Three shipyards set for Turkish LPD tender

RMK Marine's LPD design proposal for the Turkish Navy.

Three Turkish shipyards have responded to a request for tender (RfT) to design and build an amphibious landing platform dock (LPD) vessel for the Turkish Naval Forces.

Desan Shipyard, RMK Marine and SEDEF submitted their rival proposals to the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) on 16 May. Çelik Tekne and Dearsan Shipyard, which had until recently been expected to compete, did not submit responses; the ADIK and Istanbul Denizcilik yards had already advised the SSM of their intention not to bid.

The LPD requirement calls for a logistically self-sustaining amphibious vessel able to transport, sustain and land a battalion-size force in the Aegean, Mediterranean and Black Sea operating areas. The ship will also have a secondary humanitarian relief role.

It is understood that the RfT specified a vessel with at least four helicopter landing spots, hangar space for four helicopters and a stern dock for two landing craft air cushion or four landing craft mechanised.

These characteristics, together with accommodation and vehicle/cargo storage for the embarked military force, have driven through-deck LHD-type designs of more than 25,000 tons displacement. This will make the LPD the largest naval vessel ever built in Turkey.

The SSM issued its RfT in February 2010, with bids originally due for return by the end of 2010.

However, the deadline was extended to mid-May 2011 to allow interested shipyards to decide their LPD bid strategy and finalise their design.

While the SSM mandated an indigenous prime contractor for the LPD programme, it has allowed Turkish shipbuilders to partner with overseas shipyards and design houses. SEDEF teamed with Spain’s Navantia to bid a variant of the latter’s Juan Carlos I strategic projection ship, while Desan’s design is believed to have been developed in conjunction with China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation.

Meanwhile, RMK Marine developed its LPD design in-house. However, it has used UK-based BMT Defence Services as a consultant for aspects of its solution.

The SSM anticipates that the bid evaluation process will take up to 12 months. Contract negotiations with a preferred bidder and the need for the selected shipbuilder to secure a financing package mean a final contract award is unlikely before late 2012.

The LPD project represents the largest single element of an ambitious plan to recapitalise the Turkish Naval Forces’ amphibious and logistics fleet. Eight 79 m fast landing craft tank are currently being built by ADIK and the same yard was in May 2011 contracted to build two 138 m landing ship tank vessels.


Turkish Military Scraps Major Drills

The Turkish army said May 24 it had canceled two major military exercises in the Aegean Sea region in the west, where tensions with neighboring Greece are high.

The annual Efes exercises, involving land, air and naval drills, and the Denizkurdu (Sea Wolf) maneuvers, held at sea every two years, have been canceled, said a brief statement on the army’s website without elaborating. The general staff had organized a press tour for the maneuvers, scheduled to start on May 25.

Despite notable improvements in their ties over the past decade, NATO partners Turkey and Greece remain at loggerheads over territorial rights in the Aegean Sea.

In 2006, a Greek pilot was killed when his plane collided with a Turkish jet during a mock dogfight over the Aegean.

Diplomats from the two countries have been holding so-called “exploratory talks” behind closed doors since 2002 in a bid to resolve the dispute. A 51st round of meetings was held at Turkey’s Aegean resort of Cesme last week.

Ankara – AFP

Milgem ‘In a class of her own!’

First ship of the Milgem project, TCG Heybeliada, during sea trials.

Along the 8,300 km coastline of the Turkish Republic the Turkish Navy ensures the safety of the country’s waterways and protects its territorial waters and exclusive economic zone. Since the region is frequently struck by earthquakes, the Navy must also be prepared for humanitarian operations; and it also participating in numerous stabilisation and peacekeeping missions on an international scale, for example off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden. The Turkish fleet undergoes continuous modernisation so as to be ready for any eventuality.

