Nusret 2019 Mine Warfare Exercise

From left to right: TCG Akçakoca, TCG Akçay, TCG Ayvalık participated in Nusret 2019 mine countermeasures exercise.

Nusret 2019 mine countermeasures exercise will end tomorrow.

Nusret is an annual invitation exercise focusing 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 64 Observers and 5 staff officers from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Bulgaria, Kuwait, Malesia, Pakistan Qatar; Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Romania attended the event. The presence of an officer from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is a first. It is a counter jest to the invitation of the Greek Cypriot Administration to a NATO Event, even though the Greek Cypriot Administration is not a member of the organization

NATO Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two (SNMCMG2), Romanian hydrographic research vessel Cătuneanu, 3 EOD teams from Belgium, Romania and 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 exercise was divided into four phases. 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 last phase was a port visit in Çanakkale with some social and cultural activities

The below is the list of the participating warships:

Number Name Type Nationality Fleet
A-5329 ITS Vesuvio Tanker Italy SNMCMG-2
M-266 TCG Amasra Minehunter Turkey SNMCMG-2
5557 ITS Numana Minehunter Italy SNMCMG-2
M-32 ESPS Sella Minehunter Spain SNMCMG-2
M-62 HS Kallisto Minehunter Greece SNMCMG-2
ROS Cătuneanu Hydrographic Research Romania
M-260 TCG Edincik Minehunter Turkey
M-262 TCG Enez 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-402 TCG Bayraktar Landing ship Turkey
F-513 TCG Burgazada Corvette Turkey
P-1210 TCG Türkeli Patrol boat Turkey

For Further Reading:
Nusret 2018
Nusret 2017
Nusret 2016
Nusret 2015
Nusret 2014
Nusret 2013
Nusret 2012
Nusret 2011
Nusret 2010
Nusret 2009

Kurtaran 2019 Submarine Rescue Exercise

TCG Alemdar. The main submarine rescue ship of the Turkish Navy.

Turkish Navy organized the third initiation of Kurtaran series submarine rescue exercises between 27 and 31 May 2019.

This year the submarines TCG Gür, TCG 1. İnönü and TCG Dolunay, submarine rescue ship TCG Alemdar, rescue and salvage ships TCG Işın and TCG Akın, frigate TCG Gelibolu, minehunter TCG Akçay, patrol boat TCG Köyceğiz, one P-235 maritime patrol aircraft, one SH-70 ASW helicopter from Turkish Navy took part in the exercise as well as one AS-535 Cougar helicopter from Turkish Army, one C-130 Hercules cargo plane from the Turkish Air Force. One P-8 Poseidon ASW plane from US Navy also participated in the exercise.

Turkish Navy operates one dedicated submarine rescue mother ship TCG Alemdar and two rescue and salvage ships TCG Işın and TCG Akın. All of them have taken part in the exercise. TCG Alemdar can act as mother ship both for NATO Submarine Rescue System and US Navy Submarine Rescue System if needed.

Kurtaran 2019 started on 27th May with the pre-deployment briefing. On 28th May the surface units and aircraft honed their skill in finding the 3 submerged disabled submarines (DISSUB) sitting at the bottom of the sea.

On 29th May, the first training was to render assistance to submariners who were forced to leave the DISSUB by rush escape. Turkish Navy Parachute Search and Rescue Team similar in function to the Royal Navy’s Submarine Parachute Assistance Group made jumps from a C-130 cargo plane to help these submariners. The team of 12 jumped in 3 parts as the plane made 3 passes over the submariners waiting to be rescued. The Parachute Search and Rescue Team quickly inflated several life rafts and biding them creating a support base. They have used the RHIBs to collect the submariners from the water and rendering the first aid at the support base. Later they were brought to TCG Alemdar.

There is a wide range of medical facilities on board of TCG Alemdar including one full functional operation room, one x-ray room, a five-bed medical ward, and two hyperbaric chambers. Each chamber can hold 22 persons. The SMERAT team performed a quick triage and treated the patients according to their injuries and sufferings. Those who needed to be transferred to a more advanced medical facility were evacuated by the Land Forces’ Cougar helicopter.

TCG Alemdar search with her onboard sensors for the DISSUB played by TCG 1. İnönü. After locating the submarine TCG Alemdar positioned herself over the submerged disabled submarine. Using her active position controlling systems the rescue ship was able to stay on the exact spot for the remainder of the exercise.

