SNMCMG-2 In Montenegro


Turkish and Montenegrin divers before Turkish mine hunter TCG Akçakoca before an underwater ship inspection. Photo: WO ARTIGUES of HQ MARCOM

The Turkish led NATO mine warfare task force Standing NATO MCM Group 2 is continuing its presence in the Adriatic Sea.

Last week the ships of the task force made passing exercise with the Croatian Naval units LM-51 HRVS Korcula,  RTOP-42 HRVS Dubrovnik and RTOP-21 HRVS Sibenik and visited Spit port.

The task force is now in Bar, Montenegro and is conducting small scaled joint exercises to enhance interoperability with the Montenegrin Navy through shared training activities,

Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 Is In Istanbul

On 24 July 2015 Friday, the two ship strong Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 arrived in Istanbul for a port visit.
The task force made its northbound passage on 4 July 2015 late in the evening and spend the allowed 21 days exercising with Bulgarian and Romanian navies.

The ships are expected to leave Istanbul on 27 July 2015 Monday.

It is nice to see these ships in Istanbul and to observe them. Both ships are a result of the requirements of Netherlands Maritime Forces. Both ships are constructed in the Netherlands 9 years apart. The change in size, weaponry and sensors is striking. The change for a bigger ship with a emphasize on air defense.

The change for a bigger ship however resulted in reduced numbers. While there were 8 ship of the class of NRP De Almeida there are only 4 ships of the class of ZrMS Tromp.


ZrMs Tromp and NRP De Almeida side by side. You can see the revolution in Dutch naval requirements. Both ship are constructed for Dutch Navy with 10 years apart.


ZrMs Tromp and NRP De Almeida docked in Istanbul. The Portuguese ship is the flagship of the two ship strong task force.


Stern view of ZrMs Tromp and NRP De Almeida.The difference in size, sensor and armament is very obvious.


While the self-protection system and anti ship missiles remain the same the anti air missiles and the main target detection sensors has changed.


A side by side comparison of the two ships main detection and fire control sensors.


Portuguese Super Lynx helicopter: Hooters.


The main mast of ZrMs Tromp. From top: Thales Sabre ESM antenna, APAR fire control radar and Satcom antennas and Mirador electro optical system.


The main mast of ZrMs Tromp. From top: A seagull, Thales Sabre ESM antenna, APAR fire control radar


Mirador electro optical system.


Thales Smart -L 3D radar. This radar will receive ballistic missile detection capability after its upgrade in 2018.


The Mk32 Mod9 fixed torpedo tubes on ZrMs Tromp. I wonder why they have not covered them with a panel to further reduce the radar signature.


Signaal Goalkeeper CIWS system.


The main mast of NRP De Almeida. A top of the mast is the Signaal Smart 3D radar. The two STIR fire control radars are at the base of the mast.


The bridge of ZrMs Tromp with its navigation radars and communication antennas.

SNMG-1 Sneaked Through Istanbul


F-334 NRP D. Francisco de Almeida, the flag ship of SNMG-1, passing through Istanbul.


F-334 NRP D. Francisco de Almeida sneaking though Istanbul.


F-803 HNLMS Tromp making her northbound passage.


F-803 HNLMS Tromp, illuminated by a leisure boat, as she is passing though Istanbul.


F-803 HNLMS Tromp, passing though Istanbul.

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F-334 NRP D. Francisco de Almeida illuminated by the lights of the bridge. Photo: Saadettin Irmakçı. Used with permission.

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F-334 NRP D. Francisco de Almeida. Photo: Saadettin Irmakçı. Used with permission.

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F-803 Tromp, illuminated by the lights of the bridge. Photo: Saadettin Irmakçı. Used with permission.


F-334 NRP D. Francisco de Almeida. Photo: Kerim Bozkurt. Used with permission.


F-803 HNLMS Tromp and the moon. Photo: Kerim Bozkurt. Used with permission.


NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two is not the only NATO naval task force deployed to Bulgaria this weekend.

On 4 July 2015 late in the night at 22.30 local time the SNMG-1 ships F-334 NRP D. Francisco de Almeida and F-803 HNLMS Tromp passed through Istanbul Strait. According to the publicly available information both ships have arrive at Varna port on 5 July 2015. They are going to take part in Breeze 2015 naval exercise.

Foreign warships do usually pass through the Turkish Straits in day light. The Montreux Convention orders only the submarines of Black Sea nations to pass through the Turkish Straits at day time. The transit passages of foreign warships through Turkish Straits must start in day time. The Convention does not openly regulates the ending of the transit passage of foreign warships. Never the less I must say that the timing of these warships was particular peculiar.

Both NRP D. Francisco de Almeida and F-803 HNLMS Tromp are actuality very beautiful Dutch ships (though the former is now under Portuguese flag) which do not need to hide themselves in the darkness of the night.

The word photography means writing with light. And as we all know the single largest and the most important source of light on earth is our sun. Thus photography is more fun when the sun is up. And the results are far more better.

But as you can see from the results day or night the ship spotters in Istanbul are ready to document the foreign warships passing through our beautiful city.

TCG Büyükada Rejoins Operation Ocean Shield

TCG Büyükada in Operation Ocean Shiled. Photo: NATO MARCOM

According to NATO Maritime Command web site, Turkish corvette F-512 TCG Büyükada joined the NATO Counter Piracy Operation Ocean Shield for a second time.

TCG Büyükada is on a deployment to the Gulf Of Aden since January and she is expected to return to Turkey in 15 days. Previously in February she again joined the NATO task force for the Operation Ocean Shield.

This is the second counter piracy deployment of the Turkish corvette in the past two months. During her tour of duty, the ship will operate with recently joined Royal Australian Navy Oiler HMAS SUCCESS. TCG BUYUKADA will conduct regular counter piracy patrols in Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean and provide support to NATO’s regional capacity building efforts in order to enhance interoperability and cooperation between the nations in the area. The ship will also conduct training with naval forces operating in the Indian Ocean.

“I would like to express my gratitude to the Turkish Navy for its determined support to counter piracy and firm commitment to international maritime security,” said Commander NATO Allied Maritime Command, Vice Admiral Peter Hudson. “Multinational contributions are essential to defeating piracy in the region and strengthening the cooperation between naval forces. Wider support to this international mission brings us closer to eliminate the threat.”

Built by Istanbul Naval Shipyard under the Turkish National warship program, TCG BUYUKADA is a modern littoral combat warship with indigenous surface, air and anti-submarine warfare capabilities. The 2400 ton, 99.5m long corvette is equipped with numerous weapons and systems and carries a helicopter and a crew of approximately 90 Sailors.

“During the course of our duty, we will expand on our experiences from the first deployment,” said the Commander of TCG BUYUKADA, Lieutenant Commander Ali Tuna BAYSAL. “As her commander, I am very pleased that TCG BUYUKADA has the opportunity to contribute again to addressing piracy in the region.”

SNMG-2 Trains With The Turkish Navy In The Black Sea

NATO MARCOM published an press release today about the exercise between Turkish Naval Forces and SNMG-2. And the published the photo below:

SNMCG2 exercising with Turkish Navy

SNMG-2 ships with two Turkish frigates. Photo: NATO/MARCOM.


From left to right you can see an Improved Tetal class Romanian corvette, the Canadian frigate HMCS Fredericton, 3 Turkish MEKO 200 Track 1 frigates (marked with red arrows) and the German tanker FGS Spessart.  The nearest Turkish frigate is F-240 TCG Yavuz. The others are F-241 TCG Turgutreis and F-242 TCG Fatih.
The text of the press release is below:

BLACK SEA – NATO ships assigned to Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) recently completed exercises in the Black Sea with ships from the Turkish Navy.  SNMG2 is in the Black Sea to assure allies in the region of the Alliance’s commitment to collective defence and to enhance NATO’s maritime force interoperability.