(F-511) was launched on September 27, 2008 in Istanbul Naval Shipyard at a ceremony in which all eyes were focused on this remarkable ship. With her compact design and stealthy look, the corvette gives a good impression of what she will be able to achieve in operation. HEYBELİADA (F-511) is the lead ship of a class that has been designed, built and outfitted with maximum local content, and as such is the pride of the crew.

MİLGEM-Class Corvettes are designed for operation in littoral waters and are furnished with many signature-reducing measures, which make the vessel hard to detect. It is equipped with Turkey’s most sophisticated platform and combat systems, weapons and sensors, and as such is one of the most modern vessels in its class worldwide. Turkish PrimeMinister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan insisted on launching the lead ship personally during a ceremony.

CODAG: More than 30,000 kW

The centrepiece of the vessel, with a specified top speed of 29 kts, is a CODAG type propulsion system (Combined Diesel and Gas Turbine) supplied by MTU. Two 16V 595 engines with a power output of 4,320 kW each (5,875 hp) and a 23,000 kW (31,280 hp) LM 2500 gas turbine provide power to two controllable-pitch (CPP) propellers via a Renk gearbox, ensuring the reliable operation of the corvette. While the two diesel engines provide power for cruising during regular patrols, the switch-in of the gas turbine enables the vessel to fulfil its high speed requirements. The CODAG propulsion system is controlled and monitored by an MTU Callosum MC automation system.

A long tradition of MTU Engines

Since the first German vessels with Maybach andMercedes-Benz engines were supplied to Turkey in 1967, a large proportion of the ships and submarines used by the Turkish Navy and other governmental authorities, such as the coast guard, have been equipped with MTU power systems. These include both mine layers and mine sweepers of the Aydın class (Lead ship “Alanya”), with two MTU 8V 396 TB84 diesel engines each; Kılıç patrol boats; and the new 1,700 tonne search and rescue vessels of the coastguard, which feature Series 1163 main propulsion systems.

Moreover, two MTU 16V 4000 M70 diesel engines, each with a total power output of 4,640 kW (6,310 hp), will be installed on the landing craft currently under construction at the Turkish ADİK shipyard in Istanbul, being built for the transportation of tanks and vehicles (LCT’s). These landing craft are destined to transport troops and technical equipment by sea to their operating site, to safeguard supplies, and to land tanks and other vehicles at inaccessible coastal areas. In support of humanitarian missions, they can also transport urgently needed supplies and equipment for clearance, such as excavators and bulldozers.

The technical training of the crew, and the maintenance and logistic support for the propulsion systems will be provided by MTU Turkey.

SD, MTU Turkey – TR Defence


Turkish Navy HelSim Center Fully Operational

Havelsan full S-70B helicopter simulator for the Turkish Navy.

The Naval Air Training Centre, established by Havelsan under the turn-key Helicopter Simulator (HelSim) Project, was inaugurated on December 17, 2010 during a ceremony at Naval Air Base Command located at Cengiz Topel Air Base of the Turkish Navy in Kocaeli.

Featuring a Havelsan-built S-70B SeaHawk ASW/ASuW Full Mission Simulator (FMS), an S-70B Sea-Hawk Cockpit Procedures Trainer (CPT), three Computer Based Training (CBT) Classrooms, one Ground Control Station, a Sensor Operator Trainer (to replicate the back-end of the helicopter for training sensor operators) and other associated subsystems, the Naval Air Training Centre will provide flight training services for pilots, co-pilots and tactical/acoustical (AN/AAS-44 FLIR, AN/APS-143(V)3 radar and Hel-RAS dipping sonar) sensor operators to fly the S-70B SeaHawks in the inventory of the Turkish Navy. The centre has been designed to support all the training requirements of naval pilots and technical flight personnel following the “modern academy concept” on a turn-key basis. The facility is also fitted for (but not with) a second FMS that can be configured for either S-70B SeaHawk helicopters or ATR 72/500 ASW MPAs.

