Turkish Naval Force – Lynchpin of NATO’s Maritime Strength

Turkish Naval Force – Dependable in Cooperation, Deterrent in Crises and Decisive in Combat

 

“The one who rules the seas, rules the world", is a well-known excerpt attributed to Barbaros Hayrettin, Grand Admiral of the Turkish Fleet in the sixteenth century. The main point, which we would all agree upon is that, Sea Power was in the past, is today and will be in the future at the core of the world order. The one who dominated the sea happened to rule over the world, nations who best utilize this potential, dominates the global system.

Over 15o of the 193 United nations member nations are coastal states. %75 of the world population, more than 8o% of the world’s capital and approximately complete global trade and military power centers are located near coasts. Maritime transportation is much cheaper in comparison to land, air or railway transportation. 9o% of the world’s trade is seaborne and 75% of that trade pass through limited number of choke points and international straits.

The 21st century is the maritime era where the sea promises unlimited resources and connects the entire world. Nations depend on their navies to safeguard their maritime interest and secure sea routes. Over the years, thanks to their inherent flexibility, which they offer to governments, navies have become the key instrument for the implementation of the state action at sea. When duty calls, navies can deliver. This very fact has been time-proven. Though the number of organizations involved in maritime security has been increasing over the last couple decades, navies are still the most competent agencies in many littoral countries.

In the past, the main use of maritime domain was its ease of transportation and trade. Maritime strategies focused mainly on sea control and maritime security was a matter of power and usually a concern of one actor. But today besides basic trade and transportation, seas offer littoral/peninsular countries a wide range of economical activities, ranging from energy production from water and wind to deep sea drilling for hydrocarbon reserves. These economic activities in maritime jurisdiction areas have become one of the leading causes of interstate conflicts these days.

 

Turkey’s Geostrategic Position and Turkish Navy’s Responsibilities

 

Turkey lies where three continents meet. Surrounded by three seas from the North (Black Sea), South (Aegean Sea) and West (Mediterranean Sea) Turkey has a coastline of 8.484km. Its geo-strategic position and geopolitical situation obliges Turkey to be a maritime state and dictates to have and sustain a powerful naval force.

As a peninsular state, Turkey is thoroughly dependent on the seas. More than 5o% of her population lives on the coastal areas, 95% of import and export goods are carried by sea and 75% of Turkey’s petroleum traffic is carried over the Aegean Sea. Turkish Straits do not only provide a vital link between Turkey’s maritime flanks but also constitute a major artery for global economy. On any given day, an average of 11o merchant ships over 5oo gross tons sail through the Turkish Straits. An annual average of 1oo million tons of commercial goods is freighted by sea transportation to and from the Turkish ports. Annual sum of the petroleum products, carried by the tankers passing through Istanbul and Canakkale Straits is around 14o million tons. And the introduction of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline, carrying Caspian oil to Eastern Mediterranean into the world markets has considerably increased the strategic importance of Bay of Iskenderun and in a larger spectrum, the Eastern Mediterranean. In order to provide security for the increasing tanker traffic at sea following the activation of the of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline starting from April 1, 2oo6 a national Maritime Security Operation named ‘Mediterranean Shield’ in the Eastern Mediterranean was launched.

The Turkish Straits and surrounding seas are not only arteries for the Turkish economy, but also act as a bastion for the security of the state. During the last couple decades the tectonic changes have been taking place in global security environment and the effects of these changes are directly felt in surrounding seas of Turkey. Living in a neighbourhood adjacent to Balkans, Caucasus and the Middle East, poses Turkey security challenges and risks. In order to adapted itself to changing security environments the Turkish Navy has been continuously transforming itself, restructuring its organizational structure and carries out new tasks against the challenges of the new security environment, while maintaining and enhancing conventional naval capabilities. The force and command structure of the Turkish Navy now provide the essential elements to perform both conventional naval tasks as well as constabulary ones.

