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.

Meltem 3 Project Reaches A Milestone

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The saga of the procurement of these planes is longer than the range of the real plane.

The aviation journalist, Mr. Tony Osborne of Aviation Week & Space Technology reported from Farnborough Airshow Turkish ATR-72 maritime patrol program reached a milestone:


At the IDEF defense show in Istanbul in 2013, Alenia Aermacchi and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) signed a memorandum of understanding to offer the ATR-72 as a maritime patrol aircraft, with the Italian company supplying the basic airframe and carrying out the final integration and test work, while TAI made modifications to the aircraft and installed mission equipment. To be known as Meltam-IIIs, they will be operated by the Turkish Navy and the first of six ordered will shortly be transferred to Turin, Italy, after fitting out by TAI in Turkey. The aircraft are fitted with the ThalesAirborne Maritime Situation & Control System (AMASCOS) mission system and should be delivered back to Turkey in 2017. Two more ATR-72s have already been supplied to Turkey for utility missions.

IF (yes that is a big if) the planes are delivered as scheduled in 2017 that will make 12 years from the signing of the original contact to the delivery.

In July 2005 Italian Prime Minister Mr. Belosconi and his Turkish counterpart Mr. Erdoğan signed a deal on acquisition of 10 maritime patrol planes based on Alenia’s ATR-72 500 turboprop aircraft. According to the $219-million contract the initial deliveries were supposed to be in 2010.

The first ATR-72 500 arrived in Turkish Aerospace Industries in February 2008. TAI worked as Alenia’s local sub-contractor, carrying out all modifications from the base airframe to the ATR-72 MPA configuration.

In May 2013 suddenly there was a big change in the project. The project was downsized from 10 planes to 8: 2 utility models for personnel and cargo, and 6 armed maritime patrol models. The good part of this rearrangement was the model of the planes were upgraded, from ATR-72 500 which, was no longer in production, to ATR-72 600.

In July 2013 the first utility model was delivered to Turkish Navy. My understanding is, this plane was the original ATR-72 500
delivered to TAI in 2008, and was remodeled to ATR-72 600 in due time.

In August 2013 the first base ATR-72 600 was delivered to TAI for the changes to MPA configuration. According to the above quoted article this plane will shortly be transferred back to Alenia for final modification.

These planes will be armed with Mk-46 and Mk-54 lightweight torpedoes and will carry Thales AMASCOS maritime patrol mission system.  AMASCOS integrates an array of sensors that include a surveillance turret, Thales’ Ocean Master search radar, an ESM radar/transmitter locator, a Magnetic Anomaly Detector to find submarines, and transmissions from launched sonobuoys.

Hopefully the plane will be in Turkish Navy service by 2017. In the mean time Turkish Navy is considering procurement of new maritime patrol planes with even longer ranges.

 

For further reading:

12 Years After The Contract Thales Finally Delivers Maritime Patrol Aircraft To Turkish Navy

Finaly: The First ATR-72 Maritime Utility Plane Is Delivered

Turkish Navy To Get 8 ATR-72-600 Planes Instead Of 10 As Originaly Agreed

Finally: The First Maritime Surveillance Plane Officially Inaugurated

First flight of CN235 ASW for Meltem programme

New Maritime Patrol Planes For Turkish Navy?

Breeze 2016 Naval Exercise

Bulgaria is hosting the Breeze 2016 naval exercise from 8. July till 17. July 2016.

As many as 25 naval vessels from Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Spain and Turkey, two aircraft and two helicopters, and 1700 troops will take part in the exercise.

Turkish led NATO mine task force SNMCMG-2 is also in Bulgaria for this occasion.

This is the list of the participating warship That I could find:

Number Name Nation Type
A-579 TCG Cezayirli Gazi Hasanpaşa Turkey Tender
M-260 TCG Edincik Turkey Mine hunter
M-34 SPS Turia Spain Mine hunter
62 ROM Sub Lieutenant Alexandru Axente Romania Mine sweeper
 S-356 TCG Anafartalar Turkey Submarine
P-1207 TCG Tekirdağ Turkey Patrol boat
P-337 TCG Atak Turkey Fast attack craft
F-222 ROM  Regina Maria Romania Frigate
190 ROM Lastunul Romania Corvette
P-70 HS Y. Grigorpoulos Greece Fast attack craft

Mid-Life Modernisation For Preveze Class Submarines

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One of the four Preveze class submarines which will receive a mid-life-modernisation.

The Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (UDI) has issued a request for proposal for the mid-life modernisation work on Preveze class submarines.

UDI has issued the RfP in Turkish as it is local development project.

UDI previously managed the upgrade of two Type 209/1200 class submarines TCG Doğanay and TCG Dolunay. The contract was awarded to STM and the project included renewal of electronic support, attack and search periscopes and inertial navigation systems.

although the scope of mid-life modernisation work on Preveze class submarines has not been published yet, it is safe to assume it will involve the upgrade of the electronic systems maybe even the combat management system. If so then the CMS developed for Preveze class submarines may work as a prototype for the future CMS of the Reis (Type 212) class submarines.

Turkish Navy operates 12 Type 209 submarines. The oldest 5 of them are Ay class submarines. The reminder are Type 209/1400 class submarines. The first batch of four is known as Preveze class and the last four as Gür class. The main difference between these are the later have a new fire control system integrated with the sonar, new data links and improved target acquisition and tracking capabilities.

TCG Burgazada Launched

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TCG Burgazada on the slipway ready to be launched. The first section of TCG Kınalıada is already assembled and is ready to be put on the slipway. This photo was taken earlier this week.

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Same scene from a slightly different angle.

Today the third ship of Ada class, TCG Burgazada was launched in Istanbul Naval Shipyard and the keel laying ceremony for the fourth ship TCG Kınalıada was conducted.

The construction of TCG Burgazada started on 27 September 2013. For the previous two ships, Istanbul Naval Shipyard needed 3 years from the start of the construction till launching. However the shipyard was able to shorten the construction time of TCG Burgazada by 100 days.

These two ships, together with the previous pair will constitute Ada class.

During the launching ceremony the Commander of Turkish Naval Forces, Admiral Bülent Bostanoğlu said that the planned construction time for TCG Kınalıada will be 8 months shorter.  He also noted that the second batch of four ships will be constructed in İ class configuration. The construction of the fifth ship, named  TCG İstanbul, will start in Januray 2017. These ships are scheduled to be commissioned between 2021 and 2024.

 

Here is a short video of the launch:

From the Archive (18)

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F-253 TCG Zafer in Istanbul on 29 October 1995. She was commissioned in US Navy as USS Thomas C. Hart in 1973 and served untill 1993. She was transferred to Turkey in 1993, through the Security Assistance Program and renamed as TCG Zafer. She was decommssioned from Turkish Navy in 2012 and in June 2016 she was sunk as target.

Turkish Navy Released A Video About Beyaz Fırtına Naval Exercise

Turkish Navy released a official video from the live firings conducted during the Beyaz Fırtına 2016 (White Storm) Naval Exercise.

I must admit that, I have found the scene showing, the torpedo leaving the submarine, very impressive.

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