Havelsan is the Prime Contractor of the HelSim Project, covering the production and delivery of Helicopter Training Centres for both the TLF and TNF Commands and logistic support (including the construction of facilities, maintenance and operation with 96% operational readiness for a period of 36 months) under a contract valued at around US$90 million, awarded in June 2005 by the SSM. The Helicopter Training Centre, with two S-70A-28D and D-SAR BlackHawk FMSs, a S-70A-28D BlackHawk CPT and CBTs as well as other associated equipment, established for the TLF at the Army Aviation School in Ankara, is expected to be inaugurated officially in the first quarter of 2011. Under the HelSim Project, Havelsan is working with a total of 45 local and foreign subcontractors, with a local content share of around 70%. Havelsan has passed around 40% of the work share on to such local subcontractors as Aselsan, TAI, KaleTron Software, IntaSpace Systems, ETA, Gate Electronics, Ayesaş 2U Informatics Technologies and MilSoft.

The S-70B SeaHawk FMS, CPT and Sensor Operator Trainer (SOT) precisely recreates the cockpit and the back-end of SeaHawk helicopters, which are used on the frigates of the Turkish Navy. The cockpit avionics of the simulators have been delivered by Aselsan. The FMS and CBT will be used to train pilots in adjustment, emergencies, refresher courses, combat readiness and maintenance/test pilot training. The systems will simulate normal and emergency situations on the platform and its onboard systems. The SeaHawk FMS has been developed by Havelsan in accordance with UK Civil Aviation Authority Level D standards and is composed of a Cockpit, Trainer Console, Voice Simulation/Intercom System, 6-axis Motion System, In-Cockpit Vibration and Buffer Platform, 5-Channel Visual System (with an unique 220° X 60°[+21.5°/-38.5°] panorama display to support both NVG and FLIR training for the aircrews), Safety Systems, Power Supplies, Debriefing System and Technical Support Systems.

SD – TR Defence

Russian Ballistic Submarine Yekaterinburg Launches SLBM Sineva

Russian northern fleet submarine Yekaterinburg is a 2nd generation Delfin nuclear-powered platform capable of launching long-range ballistic missiles.

Northern Fleet (NF) nuclear-powered ballistic submarine (SSBN) Yekaterinburg on May 17 successfully launched ballistic missile (SLBM) Sineva from the Barents Sea against Kura test range located in Kamchatka, said an official spokesman for Russian defense ministry.

The submarine’s commanding officer is Capt 1 rank Igor Stepanenko.

“The launch was carried out from underwater position in accordance with reliability verification plan of maritime nuclear forces. Combat modules of the missile arrived in the range at the stated time”, said the military official.

According to him, the submarine’s crew displayed complete professionalism and high skills during the training task.

RSM-54 Sineva (on NATO classification SS-N-23 Skiff) is Russian three-staged liquid-fueled missile designed for 3rd generation submarines. It was commissioned on July 9, 2007. It is used by missile system D-9RMU2 placed in Project 667BDRM Delfin nuclear-powered submarines.

Sineva‘s flight range is over 10,000 km.

Previous training launch of SLBM Sineva was held late in Oct 2010 by SSBN Bryansk from the Barents Sea against Kura range, Kamchatka. The launch was successful.


TN commissions second large patrol boat

The "new type" patrol boat of Dearsan Shipyards.

Turkish Navy (TN) has commissioned the second large patrol boat built by Dearsan shipyards in the Tuzla industrial district. Dubbed TCG Karaburun with the naval identifier “P 1201”, the new boat is part of a larger project that covers the construction of a total of 16 of these boats by 2014.

TCG Karaburun will perform a large array of duties including patrolling of Turkish territorial waters, anti-smuggling missions and protection of Turkey’s interests on sea. The ship will operate out of the Foça naval base which also hosts naval commandos.

“Turkey’s interests on sea will be protected via national domestic design and production of the country’s naval assets”,  Turkey’s minister of national defense Mr. Vecdi Gönül said during his speech at the ship’s commissioning event at Dearsan shipyards.