Addressing at Pakistan Navy War College on February 17, 2o16 Commander of the Turkish Naval Forces Admiral Bulent BOSTANOGLU has summarized the current situation from Turkish Navy’s point of view with following words; “As we witness recently, there are many regional and global naval actors competing in the maritime domain. Increased competition for the maritime goods and the unlawful territorial claims add fuel to this complex maritime domain. In this picture, our navies must always be ready to prevail in combat. Hence we shall always keep our priority and purpose of our navies’ existence in mind. As Turkey, we don’t have the luxury of degrading core capabilities, especially in the face of unstable Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, developing situation in Eastern Mediterranean including Syria and the on-going crisis in Ukraine.”

The Turkish Navy’s primary mission is to defend the country against all maritime threats and risks and to protect its maritime interests both in peace and crisis time while contributing to the maintenance of peace and stability in the region. In this context, in peace and crisis time, the main tasks of the Turkish Navy are:

  • Peace Support Operations
  • Search & Rescue Operations
  • Participation in Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Relief Operations
  • Constabulary Operations
  • Protection & Control of Maritime Jurisdictional Areas
  • Non Combatant Evacuation Operations
  • Presence & Flag Show
  • Sea Control & Sea Denial Operations
  • Protection of Sea lanes of Communications and
  • Power Projection

In order to effectively execute those tasks, the Turkish Naval Forces Command (TNFC) is organized into four major subordinate commands, which includes; Fleet Command (Golcuk, Kocaeli), Northern Sea Area Command (Istanbul), Southern Sea Area Command (Izmir) and Naval Training & Education Command (Istanbul). As part of on-going transformation efforts starting from 2o11 within Fleet Command three separate Task Group Commands (namely North, South and West) have been formed. And finally in 2o15 in order to assure coordination and cooperation among those three Task Group Commands, the War Fleet Command (covers frigates, corvettes and fast patrol boats) was established and subordinated to the Fleet Command. Today, the Fleet Command, which constitutes the striking power of the Turkish Naval Forces, is the largest of the naval components and consists of: War Fleet Command, Submarine Fleet Command, Mine Fleet Command and Naval Aviation Command.

During the early stages of the Republican era Turkish Navy had only 23 naval platforms (including Yavuz battle cruiser with a full load displacement of 25.4oo tonnes) with a total displacement of 48.ooo tonnes. Today, Turkish Naval Forces, with its 55.ooo personnel, three naval ship yards (Golcuk, Istanbul and Izmir), over 15o naval platforms (both surface and underwater) with a total displacement of around 260.ooo tonnes, some 5o air assets (fixed wing and rotary wing platforms), an amphibious naval infantry brigade, and special operations teams (comprising 12 SAT (Underwater Offence) Teams, 15 SAS (Underwater Defence) Teams and 3 Rescue Teams) is a formidable navy in the world stage. Turkish Navy, with increasing effectiveness and synergy with other services and allies, is nowadays capable to conduct both Brown and Blue Water Operations. Today, the warships of the Turkish Navy wave the Turkish flag with great pride on the world seas from Sea of Japan to the Baltic Sea, from Persian Gulf to Somali Basin, from Gibraltar to Panama, and from the North Atlantic to the Indian Ocean. As one of the most respected, powerful and capable navies in the Mediterranean, the Turkish Naval Forces will continue to fly the glorious Turkish flag on the high seas. Speaking at TCG Anadolu (L-400) Multi Purpose Amphibious Assault Vessel (LHD)’s first steel cutting ceremony held on April 3oth, 2o16 at Sedef Shipyard in Tuzla, Istanbul, Commander of the Turkish Naval Forces Admiral Bülent BOSTANOĞLU has underlined that with her existing medium scaled regional force projection capability and land attack/penetration capability Turkish Navy is now listed in top 15 navies among 162 navies in the world and with the commissioning of TCG Anadolu in 2o2os Turkish Navy to go up into a higher class and would have a higher place in this ranking.

 

 

Counter Piracy Operations & Contributions to Regional and Global Peace

 

A stable maritime security is closely linked to the presence of Sea Power and navies provide presence all over the world for this purpose. However, in the 21st century, no single nation alone has the capacity to provide freedom of navigation, keep sea-lanes open, safe guard the vital links in the world and thus protect and defend the global order. So, it is self-evident that nations that thoroughly dependent on the seas must work together.

