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.

Advertisements

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.

Comments On Live Firings Made During Deniz Yıldızı Exercise

Deniz Yıldızı 2017 naval exercise has ended on 7th April 2017 and participating warships are returning to their home bases.

Live missile firings made this year’s event will one of the best remembered.

During the second phase of the exercise between 31 March and 3 April, in total 6 warships and one submarine launched 8 missiles.

Below is the official video from the live missile firings made during Deniz Yıldızı 2017. Watch the video and then read my comments further below.

What do we see?

  • The submarine TCG Çanakkale performed the first ever submerged UGM-84 Harpoon missile launch in Turkish Navy.
  • Furthermore the corvette TCG Heybeliada fired a RGM-84F Harpoon Blok II missile capable of striking targets on land also a first for Turkish Navy.
  • Frigates TCG Gökçeada, TCG Fatih, TCG Barbaros, corvette TCG Büyükada and fast attack craft TCG İmbat, conducted surface to air missile firings.
  • An unidentified missile -probably RGM-84F Harpoon Block II but nor certainly- hit a specially constructed target area.

What do we not see?

  • The sinking of ex USS Duncan. She was towed to the Black Sea on 26 March to be used as a target. Was she even used?
  • The rumored firing of a Mk-24 Tigerfish torpedo. Turkish Navy had a bad experience with Tigerfish in 2001. Did the history repeated itself?
  • The impact of the second Harpoon missile, if the impacting missile on the video is indeed a Harpoon. If not, we don’t see impacts of both Harpoons.
  • Firings made from land to the sea. The navtex broadcasts of Directorate General of Coastal Safety and the NOTAM broadcasts of Directorate General of Civil Aviation mentioned that missile firings from land toward sea.

Lest We Forget: TCG Dumlupınar

On 4 April 1953, two Turkish submarines, TCG Dumlupınar and TCG 1. İnönü, entered Dardanelles southbound. They were returning from the NATO naval exercise Blue Sea.

TCG Dumlupınar was leading the two ship formation. When the submarine reached Cape Nara, the narrowest point of the Strait, a Swedish flagged cargo ship M/V Naboland collided with the submarine. The accident happened at 02:15 in the morning.

M/V Naboland rammed TCG Dumlupınar from starboard forecastle just aft of the forward diving planes. The submarine rolled to port with force of the impact and sunk immediately. 5 submariners who were in the sail, at the time of the collision survived. Rest of the crew, 81 men, were trapped inside her hull. The boat sunk at the narrowest point of Dardanelles at 85 meters where the currents are also the strongest.

22 sailors trapped in the aft torpedo compartment, were able to release the submarine’s sunk buoy. There was a frantic effort to reach the submarine and is possible to rescue the trapped sailors for the next 72 hours.

Since that fateful day, on every 4th of April, we remember those, that have a watery grave, where no rose will grow.

TCG 1. İnönü In Durres

TCG 1. İnönü in Durres port. Photo: Durres Lajm

It is not usual for submarines to make port visit in foreign countries.  TCG 1. İnönü visited the Albanian port Durrës between 30 March and 1 April 2017.

According to Albanian press:

Her visit to our country made in the framework of strengthening relations between the navies of the two countries and NATO operations. The submarine is about 62 m long and has a total carrying capacity of our 1456. It is equipped with eight torpedo visible, and other military equipment, the number of which has been withheld for military reasons.

It is engaged in the protection of Turkish national security and in the framework of the activities of NATO forces in support of global peace and security. The submarine, the Turkish production in 2008, has a crew of 45 soldiers of various ranks. After entering the port, command of the submarine crew and officers are expected in separate meetings with the mayor of Durres Vangjush Dako and then by the Prefecture of Durres Roland Xhelili.

It is interesting to note that Turkish submarines regularly visit Durrës. As far as I know, the following  Turkish submarines were in Durrës:

Deniz Yıldızı 2017 Naval Exercise Has Started

The hull of ex USS Duncan will be on the receiving end of at least one UGM-84 Sub Harpoon missile or one Tigerfish torpedo.

The annual naval exercise Deniz Yıldızı has started in Black Sea on Monday. The exercise will end on, 7th April 2016.

The scope of the exercise indicates, Turkish Navy’s intentions showing a strong presence in the Black Sea.

For me, the most noteworthy aspect of this exercise, will be the simultaneous port visits of Turkish naval units in Varna, Constanta, Odessa, Novorossiysk and Batumi. All Black Sea nations, will be visited on the next week-end on 3rd and 4th April 2017. This is an impressive way of showing the flag, an important message.

According to Turkish General Staff website, there will be a Harpoon Block II test firing, from a ship to a land based target. This is going to be a first for Turkish Navy.

Furthermore one live UGM-84 Sub Harpoon missile and one live Mk-24 Tigerfish torpedo will be tested too. Ex USS Duncan that was towed last week, will likely be on the receiving end at least one of them.

