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Turkish Naval Forces – 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, still is today and will be in the future, at the core of world order. The one who dominates the sea also happens to rule over the world, nations who best utilize this potential, dominate the global system.

Over 150 of the 193 United Nations member nations are coastal states. 75% of the world population, more than 80% of the world’s capital and approximately all global trade and military power centers are located near coasts. Maritime transportation is much cheaper in comparison to land, air or railway transportation. 90% of the world’s trade is seaborne and 75% of that trade passes through a 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 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 of decades, navies are still the most competent agencies in many littoral countries.

In the past, the main use of the maritime domain was its ease of transportation and trade. Maritime strategies focused mainly on sea control and maritime security and it 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 economic 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 the 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 it to have and sustain a powerful naval force. 

As a peninsular state, Turkey is thoroughly dependent on the seas. More than 50% of the population lives in 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 110 merchant ships over 500 gross tons sail through Turkish Straits. An annual average of 100 million tons of commercial goods are freighted by sea transportation to and from Turkish ports. The annual sum of petroleum products, carried by the tankers passing through Istanbul and Çanakkale Straits, is around 140 million tons.  The introduction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline, carrying Caspian oil to the Eastern Mediterranean into world markets has considerably increased the strategic importance of the Bay of Iskenderun and on a larger spectrum, the Eastern Mediterranean. In order to provide security for the increasing tanker traffic at sea following the activation of the of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline, starting from April 1, 2006 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, tectonic changes have been taking place in the global security environment and the effects of these changes are directly felt in the surrounding seas of Turkey. Living in a neighborhood that is adjacent to the Balkans, Caucasus and the Middle East, poses security challenges and risks for Turkey. In order to adapt itself to changing security environments the Turkish Navy has been continuously transforming itself, restructuring its organizational structure and it 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 those that are constabulary.

Addressing the Pakistan Navy War College on February 17, 2016, the then Commander of the Turkish Naval Forces Admiral Bülent Bostanoğlu summarized the current situation from the Turkish Navy’s point of view with the following words; “As we have recently witnessed, there are many regional and global naval actors competing in the maritime domain. Increased competition for maritime goods and 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 the unstable Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the developing situation in the 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 (Gölcuk, 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 2011 within the Fleet Command three separate Task Group Commands (namely North, South and West) have been formed. And finally, in 2015 in order to assure coordination and cooperation among those three Task Group Commands, the War Fleet Command (which 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, the Turkish Navy had only 23 naval platforms (including Yavuz battle cruiser with a full load displacement of 25,400 tons) with a total displacement of 48,000 tons. Today, the Turkish Naval Forces, with its 55,000 personnel, three naval ship yards (Gölcuk, Istanbul and Izmir), over 150 naval platforms (both surface and underwater) with a total displacement of around 260,000 tons, some 50 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 Defense) Teams and 3 Rescue Teams) is a formidable navy on the world stage. The Turkish Navy, with increasing effectiveness and synergy with other services and allies, is nowadays capable of conducting 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 30th, 2016 at Sedef Shipyard in Tuzla, Istanbul, the then Commander of the Turkish Naval Forces Admiral Bülent Bostanoğlu underlined that with the existing medium scaled regional force projection capability and land attack/penetration capability the Turkish Navy is now listed among the top 15 navies of the 162 navies in the world and with the commissioning of TCG Anadolu in 2020s, the Turkish Navy is to rise up into a higher class and will have a higher place in this ranking.

Counter Piracy Operations & Contributions to Regional and Global Peace

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 2006, there has been a significant increase in 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 is of vital importance for Turkey. Speaking at the TBMM in February 2018, Turkish Minister of National Defense Nurettin Canikli underlined that Turkey has been performing exports and imports with 33 countries around the world and every year around 1,000 commercial ships with the Turkish Flag have been passing through this route [Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf and Somalia Basin] and realize 20% of the Turkey’s foreign trade volume.

That is why the Turkish Naval Forces support counter piracy operations in the coasts of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden under the framework of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) resolutions. Since 2009, Turkish Navy frigates and corvettes have been participating in the multinational naval task force dubbed the Combined Task Force 151 (or CTF-151) and in 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 200 pirates have been neutralized during the operations. Since 2009 the Turkish Navy has executed the command of CTF-151 on five occasions and the command of Operation Ocean Shield (CTF-508) on two occasions. Turkey is the only country, which always assigns elements/platforms to Standing NATO Maritime Groups. The Turkish Navy considers continuing to participate in Counter Piracy Operations under the command of CTF-151 and/or CTF-508 (Operation Ocean Shield) during certain periods of the year in the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean. Meanwhile, in February 2018, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey extended the deployment of the Turkish Naval Forces in the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea, and adjacent seas to halt piracy for another year. The parliament’s approval of a government motion dated February 10th, went into force after being published in the Official Gazette on February 13th. Accordingly, the Turkish Naval Forces’ mission has been extended for one more year from February 10, 2018.

