Foreign Warships On Bosphorus in 2021 (Part 3)

USS Thomas Hudner an Arleigh Burke Flight III class destroyer became the second US Navy warship to enter the Black Sea. This is her first-ever Black Sea deployment.

The first ship from Eisenhower CSG to enter the Black Sea was the Ticonderoga class cruiser USS Monterey. This is her first Black Sea deployment. Photo: Arkeonaval

Bulgarian minehunter BGS Tsibar, which joined the NATO taskforce SNMCMG-2 in the Black Sea sailed southbound with the rest of the group. Photo: Yörük Işık.

ESPS Tajo, the Spanish unit attached to SNMCMG-2 exited the Black Sea after taking part in Romanian exercise Poseidon 21 and visiting Odesa with the taskforce. Photo: Yörük Işık.

When ESPS Méndez Núñez transited northbound through Istanbul, she became the third Spanish ship and second Alvaro de Bazan class frigate deployed to the Black Sea

Russian Buyan-M class corvette Vyshniy Volochek finished her 4-month deployment to the Mediterranean and returned back To the Black Sea.

The Russian tug SB-739 returned alone from her long journey through the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean where she escorted Russian surface ships.

The outgoing flagship of NATO taskforce SNMG-2, ESPS Cristóbal Colón passed northbound through Istanbul. Photo: Arkeonaval

The Russian large landing ship Saratov started her third Mediterranean deployment in 2021. Photo: Ben Kendim

The list of the foreign warships that passed through the Istanbul Strait is here.

20 Iron Pots

…The small Turkish steamer Nusret succeeded in laying unnoticed a line of 26 mines lying in front of the known minefields of the Straits. This mine line was not laid across the barrier canal, as in minefields, but in length. This line, was constituted, in fact with the last reserve of dormant mines which the Turks had. Their total value probably does not exceed six or seven thousand pounds. In all of Europe in 1915, millions of tin and riveted men to a death fight, large offensives were killed or wounded. The wealth of nations flowed in the abyss. Four or five thousand warships sailed the seas. But these twenty iron pots surreptitiously placed by the steamer Nusrat were intended to give more complete and more decisive results, as to the length of the war and the future of the world than all the other forces combined…

Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, La Revir de Paris, 1930 August.

TCG Çanakkale Arrived In Durrës

TCG Çanakkale arriving in Durrës. Photo: Durrës Port Authority

The Turkish submarine TCG Çanakkale is making a 3 day port visit in Durrës, Albania.

The submarine took part in NATO exercise Dynamic Manta 21 and was returning home.

Turkish warship, especially submarines regularly visit Durrës.

As far as I know, the following Turkish naval units were in Durrës:

Foreign Warships On Bosphorus in 2021 (Part 2)

Here are photos of foreign warships, that have passed through Bosphorus, during the last 14 days:

A frequent visitor of Bosphorus the Russian Alligator class large landing ship Saratov returned from her second Syrian deployment. Photo: Yörük Işık

Natya class minesweeper of the Russian Black Sea Fleet Valentin Pikul made her northbound passage through Istanbul on 25th February, ending her deployment since December 2020. Photo: Nazlı Ece Pehlivan

The Greek minehunter HS Evropi sailed northbound with the rest of the NATO SNMCMG-2, but she is not listed among the participants of the taskforce. Photo:Binaltmışiki

The Spanish contribution to SNMCMG-2 ESPS Tajo entered the Black Sea on 25th February. This is the first Black Sea deployment of her. Photo: Binaltmışiki

The Buyan-M Class corvette of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, armed with Kalibr missiles made her first southbound passage in 2021. She is now deployed in the Mediterranean. Photo: Yörük Işık

The Ropucha class large landing ship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, Novocherkassk returned from her first Syrian deployment. Photo: Nazlı Ece Pehlivan

The minehunter HS Evropi returned to Greece on 6 March, after taking part in Romanian-led naval exercise Poseidon. Photo:Binaltmışiki

Responding To Forest Fires, From The Sea…

One Turkish LCT, transporting fire fighting trucks of the Regional Forestry Directorate.

The Turkish Navy Conducted an operation to support Muğla Regional Directorate of Forestry.