Since 2oo6, there is a significant increase in the piracy incidents all around the world, especially in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf and Somalia Basin. Considering the fact that 95% of import and export goods of Turkey are carried by sea and nearly a quarter of Turkey’s foreign trade is transported using Turkish ships or with those connected with the country, protection of the maritime trade routes has a vital importance for Turkey. That is why Turkish Naval Forces’ supports counter piracy operations in the coasts of Somalia and Gulf of Aden under the framework of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) resolutions. Since 2oo9, Turkish Navy frigates and corvettes are participating at the multinational naval task force dubbed Combined Task Force 151 (or CTF-151) and at the Operation Ocean Shield (CTF-508). The CTF-151 has been established under the leadership of the USA and NATO as a response to piracy attacks in the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden and so far some 2oo pirates have been neutralized during the operations. Since 2oo9 Turkish Navy has executed the command of CTF-151 on four occasions and the command of Operation Ocean Shield (CTF-508) on two occasions. Turkey is the only country, which always assign elements/platforms to Standing NATO Maritime Groups. Turkish Navy considers continuing to participate in Counter Piracy Operations under the command of CTF-151 and/or CTF-508 (Operation Ocean Shield) in certain periods of the year in the Horn of Africa and Indian Ocean. Meanwhile, in February 2o16, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, has extended the deployment of Turkish Naval Forces in Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, and adjacent seas to halt piracy for another year. Parliament’s approval of a government motion dated February 9th, went into force after being published in the Official Gazette on February 16th. Accordingly, the Turkish Naval Forces’ mission has been extended for one more year from February 1o, 2o16.

Turkish Naval Forces attaches utmost importance to cooperation and bilateral relations in order to support global peace and stability. During counter piracy operations Turkish Naval Forces has performed interaction with the navies of friendly and allied nations and improved the level of cooperation with them. By participating in NATO naval operations (such as Operation Active Endeavour, CTF-151 and Operations Ocean Shield), UN operations (such as UNIFIL Maritime Task Force Operations) and in the current regional initiatives and operations (such as BlackSeaFor, Operation Black Sea Harmony and Operation Mediterranean Shield) Turkish Naval Forces has been contributing not only to the maritime security of Turkey’s export and imports but also to global stability and peace in the context of regional cooperation and bilateral relations. The success of these multi-national initiatives has shown that collective action, namely collaboration, delivers results.

In addition to above mentioned NATO naval operations and UN operations, during the past few years the Turkish Navy has also carried out some unique deployments and missions such as;

  • TCG Heybeliada Corvette’s deployment to North Africa and Mediterranean Sea in 2o13. She conducted port visits to some of the North African and European countries between June 1o and July 12 2o13.
  • Barbaros Turkish Maritime Task Group Deployment to the African Continent during March 17 and June 27, 2o14; Comprised of 2 frigates (TCG OruçReis and TCG Gediz), 1 corvette (TCG Heybeliada) and 1 fleet replenishment ship (TCG Yarbay Kudret GUNGOR), Barbaros Turkish Maritime Task Group performed 25 port visits to a total of 24 countries (19 of these countries were visited for the first time by the Turkish Naval units) on the African continent. Turkish Maritime Task Group deployment is not scheduled for 2o16, but Turkish Navy plans to reactivate the Group in the future in line with the political guidance and taking into account the proceedings in the surrounding seas.
  • TCG Buyukada Corvette’s deployment to the Persian Gulf during January 26 and April 19, 2o15.
  • TCG Gediz Frigate’s deployment to the Far East between April 1 and July 31, 2o15 as part of the commemoration for the 125th anniversary of Ottoman Frigate Ertuğrul’s voyage to Japan.

 

These deployments are examples of Turkish Navy’s outreach to make friends and allies and to foster international cooperation and partnerships for maritime prosperity. Furthermore, with its prospective platforms like TCG Anadolu (L-400) Multi Purpose Amphibious Assault Ship (LHD) and her naval aviation capability with a wide range of helicopters to include medium sized and heavy utility helicopters as well as attack ant ASW/ASuW helicopters and F-35B Lightning II STOVL jets, Turkish Navy will be able to project power to longer distances and will be robust and deterrent as it has never been before. With the commissioning of TCG Anadolu (L-400) LHD, Turkish Navy would be able to avert her current regional force projection capability into the medium scaled global force projection capability.

