TCG Gökçeada Joined SNMG-2

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TCG Gökçeada departing. Photo: official Turkish Navy photo.

According to the official website of Turkish Navy, the Gabya (Perry) class frigate F-494 TCG Gökçeada departed from her home port Aksaz, Marmaris on 10 March 2014 to replace the frigate F-493 TCG Gelibolu of the same class in SNMG-2.

TCG Gelibolu was as part of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 under Spanish command in Gulf Of Aden and was taking part in Operation Ocean Shield, which is NATO’s counter piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden and off the Horn of Africa.

From 14 March till 24 June 2014, TCG Gökçeada will protect the civilian ships against the pirates.

Photos Of TCG Salihreis

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TCG Salihreis passing by the Spanish frigate Blas De Lezo, at the end of the Spanish ship’s deployment.

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From left to right, Spanish frigate F-103 ESPS Blas De Lezo, German frigate F-219 FGS Sachsen and Turkish frigate F-246 TCG Salihreis in formation.

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The MEKO 200 Track IIB class frigate F-246 TCG Salihreis was deployed with the NATO’s Standing NATO Maritime Group 2, between June and December 2013. The photos are from this deployment. The last photo is my favorite.
All photos courtesy of Mr. Muhammet Metin.

TCG Gelibolu Replaces TCG Salihreis In SNMG-2

F-493 TCG-Gelibolu

Turkish Gabya class frigate F-493 TCG Gelibolu is replacing F-246 TCG Salihreis in SNMG-2, before the NATO’s task force sails to Gulf Of Aden to combat piracy.

There will be a farewell ceremony for TCG Gelibolu on 30 November in Aksaz Naval Base.

While Turkish Navy deploys Yavuz (MEKO 200 Track I) and Barbaros (MEKO 200 Track II A/B) class frigates to NATO missions, it is always a Gabya (Perry) class frigate that is sent to missions in Gulf Of Aden. The Gabya class ships are considered more comfortable in Indian ocean and are more economical with their fuel consumption.

It would be interesting to hear what RAN is thinking as it is the only other navy besides Turkish that operates both MEKO and Perry class frigates.

Bulgarian Frigate Drazki Returned Home

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Bulgarian frigate 41 BGS Drazki passing through Bosphorus on 5 November 2013. Photo: Ahmet Soufa Kayalı. Used with permission.

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Bulgarian frigate 41 BGS Drazki passing through Bosphorus on 5 November 2013. Photo: Ahmet Soufa Kayalı. Used with permission.

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Bulgarian frigate 41 BGS Drazki passing through Bosphorus on 5 November 2013. Photo: Ahmet Soufa Kayalı. Used with permission.

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Bulgarian frigate 41 BGS Drazki passing through Bosphorus on 5 November 2013. Photo: Ahmet Soufa Kayalı. Used with permission.

The Bulgarian Wielingen class frigate 41 BGS Drazki passed through Bosphorus on 5 November 2013 and returned to her home port Burgas, Bulgaria.

She took part in NATO operations in the Mediterranean. According to NATO she was part of the SNMG-2 task force for a period of time:
Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO (SNMG2) and Standing NATO Mine-Countermeasures Group TWO (SNMCMG2) met yesterday for a joint training opportunity at sea near Crete, Greece.

Both Groups have been operating in the Mediterranean in support of the counter-terrorism Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR (OAE), demonstrating NATO’s resolve to help deter, defend, disrupt and protect against terrorism.

COMSNMG2 Rear Admiral Eugenio Diaz del Rio welcomed aboard his flagship COMSNMCMG2 Commander Matthias Seipel for a brief meeting, discussing ongoing NATO operations and observing the combined twelve ships from eight different countries operating together.

SNMG2 presently consisting of the frigates ESPS ALVARO DE BAZAN (Spain), FGS SACHSEN (Germany), TCG SALIHREIS (Turkey), ITS GRECALE (Italy), ROS REGINA MARIA (Romania), BGS DRAZKI (Bulgaria) and URS TERNOPIL (Ukraine).

SNMCMG2 consisting of the mine hunters FGS MOSEL and FGS ROTTWEIL (Germany), TCG ERDEMLI (Turkey), ITS CROTONE (Italy) and HMS PENZANCE (United Kingdom).

Well I do not believe that Drazki was part of the SNMG despite the NATO press release more likely that she took part in NATO Operation Active Endeavour, as previously done by Bulgarian warships.

Doğu Akdeniz 2013 Naval Exercise

Turkish Navy announced that the Doğu Akdeniz 2013 naval exercise will start on 4th November. The invitation only exercise will continue till 14 November 2013.

Besides ships, planes of Turkish Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force, SNMG-2 task force of NATO and one US Navy destroyer will also take part in the exercise which will be conducted in like its name implies in Eastern Mediterranean.

The purpose of the exercise is to develop mutual cooperation and to provide training opportunities to the participating forces on regional crisis intervention along a provided scenario.

5 naval helicopters, 1 maritime patrol plane, one underwater assault team and one naval WMD response team, planes from Turkish air force and NATO Maritime Security Center of Excellence will participate in the exercise along with the ships listed below:

Number Name Type Country
F-X TCG X Frigate Turkey
F-X TCG X Frigate Turkey
F-X TCG X Frigate Turkey
F-X TCG X Corvette Turkey
F-X TCG X Corvette Turkey
P-X TCG X Fast Attack Boat Turkey
P-X TCG X Fast Attack Boat Turkey
P-X TCG X Fast Attack Boat Turkey
P-X TCG X Fast Attack Boat Turkey
S-X TCG X Submarine Turkey
S-X TCG X Submarine Turkey
S-X TCG X Submarine Turkey
A-X TCG X Tanker Turkey
A-X TCG X Tanker Turkey
NL-X TCG X LST Turkey
P-X TCG X Patrol Boat Turkey
P-X TCG X Patrol Boat Turkey
F-101 ESPS Alvaro De Bazan Frigate Spain
F-246 TCG Salihreis Frigate Turkey
F-219 FGS Sachsen Frigate Germany
DDG-55 USS Stout Destroyer USA

Any additions and corrections are most welcome.