On 4 March 2021, A forest fire was reported on a small bay near Aksaz Naval Base. The area was not accessible by road. Thus three LCT’s TCG Ç-149, TCG Ç-157 and, TCG Ç-321 was loaded with the fire fighting trucks of the Muğla Regional Directorate of Forestry and immediately dispatched to the region by sea. route

Furthermore, patrol boat TCG Kaş and the tug TCG Özgen took 45 personnel to the area to fight the fire. UAV’s of the Turkish Navy supported the firefighting efforts by providing uninterrupted aerial views. The fire was brought under control by the morning of the next day.

This small operation has shown some important aspects of naval warfare, such as:

  • Force projection
  • Supporting land-based operations
  • Providing command and control surveillance capability

The icing on the cake: A Turkish Navy UAV providing surveillance against the forest fire

 

 

Turkish Navy Takes The Helm Of SNMCMG-2

The ships of the SNMCMG-2 in one shot. From far to near: TCG Ayvalık, ESPS Tajo, and the flagship TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa. The hand-over ceremony took in the small harbor in Tuzla, İstanbul at the premises of the Naval Academy where the flagship has its home port. 

Turkish Navy took the helm of the NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two with a ceremony held on 19 February 2021 in Istanbul.

SNMCMG2 will be commanded by Turkey for the fifth time since the inception of the group. Between 20 February-16 April 2021, the group will participate in mine warfare exercises in Greece, Italy, and Romania. MCM vessels from Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Romania, Spain, and Turkey will take part in SNMCMG2 at different periods.

Captain Yusuf Karagulle, the new Commander of SNMCMG2, said that during his term the task force will operate in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean in order to enhance NATO’s solidarity and readiness in these regions. Besides NATO and non-NATO port visits, will participate in three exercises.

There is one odd thing about the whole thing, I couldn’t quite put my finger on: The duration of the command. Usually, the command of a NATO task force is rotated annually or semi-annually at best. This time Turkey is taking the command for 56 days. Not even two full months. Why was it necessary to take the helm for such a short time and what is the reason behind this unusual short duration of the command.

It was 2016 when the last time when Turkish Navy was in Command of SNMCMG-2.

Foreign Warships On Bosphorus in 2021 (Part 1)

Here are photos of foreign warships, that have passed through Bosphorus, during the last 7 days:

The Russian intelligence-gathering ship Priazove returned from her Mediterranean deployment. Her southbound passage was on 14.8.2020. Photo: Cavit Ege Tulca

 

Russian Ropucha class landing ship Novocherkassk sailed southbound for her first Syrian deployment in 2021. Photo: Cavit Ege Tulca

TCG Istanbul Launched

TCG Istanbul during the launching ceremony. Photo: Turkish MoD.

The first İstif class frigate TCG Istanbul was launched on 23 January 2021 at the Istanbul Naval Shipyard.

The first TCG Istanbul was ex USS Clarence K. After 35 years finally, there will be another TCG Istanbul. TCG Istanbul is the first ship of a class of four. The other ships will be named İzmir, İzmit, and İçel and all will be known as the Istif class. According to Commander of Turkish General Staff, General Yaşar Güler, the remaining three ships are planned to be completed by 2027.  The Istif class ships will replace the four Yavuz MEKO 200 class ships nearing the end of their usefulness.

The frigate has an overall length of 113,2 meters and a width of 14,40 meters. The frigates of Istif class will be multi-role warships. The ship’s main offensive weapons will be 16 Atmaca anti-ship missiles. While the details of the final configuration of the air defence missiles have not been disclosed, these frigates will have a locally designed vertical missiles launcher. TCG Istanbul will be fitted with a 76mm main gun and a 35mm Gökdeniz close-in weapon system.

The calculated range of TCG Istanbul at economical speed is 5700 nautical miles. The ship has one LM2500 gas turbine and two diesel engines as the main machinery propelling the frigate up to 26 knots. The design of the frigate is based on the Ada class corvettes. The superstructure of the frigate is also very similar to the corvette with the exception of the mainmast.

The mast on Istif class is higher and has space for different electronics. The Istif class frigates will carry one 3D search radar, probably Smart-S Mk2, two AKR-D fire control radars, and one LPI navigation radar. For electronic reconnaissance and warfare, the frigates will have ARES 2N ESM and AREAS-2N ECM systems.  Piri IRST system will provide infra-red search and tracking on board.