First, the remotely operated underwater vehicle TCB Istakoz 1 was lowered to the submarine. The ROV was constructed by a Turkish company and can operate up to 1000 meters depth. Following the contact with the DISSUB, a diver immersed to the submarine inside the atmospheric diving system. The diver in ADS brought an emergency life support store containing urgently needed supplies by the submarine. The diver placed the emergency life support store inside the submarines escape trunk located inside the sail. The diver in ADS also connected the down-haul cable to a special pad-eye on the submarine hatch. The cable was later used by the submarine escape chamber to align itself with the submarine and mate.

The McCann bell type submarine escape chamber was lowered to the submarine. This type of submarine escape chamber is old but proven technology and can be used for evacuating personnel from the submarine if the pressure inside the submarine is not above one atmosphere and the submarine is not deeper than 207 meters. The chamber descended to the submarine and mated successfully. Two submariners entered the chamber and it resurfaced.

This was the final training for the day. TCG 1. İnönü reemerged from the depths and both vessels returned to the base. While TCG Alemdar was training with TCG 1.İnönü, the other two ships TCG Işın and TCG Akın were also conducting similar activates with the other submarines.

On 30th May, the submarine TCG 1. İnönü bottomed at 30 meters depth. During this exercise, sailors left the submarine via the escape trunk, donned Mk 10 Submarine Escape Immersion Ensemble and surfaced freely. The units waiting on the surface rescued them.

The exercise ended on 31st May with the post-exercise briefing.

TCG 1. İnönü. She dived to 75 meters and waited at the bottom of the sea.

Turkish Navy Parachute Search and Rescue Team jumped from a C-130 Hercules cargo plane of Turkish Air Force

The injured submarines rescued by the Turkish Navy Parachute Search and Rescue Team rushed to the medical area on board TCG Alemdar.

The command consoles of the two hyperbaric chambers on board of TCG Alemdar.

An AS-532 Cougar helicopter of the Turkish Land Forces is waiting to pick up the evacuee to bring him to the land.

TCB Istakoz 1 is the name of this ROV. Istakoz means lobster in Turkish. I can only admire the humor of the godfather of this device. It has two arms with 7 functions. Two pilots are required to use this ROV. One operates the ROV, the other arms.

An image from an ROV as it is attaching ventilation cables to the submarine TCG Doğanay.

the pilot inside the atmospheric diving suits concentrates on his tasks before starting his long and lonely dive into the dark sea.

This is an emergency life support store. It can fit inside the escape trunk of NATO submarines and used to deliver urgently needed supplies to the DISSUB

The crew enters the submarine rescue chamber.

Turkish Coast Guard boat TCSG-27 intercepts a sailing boat that mistakenly entered the training area.

TCG 1. İnönü resurfaces after playing DISSUB for 10 long hours.

The Participants In Mavi Vatan Exercise (Part 2)

An update to the major units taking part in the exercise Mavi Vatan:

Legend: Green means confirmed participant. Red means confirmed nonparticipant.

Small landing craft and auxiliaries taking part in the exercise are not included in the list. For further information regarding the exercise click here.

Additional information:

Frigates: TCG Gökçeada is deployed with the SNMG-2 and TCG Geliblou is in Gulf Of Aden with CTF-151. One frigate is escorting the Barbaros Hayrettin seismic ship in the Mediterranean. This means all frigates of the Turkish Navy are deployed.

Corvettes: Two corvettes are also escorting the Barbaros Hayrettin seismic ship in the Mediterranean.  This leaves 8 corvettes available for this exercise. Only one will miss it out.

Minehunters: TCG Akçakoca is deployed with SNMCMG-2. From the available ten strong force, 7 will take part.

Submarines: As their nature, they are the most difficult units to identify. TCG Gür is in Italy to join the NATO exercise Dynamic Manta. Two more are deployed to the Eastern Mediterranean according to Turkish General Staff. 7 out of 9 available submarines are taking part.

Amphibious ships: According to pre-exercise briefing 22 amphibious ships are participating in this exercise. Most of them are smaller LCT and LCM sized landing craft.

Fast attack craft: Turkish Navy has 19 missile-armed fast attack craft. 16 of them are taking part in this exercise.

The Participants In Mavi Vatan Exercise

Regular readers of this blog will know, that I like to name the units that are taking part in an exercise. It is not easy to identify the participating units to the Mavi Vatan naval exercise. First, there are 103 units taking part in this drill. I would be able to get to name them all. Second, most of the attention of the media is focused on larger units like frigates and corvettes. The smaller landing craft and the auxiliaries taking part will not be covered.