The Turkish Naval Forces attaches utmost importance to cooperation and bilateral relations in order to support global peace and stability. During counter piracy operations the Turkish Naval Forces has interacted 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) the 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 the 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 2013. Port visits were conducted to some of the North African and European countries between June 10 and July 12, 2013. 

Barbaros Turkish Maritime Task Group Deployment to the African Continent during March 17 and June 27, 2014; Comprised of 2 frigates (TCG OruçReis and TCG Gediz), 1 corvette (TCG Heybeliada) and 1 fleet replenishment ship (TCG Yarbay Kudret GÜNGÖR), 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 was not scheduled for 2016, but the Turkish Navy plans to reactivate the Group in the future in line with 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, 2015. 

TCG Gediz Frigate’s deployment to the Far East between April 1 and July 31, 2015 as part of the commemoration for the 125th anniversary of Ottoman Frigate Ertuğrul’s voyage to Japan.

These deployments are examples of the 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 the naval aviation capability with a wide range of helicopters to include medium sized and heavy utility helicopters as well as attack and ASW/ASuW helicopters and F-35B Lightning II STOVL jets, the Turkish Navy will be able to project power to longer distances and will be robust and act as a deterrent as it has never has before. With the commissioning of TCG Anadolu (L-400) LHD, the Turkish Navy would be able to avert the current regional force projection capability into the medium scaled global force projection capability.

Turkish Naval Forces’ New Strategy Document & Future Plans

The Turkish Naval Forces Command has prepared a new strategy document and issued the Turkish version on its official website in October 2015. The Turkish Naval Forces Strategy document, which was published for the first time ever, will soon be available in English. During his address at the Pakistan Navy War College on February 17, 2016 the then Commander of the Turkish Naval Forces Admiral Bülent Bostanoğlu 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 the Turkish Navy’s operations and force posture in the next 5-10 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.

The 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, the 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.

The 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, the Turkish Navy will continue to be a responsible actor in its endeavors 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 the 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 the Turkish Naval Forces as an indispensable foreign policy instrument that has access to all regions, including neighboring waters and oceans, in line with Turkey’s areas of interest and activities.

MoND General Directorate of Shipyards [TGM]

It should be noted that as part of the restructure efforts that were launched following coup attempt, on July 15, 2016, with an amendment made on the 1st Article of Law on Ministry of National Defense (MoND) military factories and shipyards have been removed from the structure of related Military Departments and General Staff organization and affiliated under the MoND. In this context Naval Shipyards; Istanbul Naval Shipyard, Gölcük Naval Shipyard and İzmir Naval Shipyard, have been affiliated under the newly established MoND General Directorate of Shipyards [TGM]. Following the completion of organizational efforts in late 2017 the MoND General Directorate of Shipyards comes into operation in January 2018 together with all of its sub-departments. As of October 2017, the number of personnel working at Naval Shipyards is 6,500.

According to MoND General Directorate of Shipyards during 2017-2034 a total of 88 naval vessels in various types and including submarines would be constructed in Turkey to meet the requirements of the Turkish Navy and the Coast Guard. 13 of them would be constructed at Naval Shipyards (2 x Ada Class [3rd and 4th Corvettes], 1 x I Class Frigate, 1 x TF-2000 Air Defense Warfare Destroyer, 1 x TF-100 Frigate, 6 x Type 214TN Reis Class AIP Submarines and 1 x National Submarine [MilDen]) and 75 of them would be constructed at Private Shipyards.

Turkish Naval Forces’ Modernization Programs & Local Solutions/Capabilities

Recent developments in surrounding seas and responsibilities stemming from Turkey’s commitments to 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 its Navy.  The swift conduct of modernization as well as the procurement of advanced weapons/systems is of vital importance for sustaining the Turkish Navy’s deterrence capability. 

The lessons learned from the past have proven that having a powerful and capable navy depends not only on the imported weapon and sensor systems but also on the capacity of both the national defense 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, construction 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 70%. 

The Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM), Turkey’s defense and security procurement agency for the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF), Turkish Gendarmerie General Command (TGGC), the Turkish Coast Guard Command (TCGC, with State of Emergency Decree Law No. 668 issued on July 25 and published in the Official Gazette on July 27, 2016, the TGGC and TCGC have been affiliated under Ministry of Interior following the coup attempt), 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 program. The main goal of the on-going modernization program is to create a modern, versatile, interoperable and deployable navy through exploiting local defense 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 2017, the total value of the 28 shipbuilding projects that the Naval Platforms Department have been conducting is over US $12 Billion. There are four Project Groups under Naval Platforms Department of the SSM; Amphibious Vessels Project Group (currently working on TCG Anadolu LHD, LST, LCT, Logistic Support Vessel and Floating Dock Procurement Projects), Support Vessels Project Group (delivered OruçReis Seismic Research Vessel to Mineral Research and Exploration Institute (MTA) in June 2017 and TCG Alemdar Submarine Rescue Mother Ship (MoShip) [in January 2017] and TCG Akın Rescue and Towing Ships (RatShip)(in December 2o17] to the Turkish Navy), Fleet Replenishment Ship [DimDeg], Multipurpose Tugboat and Research Vessel Projects), Combat Vessels Project Group (currently working on MilGem, I Class Frigate, I Class Frigate Main Propulsion System Procurement, National Vertical Launching System, Preveze Class Submarine Mid-Life Upgrade, Barbaros Class Frigates Mid-Life Upgrade Projects) and the Patrol Vessels Project Group (currently working on Turkish Type FPBs and Fuel Tanker Projects).

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

Ada Class Corvettes

Constructed under the MilGem (National Vessel) Program, 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 Program but as a result of changes in the 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 the Istanbul Naval Shipyard Command with the participation of both military and civil engineers. The first ship of Ada Class Corvettes TCG Heybeliada (F-511) was commissioned on September 27, 2011 while the second vessel TCG Büyükada (F-512) was commissioned on September 27, 2013. Construction of the third and fourth vessels TCG Burgazada (F-513) and TCG Kınalıada (F-514) are continuing at the Istanbul Naval Shipyard Command. Provisional acceptances of TCG Burgazada and TCG Kınalıada Corvettes are scheduled to take place in 2018 (September 27, 2018) and in 2020 respectively. Final acceptance of these two ships will take place after a 12-moth guaranty period in September 2019 and in March 2021. 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 the GENESIS ADVENT combat management system (CMS). MilGem, is a concept which enabled domestic production and development of critical technological systems such as; GENESIS and GENESIS ADVENT CMS, YAKAMOS-1 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 meters, maximum beam is 14.4m, displacement is 2,300 tons (2,450 tons with full load) and their range at economic speed is around 3,500 nautical miles. Ada Class Corvettes accommodates a 10-ton 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 31 knots. 

According to SSM figures, each Ada Class Corvette costs around €250 Million to Turkey.

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 Turkish homeland, the I Class Frigate Program was launched. As the extended and enhanced version of Ada Class Corvettes, the I Class Frigates will have an increased fuel capacity around 50% and a 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 3,000 tons.

The Istanbul Naval Shipyard is responsible for the design and the construction of the prototype ship. Construction of the first ship of the class, TCG Istanbul (F-515), was officially launched on January 19th, 2017 at the Istanbul Naval Shipyard with a steal cutting ceremony. TCG Istanbul frigate is planned to be operational in 2021. The other three sister ships (TCG Izmir, TCG Izmit and TCG İçel), are planned to be constructed in private shipyards and will follow in 2022, 2023 and 2024.

TCG Anadolu LHD

After a long and hard negotiation process that launched soon after the tender was awarded on 27th December 2013, during IDEF ‘15 Fair on May 7, 2015, the Turkish private shipyard Sedef signed a contract with 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 September 18th, 2015 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 1,000 tons of steel cutting at T0+8 months, the launching at T0+40 months, and the temporary delivery at T0+67 months, with final acceptance after a 12-month 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, was officially launched on April 30th, 2016 at Sedef Shipyard in Tuzla, Istanbul with a steal cutting ceremony. TCG Anadolu (Anatolia) will be constructed with 68% local content share and is scheduled to join the fleet in 2021. 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, it 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 meters, beam of 32 meters and equipped with a ski-jump ramp as well as to the island sections.  With the fortified deck and island sections TCG Anadolu shall withstand the heat generated by 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 30 aircraft including medium sized and heavy helicopters as well as V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft in an 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 meters vessel’s maximum speed would be over 21 knots and she could reach to 9,000nm with economic cruising speed of 15 knots. With the anticipated entry of TCG Anadolu LHD to the Turkish Naval Forces inventory in 2021 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. It will be able to act as a command platform and play a decisive role in the Turkish Navy’s peacetime missions, including Disaster Relief, Humanitarian Assistance Operations and Force Projection missions.