 

 

Turkish Naval Forces’ New Strategy Document & Future Plans

 

Turkish Naval Forces Command has prepared a new strategy document and issued the Turkish version at its official website in October 2o15. The Turkish Naval Forces Strategy document, which was published for the first time ever, will soon be available in English. During his address at Pakistan Navy War College on February 17, 2o16 Commander of the Turkish Naval Forces Admiral Bulent BOSTANOGLU has highlighted the major points of this document;

“Turkey is exposed to the negative impacts of numerous on-going crises in the north of the Black Sea and in various hot spots throughout Turkey’s southern borders. Furthermore, historical disputes in the Aegean and the growing tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean are prone to result in further crises. These existing and potential crises may well continue to impact Turkey’s security situation. This very fact will be the major factor in Turkish Navy’s operations and force posture in the next 5-1o years. The challenge in the Black Sea will be to restore stability and mutual confidence among the littoral states, both of which were hampered with the outbreak of Ukrainian crisis.

Turkish Navy will continue promoting regional ownership and regional naval mechanisms, such as Operation Black Sea Harmony. Simultaneously, NATO’s assurance measures that are tailored according to the evolving security situation and threat perception will continue to be supported actively. In the Aegean, Turkish Navy will continue to foster friendly and Allied relations, as well as confidence building measures. At the same time, we will keep our deterrent posture to prevent attempts that will change the status quo and restrict the use of the high seas.

Turkish Navy’s main area of concentration will be the Eastern Mediterranean due to the on-going disputes on delimitation of maritime jurisdiction areas. On-going crises with Russia have also increased the already sensitive situation in the Eastern Mediterranean. However, Turkish Navy will continue to be a responsible actor in its endeavours in the region. We will, nevertheless, continue to actively protect Turkey’s maritime rights and interests in our maritime jurisdiction areas.

Promoting regional and global peace and stability will be the primary engagements of the Turkish Navy beyond Turkey’s surrounding seas.  We will continue to secure Sea Lines Of Communications (SLOCS) frequently used by Turkish merchant fleet, support Turkish foreign policy as required and, contribute to Alliance Maritime Strategy under national, alliance or coalition structures.”

As stated in the Turkish Naval Forces Strategy, Turkey’s foreign policy vision is based on stability, cooperation and continental scale initiatives. Due to its mobility capabilities, these objectives have established Turkish Naval Forces as an indispensable foreign policy instrument that has access to all regions, including neighbouring waters and oceans, in line with Turkey’s areas of interest and activities.

 

 

Turkish Naval Forces’ Modernization Programs & Local Solutions/Capabilities

 

Recent developments in surrounding seas and responsibilities stemming from Turkey’s commitments to the NATO necessitate having a powerful Naval Force. In order to continue to produce deterrence and create stability in an important and fragile geography Turkey needs continuous modernization of her Navy. And the swift conduct of modernization as well as the procurement of advanced weapons/systems has a vital importance for sustaining Turkish Navy’s deterrence.

The lessons learned from the past had proved that having a powerful and capable navy depends not only on the imported weapon and sensor systems but also on the capacity of both national defence industry and the Turkish military shipbuilding sector. The Turkish military shipbuilding industry (comprising both naval shipyards and private shipyards) has achieved a considerable success especially over the last 15 years, and now is able to carry out the design, construct and system integration of all types of surface and underwater naval vessels (both in manned and unmanned configurations) in local shipyards using indigenous capabilities and infrastructures with a local content ratio of 7o%. The Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM), Turkey’s defence and security procurement agency for the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF), the Security General Directorate (SGD, Turkish Police) and the Turkish National Intelligence Service (MIT), has been overseeing the latest naval projects, which were launched as part of Turkish Naval Forces’ on-going modernization programme. The main goal of on-going modernization programme is to create a modern, versatile, interoperable and deployable navy through exploiting local defence infrastructure and also facilitating international cooperation.

All naval platform projects carried out by the SSM fall under the responsibility of the Naval Platforms Department. As of October 2o15, the total value of the shipbuilding projects that the Naval Platforms Department have been conducting for 14 different classes of ships is around US$5 Billion. Together with the 2o naval projects, which would be launched in the short and medium term to meet the Turkish Naval Forces’ requirements, the total value reaches around US$12 Billion.

