Written by D-Mitch
The Osman Gazi class landing ships consists of only one vessel in service, the Osman Gazi, which is the newest and largest active landing ship of the Turkish Navy (
Turkish: Türk Donanması) at the moment (2014). It is worth mentioning that the design is completely indigenous. The second ship in the class, thee NL126 Orhan Gazi, was cancelled. The pennant number is NL-125; NL due to the two roles that the ships has, N stands for minelayer while L for landing ship. The Osman Gazi was launched in 1990 at the Taşkızak Naval Shipyard and it was commissioned in 1994. The ship followed an extensive modernization in the period 2010-2011 in Alaybey Shipyard, İzmir. The general characteristics of the ship, is a full displacement of about 3,775tons, a length of 105m, speed of 17 knots while the range is 4,000n.m. with the cruising speed of 15 knots.
As it was mentioned in the introduction the ship followed an extensive modernization therefore the main weapons systems have been replaced. The "new" weapons came from decommissioned ships such as Knox class frigates or Gearing FRAM destroyers. The ships today is equipped on the bow deck with two GDM-A Twin Mounting naval turrets with two Oerlikon KDC 35mm/90cal guns each (Oerlikon Contraves AG changed its name to Rheinmetall Air
Defence AG as of January 1st 2009). This system is of dual role; it is intended for anti-aircraft/missile warfare as well as for surface-to-surface warfare and for suppression of ground defenses around the beachhead prior or during the landing operation. The system has a high rate of fire
as each barrel can fire 550 rounds per minute with a range for air
targets approaching the 5,000 meters while for surface targets beyond
8,000 meters.The two systems replaced the two Breda Type 64 twin 40mm naval mounts.
It is noticeable the significant addition of two Raytheon SLQ-32(V)2 EW antenna groups
above the pilothouse. The excellent website turkishnnavy.net, which is the maine source of this article as the official Turkish website lacks comprehensive inforamtion and photos, reports that the two systems must be
taken from a decommissioned Knox or those Perry class frigates that were given for spare parts/cannibalization. The SLQ-32(V) is the principal EW system carried by major US Navy
surface ships, with more than 450 systems produced to date. The (V)1 and
(V)2 suites are passive, providing early warning, identification and
direction finding capability for simultaneous multiple threats. The
SLQ-32(V) system has been in operation around the globe since the
1980s, and ongoing efforts to restore and upgrade older systems will
extend the life of the SLQ-32(V) well into the 21st century. The system
achieves EW objectives by providing full threat band
frequency coverage, instantaneous azimuth coverage, 100 percent
probability of intercept and simultaneous response to multiple threats.
It can detect aircraft search and target radars well before they detect
the ship. The system's rapid response time ensures that jamming
protection is enabled to prevent long range targeting of the ship and to
deceive missiles launched against the ship. The system has an on-line
library of emitter types for rapid identification.
|Osman Gazi landing/minelayer ship. Photo: trmilitary.com|
|Μodified photo of Osman Gazi landing ship/minelayer of Turkish Navy. For a high resolution image click here.|
The vessel has a large helideck but no hangar. She can carry 900 troops for short periods, 15 main battle tanks that embarks/disembarks from her large bow doors while it carries 4 LCVPs (Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel) on davits on the both sides of her superstructure for amphibious operations. In the role of minelaying the ship can carry up to 200 mines.
|Click to enlarge and save the image to view the details: modified photo of Osman Gazi landing ship/minelayer of Turkish Navy. In high resolution here. Photo by Armagan Orki|
|GDM-A Twin Mounting|
|Osman Gazi during the 100th anniversary of Turkish Çanakkale Victory over the Allied armada.|
|Modified photo of a Phalanx Block 1. Photo: U.S. Navy.|
Photo by Photographer's Mate Airman Kenny Swartout
Behind the main mast it is installed a Close-In-Weapons-System (CIWS), a Raytheon Mk15 Phalanx, a very popular system worldwide in this role. The Phalanx replaces the GDM-A Twin Mounting naval turret, the system that was used in this role before the modernization program, and that now it is installed on the bow deck together with another one from the storage. The 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. 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 block that belongs this Phalanx is the old Block 1, and thus the system lacks the stabilized Forward-Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) sensor, the automatic acquisition video tracker and the other improvements which have the newer models such as the Block 1B. The armament consists of one 20 mm (0.79 in) M61 Vulcan 6-barreled Gatling autocannon that has an effective range of more than 3.5km and a rate of fire of approximately 3,000 rounds (!) per minute with a magazine drum holding 1,550 rounds. The Block 0 held 989 rounds.
In addition to the weapon systems described above, Osman Gazi is armed with two M2HB (Heavy Barrel) 12.7mm heavy machine guns in front of the helideck and two Oerlikon 20mm L70 on each side of the superstructure. The M2HB has a maximum (effective) range of around 1,830m and a cyclical rate of fire of about 500-600 rounds per minute.The Oerlikon 20mm gun has a maximum firing range of less than 4,500m while the rate of fire is close to 450rds/min.
|The two GDM-A Twin Mounting. Photo: turkishnavy.net|
|The recently added Phalanx CIWS. Notice the mounts for M2HB heavy machine guns immediately below.|
|SLQ-32(V)2 EW system. Notice the Oerlikon 20mm gun.|
|The two small doors at the stern of the ship are used for mine laying.|
|LCVP of the ship. photo: turkishnavy.net|
Unfortunately there is no much information about the specific modernization program or any upgrades that took place inside the vessel. Below some photos of the ship prior and after the modernization program.
|Prior the modernization.|
|Prior the modernization.|
|Osman Gazi after the modernization. Photo: turkishnavy.net|