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.

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.

Brilliant Mariner 2013

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The map of the exercise area of the Brilliant Mariner 2013. Photo: Mamadu from radioscanner.ru

Between 26 September and 6 October 2013, a large fleet of warships from NATO’s Response Force (NRF) and from other task forces will take part in Brilliant Mariner 2013 maritime exercise in the Mediterranean Sea.

According to Turkish Navy F-246 the frigate TCG Salihreis, the mine hunter M-264 TCG Erdemli and the submarine S-358 TCG Çanakkale are going to take part in this exercise.

TCG Salihreis is the Turkish contribution to the NATO’s SNMG-2 task force and TCG Erdemli is part of the NATO’s SNMCMG-2. This means that the Gür class submarine TCG Çanakkale, is the only Turkish national participant to the exercise.

 

 

Photos Of SPS Blas De Lezo And TCG Salihreis

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The flagship of the SNMG-2, Spanish frigate F-103 SPS Blas De Lezo in İstanbul.

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The hanger of the SPS Blas De Lezo, seen from her landing pad.

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The mast of the SPS Blas De Lezo.

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One of the four SPY-1D radar arrays of the SPS Blas De Lezo.

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The detailed view of one of the four SPY-1D radar arrays of the SPS Blas De Lezo.

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The starboard side of the superstructure of SPS Blas De Lezo.

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SPS Blas De Lezo, docked in İstanbul.

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SPS Blas De Lezo, docked in İstanbul.

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TCG Salihreis with her new Smart-S Mk2 3D radar.

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TCG Salihreis docked in İstanbul.

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TCG Salihreis docked in İstanbul.

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The starboard side of TCG Salihreis.

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The detail view of the Smart-S Mk2 3D radar on board of TCG Salihreis.

SNMG-2 Press Conference On Board SPS Blas De Lezo

From left to right: Commander Levent Bingöl , Rear Admiral Eugenio Diaz Del Rio, Commander Fernando Alvarez Blanco

On 24 July 2013 late afternoon NATO’s Standing Maritime Group 2 (SNMG-2) arrived in Istanbul.

The group was in the Black Sea since 5 July and visited Bulgaria, and Ukraine and conducted training with Bulgarian and Romanian naval units.

Currently, SNMG-2 consists of the Spanish frigate F-103 SPS Blas De Lezo and Turkish frigate F-246 TCG Salihreis

I was invited to the press conference on board of SPS Blas De Lezo on 25 July 2013. It was my third visit of a Spanish warship but my first press conference so it was quite an interesting event.

Rear Admiral Eugenio Diaz Del Rio is the current commander of the Maritime Group 2, for a period of a year starting June 15th 2013.
He, with the commander of the SPS Blas De Lezo Commander Fernando Alvarez Blanco and the commander of TCG Salihreis Commander Levent Bingöl answered the question of the press.

Real Admiral Diaz Del Rio explained that there will two different stages during his command. In the first stage SNMG-2 will remain mainly in the Mediterranean and in the Black Sea and will support NATO’s Operation Active Endevour and take part in naval exercises Doğu Akdeniz organized by Turkish Navy, Briliant Mariner/Mare Aperto by Italy or Naias by Greece.

In the second stage in 2014 will relived SNMG-1 in the Gulf of Aden and will take the responsibly of the NATO’s anti-piracy operation Ocean Shield for the first 6 months.

He also told that the current composition of SNMG is going to change in late August as more warships will join the group.

Upon my question how he would elaborate this the Black Sea cruise of the SNMG-2 he told that being in the Black sea was interesting as a member of the Spanish Navy he did not had many opportunities to be there. The training of SNMG-2 with the Bulgarian and Romanian naval units was in his opinion very good and helped these NATO navies in gaining the experiences other older NATO navies already have.

Real Admiral Diaz Del Rio compared this force to the fire fighters and said “We must always be ready for any kind of situation emerging in our area. We do not have luxury of saying we need 24 hours to be ready”

He also praised the support of Turkish Navy. SNMG-2 was refueled by Turkish oiler 3 times when it was in the Black Sea. Real Admiral Diaz Del Rio informed that during his tour as Staff Operations Officer at NATO’S Standing Naval Force in the Mediterranean (STANAVFORMED) in 2000 he was stationed on board of a Turkish ship and had a very good working relations with Turkish Navy.

The admiral answered my question whether a plan at NATO level or at national level for Spain existed to position AEGIS platforms such as the frigate Blas De Lezo on the Black Sea, to support NATO initiative to provide a BMD for Europe by saying that NATO was to provide command and control for the BMD system components and every participating nation was going to provide their equipment accordingly.

Upon a question how it feels to have an admiral and his staff on board the commander of the SPS Blas De Lezo Commander Fernando Alvarez Blanco said that Real Admiral Diaz Del Rio, was his boss in their previous tenure and they have been working together for a long time.

Commander Blanco also told that Turkish delegations have visited the frigate and they have been extensively briefed about the working of the AEGIS system. He also told us that the AEGIS system was working well in coastal/littoral Sea such as the Mediterranean or the Black Sea especially if you have a previous knowledge of the area and the expected threads.

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