First Steel Cut For TCG Istanbul

The first steel for the new frigate TCG İstanbul was cut with ceremony. Photo: Arif Hüdaverdi Yaman, Anadolu Ajansı via Turkish MoD.

On 19 January 2017, first steel was cut for the Turkish frigate TCG İstanbul in Istanbul Naval Shipyard.

Defence Minister and Commander of Turkish Naval Forces attended the ceremony that marked the construction start of Turkey’s first indigenous frigate.

TCG İstanbul will be the first ship of a class of 4 frigates also known as İ (or İstif according to Turkish Naval spelling alphabet) class. The others will be called as TCG İzmir, TCG İzmit and TCG İçel.

The conceptual drawing of this new class was first revealed during the IDEF 2015 International Defense Industry Fair.

The new frigate will be about 14 meters longer but will have the same width as Ada class. TCG İstanbul will be 600 tons heavier and have a deeper draft due to the increased weapon load and other design changes.

The main gun is a 76mm with a stealth cupola. There is 16 cell Mk41 VLS system just behind the gun, for ESSM missiles.

The form of the bridge and the main mast is almost identical to the existing Ada class only slightly enlarge. There will be a Smart-S Mk2 radar and ARES-2 ESM suit on the mast.

One important difference between the ships is the number of the anti-ship missiles carried. The weapon load on İstif class will be the double of Ada class with 16 missiles launchers. This is the twice the usual load of the existing anti-ship missiles normally carried on Turkish warships.

Another difference is the selection of the self-defence weapons. While the Ada class has the Mk49 launcher for RAM anti-air missiles the İstif class will be fitted with a Mk15 Phalanx CIWS.

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A comparison between Ada and İstif class

The above mentioned are the external differences between the two generation of Milgem ships. The internal changes are very hard to tell at this time. But nevertheless, one might safely say that the combat management system of the second generation will be an improved version of the first generation.

The construction of TCG İstanbul is expected to be completed within the next 46 months with the intended commissioning date 2021.

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TCG Alemdar Ready For The Service

The model of Moship

The model TCG Alemdar.

The commissioning of the submarine rescue mother ship A-582 TCG Alemdar was scheduled for today. The ceremony was cancelled because some high-ranking politicians are unable to attend. Never the less it is good to know that this project has come to an end.

The first steel for TCG Alemdar was cut in April 2012 and the keel was laid in December 2012. The ship was launched on 29th April 2014.

The project may seem to have taken too long but it is the first time that a private shipyard has constructed a ship with complex and specialized sub systems. According to the contract signed between the Istanbul shipyard and UDI, the shipyard acted as a main contractor for the project that included the submarine rescue systems like ROV’s, hyperbaric chamber etc. As far as I know such expertise was not available to the shipyards at that time.

Last week TCG Alemdar was nearly involved in an accident. As part of the acceptance tests, the ship was in Marmara Sea and conducting a 4 point anchoring operation. During the test fast ferry M/V Hızır Reis passed over one of the anchoring cables. The tender boat of TCG Alemdar capsized during the incident and 5 persons on board had fallen to the sea. The survivors were rescued shortly but suffered some hypothermia.

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

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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.

Turkish Navy Will Receive Temren Anti Ship Missile

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Test firing of the new missile. Photo from January 2015.

On 28 October 2016, the Turkish Defence Executive Commitee, has decided to arm SH-70B Seahawk helicopters of Turkish Navy with Temren short-range anti ship missile.

Temren means arrowhead in Turkish. The missile was developed, from the L-UMTAS long range anti tank missile, developed by Roketsan. The original L-UMTAS has a range of 8 km and weights 38 kg.

As is, the Temrem would replace the AGM-114K Hellfire II missiles used by Turkish Navy. But since Temren is a indigenous product, a longer ranged version of the missile with a larger warhead may be developed.

The live firing test were conducted in January 2015 and reported here and here.

 

Turkish Navy Helped Panamanian Flagged Merchant Ship

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TCG Yıldırım with M/V Fom. Photo: Turkish Naval Forces

According to Turkish Navy press release, MEKO 200 class frigate TCG Yıldırım, evacuated crew from a stricken merchant ship.

The Panamanian flagged merchant ship M/V Fom has suffered a severe engine problem, off the coast of Black Sea town Karadeniz Ereğlisi. The ship lost power and asked for assistance. TCG Yıldırım was dispatched to the drifting M/V Fom. The on board helicopter from the frigate, evacuated 8 strong crew from M/V Fom. The crew after receiving an initial medical attention on TCG Yıldırım, was later transferred to the shore by Turkish Coast Guard.

TCG Yüzbaşı Güngör Durmuş Launched

Digital rendering of the new logistics support vessel. Photo: Selah Shipyard.

The first ship, of the two new logistics supports ships, constructed for Turkish Navy, A-574 TCG Yüzbaşı Güngör Durmuş was launched on 8th October 2016.

Selah Shipyard has won the tender in 2014. The construction of the first ship has started in 2015.

The ships will carry 4000 tons of fuel for warships, 500 tons of fuel for helicopters and 330 tons of fresh water. They will have a medical facility, capable of performing surgeries. These ships will not have a helicopter hangar, but will have a large landing pad, suitable for heavy army helicopters.

Yüzbaşı Güngör Durmuş was an officer of naval special forces. He died by accident during an exercise in July 1998.

TCG Büyükada Back In Gulf Of Aden

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TCG Büyükada escorts M/V Lila. Photo: Turkish Naval Forces

After a considerable period of absence, Turkish Navy is back in Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia.

In early September Turkish Prime Ministry Disaster & Emergency Management Authority dispatched an aid ship to Somaliland, Ethiopia and Putland. M/V Lila, loaded with 11 tons of aid, left Mersin, Turkey on 10 September 2016. Ada class corvette TCG Büyükada escorted the merchant ship on this voyage.

After the delivery of the aid, TCG Büyükada stayed in the region. She is now conducting anti-piracy patrols under Combined Task Force 151 command.

This is the second deployment of TCG Büyükada to the region. She was in the region  from January till April 2015, and evacuated 55 Turkish citizens trapped in Yemen.

Turkish Coast Guard Tows Future Qatari Coast Guard Boat

Turkish Coast Guard vessel TCSG-70 prepares to tow QC-711. Photo: Turkish Coast Guard.

Turkish Coast Guard announced that, they have helped a boat drifting off the Coast of Antalya.

This boat was QC-711 one of the ARES 75 type boats constructed by ARES shipyard for Qatari Coast Guard. According to the Turkish Coast Guard press release, QC-711 had a malfunction during the builders trials and lost all power. Thus Turkish Coast Guard boat TCSG-70 was dispatched to tow the distressed boat back to the shipyard.

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