Never the less I am trying to find the larger units participating in this exercise. Here is the list:

Legend: Green means confirmed participant. Red means confirmed nonparticipant.

Frigates: TCG Gökçeada is deployed with the SNMG-2 and TCG Geliblou is in Gulf Of Aden with CTF-151. One frigate is escorting the Barbaros Hayrettin seismic ship in the Mediterranean. This means all frigates of the Turkish Navy are deployed.

Corvettes: Two corvettes are also escorting the Barbaros Hayrettin seismic ship in the Mediterranean.  This leaves 8 corvettes available for this exercise. Only one will miss it out.

Minehunters: TCG Akçakoca is deployed with SNMCMG-2. From the available ten strong force, 7 will take part.

Submarines: As their nature, they are the most difficult units to identify. TCG Gür is in Italy to join the NATO exercise Dynamic Manta. Two more are deployed to the Eastern Mediterranean according to Turkish General Staff. 7 out of 9 available submarines are taking part.

Amphibious ships: According to pre-exercise briefing 22 amphibious ships are participating in this exercise. Most of them are smaller LCT and LCM sized landing craft.

Fast attack craft: Turkish Navy has 19 missile-armed fast attack craft. 16 of them are taking part in this exercise.

What Does The Exercise Mavi Vatan Mean?

Today, 96 ships of various types and 7 submarines sailed away from their ports this morning as the naval exercise Mavi Vatan started. Mavi Vatan means Blue Motherland (or Fatherland or Homeland depending your own orientation) and refers to the seas around Turkey.

The break down of the participants in number and percentage.

The exercise is held in the Eastern Mediterranean, Aegean and in the Black Sea simultaneously and is the largest naval exercise ever held in Turkey. The exercise will continue till 8th March 2019.

In addition to the above-mentioned assets, helicopters, planes and special forces teams of Turkish Navy, attack and transport helicopters from Turkish Land Forces, fighter and early warning planes from Turkish Air Force, and boats and helicopters from Turkish Coast Guard are also participating in this exercise.

Turkish Navy usually conducts its spring exercise a few weeks later, usually in late March, early April or in May when the seas are less demanding and the winds are fairer. These wargames are more compact in size and in their scopes.

In many aspects, this is not a standard annual wargame played by the Turkish Naval Forces. And when nations stage grandiose military games it is usually a kind of a signal.

There was one such major exercise the Turkish Navy had held in June 1998, Turkish naval elements spread over the Mediterranean. One group was deployed east of Malta and the other west of Crete before launching a virtual battle with the participation of the Turkish air force. That was the largest exercise ever held by the Turkish navy in the Mediterranean and was meant as a response to the tension with Greece at that time.

The Turkish media say the exercise is actually a message to the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), a coalition formed recently by Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority. The alliance plans to explore energy sources in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, including disputed areas. This show of force on the maritime domain will surely be closely watched by these nations.

So what makes this exercise novel if we would skip the most obvious part:

  • Unmanned aircraft and autonomous unmanned vehicles will be used together with the manned systems. The short ranged Bayraktar and the longer range ANKA UAV’s are in service with the Turkish Navy. Bayraktar can carry smart micro munition. ANKA can be controlled via satellite thus enabling it to fly long-range missions. The Gavia autonomous unmanned vehicles can detect mines down to 1000m depth. Previous systems on board of the mine hunters were limited down to 270m. The integration of these modern systems into existing capabilities must be tested.
  • The usage of command, control, communication, and intelligence systems. Turkish Navy has been trying to increase its awareness over the maritime domain. A lot has been invested in land-based long-range radar systems, airborne early warning aircraft and in data linking ability. These have to be tried and assessed.
  • In the pre-exercise briefing, it has been announced that a locally developed computer-based naval warfare simulator (game) will be used during this exercise. With the help of this system, the commanders will be able to make decisions based on the played scenarios rendered from real-life situations.
  • The validation of the effectiveness of the Naval Warfare Center established last year. 165 strong staff will be running this large exercise.

Not much left sitting in the port.

It has been announced that live firings will be conducted during the Mavi Vatan 2019 exercise. Though at this stage it is not clear what type of ammunition will be tested against what kind of target(s). Only UMTAS, long-range anti-tank missile, and CİRİT, 2.75” laser-guided missile has been specially mentioned. Both munitions are specially made to be used from attack helicopters. We will have to wait to learn why these two missiles are mentioned. Are they integrated into a naval platform or will they be fired from army attack helicopters?

