As Minister of Defense, Hulusi Akar had paid a visit to United Kingdom in 15th of January, it has came to light (with Marine Deal News’ article) that Turkish Navy is interested in Type-23 of Royal Navy, planned to be decommissioned gradually, from 2023 on.
Wikipedia has some background information on Type-23; some of the ships have undergone an upgrade (more specifically, an MLU), whereas some of the hulls have just had a Life extension upgrade (overhauling of necessary equipment and machinery to keep the ship operationally safe and sound beyond the planned life). As a result, this page does not contain the common information; instead, refer to Wikipedia.
This is neither the Turkish Navy’s first look at the Type-23, nor is it the Turkish Navy’s first evaluation of a second-hand platform for flotilla extension. Since 2010, many evaluation, inspection, and feasibility studies have been conducted on a number of platforms that are being used by other fleets and are slated for retirement. One well-known instance was adding more Oliver Hazard Perry hulls to the Gabya Class flotilla that was operating as an air defence frigate in the Turkish Navy. Additionally, Type 23 was presented to TN in the 1990s with a unique weaponry package but lost to MEKO 200;
Type 23 with sea zenith was presented to the Turkish Navy in the 1990s
Image Source: Ibrahim Sunnetci
The ship has a special propulsion system that has not been found on TN’s warships up to this point. It is called the CODELOG system, and it consists of two RR gas turbines for reaching high speeds and four diesel gen-sets for cruising at lower speeds. The ship’s air defence and point-defense capabilities aren’t much better than those of the Istanbul Class or the current Gabya-Class. However, Type 23 has more endurance at high sea states than Istanbul Class frigates (Type 23 is predicted to be operational at 6/7 and endurance up to 9) and has a longer autonomous range (7500 compared to 4700 NM).
The ship’s foremost contribution to Turkish Navy would be the most recent active towed, variable depth sonar Sonar 2087 and bow mounted Sonar 2150. And only for this reason, it might make sense for the future LHD Task Force to guard the flotilla from undersea dangers and perform ASW operations in blue waters. There is no immediate need for Sonar 2087 because Aselsan’s DUFAS (Low frequency, variable depth sonar) is undergoing tests and investigations to build a multi-static sonar system for TF-2000 and other platforms, along with sonars mounted on unmanned systems. Although Anadolu LHD is anticipated to enter service by the end of 2023 following rigorous sea testing, there is now a sense of urgency because the building of the Istanbul Class and the Barbaros Class MLU have both been years behind schedule. Moreover, TF2000 is not expected in active service before 2030, Type 23’s could be an interim – urgent solution to save the day, not the tomorrow of TN.
According to the most recent information, Turkish Navy is less likely to purchase Type-23 due to “alienation” to main ship subsystems. To upgrade the Combat Management System with ADVENT, the Fire Control Radar with Aselsan’s AKREP, the Torpedo Decoys with Hzr TAKS’s countermeasures, and the 114mm/30mm weapon systems with MKE 76mm and Aselsan’s stabilised cannons, an upgrade-modernization-commonization approach was contemplated. The platform would be difficult for the Turkish Navy in this situation because it is not possible to change the propulsion system, which is kept standard in the other ships. (Classes in Gabya, MEKO, Ada, and Istanbul employ MTU / LM2500 with largely standard propulsion-related equipment)
If upgraded, Type 23s are not anticipated to enter service before 2024. They are anticipated to be delivered in batches of two, with the first two ships arriving and being upgraded before the next two ships arrive and enter service no earlier than 2026. The Royal Navy, also, does not intend to let go of Type 23 in whole as Russian invasion of Ukraine warms the arctic waters.