SNMG-2 Arrives In Varna

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HMCS Toronto entering into Varna harbour. Photo: Nikolay Zlatev. Used with permission.

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ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbon arriving in Varna harbour.  Photo: Nikolay Zlatev. Used with permission.

Task Unit 2 of SNMG-2 consisting of F-102 ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbon and Canadian frigate FHH-333 HMCS Toronto arrived in Varna Bulgaria today.

Led by Commander Jason Armstrong (Royal Canadian Navy), SNMG2 TU.02 is currently composed of HMCS TORONTO (Royal Canadian Navy) and AMIRALTE JUAN de BORBON (Spanish Navy).  SNMG2 is visiting the port as part of the Group’s deployment to the Black Sea to enhance maritime security and NATO’s readiness in the region.

“This visit has been planned for quite some time, and in light of current events it; has become all the more significant,” said Commander Jason Armstrong, Commander SNMG2 TU.02. “We are delighted to come and train together, eager to enhance our mutual understanding, and eager to bring a strong message to Bulgarian people and to all Allied Nations regarding NATO’s resolve and commitment to collective defence.

Constanta, Romania was the Task Force’s previous port of call.

On 16 September 2014, under the banner of Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) Task Unit 02 (TU02), HMCS TORONTO, ESPS ALMIRANTE JUAN DE BORBON and ROS REGELE FERNIDAND have completed their 4 day visit to Constanta, Romania. The port visit served to reaffirm the Alliance’s commitment to maritime defence and security and reassure Black Sea NATO Allies.

“Our ships were honoured and humbled to be a part of NATO’s maritime visit to the historic city as Constanta, Romania,” said Commander Jason Armstrong, Commanding Officer of HMCS TORONTO and Commander of SNMG2 Task Unit 02 (SNMG2 TU02). “Our presence here serves to reaffirm NATO’s strong support and commitment to Alliance solidarity.”

Visit the excellent blog Sea Dog for more photos from SNMG-2.

Sea Breeze 2014 Participants

U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs shared the list of the ships that take part in the naval Exercise Sea Breeze 2014.

As reported earlier, the Turkish frigate TCG Oruçreis and the French frigate Commandant Birot are not taking part in the exercise though both ships are currently deployed in the Black Sea. The list of US Navy fails to clarify if the Georgian patrol boat Sukhomi is taking part in the exercise as reported by Russian.

It is also noteworthy that there are no Bulgarian participants.

Number
Name
Country
Type
F-512
TCG Büyükada
Turkey
Corvette
F-102 ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbon  Spain Frigate
F-333 HMCS Toronto Canada Frigate
DDG-71 USS Ross USA Destroyer
P-24 Sukhumi Georgia Patrol Boat
F-221 ROS Regele Ferdinand Romania Frigate
F-264 Contraamiral Eustatiu Sebastian Romania Corvette
U-130 Hetman Sahaidachniy Ukraine Frigate
U-153 Priluki Ukraine Patrol Boat
U-120 Skadovsk Ukraine Patrol Boat
U-512 Pereyaslav Ukraine Intelligence Gathering Ship
U-542 Nova Kahovka Ukraine Training Ship
U-782 Sokal Ukraine Ambulance launch
BG-50 Kuropyannikov Ukraine Coast Guard Vessel
B-57 Mikolaiv Ukraine Coast Guard Vessel

Sea Breeze 2014 Naval Exercise Starts Next Week (UPDATED)

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F-512 TCG Büyükada heading to the Black Sea to take part in Sea Breeze 2014 exercise on 7 September 2014. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permisson.

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F-512 TCG Büyükada heading to the Black Sea to take part in Sea Breeze 2014 exercise on 7 September 2014. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permisson.

Despite my previous reporting and expectations the Turkish frigate TCG Oruçreis is not going to take part in the exercise Sea Breeze. Her deployment to the Black Sea must a regular one with national interests at heart.

The Milgem class corvette F-512 TCG Büyükada is going participate in the Sea Breeze according to the Turkish General Staff.

Click here to read about the previous Sea Breeze Exercises.