More than %80 of all corvettes, fast attack craft, and patrol boats, currently not deployed to a mission are taking part in this exercise. An impressive %93 of all frigates have sailed away.  To keep so many ships for 10 days at sea requires also a good and strong logistical support. The test the logistical support Turkey can provide to its deployed forces is one of the important issues of this exercise.

For me, the most important part of the exercise will be the port visits made by the Turkish warships. Between 6th and 8th March, 40 ports will be visited by 67 participating naval units, 7 of which are foreign ports.

Turkish warships will visit, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Russian Federation, Georgia and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The simultaneous visits to the Black Sea riparian states have a high symbolic value. Turkey is the only nation that can perform such a diplomatic show of force. It is not a small event to do port visits in 5 different nations at the same time.

In conclusion, this exercise is a military drill to turn the concepts of Turkish Armed Forces into doctrines as indicated by Mr. Metin Gürcan, an independent security analyst. This exercise is a political act to show that Turkey will protect its interests on the high seas.

Dynamic Manta 2019 Has Started

The participating warships and submarine in one photo. Original photo: Turkish Ministry of Defence, improvements by me.

NATO’s Submarine Warfare Exercise Dynamic Manta 2019 kicked off yesterday, off the Sicilian coast, with ships, submarines, aircraft and personnel from 10 Allied nations.

According to NATO press release submarines surface units and ASW planes and helicopters from Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, and USA, under the control of Commander, Submarines NATO (COMSUBNATO) taking part in the annual exercise.

Altogether 4 submarines, 9 ships, and ASW planes and helicopters will try to hone their skill in anti-submarine warfare.

The aim of this exercise is to provide all participants with complex and challenging warfare training to enhance their interoperability and proficiency in anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare skills, with due regard for safety.

Below is the complete list of the participants:

Number Name Type Country
333 Toronto Frigate Canada
D-654 Auvergne Frigate France
A-608 Var Tanker France
F-450 Elli Frigate Greece
S-120 Papanikolis Submarine Greece
F-594 Alpino Frigate Italy
S-527 Scire Submarine Italy
F-805 Evertsen Frigate Netherlands
F-103 Blas de Laze Frigate Spain
F-81 Santa Marina Frigate Spain
S-74 Tramontana Submarine Spain
S-357 Gür Submarine Turkey
F-493 Gelibolu Frigate Turkey

Turkish Navy Conducted The Second SINKEX In 2018

The Turkish Navy conducted another sinking exercise SINKEX last week on 17th October. This is the second SINKEX Turkish Navy has conducted in 2018 and the third, in the last 12 months.

This exercise was not previously announced. But it was anticipated since the decommissioned navy tanker ex- TCG Taşkızak was observed being towed to the Black Sea on 16th October 2018. The previous sinking exercises were also conducted in the Black Sea. The tanker sunk in 5 minutes 36 seconds after the impact of the torpedo.

This yet unidentified Ay class submarine seen here sailing southbound through
Istanbul on 19th October 2018 was most probably the submarine that fired the torpedo that sunk the ex- TCG Taşkızak during the SINEX.

 

The short video of the exercise, shows an unguided torpedo being fired from an Ay class submarine. The torpedo seems shorter than contemporary modern torpedos and does not have a guidance wire. Therefore I believe it was an Mk-37 torpedo.

 

Nusret 2018 Mine Warfare Exercise

The Bulgarian mine hunter BNG Tsibar, seen here passing southbound through Istanbul on 10th October 2018 takes part in Nusret 2018 MCM exercise.

The Romanian hydrographic research vessel Cătuneanu is participating to the Nusret 2018 exercise too. Here is she seen passing through Istanbul on 13th October.

Mine warfare exercise Nusret 2018 has started in İzmir today. The exercise led by the Turkish Navy aims to provide training for the planning and execution of mine warfare and to improve the interoperability in mine warfare, between warships from participant countries.

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.

This year 18 surface units including 4 Aydın class minehunters, 3 Edincik class minehunters, one minelayer, one corvette and one patrol boat from Turkish Navy, Standing Nato Mine Warfare Group 2 (SNMCMG-2) and Romanian hydrographic research ship are participating in the exercise. A detailed list of the participating units is at the bottom of this post.

One Turkish and one Romanian autonomous underwater vehicles teams and one Greek and one Romanian underwater explosive ordnance disposal units are also taking part in Nusret 2018.