Led by Rear Adm. Brad Williamson (USA N), SNMG2 is currently comprised of the flagship USS Vicksburg (CG 69), HMCS Fredericton (FFH 337), TCG Turgutreis (F 241), FGS Spessart (A 1442), ITS Aliseo (F 574) and ROS Regina Maria (F 222).

SNMG2 units were joined by Commander, Turkish Destroyer Division Three, Capt. Murat Sirzai, embarked aboard TCG Yavuz (F 240) and Turkish units TCG Fatih (F 242) and a Turkish submarine. During the multinational exercise, the ships tested anti-air, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare tactics and procedures, as well as basic ship-handling maneuvers and communications drills.

“Opportunities to train with different units from our Allied nations only further enhance our ability as a ready maritime force,” said SNMG2 Staff Planning Officer, Lt. Taner Erdem (TUR).

While in the Black Sea SNMG2 will also participate in exercises with the Bulgarian and Romanian navies before returning to the Mediterranean to resume patrols; contributing to maritime situational awareness in the region.


Turkish frigate TCG Fatih passing through Istanbul Strait. Photo: Shonquis Moreno. Used with permission.

Though a certain date was not mentioned in the press release, the information in the text is at least 3 days old. The Turkish frigate TCG Fatih made her southbound passage through Istanbul Strait on 6 March 2015.

TCG Turgutreis Celebrated Her 1000th Sailing From Port


TCG Turgutreis sailing through Dardanelles.

Turkish contribution to NATO Maritime Group Two, F-241 TCG Turgutreis celebrated her 1000th departure from port on 16 February 2015.

According to NATO MARCOM press release this happened when the task force left Trieste, Italy.

The Commander of SNMG-2, Rear Adm. Brad Williamson (USA N) took the opportunity to join TURGUTREIS on this special occasion and addressed the crew over the ship’s PA system, “I know how much hard work and dedication goes into every sailing from port,” Williamson said to the crew. “I hope as you took in the lines this morning you also paused for a moment to reflect on this special day.”

Sailors aboard TURGUTREIS marked the occasion by taking a photo of the entire ship’s crew on the flight deck and hosting a banner declaring the 1,000th sailing, which the ship will display until the next port. TURGUTREIS is also flying signal flags on the mast which spell out “Sail, 1,000.”

“We are very happy to celebrate our 1,000th sail and are glad to have the honor of Rear Admiral Brad Williamson aboard for the event, and celebrate our ship and the commitment of our crew to serve with dedication and honor,” said TURGUTREIS Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Hüseyin Temizel.

“It was very special to be aboard TURGUTREIS today,” said Williamson. “It is an honour I will carry with me always.”

SNMG-2 Is Back In Istanbul

Almost one year later, the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 is in Istanbul again.

According to NATO Maritime Command web site the SNMG 2 is made up from the following ships: F-105 SPS Cristobal Colon as flagship, F-247 TCG Kemalreis, FFG-50 USS Taylor, 334 HMCS Regina and A-630 FS Marne. The task force, without the US and French warships arrived in Istanbul on 19 June 2014 afternoon.

The big question is where it will sail when their port visit is over? To the Black Sea or to the Mediterranean?

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F-247 TCG Kemalreis. Turkish contribution to SNMG-2. Last year her sister F-246 TCG Salihreis was with the task force.

F105 kopya

F-105 Cristobal Colon. Most if not all Álvaro de Bazán class ships served as the flagships of SNMG for in turn during the Spanish command of the task force.

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Long time no see: A Canadian warship in Istanbul. FFH-334 HMCS Regina.

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F-105 Cristobal Colon. The flagships of SNMG.

DSC_1821 kopya

US made Bushmaster as CIWS instead of indigenous Meroka!? What was the reason for this decision? space or weight limitations or performance issues?