The platform projects to be mentioned at the following lines will be realized at domestic shipyards and facilities aiming at maximum contribution from national industry thus creating employment opportunities.

 

Ada Class Corvettes:

Constructed under the MilGem (National Vessel) Programme, Ada Class Corvettes are wholly indigenous patrol/anti submarine warfare (ASW) vessels, designed to meet specific requirements of the Turkish Navy in terms of speed, seakeeping and stability. Originally a total of 12 (8+4) vessels was planned to be constructed under the MilGem Programme but as a result of changes in Turkish Naval Forces Command (TNFC)’s operational requirements current plan envisages a fleet of four ships. All of design, integration (also covers the combat systems integration) and analysis studies for the MilGem corvettes have been performed at Istanbul Naval Shipyard Command with the participation of both military and civil engineers. First ship of Ada Class Corvettes TCG Heybeliada (F-511) was commissioned on September 27, 2o11 while the second vessel TCG Büyükada (F-512) was commissioned on September 27, 2o13. Construction of the third and fourth vessels TCG Burgazada (F-513) and TCG Kınalıada (F-514) are continuing at Istanbul naval Shipyard Command. Provisional acceptances of TCG Burgazada and TCG Kınalıada Corvettes are scheduled to take place in 2o17 and in 2o19 respectively. Final acceptance of these two ships will take place after a 12-moth guaranty period in September 2o18 and in March 2o2o. Compared to first two ships, which are equipped with nationally developed combat management system, namely GENESIS, the third and fourth corvettes will be integrated with GENSIS ADVENT combat management system (CMS). MilGem, concept enabled domestic production and development of critical technological systems such as; GENSIS and GENESIS ADVENT CMS, hull mounted medium frequency active/passive sonar, 76mm gun fire control system, LPI radar, 12.7mm stabilized gun system, degaussing system, IR signature management system and laser warning system.

The Ada Class Corvettes have a mono-hull, displacement-type hull form. Their overall length is 99.5 metres, maximum beam is 14.4m, displacement is 2.3oo tons (2.45o tons with full load) and their range at economic speed is around 3.5oo nautical miles. Ada Class Corvettes accommodates a 10-tone helicopter (S-70B SeaHawk) with platform, hangar and extensive service and handling equipment. With their 32MW propulsion power, generated by one gas turbine (LM2500) and two diesel engines (CODAG system configuration), Ada Class Corvettes can reach 3o knots.

 

I Class Frigates:

Due to the high average age of the existing frigates in the Turkish Naval Forces inventory, as well as the increases in national, NATO and international tasks, which are carried out mostly very far from the homeland Turkey, the I Class Frigate Programme has been launched. As the extended and enhanced version of Ada Class Corvettes, the I Class Frigates will have around 5o% increased fuel capacity and cruising range capability compared to Ada Class Corvettes. In line with the changing and developing requirements of the Turkish Naval Forces Command, the I Class Frigates will be equipped with a 16-cell Mk41 VLS (behind the 76mm Super Rapid gun on the bow) for a total of 64 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSMs), 16 Harpoon Block I/II and Atmaca surface to surface/land attack missiles, electronic attack capability and network enabled combat management system namely ‘GENESIS ADVENT’. The I Class Frigates’ overall length will be around 113 meters and their displacement will be around 3.ooo tons.

Istanbul Naval Shipyard Command is responsible for the design and the prototype ship construction. Construction of the first ship of the class, TCG Istanbul (F-515), is expected to be launched in 2o17 and she is planned to be operational in 2o21. The other three sister ships, planned to be constructed in private shipyards, will follow in 2o22, 2o23 and 2o24.

