and BMD researcher, visited the newest warship of  Turkish Navy: TCG Bayraktar. He took photos during his visit and kindly allowed me to used them.

The photos you are about to see are his, but comments are mine.

The stern of TCG Bayraktar. The stern door leads directly to the vehicle bay that covers the whole length of the ship in a true Ro-Ro style.

The vehicle bay. The photo was taken from aft looking to the bow door. The deck is uncluttered and many hatches give an easy access to the deck.

The galley. Since an army marches on its stomach this is one of the most important part of the ship.

The helm at the bridge.

Looking from bridge to the starboard crane and LCVP’s. The port side LCPV are part visible. There is ample place on the deck to park vehicles or store additional material.

A close up view of the top starboard LCVP. TCG Bayraktar carries 4 of them. The black surface on the deck must be the ramp to the lower decks.

The flight deck of TCG Bayraktar. It can support landing of a 15 ton helicopter

A close up to the counter measures on board. The Ultra Sea Sentor launcher is in foreground. The Sea Sentor suit has a passive array to detect submarines, a command and control module and this counter measure launcher. A locally made chaff and flare launcher -similar to Mk36 – can be seen on the background.

The black thing in the middle of the image is, one of laser warning receivers. On the right the main mast of the ship can be seen with the ARES 2N ECM antennas and a SMART-S MK2 3D radar on top. The shape of the mast and antenna arrangement is the same of Ada class corvettes.

A commercial of the shelf navigation and helicopter approach radar looking to the aft of the ship. The pipes and sprinklers of the wash down system are visible. They help to clean away the contamination in case of a NBC warfare and to cool the ship so she is less visible to heat seeking sensors.

Turkish Navy Is Taking Part In Deniz Kurdu 2017

On 13 May 2017 Turkish warships set sail to participate in annual Deniz Kurdu exercise.

The exercise is held in Marmara, Aegean and Mediterranean Sea and will continue till 26 May 2017.

The purpose of the exercise is:

  • to test the efficiency level of the current command control structure under realistic conditions
  • to determine the functionality of the support provided to the other forces
  • to evaluate the to what extent the units of Turkish Naval Command can fulfill their duties and responsibilities  during the transition from a crisis environment to a conventional warfare environment.

14 frigates, 6 corvettes, 17 fast attack craft, 9 submarines, 6 mine hunters, 13 logistic support ships, 4 patrol boats, 4 MPA/ASW planes, 19 helicopters are taking part in this exercise. 9 boats and 1 SAR vessel from Turkish Coast Guard and numerous planes from Turkish Air Force is also taking part in this exercise.

The table below shows, the percentage of the participating Turkish Naval units, compared to the total ships in service.

In service Participating to DK 2017 %
Frigates 16 14 88%
Submarines 12 9 75%
Corvettes 8 6 75%
Fast Attack Craft 19 17 89%
Mine hunters 11 6 55%
Patrol boats 16 4 25%
Logistic support ships 5 13 260%
Planes 8 4 50%
Helicopters 35 19 54%

As one can see the majority of Turkish Naval units are taking part in Deniz Kurdu 2017.

The numbers for logistics supports ships does not make any sense. Turkish Navy has 5 replenishment ships that can be counted as logistics support ship. I have no idea how number for logistic ships was calculated as 13. As more news and photos start to be published we may learn more.

But other numbers are impressive and show that the majority of Turkish warships are, now at sea and honing their skills.

TCG Kınalıada Coming Along Nicely

TCG Burgazada (left) is in dry dock and being fitted out. TCG Kınalıada (right) is still on the slipway. Her shape indicates all major constructing is almost finished. She seems to be almost ready for launching in September.

There are some interesting steel blocks lying just to the left of the slipway. They can’t be made for TCG Kınalıada since her shape is full and there is no room to add these blocks. Thus they must the first blocks of TCG İstanbul. They will be placed on the slipway once TCG Kınalıada is launched.

The fitting out of the third Ada class (Milgem) corvette TCG Burgazada is proceeding on the dry dock. The fabrication of the hull of the fourth and final Ada class corvette TCG Kınalıada is almost finished.

The pre-fabrication of the first İ class frigate is continuing. First two blocks of the hull is ready to be placed on the slipway once the last Ada class corvette is launched.

Russian Intelligence Gathering Ship Liman, Sunk Off The Coast Of Istanbul

The stricken Liman look very much just like this ship, her sister Kildin. Here Kildin moving northbound in November 2016.

On 27th April 2017 the Russian intelligence gathering ship Liman sunk off the coast of Istanbul.

The Project 861 / Moma class ship of Russian Black Sea Fleet was approximately 17 nautical miles northwest of the northern entrance of Istanbul Strait when Togo flagged livestock carrier Youzarsif H hit Liman. The accident happened at 08.41 UTC (11:41 local time). There was fog and the visibility was limited. This part of the Black Sea is usually used as a staging area for the ships as the wait for their turn to sail the Bosphorus. Thus there are usually many ships either adrift or sailing with very slow speed.

It was apparently Youzarsif H that hit Liman since Russian ships hull was  breached below the waterline. Both ship are similar in displacement around 1.500 tons and size. The damage to the Russian ship has overwhelmed the damage control party and the ship sunk at 11:48 UTC (14:48 local time).

The proximate location of the incident.

Turkish Directorate General of Coastal Safety dispatched life boats Kıyı Emniyeti 3, Kıyı Emniyeti 6, Kıyı Emniyeyi 8 and tug Kurtarma 3 to the accident site.

Of the 78 sailors on board of Liman, 26 were rescued by life boat Kıyı Emniyeti 3, 37 by Kıyı Eminyeti 8 and 15 by Youzarsif H. There are no casualties.

Liman was one of the 3 Project 861M / Moma class intelligence gathering ships. All are based in the Black Sea. The ship was deployed to the Mediterranean in Winter 2016 and was last seen passing northbound through Istanbul on 26 January 2017.

Liman was not expected to pass southbound through Istanbul Strait. This means she was sailing just outside of the Turkish territorial waters for collecting intelligence.

Intelligence gathering ships are equipped with highly sensitive sensors, special eavesdropping hardware and software to record and decipher the collected data. Some of the sailors on board must be “scientist” specialized gathering and interpreting data. A good question is whether the Russians had time to destroy the sensitive equipment before abandoning the ship. Another question is whether there will be any efforts to raise the ship or salvage any sensitive equipment that was not destroyer by the crew.

Though we don’t have details, how the accident ever happened and who was right according to COLREG, it is kind a ironic, that a ship with a mission to gather all the intelligence around it, fails to see an ungainly merchant ship sailing directly on it.

TCG Bayraktar Commissioned

A two months old photo of the ship taken during trials. The lack of the CIWS are noteworthy. The orange thing on board is a floating target used for the gun trials.

According to a tweet from Minister of National Defence the first ship of Bayraktar class landing ships L-402 TCG Bayraktar was commissioned in Turkish Navy on 14 April 2017.

Since the ship will be under the shipyard’s warranty for 12 months, this is regarded as a temporary commissioning. A permanent commissioning is when Turkish Navy fully becomes responsible form the ship.

The original weapon load of the ship was two 40 mm guns, two Mk-15 Phalanx CIWS and two 12,7 mm machine guns on stabilized platforms.

When I saw the ship two months ago, the Mk-15 Phalanx CIWS systems were not fitted. The Mk-15’s are also missing in the current photos of the ship. It is highly possible that Turkish Navy will install the close-in weapon system itself since there should be around 10 in inventory. These weapons have been taken from old Knox class  frigates as they were decommissioned.

I wish TCG Bayraktar fair winds and following seas.

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