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Sunday, 31 December 2017

Bayraktar class landing ships of the Turkish Navy

Written by D-Mitch

TCG Bayraktar (L402), lead ships of the Bayraktar class LST
There are very few countries today which develop and built modern tank landing ships (LST). Such countries are South Korea with the Cheon Wang Bong-class, Russia with the Ivan Gren class and Turkey with the Bayraktar class. Of these three classes, the largest, the most modern and most heavily armed, is certainly the Turkish Bayraktar class, which will be described thoroughly in this article.The first of the ship in the class was launched on October 3, 2015, and was commissioned just recently, in April 2017. The ship, which was designed and built for the Turkish Navy by Anadolu Deniz Insaat Kizaklari Sanayi ve Ticaret (ANADOLU Shipyard), was named Bayraktar (L402) replacing the old TCG Bayraktar, a LST-542 class landing ship/minelayer (and not LST-511 class as it is reported in many sources). The original contract signed in June 2011 for the procurement of two vessels with an option for two more ships and thus to replace the two 30-year old Bey-class ships. It should be mentioned that the Bayraktar was designed, built and commissioned in a period of just 46 months! Moreover, the domestic industry participation in amphibious ship construction is more than 70 percent! The second ship, TCG Sancaktar (L403) was launched on 17 July 2016 and will be commissioned the coming months. The ships of the class are primarily intended for amphibious missions and transportation of troops and equipment, while their secondary missions include humanitarian aid, disaster relief, medical assistance and transportation. The ships of the class will also serve as flagships and logistic support vessels. 

Aerial view of the TCG Bayraktar landing ship


The cargo area. Photo by Hakan Kılıç
for the turkishnavy.net
Bayraktar's flight deck. Photo by
Hakan Kılıç for the turkishnavy.net
The general characteristics of the class is a displacement of approximately 7,250 tons at full load, length of 138.75m, beam of 19.6m, maximum speed of +18 knots and a range of 6,000n.m. with the cruising speed of 15 knots. The vessels are powered by four 2,880 kW main diesel engines, driving two controllable pitch propellers through twin shafts. The ships integrate one 500 kW bow thruster (or two?) and four 785 kW diesel generators with a power management system that aid in low speed maneuverability when berthing and landing the vessel. The crew is 127 people while there is accommodation for 350 marines including flying crew and technicians. According to the manufacturer, a total of 566 bed capacity will be available on board.

Crew members in a daily workout routine on Bayraktar's flight deck
S-70 helicopter aboard the large flight deck of TCG Bayraktar
The ships have a quite large flight deck that could accommodate even a heavy-lift helicopter however the ships lack of a hangar. Additionally, each ship carries two rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIB) which are lowered and raised by two small hydraulic cranes.

RHIBs on the bow deck. Photo by barmacode1

The open deck of TCG Bayraktar
Cargo bay of TCG Bayraktar
The LSTs incorporate an upper-intermediate-sized mono-hull design made of steel. Each vessel is designed to meet the sea-keeping and stability requirements of the Turkish Navy, and will have an anticipated service life of 40 years. The ships will comply with the IMO MARPOL 73/78 and Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regulations. The ships can operate seamlessly at Sea State-5 conditions and can also be operated at Sea State-6 or higher, with limitations. Additionally it will support limitless helicopter operations at Sea State-4 conditions. The load carrying capacity is 1,180t, including a mix of vehicles or cargo on open decks and specifically they are capable of transporting up to 18-24 tanks depending on their size and between 24 – 60 vehicles. The closed parking area is 1100 square meters and the open deck parking area is 690 square meters. 

Modified photo of a Bayraktar class landing ship of the Turkish Navy. For a high resolution image click here.
The Turkish ships, except the very modern electronics and sensors, carry also a heavy hard-kill and soft-kill defensive armament which will be described in the next paragraphs.





LCVPs on deck. Photo by barmacode1
LCVP of Bayraktar
The vessels have one large stern ramp, a side ramp located on the port side, and a large bow ramp (18 meters trifold bow ramp) that is lowered into place upon opening of the two large bow doors. A fore draft of less than 2 meters makes the ships suitable for beach landing operations. Four Landing Craft Vehicle/Personnel (LCVP) that can achieve a maximum speed of 40 knots (!) 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. The LCVP are armed with two light machine guns installed on mounts.

The open deck of Bayraktar. Photo by Hakan Kılıç for the turkishnavy.net
View of TCG Bayraktar

Leonardo Fast Forty.
Photo by barmacode1
Fast Forty gun turrets and forward Phalanx among them.
Photo by barmacode1
Each vessel is equipped with two Leonardo (former OTO Melara) Single Fast Forty stealth turrets. The Single FAST FORTY is a new generation naval weapon which fully satisfies the requirements of full automation, quick reaction time, high reliability, easy installation (no deck penetration required) and easy of maintenance. The characteristics of the Single FAST FORTY make it particularly suitable for operation against targets such as surface threats, fast attacking aircraft, antiship helicopters and fast surface crafts (asymmetric warfare) as well as for non lethal warning fire. This system is fitted with a 40mm cannon characterized by a high rate of fire, high accuracy and two automatic ammunition feeding system providing plentiful availability of two different types of rounds ready to fire. In the Remote Control mode the Single Fast Forty is linked to the ship’s Command Management System and excellent performance is ensured by very short reaction time and high accuracy of control system. The latest generation of digital architecture meets the requirements of modern Combat Management System - LAN technology. In the Local Mode the Single Fast Forty is equipped of a modern Electro Optical System provided with a daylight camera, high performance I.R. camera and Laser Range Finder. Local control can be provided with a multifunction gunner console directly linked to the EOS. Additional function such as ballistic prediction calculation (high accuracy computation guaranteed by an on-board muzzle velocity radar) and target tracker are also available. The system integrates a predictive ballistic calculation based on muzzle velocity radar installed on the gun mount.

Aerial view of the Baraktar's stern ramp during sea trials
Bow ramp lowered




Bow doors open. No weapons carried.
View of the stern ramp. No weapons carried.














Bow ramp open. Photo: barmacode1












Fast Forty gun turret and Phalanx.
Photo by barmacode1
The forward Phalanx.
Photo: barmacode1
At the bow deck in the middle of the two gun turrets, a Raytheon Mk15 Phalanx Close-In-Weapon System (CIWS) is installed, a very popular system worldwide in this role. Another such system is located atope the ship's superstructure and behind the mast. Phalanx is a rapid-fire, computer-controlled, radar-guided gun system designed to defeat anti-ship missiles and other close-in air and surface threats. As a self-contained package, Phalanx automatically carries out functions usually performed by multiple systems – including search, detection, threat evaluation, tracking, engagement, and kill assessment. The Phalanx on the ships belongs to the latest model Block 1B; the lead ship of the Bayraktar class LST, is the first Turkish warship that receives the Mk15 Phalanx Block 1B Baseline 2 configuration. The system is equipped with the stabilized L-3 Brashear Forward-Looking Infra-Red - FLIR sensor (Electro-Optical Stabilization System - EOSS), the automatic acquisition video tracker and other improvements that are absent in the older models. The Block 1B version of Phalanx adds control stations that allow operators to visually track and identify targets before engagement. These improvements allow Phalanx to be used against helicopters and high-speed surface craft at sea while the land-based version helps identify and confirm incoming dangers. Phalanx Block 1B CIWS has a 20 mm (0.79in)/99cal M61A1 Vulcan 6-barreled Gatling autocannon that has an effective range of more than 3.5km and a rate of fire of higher than 4,500 rounds (!) per minute, thanks to a pneumatic (air-driven) gun drive system, with a magazine drum holding 1,550 rounds. The maximum range of the weapon exceeds the 5,500km though the maximum effective range is close to 1,500 meters.

The aft Phalanx CIWS of TCG Bayraktar. Photo by Yoruk Isik
Great photo of TCG Bayraktar. Photo by Yoruk Isik

STAMP, Phalanx and other weapons.
Photo: barmacode1
ASELSAN STAMP
Except the main gun, for the purpose of asymmetric warfare and coastal defense, the ships are equipped with two Aselsan Stabilized Machine Gun Platforms (STAMP) with 12.7mm heavy machine guns. STAMP incorporate advanced features, such as remote operation, built-in electro-optic sensor system, day and night operation, automatic target tracking (detect, track and fire on the move) stabilized turret and ballistic computation. The infrared and daylight TV cameras of the system enable detection and recognition of targets that would not be possible with naked eye. The system is capable of ballistic calculation and automatically tracking the targets and enabling a high hit probability by accurate firings. STAMP System has a stabilized turret which enables the line-of-sight of the gun to be aimed at the target at all times. Due to the stabilization feature, the system can perform precise firings against stationary or moving targets while the platform is on-the-move. System can be operated remotely by using the remote gun control unit and hence provides gunner protection against counter fire. System has additional features of defining firing zones both in azimuth and elevation.

TCG Sancaktar without yet full armament during sea trials. Photo: Cem Dogut
Sea Sentor launcher. Photo by Hakan Kılıç
for the turkishnavy.net
Single in-line towed array
The corvettes of the class are equipped with the British Ultra Electronics Sea Sentor Surface Ship Torpedo Defence (SSTD) system. The system consists of an acoustic passive towed array, a towed acoustic countermeasure, a single-drum winch, a processing cabinet, two display consoles, two expendable acoustic device/countermeasures launchers (port and starboard) and 16 expendable acoustic devices (8 in each launcher) typically one deployed to port and one to starboard. The launchers fire their countermeasures using self-contained high pressure air to simplify handling and installation. Each barrel has an independent reservoir, which is sized to take account of the worst-case environmental conditions and ship attitude. The passive acoustic towed array is specifically designed to detect torpedoes and has additional in-built non-acoustic as well as acoustic intercept sensors. Through advanced AI processing it is able to generically identify torpedoes as well as classify specific weapon types and modes and undertake threat evaluation and posturing analysis. The system provides tactical advice dependent upon the specific threat weapon, mode and posture to maximize vessel survivability, which typically involves vessel manoeuvres and also includes the deployment of countermeasures. The countermeasures - both towed and expendable variants - lure the threat away from the vessel in a soft-kill manner by transmitting an acoustic decoy signature in the water. The system equips also the Royal Navy's Type 23 (Duke) class frigates. 

Details of Bayraktar's superstructure.

Sea Sentor launching a decoy
ASELSAN HIZIR system
The Sea Sentor system will be replaced in the future by the indigenous and more advanced Aselsan HIZIR SSTD. HIZIR is an advanced Surface Ship Torpedo Countermeasure System composed of Towed Array, Towed Decoy, Winch, Electronic Cabinet, Launcher and Expandable Decoy subsystems. The system is integrated with the Sonar, Combat Management System and Ship Data Distribution Unit. HIZIR system is capable of detecting torpedo threats from a distance required for instant counter reaction. Using advanced Detection, Classification and Localization algorithms, the system advises the operator the most suitable tactic required to escape from threat. This includes an evasive maneuvering advice for ship, related parameters and timings for towed decoy and deployment time of expandable decoys.You can watch how the new system works in the following video.

TCG Bayraktar of the Turkish Navy. Photo by Serhat Guvenc.


Mk137 decoy launcher next to Sea Sentor
Photo by barmacode1
The decoy launchers are the BAE Systems Mk36 Super Rapid Bloom Offboard Countermeasures (SRBOC) Chaff and Decoy Launching System or an exact copy of them under license. It is a shipboard, deck-mounted, 6-barreled 130mm mortar-type array that launches type-specific countermeasures against a variety of threats. Following launch and dispersion, Mk36 SRBOC chaff and infrared countermeasures are designed to lure hostile missiles away from ships under attack by creating false target sets. The Mk36 SRBOC launching system is controlled from the ship’s combat management system (see last paragraph), and it is dependent on information provided by the ship’s detection and threat analysis equipment. The Mk36 SRBOC consists of the Mk137 launcher, firing stations at the bridge and CIC, the Mk160 power supply, Mk5 Mod2 or Mod4 Ready Service Lockers (RSLs), and a selection of munitions. Each vessel of the class is equipped with four Mk137 launchers. The decoy launching system is linked to the ship's ESM, wind and navigation sensors.


Thee flight deck of TCG Sancaktar (L403)
The mast of TCG Bayraktar with SMART-S at the top of it.
Photo by barmacode1
The vessels are equipped with the SMART-S Mk2 radar which is manufactured locally by Aselsan under license. This system is Thales’s latest 3D multibeam radar that operates in S-band (E/F-band) and it is optimised for medium-to-long-range air and surface surveillance and target designation in littoral environments. The latter consisting of a mix of sea, land, islands, coastal rains and thunderstorms and a multiple of radar targets including small surface targets, helicopters and anti-ship missiles. SMART-S Mk2 is extremely suitable as the main air and surface surveillance radar in a one radar concept for light frigates, corvettes and large landing ships. Pulse-Doppler processing enables fast target track initiation and stealth target detection, even in a cluttered environment. With its 2 main modes, 250-km range for air targets and 80km for surface targets, a track capacity of about 750 tracks, special helicopter mode, surface fire channels, easy installation, high reliability and easy maintainability, SMART-S Mk2 is one of the most advanced radars in its category. Moreover, SMART-S Mk2 is an optimal sensor for target indication to a fire control tracking system. By providing 3D tracks the radar supports correct classification and rapid acquisition. On the system there is an integrated Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) antenna.

View of the superstructure and the LCVPs. Photo by barmacode1

ASELSAN LPI radar on the mast
ASELSAN LPI radar. Photo: Aselsan
Aselsan ALPER is a low probability of intercept (LPI) X-band naval radar system for the detection of ​sea surface targets in all weather conditions. Developed specifically for wartime navigation of military vessels, ALPER's LPI characteristic is vital in detecting surrounding targets while not being detected by enemy vessels. ALPER's design allows for integration with Warfare Management Systems and existing navigation radars on the vessel, and hence can be operated via a mutual console. The maximum range of detection is close to 67km. 

TCG Sancaktar without yet full armament during sea trials.

Bridgemaster helicopter approach radar.
Photo by Hakan Kılıç for turkishnavy.net
The ships carry two Sperry Marine (Northrop Grumman) VisionMaster FT S-band navigation radars, some of the most advanced radars in this category. The systems offer a user friendly interface, an advanced automatic clutter suppression for outstanding small target detection, target tracking capability of 100 radar targets and 240 AIS targets, integrated route planning and trail maneuver for safe navigation and multi-layer user defined radar maps. Automatic clutter suppression technology makes it easier for watch keepers to identify small, weak targets in the presence of sea or rain clutter without manually adjusting gain or clutter controls. VisionMaster FT Radars automatically acquire and track targets at relative speeds up to 150 knots, allowing the watch keeper time to address any other requirements of the bridge rather than manually acquiring targets. Targets can be acquired by either two annular acquisition zones or two operator-configured polygon zones. Digital controlled inter-switching allows the interface of up to six transceivers to up to six displays, resulting in screen redundancy and flexibility in user operations. The Dual-Channel option provides the ability to display data from two independent transceivers onto the same screen and targets can be tracked on both channels. The overlapping of the information from the two radars eliminates any blind spots that may occur when a single radar is restricted providing unsurpassed situational awareness. The aft VisionMaster FT radar is used mainly as a helicopter approach radar.

Laser warning receiver aboard TCG Bayraktar. Photo by Hakan Kılıç for the turkishnavy.net
ASELSAN Laser Warning Receiver (LIAS). Photo: Aselsan
Aselsan Laser Warning Receiver(LIAS) is a state-of-the-art threat warning system that equips the ships, responsible to detect, classify, identify and give warning of hostile laser threats aiming on the platform. LIAS is designed to detect almost all of types of the laser threats available in the world military inventory. Laser Range Finders (LRF), Laser Designators (LD) and Laser Beam Riders (LBR) threats operating on various optical bands can be detected by the system. LIAS is comprised of one Processor Unit and several Sensor Units installed on the body of the platform. Each Sensor Unit has 90º field-of-view in azimuth and ±40º field-of-view in elevation axes. At least 4 Sensor Units are required but this number can be increased to 8 depending on the size of platform. With this approach total coverage of the platform is guaranteed. Sensor Unit includes detector and after detector electronics to detect the laser signals. Sensor Unit creates and sends the parameters of the threat laser signals to Processor Unit. The Processor Unit gathers the information from Sensor Units, evaluates the signal parameters and classifies, identifies, tracks and declares laser threats to a host computer (such as Electronic Warfare System - EWS) to be alarmed and displayed on the MMI. Processor Unit can also perform the direct and immediate initiation of the countermeasure (CM) system(s) if available onboard.

LPI radar and SASS.
Photo: barmacode1
Bridgemaster, LPI and SASS.
Photo: barmacode1













SASS. Photo: Leonardo
ASELFLIR-300D. Photo: Aselsan
Each vessel of the class is equipped with a Selex Silent Acquisition and Surveillance System (SASS) ES unit that uses a panoramic head developed for the passive IRST mission. SASS is a long range, passive IRST for naval applications, operating simultaneously in MWIR (3-5 μm) and LWIR (8-12 μm) spectral bands. It is able to detect and track air and surface targets (about a 100) with full 360° horizontal coverage and to provide InfraRed (IR) maps of the scene around the ship. It supports threat evaluation providing a statistical classification of tracks. SASS has a modular architecture based on a stabilised panoramic head equipped with IR sensors and an electronic cabinet hosting the processing and control units. Except SASS, the ships feature two Aselsan ASELFLIR-300D Advanced Targeting Systems, which are multi-sensor electro-optical targeting and surveillance systems. ASELFLIR-300D System consists of a Thermal Camera, a Laser Range Finder/Laser Designator, a Laser Spot Tracker, a Color TV Camera and a Color Spotter Camera.

Aselsan ARES-2N. Photo: Aselsan
Within its operating frequency range (2-18 GHz) Aselsan ARES-2N, the electronic warfare/countermeasures suite that equips the ships in the class, offers a wide range of solutions for naval platforms. The system has the capability of detecting, intercepting, identifying, classifying, tracking, Direction Finding (DF), localizing, audio warning, platform correlating and recording the electromagnetic emissions. It provides wideband intercept of radar signals; single DF in wide frequency band and high signal processing speed facilitate the processing of complex radar signals. A key feature of the system is its precision parameter measurement and advanced emitter characterization capabilities. The system can trace marked emitters automatically and locate them. The system has high probability of intercept capability with its wideband receiver architecture. The high processing sensitivity provides long range detection capability and low LPI radar detection capability. Bandwidth selectivity allows the system to be immune to the desensitization that occurs in wide-open systems when CW signals or pulse Doppler signals are present in the environment.​

Details of the superstructure and its rich electronic equipment. Photo: barmacode1
The Bayraktar class landing ships are equipped with the UNIMACS 3000 series highly sophisticated Integrated Platform Control Monitoring System (IPMS) developed by Yaltes, to maintain continuous and reliable operations, reduced reaction time and simplify ship management. Main propulsion system, electrical power distribution, auxiliary systems and other ship service systems are controlled, managed and monitored by ICMS. The main systems integrated in IPMS include a power management system, fire detection system, fire fighting and damage control system, CCTV system and stability control system.

TCG Bayraktar (L-402) Turkish Landing Ship in Valletta Harbour, Malta. Source
 
LST's kitchen. Photo by Hakan Kılıç
for the turkishnavy.net
Bridge's consoles. Photo by Hakan Kılıç
for the turkishnavy.net
Similarly to the MILGEM (Ada) class corvettes, which share some common equipment, the Bayraktars have a nationally developed network-centric Combat Management System (CMS), the GENESIS (Gemi Entegre Savaş İdare Sistemi, i.e. Ship Integrated Combat Management System),  which is fully distributed and collects information from all the sensors on board. GENESIS is developed by Havelsan and originally used in the upgraded Gabya-class frigates of the Turkish Navy. CMS processes this information and assigns weapons accordingly. CMS also shares information with other units in the task force via tactical data links. MILGEM's CMS infrastructure consists of dual distributed data bus covering the whole ship, and it's open system architecture is upgradable to inherit new systems and capabilities. The CMS includes operator consoles (OPCON) and tactical consoles (TACON), land-based test system units, inter-console units, a commander unit and combat system video network.  In total there are five Operator Consoles (OpCons), two Tactical Consoles (TaCons), one Commander Unit (COU) and eight Inter Console Units (ICUs). All these consoles were designed and manufactured by Yaltes. It should be mentioned that the ships are equipped with two command and control centers (one for ship’s CIC and the other for joint amphibious command and control purposes).

LST's bridge. Via navyrecognition.com
CIC. Via navyrecognition.com
Turning plate for APCs and tanks
LCVP in maximum speed







Photo: barmacode1

Among others, the Bayraktars are equipped with Aselsan X-band SATCOM terminals, IFF system, GPS, LAN, ECDIS/WECDIS,  HF,/UHF/VHF communication terminals and Link 11/16. As said in the introduction of the article, the Bayraktarss are certainly high-tech landing ships with plenty of capabilities and superb defensive equipment that is not limited only to guns and the most advanced Phalanx CIWS ever, but also includes a large number of anti-torpedo and anti-missile systems.  The Bayraktar class will certainly be the pride of the Turkish Navy amphibious warfare fleet until the delivery of the TCG Anadolu Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD). It can be assumed that two more ships will follow in the future, perhaps of an enlarged version that will replace the two remaining obsolete Bey class LSTs and thus in the 2020s the Turkish Navy amphibious landing force will consist of Anadolou, four Bayraktars (Block I/II?) and the upgraded Osman Gazi.
TCG Bayraktar, the pride of the Turkish Navy amphibious warfare fleet

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