ANKARA, TURKEY — The news that Turkey bought a Type 23 frigate from England caused a stir on social networks. First of all, it should be said that Turkey has not yet purchased a Type 23 frigate from the UK or signed a contract for it.
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However, a delegation from Turkey is currently inspecting the Type 23 frigates. It is expected that a report will be prepared as a result of the inspection, which will be submitted to the Headquarters of the Naval Forces Command and the Ministry of National Defense of Turkey.
Why is Turkey exploring the Type 23 frigate?
In fact, Turkey’s interest in Type 23 frigates is not new. There are currently 16 frigates in 3 different classes in the inventory of the Turkish Navy. The newest of these, the Barbados-class frigates [four units], are currently being modernized with national funds.
Yavuz-class frigates [four units], which are 30 years old, are actively used. However, they can be retired when they reach 40 years of age.
Eight Gabya-class frigates remain in the inventory. These frigates are also very old – at least 40 years old. However, they continue to successfully perform their duties with the intensive efforts of the Department of National Defense and the Naval Forces Command.
It seems there is still time for the TF-2000 Air Defense Combat Destroyer, which will replace the Gabia. Therefore, we can say that the Turkish Navy, which has the largest and most deterrent warship in its region, needs warships in today’s conditions.
This need will increase this year with the commissioning of the amphibious assault ship TCG Anadolu. This type of ship operates with a special group, performing protection against threats from all directions.
Considering the frigates that will be assigned to the TCG Anadolu Task Force and the frigates that are currently in the shipyard for modernization and maintenance, a second-hand frigate like the Type 23 could be a really good option.
Type 23 will be modernized
Many components of Type 23, such as weapons, sensors, and machinery, are foreign to Turkey. The range of the frigate is at least twice that of those available in the inventory of the Turkish Navy. However, these ships can be upgraded and equipped with the Advent Combat Management System, just like the sensor package currently in the Half-Life Modernization for Barbados. This modernization can likely be completed within a year.
Type 23 frigates can be very well modernized with Turkish assets, components, and systems. For example, it is possible to upgrade the battle management system and replace the main gun and sensors with Turkish analogs. This also applies to the GWS-35 VLS, which is capable of launching Sea Wolf/SeaCaptor missiles. Turkey has conflicts with the US, so it would not risk leaving the Type 23 frigate with this particular weapon complex.
There are currently 12 Type 23 frigates in the British Royal Navy’s inventory. Some time ago, Chile acquired three of them, which are 30 years old each.
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