“Turkey’s self reliance in naval systems has reached 70% in a short timeframe. This is something to be exalted. Five shipyards in Tuzla (including Dearsan) are undertaking Turkish Navy projects worth in excess of $2 billion despite the global economic crisis. This clearly shows the government’s support of Turkey’s growing shipbuilding industry.” added the minister.

TCG Karaburun is over 55 meters long, 9 meters wide and has a cruise speed of 25 nautical miles. The ship will be operated by a crew of 34 and include accomodations for 12 more. Armed with a 40mm Oto Melara twin-barrel cannon, a multiple anti-submarine rocket launcher (ASW), two remote controlled 12.7mm machine guns and a set of advanced sensors including night vision and thermal imagers, the ship is capable of performing a large array of missions day and night, or under adverse weather conditions.

Turkmenistan has also placed an order for two ships of this type and Dearsan expects more export orders to follow.


Taiwan To Build New ‘Stealth’ Warship

Taiwan plans to build a new ‘stealth’ warship armed with guided-missiles next year in response to China’s naval build-up, a top military officer and a lawmaker said Monday.

Construction of the prototype of the 500-ton corvette is due to start in 2012 for completion in 2014, deputy defense minister Lin Yu-pao said in answer to a question by Kuomintang party legislator Lin Yu-fang at parliament.

The warship, which the navy says is harder to detect on radar, is expected to emerge after China puts into service its first battle carrier group, the legislator said.

The twin-hulled boat will be armed with up to eight home-grown Hsiung-feng II ship-to-ship missiles and eight other more lethal Hsiung-feng III anti-ship supersonic missiles.

The remarks came as China has been restoring The Varyag, an old Soviet aircraft carrier bought in 1998.

The aircraft carrier will be used for training and as a model for a future indigenously-built ship, according to Andrei Chang, head of the Kanwa Information Centre, which monitors China’s military.

The ship, currently based in the northeast port of Dalian, could make its first sea trip “very soon,” he said.

Calls have been mounting on the island for the military to come up with counter-measures against the perceived threat.

Ties between Taiwan and China have eased markedly since Ma Ying-jeou of the China-friendly Kuomintang party came to power in 2008, ramping up trade and allowing in more Chinese tourists.

But Beijing still refuses to renounce the use of force, even though Taiwan has been self-governing since 1949 at the end of a civil war, prompting the island to keep modernizing its forces.

Taipei – AFP

Russia, Norway to hold joint naval drills in May

The Russian Northern Fleet and the Norwegian Navy will conduct the Pomor-2011 joint drills in the Arctic in May, a spokesman for the Northern Fleet said.

“The exercise will take place in the Barents and Norwegian Seas, and will include firing of live artillery rounds at simulated surface and aerial targets, anti-submarine warfare drills, anti-piracy operations, and search-and-rescue missions,” Vadim Serga said on Thursday.

Russia and Norway held similar naval drills last June to practice interoperability during missions in the Arctic.

The Norwegian Navy was represented by guided missile frigate Otto Sverdrup, Coast Guard ship Nordkapp, the Orion patrol aircraft, F-16 fighters and Lynx helicopters, while Russia’s Northern Fleet contributed the Severomorsk destroyer, Il-38 ASW aircraft, Su-33 fighters and a Ka-27 naval helicopter

RIA Novosti

Turkey reluctantly joins Libya military action

Turkey’s parliament approved sending a naval force off the coast of Libya as the Islamist-rooted government reluctantly moved to join military action in the conflict-torn country, despite anger at Western-led air raids.

Following harsh criticism of the strikes, the government asked parliament to approve the dispatch of military forces, pledging a submarine, four frigates and an auxiliary ship to a NATO patrol mission to enforce a UN arms embargo against Moammar Gadhafi’s regime.