The exercise has 3 phases. The first phase is the assembly of the participating units in the Port of İzmir. Followed by mine laying operation from one Turkish C-130 cargo plane and L-402 TCG Bayraktar. This phase is followed by active mine hunting warfare operations. The last phase will be a Photex of the participants and social and cultural activates among the crews to foster cooperation and mutual understanding.

Number Name Type Country
32 BGS Tsibar Minehunter Bulgaria
M-645 FS Orion Minehunter France
A-513 FGS Rhein Auxillary Germany
M-62 HS Evropi Minehunter Greece
5555 ITS Termoli Minehunter Italy
ROS Catuneanu Hydrographic Vessel Romania
M-34 ESPS Turia Minehunter Spain
F-512 TCG Büyükada Corvette Turkey
L-401 TCG Bayraktar Minelayer / LST Turkey
M-264 TCG Erdemli Minehunter Turkey
M-20X TCG Edincik Minehunter Turkey
M-262 TCG Enez Minehunter Turkey
M-263 TCG Erdek Minehunter Turkey
M-265 TCG Alanya Minehunter Turkey
M-266 TCG Amasra Minehunter Turkey
M-268 TCG Akçakoca Minehunter Turkey
M-270 TCG Akçay Minehunter Turkey
P-1206 TCG Karşıyaka Patrol boat Turkey

For further reading:
Nusret 2017
Nusret 2016
Nusret 2015
Nusret 2014
Nusret 2013
Nusret 2012
Nusret 2011
Nusret 2010

The Participants of Mavi Balina 2018 Naval Exercise

TCG Bandırma (left) and TCG Gemlik (right) receiving fuel underway from replenishment ship TCG Akar. Photo: Turkish Navy

Mavi Balina (Blue Whale) 2018 invitation naval exercise is going to end today with a post-exercise briefing in Aksanz Naval Base in Marmaris.

Mavi Balina is a biannual anti-submarine warfare exercise where the participating units had the opportunity to increase their readiness for actual submarine warfare operations.

Here is a list of the surface units took part in the exercise:

Number Name Type Country
F-245 TCG Oruçreis Frigate Turkey
F-490 TCG Gaziantep Frigate Turkey
F-491 TCG Giresun Frigate Turkey
F-492 TCG Gemlik Frigate Turkey
F-493 TCG Gelibolu Frigate Turkey
F-502 TCG Bandırma Corvette Turkey
F-512 TCG Büyükada Corvette Turkey
P-1204 TCG Tarsus Patrol Boat Turkey
A-580 TCG Akar Tanker Turkey
F-804 HNLMS De Ruyter Frigate Netherlands
F-105 ESPS Cristobal Colon Frigate Spain
F-253 PNS Saif Frigate Pakistan
F-211 ROS Regele Ferdinand Frigate Romania

Mavi Balina 2018 Naval Exercise Starts Tomorrow

Romanian frigate ROS Regele Ferdinand seen here passing through Istanbul on 25th September 2018. She is going to take part in Mavi Balina Exercise.

Mavi Balina (Blue Whale) 2018 invitation naval exercise will be held between 28th September and 7th October in the eastern Mediterranean.  Turkish Navy will host ships, airplanes, helicopters, boarding teams and observers from, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Pakistan, Romania, Saudi Arabia and the United States of America. Furthermore Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) will take part in the exercise too.

Mavi Balina is a biannual anti-submarine warfare exercise. Participating units will have the opportunity to increase their readiness for actual operations and to increase their ability to perform joint operations.

Turkish Navy will participate with 4 frigates, 5 submarines, 2 corvettes, 1 replenishment ship, 1 patrol boat 3 maritime patrol planes, and 6 helicopters.  Airplanes from Turkish Airforce will also take part.

NATO Maritime Group Two will deploy the flagship The Dutch frigate HNLMS De Ruyter, the Spanish frigate ESPS Cristóbal Colón, the Greek frigate HS Elli and one yet undisclosed Turkish frigate.

Pakistan will join with the frigate PNS Saif and one maritime patrol plane. Romania will deploy the frigate ROS Regele Ferdinand and one helicopter. One maritime patrol plane from US Navy will take part in the exercise too.

Algeria, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Pakistan, Romania, Saudi Arabia NATO, and the United States will send 19 observers

18 visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) team members and 7 VBSS trainers from Azerbaijan are going to take part in Mavi Balina exercise. Their training will be evaluated by 3 men strong VBSS audit and evaluation team from NATO MARCOM.

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