UPDATED: Mavi Balina Anti Submarine Warfare Exercise Starts Tomorrow

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TCG Batıray as seen in August 2014 in Istanbul. She is one of 4 Turkish submarines taking part in Mavi Balina ASW exercise.

I have updated and completed the list of the participating units:

F-494 TCG Gökçeada Frigate Turkey
F-495 TCG Gediz Frigate Turkey
F-497 TCG Göksu Frigate Turkey
F-511 TCG Heybeliada Corvette Turkey
F-512 TCG Büyükada Corvette Turkey
S-347 TCG Atılay Submarine Turkey
S-349 TCG Batıray Submarine Turkey
S-356 TCG Anafartalar Submarine Turkey
S-358 TCG Çanakkale Submarine Turkey
A-595 TCG Yarbay Kudret Güngör Tanker Turkey
F-247 TCG Kemalreis Frigate Turkey
F-208 FGS Niedersachsen Frigate Germany
FFH-333 HMCS Toronto Frigate Canada
CG-55 USS Leyte Gulf Cruiser USA
F-102 ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbón Frigate Spain
F-84 ESPS Reina Sofia Frigate Spain
DDG-67 USS Cole Destroyer USA
FFG-260 PNS Alamgir Frigate Pakistan
S-90 HMS Torbay Submarine United kingdom

According to Turkish Navy besides the above listed units one rapid analysis team from NATO MARCOM and observers from Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Chile, Georgia, Kuwait, Lebanon will participate in the exercise.

Mavi Balina Anti Submarine Warfare Exercise Starts Tomorrow

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Turkish Navy announced that the Mavi Balina Naval Exercise will start on 6 November 2014.

The naval exercise will be conducted in Eastern Mediterranean till 14 November 2014. The aim of the exercise is to provide the participants with submarine warfare and anti submarine warfare training.

Besides warships and submarines at least 7 ASW planes 9 ASW helicopters are going to take part in Mavi Balina too.
The below is the list of the participating warships and submarines:

F- TCG XXX Frigate Turkey
F- TCG XXX Frigate Turkey
F- TCG XXX Frigate Turkey
F-512 TCG Heybeliada Corvette Turkey
F- TCG XXX Corvette Turkey
S- TCG XXX Submarine Turkey
S- TCG XXX Submarine Turkey
S- TCG XXX Submarine Turkey
S- TCG XXX Submarine Turkey
A-595 TCG Yarbay Kudret Güngör Tanker Turkey
F-247 TCG Kemalreis Frigate Turkey
F-208 FGS Niedersachsen Frigate Germany
FFH-333 HMCS Toronto Frigate Canada
CG-55 USS Leyte Gulf Cruiser USA
F-102 ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbón Frigate Spain
F-84 ESPS Reina Sofia Frigate Spain
DDG-67 USS Cole Destroyer USA
FFG-260 PNS Alamgir Frigate Pakistan
S-90 HMS Torbay Submarine United kingdom

According to Turkish Navy besides the above listed units one rapid analysis team from NATO MARCOM and observers from Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Chile, Georgia, Kuwait, Lebanon will participate in the exercise.

The Procession Of Turkish Warships To The Black Sea

Today we have witnessed a procession of different types of Turkish warships and a submarine to the Black Sea:

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Y-36 TCG Meseha-2. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permission.

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P-1200 TCG Tuzla. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permission.

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A-587 TCG Gazal. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permission.

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A-595 TCG Yarbay Kudret Güngör. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permission.

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A-595 TCG Yarbay Kudret Güngör. Photo: Kerim Bozkurt. Used with permission.

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An unnamed 209 Type 1400 class submarine.

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Ç-140 TCG Ç-140. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permission.

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P-333 TCG Tufan. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permission.

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P-330 TCG Kılıç. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permission.

While the reason(s) for their deployment to the Black Sea has not been public, it is safe to assume that some of them may engage with SNMG-2 ships still in the Black Sea.

The below text is from the official statement from NATO with an emphasize of mine:

Varna, Bulgaria – Last weekend from 19 till 22 September 2014, the two ships assigned to Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO (SNMG2) Task Unit TWO (TU.02) stayed in Varna for a scheduled port visit during their deployment to the Black Sea.

Led by Commander Jason Armstrong (Royal Canadian Navy), SNMG2 TU.02 is currently composed of HMCS TORONTO (Royal Canadian Navy) and SPS 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.