 

TCG Anadolu LHD:

After a long and hard negotiation process that launched soon after the tender was awarded on 27th December 2o13, during IDEF ‘15 Fair on May 7, 2o15, the Turkish private shipyard Sedef signed a contract with the SSM for the design and construction of one LHD ship, to be based on ATHLAS 26.000/Juan Carlos I LHD design, for the Turkish Navy, where Navantia is a participant as a technological partner. The contract that became effective on 18th September 2o15 covers the construction and the delivery of one LHD ship, four LCM-1E Landing Craft Mechanized (LCMs), two Landing Crafts Vehicle and Personnel (LCVPs,) two Rubber Hulled Inflated Boat (RHIB) and one Command Boat. The main milestones of the program are the 1.ooo tons of steel cutting at T0+8 months, the launching at T0+4o months, and the temporary delivery at T0+67 months, with final acceptance after a 12 moth guaranty period. Construction of the TCG Anadolu (L-400) Multi Purpose Amphibious Assault Vessel (LHD) will be the biggest ship and displacement that the Turkish Navy has ever had, has been officially launched on April 3oth, 2o16 at Sedef Shipyard in Tuzla, Istanbul with a steal cutting ceremony. TCG Anadolu (Anatolia) will be constructed with a 68% local content share and is scheduled to join the fleet in 2o21. Navantia will provide Sedef Shipyard with the design of the TCG Anadolu LHD and the LCM-1Es as well as the Purchase Technical Specifications for the procurement of all materials and equipment.

Though TCG Anadolu LHD (L-400)’s design is based on the LHD Juan Carlos I/Canberra Classes already in the services of Spanish and Australian Navies, she will have certain differences from these platforms in order to meet the Turkish Navy requirements such as; GENESIS ADVENT CMS, the removal of the dock dividing wall in the well dock for the simultaneous operation of two LCACs and a CODAD propulsion system (with five MAN 16V32/40 diesel engines to assure redundancy of the electric plant, multiple failure operation modes, the desire of slightly increasing the economical speed and many other considerations) contrary to CODAG (two MAN 16V32/40 diesel engines and a LM2500 gas turbine generator) system used in the Juan Carlos I & Canberra Classes. TCG Anadolu LHD will be able to operate F-35B Lightning II aircraft and necessary measures and modifications, such as heat resistant coatings, fore and stern aircraft elevators (each with a capacity and sufficient size to be able to carry up to the F-35Bs or CH-47F Chinooks) and instrument landing systems (Precise Approach Radar (PAR)) would be implemented from beginning to the flight deck/runway, with a maximum length of around 203 metres, beam of 32 metres and equipped with a siki-jump ramp as well as to the island sections. So with the fortified deck and island sections TCG Anadolu shall withstand the heat generated by the vertical take-off and landing of the F-35Bs. TCG Anadolu is configured to house up to 12 F-35Bs plus a similar number of medium sized helicopters when acting with an aircraft carrier mission profile or up to 3o aircraft including medium sized and heavy helicopters as well as V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft in amphibious operation role. There will be six spots/touchdown points on the runway for medium sized helicopters (up to four touch down points are planned for heavy helicopters). TCG Anadolu’s airborne capacity will include 6 F-35Bs, 4 T129 ATAK Helicopter, 8 medium sized utility helicopters, 2 S-70B SeaHawk ASW/ASuW Helicopters and 2 UAVs.

With a displacement of 27.436 tons at full load the 231 metres vessel’s maximum speed would be over 21 knots and she could reach to 9.ooonm with economic cruising speed of 15 knots. With the anticipated entry of TCG Anadolu LHD to the Turkish Naval Forces inventory in 2o21 new types of manned and unmanned aircraft in fixed wing and rotary wing configurations will also join the Turkish Naval Forces Aviation fleet including medium sized and heavy utility helicopters, attack helicopters and assault aircraft with short take-off and vertical landing capabilities for the deployment on-board the TCG Anadolu LHD. She will be able to act as command platform and play a decisive role in Turkish Navy’s peacetime missions, including Disaster Relief, Humanitarian Assistance Operations and Force Projection missions.

 

Reis Class Type 214TN Submarines:

A total of six Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) submarines will be constructed at Golcuk Naval Shipyard (GNSY). The construction of the first submarine, TCG PiriReis, has started in October 2o15 and the submarines are planned to be commissioned between 2o21 and 2o26. Type 214TN Reis Class Submarines, to be the first AIP-equipped submarines operated by Turkish Navy, will replace six Ay Class (Type 209/1200) diesel/electric powered submarines. Featuring ISUS-90/72 combat management system the single hull Reis Class Type 214TN Submarines will have an overall length of 67.6m, an overall beam of 6.3m and hull draught of 6.8m. With a submerged displacement of 2.042 tons (surface displacement is 1855 tons) the Reis Class Submarines will be armed with Mk48 Mod 6AT and DM2A4 heavy weight torpedoes as well as Harpoon Block I/II and IDAS missiles. Indigenously developed Akya heavyweight torpedo and Atmaca missiles are expected to be integrated on the platforms in the coming years.