I have compiled the list of the ships that will take part in the exercise:

Number
Name
Country
Type
F-512
TCG Büyükada
Turkey
Corvette
F-102 ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbon  Spain Frigate
F-333 HMCS Toronto Canada Frigate
DDG-71 USS Ross USA Destroyer
P-24 Sukhumi Georgia Patrol Boat
F-221 ROS Regele Ferdinand Romania Frigate
F-796 Commandant Birot France Frigate

Sea Breeze 2014 Naval Exercise Starts Next Week

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Turkish Barbaros class frigate F-245 TCG Oruçreis heading to the Black Sea on 4 September 2014. She is obviously going to take part in the Sea Breeze 2014 exercise. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permission.

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Note that TCG Oruçreis is carrying full Harpoon load. This is not a common sight. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permission.

The Ukrainian led naval exercise Sea Breeze 2014 will start on 8 September 2014, according to a statement made by U.S. European Command.

Exercise Sea Breeze 2014, a multinational maritime exercise in the Black Sea, is set to start Sept. 8, as representatives from five participating nations and Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO Task Unit 02 (SNMG2 TU.02) will gather at sea aboard USS Ross (DDG 71) for the exercise’s opening ceremony.

Approximately 280 U.S. service members will participate in the event.

The exercise is scheduled to take place Sept. 8-10, with naval forces from participating countries working together in order to strengthen interoperability and improve maritime security.

Leaders from Ukraine and the U.S., co-hosts for the 13th iteration of the exercise, share sentiments about the progress of both the exercise and maritime security in the Black Sea that have occurred since the exercise’s inception.

Much of the exercise will focus on maritime interdiction operations as a primary means to enhance maritime security. The other key components of the exercise focus on communications, search and rescue, force protection and navigation.

This year’s participants include Ukraine, Georgia, Romania, Turkey, and the U.S., as well as three ships from Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO Task Unit 02 (SNMG2 TU.02): Canadian Halifax-class frigate HMCS Toronto (FFH 333); Spanish frigate ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbon; and Romanian frigate ROS Regele Ferdinand.

Click here to read about the previous Sea Breeze Exercises.

I have compiled the list of the ships that will take part in the exercise:

Number
Name
Country
Type
F-245
TCG Oruçreis
Turkey
Frigate
F-102 ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbon  Spain Frigate
F-333 HMCS Toronto Canada Frigate
DDG-71 USS Ross USA Destroyer
P-24 Sukhumi Georgia Patrol Boat
F-221 ROS Regele Ferdinand Romania Frigate
F-796 Commandant Birot France Frigate

USS Vella Gulf Conducts Exercise with Turkish Navy

140808-N-ZE250 118  BLACK SEA, (Aug. 8, 2014) Turkish Navy vessel TCG Tuzla (P1200) steams past Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) after completing maneuvering exercises in the Black Sea. Vella Gulf, homeported in Norfolk, Va., is conducting naval operations with allies in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in order to advance security and stability in Europe. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Weston Jones/Released)

Turkish Navy vessel P-1200 TCG Tuzla steams past Ticonderoga class cruiser CG-72 USS Vella Gulf , after completing maneuvering exercises in the Black Sea. Photo: U.S. Navy by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Weston Jones

According to the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet web site, the Ticonderoga class cruiser USS Vella Gulf conducted a division tactics exercise with the Turkish navy fast attack craft TCG Tuzla in the Black Sea on 8 August 2014.

Vella Gulf and Tuzla conducted tactical maneuvering during the exercise. U.S. Navy ships regularly hold similar events with allies and partners to foster relationships and strengthen interoperability.

“Once again, Vella Gulf was pleased to participate in an at-sea training exercise with our NATO ally Turkey,” said Capt. Robert Katz, Vella Gulf’s Commanding Officer. “Our continuing interactions with the Turkish Navy during this deployment have increased cooperation and strengthened interoperability through regular combined training events.”

Well I must make a correction to the above statement.

TCG Tuzla is not classified as an fast attack craft by Turkish Navy. She is a patrol craft, a gun boat with a sonar and ASW mortar. Turkish Navy classifies vessels with anti-ship missiles as fast attack craft such as Doğan, Yıldız, Kılıç or Kartal class boats.

I have found the matching of the ships a little peculiar. USS Vella Gulf is one of the largest combatants in US Navy inventory with the exception of the carriers while TCG Tuzla is one of the smallest combatants in Turkish Navy inventory. Was this by design or by coincidence?