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F-105 Cristobal Colon. The flagships of SNMG.

CDY_7003 kopya

FFH-334 HMCS Regina. The side of the funnel is an unusual place to install Sea Sparrow SAM missiles.

DSC_1804 kopya

FFH-334 HMCS Regina.

334_1 kopya

FFH-334 HMCS Regina.

Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 In Casablanca

Turkish frigate F-246 TCG Salihreis entering Port of Casablanca as port of SNMG-2

Turkish frigate F-246 TCG Salihreis entering Port of Casablanca as port of SNMG-2. Photo: NATO/HQ MARCOM

On 19 October 2013, three NATO ships F-101 ESPS Alvaro De Bazan, F-219 FGS Sachsen and F-246 TCG Salihreis assigned to Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) arrived in Casablanca for a scheduled port visit.

During the visit, the NATO forces will exercise together with the Moroccan Navy, conducting personnel exchange visits in port. The port visit will also mark a welcome break for the crew of SNMG2, which has been operating at a very high tempo during the past few weeks.

In addition to supporting the counter-terrorism Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR (OAE), the Group has just completed participation in the major maritime exercise BRILLIANT MARINER, a multinational force of 21 ships and submarines that worked together to ‘stress test’ the crisis reaction capabilities of the NATO Response Force (NRF). Upon departing Casablanca, SNMG2 will return to the Mediterranean to resume support to OAE, actively deterring threats to maritime security and trade.

TCG Oruçreis In Toulon

F-245 TCG Oruçreis

F-245 TCG Oruçreis

NATO’s Maritime Capability Group 1 on Above Water Engagement conducted naval electronic warfare trials in Toulon, France between 30 September and 4 October 2013.

4 vessels and measuring/simulator systems from France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden and Turkey took part. The MEKO 200 Track IIA class frigate F-245 TCG Oruçreis was the Turkish participant to these trials. 


The Participants Of Brilliant Mariner 2013

One of the NATO’s largest exercise Brilliant Mariner 2013 is continuing in the Mediterranean.

The exercise, which will end on 6 October 2013, will take place in the Tyrrhenian Sea between Sicily and Sardinia.

Over five thousand military and naval personnel from 12 NATO nations comprising Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany , Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States will participate in this major annual exercise.

25 warships, including one aircraft carrier, 12 frigates, one amphibious warfare ship, one auxiliary ship and 7 mines countermeasures vessels will be involved, alongside a wide variety of aircraft, submarines and embarked marines. Two submarines and a Maritime Patrol Aircraft will also take part.

I was able to compile the most of the participating ships with the help of Russian radio scanners:

Number Name Type Country
C-550 ITS Cavour Aircraft Carrier Italy
D-554 ITS Caio Duilio Destroyer Italy
D-561 ITS Francesco Mimbelli Destroyer Italy
F-571 ITS Grecale Frigate Italy
F-574 ITS Aliseo Frigate Italy
F-576 ITS Espero Frigate Italy
F-557 ITS Fenice Corvette Italy
P-490 ITS Comandante Cigala Fulgosi OPV Italy
P-493 ITS Comandante Foscari OPV Italy
L-9893 ITS San Marco LPD Italy
A-5327 ITS Stromboli Tanker Italy
F-103 ESPS Blas De Lezo Frigate Spain
F-246 TCG Salihreis Frigate Turkey
F-219 FGS Sachsen Frigate Germany
F-218 FGS Meclenburg- Vorpommern Frigate Germany
S-522 ITS Salvatore Pelosi Submarine Italy
S-358 TCG Çanakkale Submarine Turkey
A-512 FGS Mosel Tender Germany
M-1061 FGS Rottweil Mine hunter Germany
M-264 TCG Erdemli Mine hunter Turkey
5558 ITS Crotone Mine hunter Italy
5552 ITS Milazzo Mine hunter Italy

Any additions and corrections are most welcome.


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