 

TF-2000 Frigates:

Turkish Navy has initiated a project called TF-2000 to construct a total of four (+2 optional) frigates fitted with enhanced anti-air weapon and sensor systems. The main aim of this project is to acquire fleet area air defence capability. Construction of the first ship of the class, will take place at Istanbul Naval Shipyard Command, the other three sister ships are planned to be constructed in private shipyards. All four ships are planned to be in Turkish Naval Forces service by 2o29. The displacement of the TF-2000 Frigate is expected to be between 6.500 to 7.ooo tons and its overall length is expected to be 145 to 150 metres. The main sensor of the TF-2000 Frigates called ÇAFRAD, Multifunctional Phased Array Radar is under development. In September 2o13 a contract was signed between Aselsan and SSM for the design, development and prototype production of ÇAFRAD system, which will be capable of identifying numerous air and surface targets over longer distances, allowing the air defence weapons on-board the TF-2000 Frigates layered air defence architecture to be used to maximum effect. TF-2000 Frigates will also feature GENESIS ADVENT CMS.

 

LST:

The Acquisition of Landing Ship Tank (LST) type amphibious ships is also well on track. The construction and outfitting activities on 2 LST’s are currently on-going at ADIK Shipyard in Tuzla, Istanbul. These platforms named TCG Bayraktar (L-402) and TCG Sancaktar (L-403) LSTs are planned to be commissioned in 2o17 and 2o18. First vessel TCG Bayraktar was launched on October 3, 2o15 and her Harbour Acceptance Tests (HAT) will commence in June 2o16. Then she will under go Sea Acceptance Tests (SAT), will last about three months, and if everything goes well she will be delivered to the Turkish Naval Forces Command in February 2o17. TCG Sancaktar is scheduled to be launched in July 2o16. Her hull construction is fully completed and she was put on the main slipway where all equipment, machinery and other materials are being assembled. With a full load displacement of 7.254 tons and a range of 5.ooonm at economic speed of 15 knots the LST ships will be able to achieve a maximum speed of 18 knots. LST design features bow and stern doors, a port-side vehicle access ramp, a flight deck for a 15-ton helicopter, capacity for 1.2oo tons of cargo, and accommodation for 35o troops plus 129 ship crew. LST ships will have 56o bed capacity

 

Logistic Support Ship:

Covering the acquisition of two oil tankers from a local shipyard the Logistic Support Ship Project has been commenced in order to support deployed combatants in Turkish Navy’s operational regions including Black Sea, Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean. The main mission of these ships is combat support in terms of logistic support and performing command and control support. Logistic Support Ships with their on-board capabilities can also support humanitarian aid and peace support operations. Selah Shipyard has been selected in May 2o14 and the contact was awarded with an advanced payment by the SSM on 24 November 2o14.  First ship is scheduled to be delivered in June 2o16 and the second ship in April 2o17.

 

MoShip / RaTShip:

Under the contract awarded by the SSM on October 28, 2o11 one Submarine Rescue Mother Ship (MoShip) and two Rescue and Towing Ships (RatShip) are being constructed at Istanbul Shipyard, part of SNR Holding is a private shipyard located in Tuzla, Istanbul. The MoShip is named ‘TCG Alemdar (A-601) and the RatShips are named TCG Isın (A-583) and TCG Akın (A-584). TCG Alemdar was launched on April 28, 2o14, TCG Isın was launched on June 25, 2o14 and TCG Akın was on September 3, 2o14 at the Istanbul Shipyard. All three ships are scheduled to join the fleet in 2o16.

