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Friday, 4 July 2014

WARSHIPS OF THE PAST: Kartal class fast attack craft of the Turkish Navy

Written by D-Mitch

Kartal class fast attack missile craft. Photo: Frank Behrends
Kartal class, was till 2016 the oldest class of Fast Attack Craft (FAC) of Turkish Navy (Turk Deniz Kuvvetleri), when the last active boat in the class, Pelikan (P-326), was retired. The design originates from the Zobel class (Type 142) torpedo boats which were designed and built by Lürssen for the German Navy in the early '60s. Nine Kartal class Fast Attack Missile Craft (FACM) were built in Germany by Lürssen and they were commissioned  during the period 1968-1970. The Kartal class boats were of 200tons full displacement approximately, length and beam of 42.5m and 7.1m respectively and they had a maximum speed of 42knots achieving a range of around 900km with this high speed. Their keel was made from light metal and they had a wooden planking and aluminum superstructure. These craft had an impressive armament for their size but in the 21st century they were considered old, light and without sophisticated electronic equipment. Of the nine vessels, one (P-325 Meltem) was lost  in a collision with the Russian Smolnyy class training ship Khasan on 25th September 1985, while the older four (P-321 Denizkusu, P-322 Atmaka, P-323 Sahin and P-324 Kartal) were retired earlier in 2013-2014.


Modified photo of a Kartal class fast attack craft of the Turkish Navy. For a high resolution image click here.

The front 40mm Bofors gun
Penguin missile launch from a Kartal
Initially, the boats were armed with four single 21in (533mm)  torpedo tubes for G-7A torpedoes and two 40mm/90 Breda-Bofors AA guns with an effective range of about 2.5-3km. The Turkish Navy replaced the old G-7A torpedoes with the more modern Atlas SST-3/4 Seal which has a maximum range of about 37km range with a speed of 23knots and about 10km with the maximum speed of 35knots. The warhead is of 250kg. In 1971 Turkey purchased about 60-65 Kongsberg Defence Systems AGM-119 Penguin Mk 1 SSM and installed them on the boats in four single launchers for each vessel replacing the two aft torpedo tubes. In the majority of the online sources the missiles are referred as Mk2, thus the missiles might have been upgraded with new seeker, processor and motor to the next Mark. The boats usually were carrying only two of the launchers.

P326 Pelikan
Penguin anti-ship missile
Kartal FACM with two Penguin SSM
The Penguin missile, is an all-weather fire-and-forget anti-ship missile with  a highly accurate inertial navigation system that integrates a high resolution passive IR seeker which provides a high degree of discrimination and target selection. The IR seeker also allows the missile to operate in close proximity to land and in open waters. The passive IR seeker makes it possible to operate close to land while it is unaffected by all known IR decoys and ECM systems. The missile of this Mark has approximately a range of 34km with a high subsonic speed (Mach 0.8) and with a warhead of 120kg. With up to 180 degrees waypoint turn, mid course sea skimming, weaving and erratic maneuvers in the final stage of attack, the missile has advanced penetration capabilities through enemy defense lines. The missile is designed so as to hit the target in the waterline with a downward penetrating angle. The delayed fuze mechanism ensures warhead detonation under the waterline, thus creating maximum damage in the target. Thus, the combination of covert targeting, passive flight path and selectable waypoint manoeuvres makes the Penguin a very effective  weapon against surface combatants.

Kartal class fast attack craft
The electronic equipment was limited in two Decca 1226 navigation and surveillance radars (initially they had only one), the Telegon 8 EW system and the Hagenuk TFCS. The boats might had been equipped with the Penguin Fire Control System 2 (PFCS 2). The boats were retired after their were considered inadequate in their role and especially when their anti-ship missiles' service life came to an end.

A flotilla of Kartal fast attack craft of Turkish Navy

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