Nusret 2020 Mine Warfare Exercise

While searching for the training mine Spanish mine hunter ESPS Duero found this old English mine from World War 1.

Nusret 2020 mine countermeasures exercise will end tomorrow.

Nusret is an annual invitation exercise focusing on mine warfare. The exercise is named after the famous minelayer Nusret. In even years the exercise is held in İzmir Bay and in odd years it is held in Çanakkale and Saros Bay.

The aim of the exercise is to enhance cooperation and interoperability between Turkey and allied and friendly nations navies.

This year NATO Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two (SNMCMG2), Romanian mine hunter hydrographic research vessel Cătuneanu, 2 EOD teams from Romania and the USA took part in the exercise along with one command and control ship, one corvette, one patrol boat, 6 mine hunters, one helicopter, one EOD team, one UAV team and one photography team from Turkish Navy, two boats from Turkish Coast Guard, two sorties of F-16 fighter jets, one C-130 airplane from Turkish Air Forces.

The first phase included force integration and harbor training. During the second phase, a command post-exercise was held and mine-laying operations from airborne and seaborne platforms were conducted. In the third phase, the laid training mines were detected by the participating units. Later the mines were identified and neutralized by mine clearance divers or remotely operated vehicles. Autonomous underwater vehicles were deployed for detection and identification. While conducting mine countermeasures operations the minehunters had to defend themselves against the threat of the asymmetrical surface vessels and air attacks. 

The below is the list of the participating warships:

Number Name Type Nationality Fleet
M-645 FS Orion Minehunter France SNMCMG-2
5556 ITS Alghero Minehunter Italy SNMCMG-2
M-35 ESPS Duero Minehunter Spain SNMCMG-2
M-261 TCG Edremit Minehunter Turkey SNMCMG-2
32 BNS Tsibar Minehunter Bulgaria  
274 ROS Vice Admiral Constantin Balescu Minesweeper Romania  
M-260 TCG Edincik Minehunter Turkey  
M-26 TCG Erdek Minehunter Turkey  
M-264 TCG Erdemli Minehunter Turkey  
M-267 TCG Ayvalık Minehunter Turkey  
M-268 TCG Akçakoca Minehunter Turkey  
M-270 TCG Akçay Minehunter Turkey  
L-403 TCG Sancaktar Landing ship Turkey  
F-242 TCG Turgutreis Frigate Turkey  
P-1200 TCG Tuzla Patrol boat Turkey  

For Further Reading:

Nusret 2019
Nusret 2018
Nusret 2017
Nusret 2016
Nusret 2015
Nusret 2014
Nusret 2013
Nusret 2012
Nusret 2011
Nusret 2010
Nusret 2009

What Is The Blue Homeland?

Below is written by retired Admiral Cem Gürdeniz. The original text appeared at uwidata.com and is used here with permission. You can read the whole text here.

The Blue Homeland is a concept, a symbol, and also a doctrine. 

As a concept, its scope consists of all maritime jurisdiction zones (inland waters, territorial waters, continental shelf, exclusive economic zone), declared or undeclared, as well as rivers and lakes. The Blue Homeland, in an exact sense, is an extension at sea and seabed of our homeland located between 26-45 East longitudes and 36-42 North latitudes. The Blue Homeland is the name of our zone of interest and jurisdiction over salty and fresh waters located between 25-45 East longitudes and 33-43 North latitudes.

As a symbol, it designates Turkey’s maritimization as its grand strategic goal for the state and its people in the 21st century. It symbolizes redirection of land-based mentality in Turkey to seas and thereby to achieve maritimization of its people.

As a doctrine, it’s a roadmap aimed to protect rights and interests in the seas surrounding Anatolia as well as seas and oceans beyond its periphery. Thereby, with their unique features, maritime principles and thoughts would be transformed into an illuminating roadmap and define our future on the axis of geopolitical zones of influence and defense. This concept could present new opportunities within the global process at a time of transition from unipolarity to multipolarity, from Atlantic age to Asian age, to strengthen Turkey’s geopolitical control over the Eastern Mediterranean, the Black Sea, and the Straits. It may open unprecedented windows for change in Turkey’s dossier of global, continental, and regional relations. Naturally, this doctrine necessitates Turkey’s legitimacy with international law to dominate maritime zones as well as capabilities and volition to trigger events over political, diplomatic, military, and economic dimensions.

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