It obtained a one-year authorization for deployment as part of “multidimensional contributions to international efforts aimed at restoring stability and security in Libya,” according to the motion parliament approved March 24.

The vote was held in a closed session by a show of hands, with some opposition deputies also lending support to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), parliamentary sources said.

Analysts said the government, influenced by Islamist sympathies, fell out of pace with NATO allies while resisting military action against Libya, even though its participation was “inevitable.”

“Turkey was confused and was late. … Joining the game was inevitable. It could not have stood against its NATO allies,” foreign policy commentator Semih Idiz said.

Turkey, NATO’s sole predominantly Muslim member and a key regional player, has slammed the air strikes, led by France, Britain and the U.S., ruling out any combat mission and vowing to “never point a gun at the Libyan people.”

But with the approval of the naval mission, “Turkey will have effectively joined the military operation: If the soldiers are fired on, they will respond,” Idiz said.

Turkey’s navy chief said two Turkish vessels were already at sea in the Mediterranean and the remaining four others had left their ports March 23, heading to the operation zone.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said after a conference call on March 24 with his U.S., British and French counterparts that NATO would take over command of the international coalition’s operations in Libya.

“The coalition formed after a meeting in Paris is going to give up its mission as soon as possible and hand over the entire operation to NATO with its single command structure,” Davutoglu said, according to the Anatolia news agency.

“In effect, Turkey’s demands and concerns have been met,” he added.

Shortly before the parliament vote, NATO’s top operational commander, U.S. Navy Adm. James Stavridis, met behind closed doors with Turkey’s army chief following talks with the foreign minister.

France’s leadership in the air strikes and its failure to invite Turkey to March 19’s summit in Paris preceding the raids has irked Ankara, adding pressure to bilateral ties already strained over President Nicolas Sarkozy’s vocal opposition to Turkey’s EU membership bid.

Under the AKP, Turkey has sought a leadership role in the Muslim world, championing particularly the Palestinian cause and harshly criticizing Israel.

Erdogan has slammed the strikes, arguing “we have seen in the past that such operations are of no use and that on the contrary, they increase the loss of life, transform into occupation and seriously harm the countries’ unity.”

“The operation against Libya is confusing … minds, and unfortunately you hear extremely inappropriate descriptions such as ‘a crusade’ that raise doubts,” he said.

President Abdullah Gul grumbled that “some, who until yesterday were closest to the dictators and sought to take advantage of them … display an excessive behavior today and raise suspicions of ulterior motives.”

Pointing to the AKP’s quest for a third straight term in power in elections in June, Idiz warned against inflammatory rhetoric.

Erdogan “should be careful,” he said. “The average Turk sees the intervention in Libya as a new attack by Westerners against a Muslim country, similar to those in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

In the earlier stages of the turmoil, Ankara made quiet efforts to persuade Gadhafi to cede power, hoping for a less turbulent outcome like in Tunisia and Egypt.

“Ankara mishandled the crisis, and its policies were contradictory: it opposed foreign intervention but now it is sending a naval force. … It has finally accepted the rules of the game,” said Cengiz Aktar, an international relations expert.

Burak Akinci, AFP

Turkish navy reveals Gabya with Mk-41 VLS

Turkish Navy has revealed its first Gabya-class (Perry)  frigate upgraded with an 8-cell Mk-41 vertical launch system (VLS) this week. Combined with the ship’s comprehensive GENESIS modernization program and Thales Smart S Mk-2 3D radar, the new launcher enables the ship to make full use of the advanced RIM-162 ESSM (Evolved Sea Sparrow) missiles. 

A total of eight Gabya-class frigates will undergo the same modernization and receive Mk-41 vertical missile launchers while TCG Gokova and TCG Goksu will not be included in the upgrade program.

Defence analysts commented that keeping the older Mk-13 launcher will allow Turkish Navy to equip these ships with long-range SM-2 missiles for theatre aerial defence with minimal technical modifications.