”In conjunction with the port visit, Commander NATO Allied Maritime Command, Vice Admiral Hudson will visit with the Bulgarian Minister of Defence, Dr. Velizar Shalamanov, and Bulgarian Navy leaders to discuss maritime security and other issues of shared interest.

“I would like to extend my thanks to the Bulgarian Navy for their support in making this visit possible.” said Vice Admiral Hudson. “While this deployment to the Black Sea is reflective of our naval forces’ regular activities, it is also part of a broader set of military measures agreed upon by NATO’s highest political body, the North Atlantic Council, to reinforce our collective defence and demonstrate the strength of Allied solidarity.”

During the remainder of its deployment in the Black Sea, SNMG2 TU.02 will engage with ships and aircraft of the Bulgarian Navy and air and naval units from Turkey.

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

SNMG-2 Passed Through Turkish Straits

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FFH-333 HMCS Toronto passing through the Bosphorus.

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FFH-333 HMCS Toronto passing through the Bosphorus.

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FFH-333 HMCS Toronto.

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Spanish frigate F-102 ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbon passing through the Bosphorus.

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Spanish frigate F-102 ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbon on Bosphorus.

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Spanish frigate F-102 ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbon (left) and Canadian frigate FHH-333 HMCS Toronto (right) heading to the Black Sea .

Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG-2) Task Unit 02 entered the Black Sea on 6 September 2014.

According to NATO the SNMG-2 is made up from the following ships: USS Leyte Gulf, TCG Kemalreis, FGS Nidersachsen, HMCS Toronto and ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbon. Apparently this Maritime Group is sub divided into two task units as USS Leyte Gulf, TCG Kemalreis and FGS Niedersachen are in USA, while the other two are in the Black Sea.

This is the SNMG-2 press release on Task Unit 02:

Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO Task Unit 02 (SNMG2 TU.02), part of NATO’s four Standing Maritime Forces, entered the Black Sea today to participate in naval exercises with partners and to enhance NATO’s solidarity and readiness in the region.

Task Unit 02 presently consists of the Canadian frigate HMCS TORONTO and the Spanish frigate ESPS ALMIRANTE JUAN DE BORBON. They remain under the overall command of COM SNMG2 Rear Admiral Brad Williamson (USA N).

“HMCS TORONTO’s deployment in the Black Sea is an excellent opportunity for ship’s officers and crew to work closely with both Allied and partner naval forces,” said Commander Jason Armstrong, commanding officer of HMCS TORONTO. “The exercise, as well as other operations we undertake in the Black Sea, builds upon Standing NATO Mine Counter-Measures Group TWO’s deployment in July, as participant naval forces continue to demonstrate Allied commitment to collective defence and interoperability.

And this is the SNMG-2 press release on Task Unit 01:

Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO (SNMG2) arrived Tuesday in Norfolk, Va. for a scheduled port visit in conjunction with Amphibious Readiness Group and Marine Expeditionary Unit Exercises (ARGMEU EX). ARGMEU EX are multi-warfare amphibious exercises with the USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) Amphibious Readiness Group and the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. SNMG2 has already completed Task Group Exercises and Fleet Exercises with assets from the U.S. and Canadian navies. ARG-MEU EX is SNMG2’s first opportunity to train with the U.S. Marine Corps.

This port visit and ARGMEU EX are part of a series of training exercises in which SNMG2 will participate during its deployment to the Western Atlantic. This is the first time in several years that a NATO task force has conducted transatlantic operations in North America. ARG MEU EX will provide valuable experience through integrated task group training, with a focus on amphibious warfare.

SNMG2 ships currently deployed to North America include the U.S. flagship, USS LEYTE GULF (CG 55), the German ship FGS NIEDERSACHSEN (F 208), and the Turkish ship TCG KEMALREIS (F 247). KEMALREIS is the first Turkish warship to visit the U.S. in 15 years, and this is the first trip to the U.S. for the majority of their crew.

“I’m extremely honoured to be the first Turkish ship to visit the United States in quite some time. I look forward to fostering relationships and training with our U.S. counterparts and I’m happy for many of our Sailors to make their first trip to the United States during this deployment,” said Cmdr. Fatih Guresci, Kemalreis Commanding Officer.

I must confess I have failed to understand the logic behind the decision to split up, SNMG-2 in two and deploying them an ocean apart.

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

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.

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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.

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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.

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

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FFH-334 HMCS Regina.

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FFH-334 HMCS Regina.

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.

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