Russia And Greece Signed An Agreement On Military Cooperation

Last week Russia and Greece signed an intergovernmental agreement on military cooperation, during the visit of Russian Defense minister Sergei Shoigu to Athens.

It is worth of mentioning that this visit was conducted just before Athens will take the Presidency of EU for the next 6 months staring in 1.1.2014. Greece is NATO’s only member country to pursue fruitful military technological cooperation with Russia.

We signed an agreement that opens new frameworks and new boundaries for our further work in the sphere of military-technical cooperation,” Sergei Shoigu told journalists after talks with his Greek counterpart Dimitrios Avramopoulos in Athens.

The deal concerns armaments supplied previously as well as military hardware, maintenance and new hardware supplies, Shoigu said.

A Russian deputy defense minister, Anatoly Antonov, said after the talks that Shoigu had proposed that Avramopoulos consider working out an agreement to streamline the procedure for Russian navy vessels calling at Greek ports.

Antonov said the two defense ministers had also discussed the possibility of holding personnel training events and exchanging experience in the fight against terrorism and piracy, as well as other areas of cooperation.

This new agreement will make it easier for Russian ships to dock at Greek port during their deployment in the Mediterranean thus making Greece a reliable alternative to the Syrian port Tartus.

According to Greek blog SManalysis, Russia will help Greek Navy to support the Zubr class hovercraft. Greek Navy has procured 4 of these air-cushioned landing craft. Three of them joined the Greek Navy in 2001 and the last one in 2005. They have a displacement of 550 tons and can carry up to 130 tons military material: 3 main battle tanks or 10 armored personnel carriers or 230 troops.

One of them was decommissioned in 2010 and the operational status of the remainder was dubious.

Nusret 2013 Mine Warfare Exercise Starts Today

The Nusret 2013 mine warfare exercise organised by Turkish Navy starts today in Çanakkale.

The exercise will end on 1 December 2013 and will be conducted in Saros Bay, east of Gallipoli peninsula.

According to Turkish Navy foreign participants are NATO mine warfare task force SNMCMG-2 and 1 mine hunter from Greece. From Turkish Navy one frigate, 4 mine hunters, 3 mine sweepers, 1 mine layer, 2 patrol boats, 1 mine retriever, 1 helicopter and one EOD team will participate. 3 patrol boats from the Turkish Coast Guards and planes from Turkish Air Force will also take part in the exercise.

Greek Submarine Ran Aground

Two tugs assits the grounded submarine Proteus. Photo: Flashnews.gr

Two tugs assits the grounded submarine Proteus. Photo: Flashnews.gr

According to Greek defence.point.gr, one Greek submarine has ran aground in Souda Bay, Crete.

As announced by the Navy General Staff, the Submarine PROTEUS during sailing in the bay of Souda Bay, Crete, and during evasive ship moved near shore and epakoumvise an ancient underwater pier.

No member of the crew was injured, the submarine is not a security problem and there has been no damage.

Perform actions for detachment of the ship and return to Naval Base Souda for scrutiny.

The 209 Type 1100 class submarine S-113 HS Proteus which ran aground was one of the four submarines which recevied and upgrade in Greek service. HS Proteus and her sisters were given a “weapons discharge and fire control update” as early as 1991‐1992, enabling them to fire Sub‐Harpoon anti‐ship missiles.

The modernisation package included Sub Harpoon, flank array sonar, Unisys FCS, Sperry Mk 29 Mod 3 inertial navigation system, GPS and Argos ESM.

Greek Navy Performed Live Missile Shootings

8mOn the 16th February Greek Navy conducted an exercise with live missile shootings. The exercise was held in south east of Crete.

According to official website of Greek Navy:

One land based mobile battery fired an Exoet missile, one S-70B Seahawk helicopter fired a AGM-114 Hellifre missile, the fast attack craft P-26 Degiannis fired a Penguin Mk.2 missile. The special forces team on Degiannis even fired an AT-4 anti tank missile.

The Greek armed forces are conducting a lot live missile shooting during their exercises. I guess expending a missile that, has a very little shelf life left, is cheaper than reconditioning it. Missile shootings also boosts the morale.

According to the official website of Greek Navy the target of these munitions was the decommissioned corvette Elefthria.

By the way “elefthria” means “freedom” in English.

Greek Frigate Bouboulina Decommissioned

Lowering of the Greek flag on Boubolina. Photo: Official Hellenic Navy Photo.

Lowering of the Greek flag on Boubolina. Photo: Official Hellenic Navy Photo.

Today Greek Nay decommissioned one of her 10 Elli lass frigates F-463 Bouboulina with a solemn ceremony.

Like all Elli class ships the ex Bouboulina started her life in the Dutch Navy. At that time she was known as Pieter Floriz. She was transferred after 18 years of service in Royal Netherlands Navy.

She was commissioned in Greek navy in 2001 where she spend about 1,200 days at sea, covering a total of more than 148,000 nautical miles. Greek Navy conducted a mid life modernization to six of the ten ships in service. Bouboulina, Kanaris, Themistocles and Nikiforos Fokas which were not modernized are going to be decommissioned gradually.

Her hull will be probably used to supply parts for the remaining 9 ships of the same class.

Update On Nusret 12 And Mavi Balina 12 Exercises

The Mavi Balina 12 anti submarine warfare and Nusret 12 mine warfare exercises are continuing. The former is conducted in Eastern Mediterranean while the later is in Aegean Sea. My list of the order of battle for both exercises is still incomplete but I was able to get some help.

First I have received this photo. I thank my reader Mr Yıldırım for this photo.