The MoShip will be capable of providing the life saving support to the disabled submarine and evacuating the crew. The RatShips will be capable of towing the broken down, wrecked and ran ashore ships as well as fire fighting. Moreover, both ships, to be equipped with modern rescue systems and equipment such as remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV), atmospheric diving suit (ADS), submarine ventilation system, emergency life support system, pressure chambers etc., can also perform the underwater repair works and wreck removal through divers, atmospheric diving suit and ROVs. The MoShip, designed to perform subsea and surface search and rescue missions up to and including sea state 6, will have the necessary infrastructure for the deployment of both the US Submarine Rescue Diving and Recompression System (SRDRS) and NATO Submarine Rescue System (NSRS), which are to be used in the transfer of submarine crew to the surface. The MoShip will have the necessary means and capabilities to rescue submarine crew in maximum 72 hours. The MoShip is a monohull vessel with 9om overall length, 18m beam and 5m draught. With a displacement of around 4.1oo tons she will have enough space for 131 personnel, of which 89 will be ship crew and 32 will be rescue personnel. She has a maximum continuous speed of 18 knots and an endurance of 4,5oonm at an economical speed of 14 knots. The RatShips are monohull vessels with 68m overall lengths, 14m beams and 4m draughts. With a displacement of around 1,95o tons they will have enough space for 104 personnel.

 

Fleet Replenishment Ship (DIMDEG):

In order to meet Turkish Naval Forces Command’s new generation Fleet Replenishment Ship requirement, to satisfy the fuel and water transport and supply needs of surface units in the open seas around the world DIMDEG Project has been launched. The project comprises two phases: Contractual Design and Detailed Design& Construction. The ship’s design has been carried out by the Turkish Naval Forces Command’s Design Project Office (DPO) located in Istanbul Naval Shipyard, while some activities/tests required for the design phase have been performed by the STM under a contract awarded by the SSM on October 1, 2o12. The DIMDEG will have an overall length of 195 meters, displacement of 22.ooo tons and a beam of 24.4 meters. To be powered by two gas turbines and two diesel engines the DIMDEG Fleet Replenishment Ship will have maximum speed of 24 knots. For the Detailed Design & Construction phase a tender will be launched in 2o16 to select main contractor.

 

Turkish Type FPBs:

Turkish Type Fast Patrol Boat Programme has been launched to acquire a total of 1o FPBs (4 firm and 6 optional) to replace four Dogan, four Ruzgar and two Yıldız Class FPBs. The aim of the programme is to develop highly agile indigenous platforms, able to create surprise effect thanks to their high speed and capability to conduct efficient surface combat through high strike power. Under the programme SSM issued a RFI document to local shipyards on July 25, 2o13. After receiving over 1o responses to the RFI document, a feasibility study was initiated, the result of which were already submitted to the Turkish Naval Forces Command, which is still working on the Turkish Type FPB Programme’s Technical Specifications. Each will expected to coast around US$15o Million the Turkish Type FPBs will have an indigenous design, which the SSM and the TNFC will own all the intellectual property rights, and will feature high speed (over 45 knots and up to 6o knots), high strike power (8 RGM-84 Harpoon/Atmaca SSMs, 1 x 76mm Super rapid main gun, 1 x 21-cell Mk49 Mod 3 RAM launcher and 2 x 12.7mm STAMP systems) and ‘stealth’ (with reduced Radar Cross Section [RCS], Infrared [IR] Signature, Magnetic Signature and Acoustic Signature [Underwater Noise Level]). Turkish Type FPBs are required to be able to conduct operations at high sea state conditions.

 

 

Conclusion

Realization of these platform projects will carry forward the Turkish Navy in the right direction of building a modern, interoperable and rapid deployable navy. With these platform projects along with some other developments and programs such as; fixed and rotary wing UAVs, unmanned surface vessels, indigenous weapon systems (including Akya heavyweight torpedo, Atmaca surface to surface & land attack missile and Gezgin cruise missile), national submarine (MilDen plans to replace Preveze Class Type 209/1400 submarines in 2o3os), new mine hunting vessels (to be designed and constructed at local shipyards), Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft (a requirement for P-8A Poseidon type MPA has been defined) and 27 Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAVs) and 2 Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCACs) vehicles for the TCG Anadolu LHD, Turkish Naval Forces Command (TNFC) aims to build a force structure in order to prepare the Turkish Navy for the challenges of the 21st century.

Once the on-going procurement and modernization programmes are completed the Turkish Navy will be robust and deterrent as it has never been before. The TNFC has framed this goal in its new motto ‘Dependable in Cooperation, Deterrent in Crises and Decisive in Combat.’

 

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