ZAHA Program

On March 7, 2017 the Armored Amphibious Assault Vehicle (ZAHA) Project contract was signed between SSM and FNSS. Under the contract FNSS will deliver a total of 27 vehicles, including 23 in personnel carrier, 2 in command and control vehicle and 2 in recovery vehicle configuration. The ZAHAs will be deployed on TCG Anadolu LHD vessel of the Turkish Navy. FNNS will start deliveries in March 2021 [first batch will include theree vehicles, one vehicle in each variant] and deliveries will be completed in 2022.

Reis Class Type 214TN Submarines

A total of six Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) submarines will be constructed at the Gölcük Naval Shipyard (GNSY). Construction of the first three submarines are currently on-going. The construction of the first submarine, TCG PiriReis, started in October 2015, ceremony of the third submarine TCG MuratReis has been officially launched on February 25th, 2018 at Gölcük Naval Shipyard with a first welding ceremony. Reis Class Type 214TN submarines are planned to be commissioned between 2021 and 2026. Type 214TN Reis Class Submarines, to be the first AIP-equipped submarines operated by the Turkish Navy, will replace four 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 guided missiles are also expected to be integrated on the platforms in the coming years.

TF-2000 Air Defense Warfare (ADW) Destroyer

The Turkish Navy has initiated a project called TF-2000 to construct a total of four (+2 optional) destroyers 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 the Istanbul Naval Shipyard and is planned to be in the service of the Turkish Navy service after 2025. The other three sister ships are planned to be constructed in private shipyards and expected to be delivered in 2028, 2o29 and 2030 respectively. All four ships are planned to be in the Turkish Naval Forces service by 2031. The displacement of the TF-2000 Frigate is expected to be between 6,500 to 7,500 tons and its overall length is expected to be 145 to 150 meters.  The main sensor of the TF-2000 Destroyers called ÇAFRAD, Multifunctional Phased Array Radar (X-Band) is under development. Aselsan will also supply the long-range air surveillance radar (S-Band with AESA antenna) system. In September 2013 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 defense weapons on-board the TF-2000 Destroyers layered air defense architecture to be used to maximum effect. Design, development and manufacture of first ÇAFRAD prototype are almost completed. According to current schedule ÇAFRAD prototype will be integrated on one of the Turkish Navy’s Barbaros Class frigates, with RIM-162 ESSM capability, during the first half of 2018 and then live firing test will be performed. In 2018 the test campaign will be completed and then the Series Production phase of the contract will be awarded. TF-2000 Destroyers will also feature indigenously developed network centric warfare capable GENESIS ADVENT CMS.

LST

The Acquisition of the Landing Ship Tank (LST) type amphibious ships is also well on track. The construction and outfitting activities on fist vessel TCG Bayraktar (L-402) was completed and it was delivered to the Turkish Navy in April 2017. Outfitting and acceptance tests on the second vessel TCG Sancaktar is currently on-going at ADIK Shipyard in Tuzla, Istanbul. There was a rumour that it will be sold to Saudi Arabia that is why it had not been delivered to the Turkish Navy so far. According to the original schedule TCG Sancaktar (L-403) should have been delivered to the Turkish Navy in October 2017.

With a full load displacement of 7,254 tons and a range of 5,000nm at an economic speed of 15 knots the LST ships are 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 1,200 tons of cargo, and accommodation for 350 troops plus 129 ship crew. LST ships have 560 bed capacity. The LST is designed to accommodate 20 Main Battle Tanks, and between 24 and 60 light vehicles dependent upon the amount of MBTs and other equipment/cargo carried. Internal vehicle stowage is approximately 1,100 square meters, with an additional 690 square meters of open deck space forward of the superstructure. Four locally designed and manufactured Landing Craft Vehicle/Personnel (LCVP) are stowed on the open deck and are lowered and raised by two large hydraulic cranes mounted just forward of the superstructure, one port and one starboard. Each LCVP can accommodate either 40 marines or 8 tons worth of vehicles and cargo.  