A the superstructure of a sixth warship is visible at the right part of the photo. I am not able to tell exactly ship that is but I am confident that she is one of the two Rhein class tenders / training ships of the Turkish Navy A-577 TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa or A-579 TCG Cezayirli Hasan Paşa. TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa acted as the flagship of SNMCMG-2 earlier this year when the Turkish Navy was commanding the task force.

 Number Name Type Country
M-500 TCG Foça Mine Sweeper Turkey
M-501 TCG Fethiye Mine Sweeper Turkey
M-516 TCG Sığacık Mine Sweeper Turkey
M-1064 FGS Grömitz Mine Hunter Germany
M-5559 ITS Viareggo Mine Hunter Italy
M-111 HMS Blyth Mine Hunter UK
M-276 TCG Ayvalık Mine Hunter Turkey
A-57X TCG Unidentified Tender Turkey
M-61 HS Evniki Mine Hunter Greece

Second I have received this comment. I thank my reader Herr Leif for this information.

 Number Name Type Country
F-217 FGS Bayern Frigate Germany
F-570 ITS Maestrale Frigate Italy
F-495 TCG Gediz Frigate Turkey
DDG-98 USS Forrest Sherman Destroyer USA
F-252 PNS Shamsheer Frigate Pakistan
F-244  TCG Barbaros Frigate Turkey
Unidentified Turkey
Unidentified Turkey
S- Unidentified Submarine Turkey
S- Unidentified Submarine Turkey
S- Unidentified Submarine Turkey

About Nusret 12 And Mavi Balina 12 Exercises

Turkish Navy is conducting two naval exercises simultaneously. One is Nusret 2012 mine warfare exercise is held in the Aegean with the participation of NATO’s SNMCMG-2 and Turkish, Greek and US naval units. Below is the order of battle for this exercise as far as I could find.

 Number Name Type Country
M-500 TCG Foça Mine Sweeper Turkey
M-501 TCG Fethiye Mine Sweeper Turkey
M-516 TCG Sığacık Mine Sweeper Turkey
M-1064 FGS Grömitz Mine Hunter Germany
M-5559 ITS Viareggo Mine Hunter Italy
M-111 HMS Blyth Mine Hunter UK
M-276 TCG Ayvalık Mine Hunter Turkey
Unidentified USA
M-61 HS Evniki Mine Hunter Greece

The second naval exercise Mavi Balina 2012 is held in Eastern Mediterranean with the participation of NATO’s SNMG-2, Pakistani, US and Turkish naval units and airplanes. According to Turkish Navy the total number of participants is 8 surface units and 3 submarines. Below is the order of battle for this exercise as far as I could find.

 Number Name Type Country
F-217 FGS Bayern Frigate Germany
F-570 ITS Maestrale Frigate Italy
F-495 TCG Gediz Frigate Turkey
DDG-98 USS Forrest Sherman Destroyer USA
F-252 PNS Shamsheer Frigate Pakistan
Unidentified Turkey
Unidentified Turkey
Unidentified Turkey
S- Unidentified Submarine Turkey
S- Unidentified Submarine Turkey
S- Unidentified Submarine Turkey

Commander Of US 6th Fleet Visits Greek Warships

VADM Pandolfe on board P-68 HS Danilos. Photo: Greek Naval Forces.

The commander of US 6th Fleet,  VADM Frank Craig Pandolfe, made an official visit to Greece in 28th and 29th March 2012.

According to official Greek Navy web site, VADM Pandolfe  visited the Fleet Headquarters where he met with Chief of Navy Rear Admiral Konstantinos Mazarakis Ainians, on 28th March 2012 Navy and boarded the submarine and S-120 HS Papanikolis and fast attack boat P-68 HS Danilos.

Yesterday, on 29th March 2012, VADM Frank Craig Pandolfe, visited the Navy General Staff, where he met with the Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Kosmas Christidis.

 

Noble Dina 2012

Between 1998 and 2009  Turkish, US and Israeli navies conducted an annual naval exercise called Reliant Mermaid. This exercise is discontinued now in accordance with the deteriorating bilateral relations between Turkey and Israel in the last couple years.

Last year Greece has replaced Turkey and these there nations held to naval exercise Noble Dina 2011. While the Reliant Mermaid was marketed as a trilateral humanitarian search and rescue (SAR) exercise involving naval ships and aircraft of the participants according to Greek media the new military operation scenarios include exercises of repelling enemy attacks against offshore natural gas and oil rigs, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare and prohibition of military aircraft operations.

And as an interesting coincidence this year exercise is aligned with the signing of  tripartite energy agreement between Greece, Israel and Cyprus.

Greece will join the exercise with combat jets, at least one frigate and one submarine.

Greek Frigate HS Hydra Is Returning Home Early

HS Hydra in Bosphorus. An old photo from 1998. She is coming home early from the party.

While the families of the crew of the Greek frigate F-452 HS Hydra celebrate, her early return from Horn of Africa, this shows the dire fiscal situation the Greek armed forces are facing.

In early February, HS Hydra was send by Greek Navy to participate in the Operation Atalanta, the anti-piracy operation of EU off the coast of Somalia. She was supposed to operate in the area till 4th April, but she is returning to Greece at the moment, one month earlier than planned. She also will not take part in Atalanta during the second half of the year, according to the Greek Defense Ministry.

As, it costs  Greece 2.5 million euros a month to operate a frigate off the coast of Somalia, the early return and the cancellation of the second trip will save 7.5 million euros from the Greek tax payers money.

Two years ago Bulgarian Navy toyed with the idea of sending a frigate to Gulf of Aden to combat piracy but later they had to give up upon that idea as the Bulgarian Government was not able to create the necessary funding for the operation.

It is definitely not a cheap thing, to station a warship away from homeland for extended periods of time as both Greece and Bulgaria learned by the hard way.

 

 

 

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