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BARBAROS Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) Project

The contract for the Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) of four BARBAROS Class Frigates in the inventory of the Turkish Naval Forces Command (TNFC) was signed with Aselsan-Havelsan Business Partnership on April 3, 2018, and the project commenced (T0) on August 9, 2018. Under the contract, the modernization of the first frigate was planned to be completed in November 2022, and the last ship is expected to be delivered to the TNFC in 2024.

Issue 96

Within the scope of BARBAROS MLU Project:

Replacement of the STACOS Mode 3/TACTICOS Combat Management System (CMS) with ADVENT CMS. We learned that ADVENT has more consoles (12) than the previous generation STACOS; thus, the Main Contractors consider expanding the Combat Information Center (CIC) on the ships by adding another room to the CIC.

The old Sea Guard CIWS, which consists of three 4-barrel Sea Zenith 25mm guns, will be removed, and the front gun will be replaced with Phalanx or GÖKDENİZ CIWS. On the other hand, the other two guns located on the port and starboard sides will be replaced with Aselsan’s STOP 25 mm Remote Controlled Stabilized Naval Gun System. As the U.S. Congress has not yet given the necessary approval for the delivery of Phalanx Systems, Phalanx Mk-15 Block 1B Baseline 2 CIWS couldn't be exported/delivered to Turkey.

The AWS-06 Dolphin 3D search radar, which is an integrated part of the Sea Guard CIWS System, will be replaced with Aselsan’s MAR-D radar. The Ku-Band TMK Tracking and Fire Control Radar will also be removed.

The Dual-Band STIR Tracking and Illumination Radars will be replaced with Aselsan’s AKR-D Dual-Band Naval Fire Control Radars with over 120km range. Yavuz Class Frigates are equipped with 2 TMK E/O Systems and 1 STIR Radar, while the first two Barbaros Class (Track IIA) Frigates are equipped with 1 STIR Radar, and 1 TMX/TV-EO system and the last two Barbaros Class (Track IIB) Frigates are equipped with 2 STIR Radars.  

The hull-mounted AN/SQS-56 sonar on the vessels will be replaced with the Aselsan product FERSAH Active/Passive Sonar System operating in the mid-frequency band. Aselsan produces the dry end of the FERSAH sonar while TÜBITAK MAM produces the wet end. Aselsan is not currently working on sonar wet ends but is planning to complete the wet end production of a sonar system operating in the medium frequency band in 2023. The first test of the FERSAH Sonar System is expected to be conducted by Aselsan within the next November or December.

The AN/SLQ-25 Nixie Torpedo Countermeasure System will be replaced with Aselsan’s product HIZIR TKAS.

The Cutlas-1B ESM and Scorpion-B ECM Systems onboard the ships will be replaced with Aselsan’s ARES-2NC ESM and AREAS-2NC ECM Systems.

The national Gun Fire Control System will be integrated into the 127mm (5/54) Mk45 Mod 2 Main Gun.

Aselsan’s Laser Warning System and PIRI-KATS IRST Systems are also expected to be used on the ships.

In the BARBAROS Class Frigate MLU Project, Armelsan’s product, the ARAS-2023 Diver Detection Sonar is included as an option.

After the Mid-Life Upgrade, the service life of the BARBAROS Class Frigates will be extended until the 2040s. Speaking at the 9th Naval Systems Seminar held at METU Culture and Congress Center on October 14-15 2019, Ministry of National Defense (MSB) Shipyard Deputy Director-General Rear Admiral (Lower Half) Mehmet SARI, shared information about the BARBAROS MLU Project. “We will use the national MAR-D 3D radar in the BARBAROS MLU Project. We also are considering the MAR-D for smaller platforms. Aselsan can manufacture the SMART-S Mk2 radar with technology transfer; thus, we especially ask Aselsan to develop a capable 3D Search Radar using their experience and know-how from the ÇAFRAD, MAR-D, ALPER, and SMART-S Mk2 Projects. We want a strong 3D Naval Radar to fill the gap between MİLGEM and TF-2000...” 

Aselsan introduced the HAZAR 3D Naval Radar Family for the first time at IDEF ’13 Fair with a scaled mock-up of the system. The HAZAR Radar Family can be produced in different sizes as S-Band and X-Band thanks to its scalable architecture. However, no further information has been shared about the indigenous HAZAR Naval Radar Family, which is based on the MAR/MAR-D radar used on KORKUT and GÖKDENİZ CIWS systems. The TNFC’s satisfaction with the SMART-S Mk2 3D Search Radar manufactured by Aselsan domestically has also played an influential role in this situation. An indigenous radar model that could replace the SMART-S Mk2 radar would also be included in the HAZAR Naval Radar Family. Aselsan has previously reported to the Turkish Navy that it can produce a completely indigenous radar with similar capabilities to SMART-S. However, there was no need for an indigenous radar to replace the SMART-S Mk2 at that time, as the Navy was satisfied with the SMART-S and wanted to continue using it.

In June 2018, Aselsan and the Presidency of Defense Industries signed a contract to use the FERSAH Hull-Mounted ASW Sonar in the BARBAROS Class Frigates MLU Project. The FERSAH Hull-Mounted Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Sonar System, which can operate in Medium Frequency (MF) Bands in both active and passive modes, was developed by the Main Contractor Aselsan and the support of Armelsan (sub-contractor agreement was signed between the two companies in August 2018) for frigates and corvettes. In addition to ASW, Aselsan’s FERSAH also has a mine-like objects avoidance mode. 

We learned that Aselsan would deliver the FERSAH Sonar system for the first ship in the 24th month (T0 + 24 months) under the contract signed within the scope of the BARBAROS Class Frigates Mid-Life Upgrade Project. The remaining deliveries are planned to be carried out at 6-month intervals after the modernization of the ships starts. According to an Armelsan official we interviewed earlier, the Aselsan/Armelsan duo will complete the sonar prototype in the 12th month, and the Factory Acceptance Tests will begin in the 18th month. He also stated that since the FERSAH Sonar System uses the same sonar arrays with the YAKAMOS-1 System, it will be possible to replace it with the existing sonar systems when necessary.