TCG Bayraktar LST has a defensive armament consisting of two Oto Melara 40mm 40L70 Fast Forty deck guns mounted port and starboard on the bow, 2 Mk-15 Phalanx Block 1B Baseline 2 CIWS close-in defense rotary cannons, and 2 remotely operated 12.7mm STAMP Stabilized Machine Gun Systems of Aselsan. The Havelsan GENESIS combat management system (CMS) is fitted [running on 5 operator consoles] and integrated with Thales SMART-S Mk2 3D radar [manufactured and delivered by Aselsan] and Aselsan’s ARES-2N ESM System, making it the most capable amphibious vessel in the Turkish Navy’s inventory.

During sea trials TCG Bayraktar LST ship was able to reach top speeds of 19 knots. It is the fastest LST of the world. It has the ability to make stern-gate-marriage, which enables the carried amphibious vehicles to transfer quickly and easily to the other landing vehicles.

Logistic Support Ships

Covering the acquisition of two oil tankers from a local shipyard the Logistic Support Ship Project was commenced in order to support deployed combatants in the Turkish Navy’s operational regions including the Black Sea, the 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 was selected in May 2014 and the contact was awarded with an advanced payment by SSM on November 4, 2014.  The first ship Yzb Güngör Durmuş was launched on October 8, 2016 and the second ship, Ütgm. Arif Ekmekçi was launched on July 4, 2017. Both ships are scheduled to be delivered in 2018 to the Turkish Naval Forces Command.

MoShip / RaTShip

Under the contract awarded by SSM on October 28, 2011 one Submarine Rescue Mother Ship (MoShip) and two Rescue and Towing Ships (RatShip) have been constructed at the 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, 2014, TCG Isın was launched on June 25, 2014 and TCG Akın was on September 3, 2014 at the Istanbul Shipyard. 

TCG Alemdar MoShip joined the fleet in January 2017, TCG Işın RatShip joined the fleet in July 2017 and TCG Akın joined the fleet in December 2017. 

The MoShip TCG Alemdar is capable of providing the life-saving support to disabled submarines and evacuating the crew. The RatShips TCG Işın and TCG Akın are capable of towing broken down, wrecked and ran ashore ships as well as fire-fighting. Moreover, both ships, are equipped with modern rescue systems and equipment such as remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV), atmospheric diving suits (ADS), submarine ventilation system, emergency life support system, pressure chambers etc., and can also perform the underwater repair work and wreckage removal through divers, atmospheric diving suits 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 the 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 a maximum of 72 hours. The MoShip is a mono-hull vessel with 90m overall length, 18m beam and 5m draught. With a displacement of around 4,100 tons it will have enough space for 131 personnel, of which 89 will be ship crew and 32 will be rescue personnel. It has a maximum continuous speed of 18 knots and an endurance of 4,500nm at an economical speed of 14 knots. The RatShips are mono-hull vessels with an overall length of 68m, 14m beams and 4m draughts. With a displacement of around 1,950 tons they will have enough space for 104 personnel.

Fleet Replenishment Ship (DIMDEG)

The DIMDEG Project was launched to meet the Turkish Naval Forces Command’s new generation Fleet Replenishment Ship requirement, satisfying the fuel and water transport and supply needs of surface units in the open seas around the world.  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 at the Istanbul Naval Shipyard, while some activities/tests required for the design phase have been performed by STM under a contract awarded by SSM on October 1, 2012. 

The DIMDEG will have an overall length of 195 meters, displacement of 22,000 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 was launched and in May 2016 proposals have been received from Sedef Shipyard and Sefine Denizcilik. In 2018 the contract is expected to be signed by one of these two bidders.

Turkish Type FPBs

The Turkish Type Fast Patrol Boat Program was launched to acquire a total of 10 FPBs (4 firm and 6 optional) to replace four Dogan, four Ruzgar and two Yıldız Class FPBs. The aim of the program 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 program SSM issued a RFI document to local shipyards on July 25, 2013. 

After receiving over 10 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 Program’s Technical Specifications. 

Each is expected to cost around US$150 Million and the Turkish Type FPBs will have an indigenous design and   SSM and the TNFC will own all the intellectual property rights.  It will feature high speed (over 45 knots and up to 60 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]). The Turkish Type FPBs are required to be able to conduct operations at high sea state conditions.

Conclusion

Realization of these platform projects will carry the Turkish Navy forward in the right direction, toward 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 2 Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCACs) vehicles for the TCG Anadolu LHD, the 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 programs are completed the Turkish Navy will be robust and a deterrent as it has never been before. The Turkish Naval Forces Command (TNFC) has framed this goal in its new motto ‘Dependable in Cooperation, Deterrent in Crises and Decisive in Combat.’