Turkish frigate TCG Barbaros deployed to the Eastern Mediterranean Sea on Jan. 24 as the flagship to NATO’s Operation Sea Guardian (OSG) focused patrols. OSG is a collaborative, year-round maritime security operation designed to maintain maritime situational awareness (MSA), deter and counter terrorism activity, and build capacity and interoperability among NATO Allies and partners. In addition to the daily MSA activities, OSG has been conducting focused patrols at specific areas of interest in the Mediterranean Sea. The 3-week deployment is the first of six OSG focused operations scheduled this year and will run until 12 February 2022.
This focused patrol incorporates maritime patrol aircraft from Greece, Poland, and Turkey in addition to submarines from Greece and Turkey in support of the flagship. Simultaneously Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 comprised of the flagship ITS Margottini, ESPS Blas de Lezo and TCG Goksu, will be deployed in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, contributing NATO’s maritime situational awareness efforts. NATO launched OSG in 2016 to maintain an accurate picture of the maritime environment and contribute to the safety and security in the region.
TCG Barbaros (F-244) is the lead ship of Barbaros-class frigate of the Turkish Navy. The Barbaros-class frigates are among the most modern frigates in the Turkish Navy. They were designed in Germany and are part of the MEKO group of modular warships, in this case the MEKO 200 design. Two ships were built in Germany and two in Turkey with German assistance. They are larger than the previous Yavuz-class frigates and are also faster due to using CODOG machinery rather than pure diesels. Barbaros was launched on 29 September 1993 by Blohm+Voss in Hamburg and commissioned on 23 May 1997.
TCG Barbaros (F-244) have received an 8-cell Mk41 vertical launcher system (VLS) module. The mid-life modernization program projects to double the number of anti-ship missiles that vessel is equipped with while also replacing it by locally designed and produced Atmaca anti-ship missiles, substitution of the Oerlikon Sea Zenith CIWS systems with 1 Phalanx and 1 Aselsan Gokdeniz CIWS, change the existing TACTICOS combat management system with Havelsan “B-SYS Combat Management System” and adopt a 127mm main gun to the frigates. Finally against asymmetric threats that the vessels may face 2×2 L/UMTAS launchers are planned to be integrated to the frigates.