The following ships along with submarines were observed making a northbound passage through Bosphorus in the last couple days:

Number Name Type
A-595 TCG Yarbay Kudret Güngör Tanker
A-XXX TCG XXX Tanker
A-XXX TCG XXX Tanker
F-240 TCG Yavuz Frigate
F-241 TCG Turgutreis Frigate
F-242 TCG Fatih Frigate
F-243 TCG Yıldırım Frigate
F-244 TCG Barbaros Frigate
F-245 TCG Oruçreis Frigate
F-247 TCG Kemalreis Frigate
F-490 TCG Gaziantep Frigate
F-494 TCG Gökçeada Frigate
F-496 TCG Gökova Frigate
F-505 TCG Bafra Corvette
F-511 TCG Heybeliada Corvette
F-512 TCG Büyükada Corvette
M-260 TCG Edincik Mine hunter
M-263 TCG Erdek Mine hunter
NL-125 TCG Osmangazi Landing ship
P-1200 TCG Tuzla Patrol Boat
P-12XX TCG XXX Patrol Boat
P-330 TCG Kılıç Fast Attack Craft
P-331 TCG Kalkan Fast Attack Craft
P-335 TCG İmbat Fast Attack Craft
P-336 TCG Zıpkın Fast Attack Craft
P-341 TCG Martı Fast Attack Craft
P-348 TCG Yıldız Fast Attack Craft
S-349 TCG Batıray Submarine
S-353 TCG Preveze Submarine
S-358 TCG Çanakkale Submarine
S-3XX TCG XXX Submarine

The First And Final Passage Of Ex USS Duncan Through Bosphorus

3 navy tugs are pulling the hull of ex USS Duncan against the current towards Black Sea. Just a shell of the former frigate is left.

The effects of cannibalization can be better seen in this photo.

Perry class frigate USS Duncan was the first ship of this class to be decommissioned active service. She was striken from US Navy service on 5 January 1998. In May 1999 she was sold to Turkish Navy. She has never entered in to service therefore she doesn’t have a Turkish name. She was used as spare part source, to keep other ship working. This practice is lovingly called cannibalization. And you can see the effects of it on the hull of USS Duncan in above photos.

TCG İnebolu, TCG Özgür and TCG Darıca, three Turkish Navy tugs, towed the hull of ex USS Duncan through Istanbul northbound, on 22 March 2017. Since there are no scrap yards along the Black Sea coast of Turkey, this journey is not going to end at one scrapyard.

The markings on the hull of the former frigate are consistent with a live firing test. A few days after the passage of ex USS Duncan it was announced that she was going to be used as a target during the Deniz Yıldızı annual naval exercise.

Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group Two In Istanbul

The Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group Two arrived in Istanbul on 24 March 2017. The task group had made her northbound passage through the city 20 days before.

During this 20 days the task force first took part in Poseidon 2017. The mine warfare exercise was held between 5 and 15 March 2017.

After the completion of the exercise the task force sailed to Odessa, Ukraine. There the ship were open to public and received thousands of visitors during their stay there.

One day short of their allowance by the Montreux Convention the Task force sailed southbound through Istanbul Strait and docked in Istanbul port for a well-earned post visit.

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.

Dynamic Manta 2017 Started In Italy

TCG 1. İnönü in Catania port. Photo: NATO MARCOM

NATO’s Submarine Warfare Exercise Dynamic Manta 2017 began today off the Sicilian coast, with ships, submarines, aircraft and personnel from 10 Allied nations.

According to NATO press release submarines from France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and the United States, under the control of Commander, Submarines NATO (COMSUBNATO), will join 10 surface ships from Canada, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey and the United States.

Nine Maritime Patrol Aircraft and three shore based helicopters from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States will operate from Sigonella Air Base under the control of Commander, Maritime Air NATO (COMMARAIRNATO).

The aim of this exercise is to provide all participants with complex and challenging warfare training to enhance their interoperability and proficiency in anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare skills, with due regard for safety.

Below is the list of the participant as best as I could find on internet. Additions and corrections are welcomed.

Number Name Type Country
340 HMCS St. John’s Frigate Canada
D-642 FS Montcalm Destroyer France
Submarine France
F-459 HS Adrias Frigate Greece
S-120 HS Papanikolis Submarine Greece
D-560 ITS Luigi Durand De La Penne Destroyer Italy
S-528 ITS Pietro Venuti Submarine Italy
A-14 ESPS Patiño Tanker Spain
F-104 ESPS Méndez Núñez Frigate Spain
F-82 ESPS Victoria Frigate Spain
S-80 ESPS Mistral Submarine Spain
F-491 TCG Giresun Frigate Turkey
S-360 TCG 1. İnönü Submarine Turkey
781 USS California Submarine USA
 78 USS Porter Destroyer USA
%d bloggers like this: