December 14, 2015

Turkish Subs Great At Blockading Russian Black Sea Fleet

Current tensions between Russia and Turkey would be making Turkish  naval commanders tense. Turkey's medium sized submarine service (13 subs) may give Turkey a useful intelligence tool and make some Russians apprehensive, but ultimately Russia would win a confrontation. Turkey is in NATO so that may give Turkey a little confidence.

Tensions have included:

-  Turkey's suspected soft handling of ISIS. Shared Sunni religion would be part of this. About 80% of Turks would be Sunni Muslim. ISIS is all Sunni Muslim. Also corruption in Turkey is high and the allure of blackmarket ISIS oil is high.

-  November 24, 2015 - Turkey shooting down a Russian fighter-bomber.

-  December 4, 2015 - Russia displays a man portable anti-aircraft rocket launcher (MANPAD) on a Russian warship in the Bosphorus Strait basically in Istanbul (Turkey's largest city)

-  December 13, 2015 Russian Kashin class destroyer Smetlivy shoots (AK-47?) warning shots close to the Turkish trawler called Geçiciler-1

The Kashin class destroyer Smetlivy. Launched in 1967.


Turkey is in a good geographical position to blockade or divide Russia's Mediterranean and Black Sea Fleets:

The Sea of Marmara, and very narrow Bosporus and Dardanelles (bottom left of map) are ideal waters for Turkish subs to blockade the Russian Black Sea Fleet (HQ in Crimea) and Mediterranean Fleet (major port Tartus Naval Base, Syria). This is if Turkey and NATO were willing to risk it.  (Map courtesy GlobalResearch(dot)ca)

Turkey has been a long and substantial user of submarines over the years. Here is a list of Turkish submarines over the last 100 years including many ex Bulao (GUPPY upgrade). 

Currently Turkey has 13 German designed Type 209s, including:

5 x Atılay (aka "Ay") class Type 209/1200s, 1,600 tons (submerged)

4 x Preveze-class Type 209T1/1400s, 1,800 tons (submerged) built at Gölcük Naval Shipyard in Turkey.

4 x Gür-class Type 209T2/1400s 1,800 tons (submerged) built at Gölcük Naval Shipyard

Uploaded March 1, 2015. An example of a the larger German (TKMS) designed Type 214 submarine. Turkey is building six 214s. 

OMICS International advises The 214s have air-independent propulsion (AIP) submarines. They will be (or are) being built with maximum local content at Gölcük Naval Shipyard in Kocaeli, Turkey.

As the Turkish Type 214 will have a significant amount of Turkish indigenous systems on board, this variant of the Type 214 will be known as the Type 214TN (Turkish Navy). Germany's TKMS-HDW will preassemble structural and mechanical parts of the submarine in Germany, or classified elements such as the AIP and propulsion system and will then ship them to Turkey. All electronic and weapon systems (including the Combat System) will be of Turkish production. Cost of the contract is 2 billion euros and may last ten years or more.

The Type 214 submarine is derived from the Type 212 but as an export variant it lacks some of the classified technologies of its smaller predecessor, the most important of which is probably the non-magnetic steel hull, which makes the Type 212 submarine impossible to detect using a magnetic anomaly detector. [Is TKMS offering Australia non-magnetic steel hull in the CEP?]

Due to improvements in the pressure hull materials, the Type 214 can dive nearly 400 meters

The six 214s, known as Type 214TN (for Turkish Navy) will replace the early Atılay class (209s) around 2020. Details of the 214TNs include 1,690 t surfaced / 1,860 t submerged, endurance 84 days

214TN's Armament:
8 x 533mm torpedo tubes, 
2.500km Roketsan GEZGIN-D Land Attack Cruise Missile [Tomahawk like?]
IDAS small missile anti-aircraft capability
Harpoon anti-ship missile and land attack
Mark 48 torpedos

This shows the Australian Navy hierarchy that US weapons with an indigenous combat system, can be fitted to German submarines.

See Youtube of Turkish naval vessels. Specific details of Turkish Type 214 submarine at


One reason Turkey may be hesitant or maybe appeasing ISIS is due to the dangerous neighbourhood Turkey lives in (map below):


Russia's S-400 anti-aircraft missile system (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) now in Syria, would be making Turkey nervous, as well as NATO and Western coalition pilots who are bombing targets in Syria. The S-400 could also hit aircraft 300-400 km over the border into Turkey or Iraq. Like Israel, Turkey dislikes the realities of being in the Middle East.



Anonymous said...

There is unfortunately another incident between Russia and Turkey in the Black Sea. A Turkish flagged vessel approached 2 Russian oil rigs. A Tarantul corvette equipped with Moskit SS-N-22 was dispatched.

In Syria, Russia is also deploying state of the art electronic warfare systems like their KRET Kraskha-4 which can jam awacs, uavs, etc., even LEO satellites. Turkey is also doing the same but I heard the Turkish EW system is inferior in this match up. Russia is developing sophisticated land based EW systems. This does not receive as much atention as the S-400 or S-500.

imacca said...

As to your ? about whether TKMS is offering the non-magnetic hull steel, from my reading of what's been made public on their bid they are offering Australia the lot as far as their stealth tech is concerned, AND they are offering what seems a VERY serious industrial commitment from a firm with lots of international program experience.

Their bid looks like a hard one to turn down at the moment, IF the boat they offer is as good as the Soryu, and they already have designs / plans with Vertical and Horizontal multi purpose locks.

Hopefully the Americans aren't too annoyed at us over the Darwin Port thing and wont screw us over on permissions to use US combat and weapons systems.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous

The "incident between Russia and Turkey in the Black Sea. A Turkish flagged vessel approached 2 Russian oil rigs. A Tarantul corvette equipped with Moskit SS-N-22 was dispatched." seems to have been successfully kept out of the mainstream news. Do you have any more details or links?

Tartus Naval Base (like many military establishments) and Black Sea HQ Sevastopol would have substantial EW and intercept capabilities. Also Russian vessels (subs and surface) in the Mediterranean or Black Seas surrounding Turkey could jam and commit other mischief.

Hadn't heard of the S-500 system till you mentioned it. Looks interesting .



Peter Coates said...

Hi imacca

I agree with all your points. As the US is already entrusting Australia with F-35 stealth technology, already allowing Australia AN/BYG-1 submarine combat system with access to what I call "SeaWeb" I think/hope the US should be helpful.

Whether the US wants to share the full AN/BYG-1 with TKMS or DCNS while those companies build the future Australian sub is a major, complicated question.

It would be unfortunate if Japan wins on the basis that it is the only contender the US will share the AN/BYG-1 with.



Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

As the submarine building plans and related data were submitted, I introduce article on simulated performance of submarine [1]. A series of figures is quite interesting. Type 214 shows best performance at slow speed and Type 216 equipped with LIBs will show better performance.

“Submarine Power and Propulsion- Trends and Opportunities”


Peter Coates said...

Hi S

Thanks for

A most interesting paper.

As well as useful 214 details - also interesting is:

- Figure 2, page 3 compairing SSK submerged performance, 214, Gotland, Collins, Lada and Amur

- page 4, Litteral Ops, Manning, Size, Under ice Ops "The opening up of the North-West Passage ...The provision AIP for such under ice operations would offer a much greater degree of safety margin than conventional batteries allow.

- pages 5 to 7 comparing AIP systems

- pages 8 to 9 comparing batteries (including LIBs) and AIP



MHalblaub said...

Dear imacca,

I am only aware of a few German submarine exports with proven non-magnetic steel.

- 2 Type 205 for Denmark (1970)
- 2 Type 212 for Italy (2006 & 2007)
- 2 Type 209 for Columbia (2015)

There could be a several unreported export of submarines with non-magnetic steel.

- 15 Kobben-class (Type 207) submarines for Norway (1963 - 1966)
- 6 Ula-class (Type 210) submarines for Norway (1987 - 1992)
- 3 Dolphin-class submarines for Israel (1999 - 2000)
- 3 Dolphin2-class submarines for Israel (2014 - 2017)

also maybe

- Type 209 for South Korea
- Type 214 for South Korea

The difference between the other Type 209 or Type 214 is the price tag for the steel. All nations which ordered or may ordered non-magnetic steel are quite solvent. Norway got oil and gas.

I guess TKMS can other both variants and the costumer has to check his wallet. I doubt that the non-magnetic steel is so secret. I think it is just the price.


Peter Coates said...

Hi MHalblaub

Thanks for the info. Yes I think no or low magnetism would be a standard consideration in hull building.

Instead of or as well as non-magnetic is degaussing measures

I don't have much of a picture about how these variables work together.



Ztev Konrad said...

I understand the MAD detectors are used to note any small changes in the EARTHS magnetic field caused by the presence of any steel such as the hull. I dont think being non magnetic ( essentially stainless steel) will be much affected by that as was found when the Russians used non magnetic titanium hulls, as they still use steel for other parts of the submarine.
Of course having electric generation and motors will produce magnetic fields. Indeed the electric motor requires it.

Remember too the Germans preference for non magnetic is based on the shallow water of the Baltic which means its especially easy to detect by MAD and luckily a non magnetic hull cant go as deep as a standard hull as well