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?

Someone Shot At This

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On 5 August 2014, P-305 TCG Ağ-5 was seen passing through Bosphorus…

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… while towing a target barge…

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…which had a few holes in it.

I have witnessed the northbound passage of the veteran boom defence ship TCG Ağ-5 through Bosphorus. In the age of long ranged ammunition the boom defence vessels are more or less useless for their original purpose. Thus TCG Ağ-5 is mainly used as a tug or buoy tender.

Yesterday she was towing a target barge with a multiple hits on it. I have no idea who shoot at it and where but someone had at least 3 hits on it.

From The Archive (8)

This is Gearing class destroyer D-346 TCG Alçıtepe. She started her life in 1943 as USS Robert A. Owens. She served in USN until 16 February 1982 and transferred to Turkish Navy on the same day. She served in Turkish Navy for another 16 years. She was decommissioned in 1998. This photo was taken in 1989.

The Commander of Turkish Naval Forces Visits China

According to the website of Ministry of National Defence The People’s Republic of China, Admiral Bülent Bostanoğlu, commander of the Turkish Navy and his party met with Wu Shengli, commander of the Navy of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army

Wu Shengli said that developing a mutually-trustful, win-win and everlasting relationship between the two navies is of great significance for both sides in jointly handling security challenges, deepening the strategic connotations of the relationship between the two countries and the two militaries, and safeguarding each other’s strategic interests. He hoped that the two navies of the two countries can maintain exchanges at all levels, increase exchange visits of warships, push forward cooperation in escort mission, deepen academy exchanges, and carry out joint training of amphibious troops. Wu Shengli also invited the Turkish naval cadets to join the warship training voyage organized by the Dalian Naval Academy next year.

Bostanoğlu said that the friendly relations between China and Turkey are precious and valuable. Turkey attaches great importance to its relationship with China, and the Turkish navy will be devoted to deepening the exchanges and cooperation between the two navies of the two countries and push forward the development of the bilateral relations.

Bostanoğlu and his delegation will also visit the North China Sea Fleet, the East China Sea Fleet, the Naval Submarine Academy and the Institute of Naval Medicine under the PLAN, as well as naval ships and planes.

Admiral Bülent Bostanoğlu also met, with Fan Changlong, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the People’s Republic of China on 7 July 2014.

Fan Changlong said that the friendship between China and Turkey goes back to ancient times (emphasis is mine), noting the two countries have maintained sustained, healthy and steady progresses on their friendly cooperative relationship since the establishment of the diplomatic ties, and have supported and coordinated with each other in major international and regional issues.

Fan also said that the relations between the Chinese and Turkish militaries have always maintained a sound momentum of development as evidenced by frequent high-level mutual visits, extensive exchanges and cooperation in military training, exercise and academy education, as well as mutual support in international peacekeeping missions and anti-piracy escort missions.

Fan stressed that the Chinese side attaches great importance to its military relations with the Turkish side, and is ready to further enhance pragmatic cooperation with Turkey in various areas including exchanges between the two navies, so as to upgrade the military cooperation and advance the relations between the two militaries to a higher level.

Bostanoğlu said although Turkey and China are far apart geographically, the people of the two countries have profound friendship. Turkey opposes all forms of terrorism and stands ready to work with China to carry out joint anti-terrorism actions. He hailed the smooth development of the relations between the Turkish and Chinese militaries. He expressed that he will constantly push forward the development of the friendly relations between the two militaries.

I think that Mr. Changlong was trying to be nice when he said that “the friendship between China and Turkey goes back to ancient times”. Let’s not forget why the Great Wall of China was build and against whom.

 

 

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.

A Fleet Of Turkish Landing Craft Moved To The Black Sea

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TCG Ç-151. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permission.

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TCG Ç-155. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permission.

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TCG Ç-156. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permission.

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TCG Ç-157. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permission.

On 30 June 2014 a fleet of 4 landing craft was sighted moving towards the Black Sea.

TCG Ç-151, TCG Ç-155, TCG Ç-156, TCG Ç-157, the half of the 8 new LCT craft Turkish Navy has procured sailed to an unknown destination. Together they could carry up to 12 main battle tanks or up to 1000 troops.

A Submarine Sighted

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A Turkish Type 209/1400 Preveze/Gür class submarine passing through the Bosphorus. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permission.

Today on 1 July 2014, in the late evening hours, one Turkish Type 209 / 1400 class submarine sailed through Bosphorus to the Black Sea.

Since Turkish Navy stopped painting the pennant number of the submarines on their hulls, it is impossible to identify each individual submarine anymore. While this new painting scheme helps the submarines to blend and prevents IR/FLIR/LLTV using trackers or electro-optic directors any high contrast target, it makes ship spotting difficult.
With 6 Type 209/1200, 4 Type 209/1400 and 4 Modified Type 209/1400 class submarines in service, Turkey has the largest conventional submarine fleet in the NATO.

TCG Salihreis Will Escort M/V Cape Ray

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Turkish Navy announced that the MEKO 200 T/IIB class frigate F-246 TCG Salihreis will be escorting M/V Cape Ray, that will destroy the chemical weapons from Syria.

TCG Salihreis, will be among US, German and Italian warships and Greek submarine under the command of Combined Task Force 64 of US 6th Fleet.

The task force CTF-64 will escort the US flagged M/V Cape Ray which carries  two Field Deployable Hydrolysis Systems designed to neutralize chemical weapons.

The U.S. motor vessel Cape Ray departed Rota, Spain, this morning en route to the port of Gioia Tauro, Italy, where the ship will receive declared Syrian chemical weapons transferred from the Danish vessel Ark Futura.

In a statement announcing the departure, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said the transit to Italy is expected to take several days.

After the transfer is complete, the Cape Ray will depart Gioia Tauro for international waters to begin neutralization of the chemical agents using the embarked field deployable hydrolysis system, Kirby said. “Neutralization will be conducted in a safe and environmentally sound manner,” he added. “Nothing from this operation will be released into the environment.”

The Cape Ray and the field-deployable hydrolysis system are part of the U.S. contribution to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons — U.N. Joint Mission to eliminate Syria’s declared chemical materials stockpile. The vessel is part of the Transportation Department Maritime Administration’s Ready Reserve Force program.

During this deployment a SH-70B Seahawk helicopter one CBRN defense team and one naval special forces team will be on board.

Centennial Of Turkish Naval Aviation (Part 2)

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3 AB-212 helicopters in formation flight.

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3 SH-70 Seahawk helicopters in formation flight.

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3 TB-20 planes in formation flight.

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3 CN-235 ASW planes in formation flight.

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A member of Turkish naval special forces about to finish his parachute jump from a helicopter.

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A member of Turkish naval special forces about to finish his parachute jump from a helicopter.

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A four man team of Turkish naval special forces fast roping from a hovering SH-70 Seahawk.

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Sonobuoy launchers on a CN-235 ASW plane.

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A Penguin anti ship missile training round.

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Hellfire missile training rounds.

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A Mk-54 torpedo training round.

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A CN-235 ASW plane and her crew.

This is the second part of the photos, that I took during the the celebrations of the Centennial of Turkish Naval Aviation.

Click here for the first part.

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