Update On Breeze 2014 Naval Exercise

With the exception of Bulgarian participants I have more or less the complete list of the participants to this exercise:

Number Name Type Country
P-266 HS Machitis Patrol Craft Greece
F-582 ITS Aviere Frigate Italy
M-5561 ITS Rimini Mine Hunter Italy
F-222 ROS Regina Maria Frigate Romania
M-30 Alexandru Axente Mine Sweeper Romania
M-270 TCG Akçay Mine Hunter Turkey
P-1200 TCG Tuzla Patrol Craft Turkey
P-332 TCG Mızrak Fast Attack Craft Turkey
S-352 TCG Dolunay Submarine Turkey
M-37 HSM Chiddingfold Mine Hunter UK
CG-72 USS Vella Gulf Cruiser USA

In addition to the above mentioned naval units one P-3 Orion from US Navy and one CN-235 from Turkish Navy are also taking part in the exercise.

Breeze 2014 Naval Exercise

The Bulgarian Navy is hosting a nine day long naval exercise Breeze 2014.

The military exercise is to be held in the Western section of the Black Sea and is aimed at improving the tactical compatibility and collaboration among naval forces of the alliance’s member states.

Bulgaria’s port city of Burgas has peen picked to host the staff of the drills.

While Breeze 2014 is taking place, the staff of the Bulgarian Naval Forces will be certified for conformity of the level of planning independent operations to NATO criteria, according to the website pan.bg, specialized in defense issues.

The exercise, which ends July 13, starts amid stepped-up presence of alliance forces in the Black Sea over the Ukraine crisis and Russia’s decision to incorporate the Crimean peninsula in March this year. 

According to the information I have the following ships are taking part in the exercise:

 Number Name Type Country
F-582 ITS Aviere Frigate Italy
5561 ITS Rimini Mine Hunter Italy
M-37 HSM Chiddingfold Mine Hunter UK
M-270 TCG Akçay Mine Hunter Turkey
P-266 HS Machitis Patrol Craft Greece
S-352 TCG Dolunay Submarine Turkey
P-332 TCG Mızrak Fast Attack Craft Turkey
P-1200 TCG Tuzla Patrol Craft Turkey

As always I will appreciate any additional information about the participants.

Here is a nice video showing the arrival of the NATO SNMCMG-2 ships to Burgas.

Deniz Yıldızı 14 Naval Exercise

Turkish Navy is going to conduct a large-scale exercise in Black Sea and Marmara Sea.

The exercise Deniz Yıldızı 2014 will be held between start on 7 and 11 April 2014.

There is a long list of participating units as purpose of the exercise is to try to improve operations performed and fleet or task force level.  7 frigates, 1 corvette, 2 submarines, 8 fast attack craft, 1 mine hunter, 3 auxiliaries, 6 helicopters and 2 maritime patrol aircraft will take part in the exercise. In addition to these units 8 coast guard vessels and various Turkish Air  Force units will participate in the exercise.

 

 

French Warship FS Alizé Passed Through Bosphorus

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Mr. Kerim Bozkurt, an invaluable contributor to this blog also shared his photos of the FS Alizé as she passed through Bosphorus.

She is now in Varna, Bulgaria. According to The Voice of Russia she is going to take part in joint sea rescue exercises.

The photos below are taken from informative blog Sea Dog.

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French Warship FS Alizé Passed Through Dardanelles

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A-645 FS Alizé passing through the Dardanelles. Photo: elazighaberi.com

On 26 March 2014, French warship A-645 FS Alizé made a northbound passage through the Dardanelles.

According to news reports her destination was not disclosed but it is safe to assume that she is heading to the Black Sea.

She is a very peciluar ship to send to the Black Sea.

First of all she is not a front line combatant like a destroyer, frigate of corvette. She is a diving support ship, meaning that she carries all the necessary support equipment for diving operations and hyperbaric chamber and specialized medical facilities.

Second, if Wikipedia is correct she is mainly used for the operations of divers from Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure. That’s France’s external intelligence agency

Now the million dollar question is why is France sending an auxiliary warship mainly tasked with supporting spy divers to the Black sea?

Here is a video of A-645 FS Alizé as she passes Çanakkale:
http://www.sondakika.com/haber/haber-fransiz-askeri-gemisi-canakkale-bogazi-ndan-gecti-5831330/

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