>Turkey To Train Ukrainian Submariners?

>The Russian naval website rusnavy.com reports that Turkey might help Ukraine with the training of the Ukraine submariners.

Ukrainian defense minister Mikhail Yezhel told that he will meet with Turkish counterpart during the visit to Albania, where he will attend annual session of the Southeast Europe Defense Ministerial.

“We’re going to discuss issues of air information exchange and military technical cooperation with Turkish defense minister. I think we should also deliberate the possibility of training of our submarine’s crew. By the way, that was Turkey who agreed to help us in this matter”, underlined the minister.

Currently Ukraine has only one Foxtrot class (Project 641) submarine Zaporizhzhia. She has entered into overhaul in February. There are no reports of her return to the active service.

A systematic and regular training for Turkish Submariners started in 1917 and continued ever since. Turkish Navy has one Submarine Training Center in Gölcük. The Submarine Training Center offers various courses to foreign navies such as Officers Submarine Specialization; Petty Officers Submarine Specialization; Submarine Command and Control; Submarine Fire Control Coordination and Submarine Escape Training Damage Control Courses.

As Turkey does not operate any Foxtrot class submarines any training provided by Turkish Navy will be focusing on general aspects of submarines.

>New Ships For The Russian Black Sea Fleet

>

The Russian naval website rusnavy.com reports that Russian Black Sea Fleet will receive six Admiral Gorshkov class (Project 22350) frigates, six Lada (Project 677) diesel submarines, two Ivan Gren class (Project 11711) large landing ships, four ships of other projects, modernized bombers Su-24M instead of obsolete versions, and ASW aircrafts, Il-38 instead of amphibious aircrafts Be-12 till 2020.

This reinforcement of Black Sea Fleet will be conducted under State Arms Program 2011-2020.

This statement, the latest in a series of similar announcements of semi dubious seriousness was made shortly after, Russian and Ukrainian defense ministers signed a document providing that Russia will inform Ukraine about manpower, arms, and strength of Black Sea Fleet.  Russia’s Defence Minister Anatoly Serdiukov pointed out that the significant agreement signed is the first step to renewal of Black Sea Fleet.

I have expressed my personal opinion of the news about the rejuvenation of the BSF previously herehere,  and here. The continuations of these statements show me a few things:

  • Two of the former allies of Russia in the Black Sea basin Romania and Bulgaria rejuvenated their fleets with second hand warships from NATO. By buying cheap ships from NATO countries these two states improved their navies’ operational capabilities and gained access to NATO standards and operational procedures. There are rumors that Ukraine may follow their lead and buy second hand ships from German Navy. The road of Ukraine to join to NATO is a long a winding one. But this is not a hindrance for this country to buy NATO equipment. Ukraine regularly cooperates with NATO and send warship to NATO’s Operation Active Endeavor. Recently an EU military delegation visited Ukrainian Navy to discuss Ukraine’s participations to EU led Operation Atalanta among other things.
  • Romanian and Bulgarian navies and if Ukraine buys warships from Germany then Ukrainian navy will have warships that are younger and have better C3I suites, modern sensors and capable weapons compared to most of the BSF.
  • The current state of the ships in the BSF is not bright and most of them been in service for over 35 years and the Russians are very well aware that current status quo is not sustainable and replacements are vital. As explained above if Russia does not replaces its old ships she will witness a further weakening of her naval authority in the region. This would a blow to Russian national pride and to the political ambitions of the Kremlin.
  • The flow of reports about the new ships joining BSF in the future is an indication of the realization the need for a replacement and an indication of intentions getting rid of old ships. But the number and the classes of the new ships is almost different in every official statement. A few months ago the BSF was to get 15 new frigates and submarines. But the in the latest announcement it is 6 frigates and 6 submarines. This shows that although the Russians have an intention to build new ships their long and mid term acquisitions programme is not clearly prepared. The lack of a concrete programme will leave the whole new ship building projects open to economical and political threats.

>Explosion On Board LSM Kirovograd (UPDATED)

>According to UNIAN news agency there was a blast on board of Ukrainian Polnochny (Project 773) class LSM Kirovohrad. The details are not much, but I believe more information will come soon.

Four servicemen were severely injured when two artillery shells exploded onboard the medium-sized assault landing ship Kirovohrad of the Ukrainian Navy during a ground target firing exercise which was held yesterday at the Crimean training ground Opuk as part of the active phase of the Interaction 2010 military exercise, a Ukrainian Defence Ministry source has told UNIAN.


The source said that the servicemen had been admitted to military hospitals in Sevastopol and Simferopol in grave condition.


UNIAN reported earlier that the active phase of the Interaction 2010 exercise for military command bodies, troops and forces had been held at the Crimean training ground Opuk yesterday.

UPDATE: The Russian RIA Novosti reports that the cause of the blast on board of Kirovograd was two artillery shells that were expired. The accident happened during gunnery exercises.

The injured servicemen have been reportedly admitted to hospital in a grave condition.

“Firing expired artillery shells is a common practice that allows to kill two birds with one stone: both to train and to get rid of obsolete ammunition,” the source said, adding that the incident would have been prevented if drill monitors had checked the ammunition’s expiration date.

“During gunnery exercises, a ship is strongly shaken – even ceiling lamps in corridors fall down. It’s quite possible that the expired shells detonated. Fortunately, they were quite small, and no one was killed,” he said

Well, the Ukrainian Navy may have lost one of her major assets while trying getting rid of old ammunition. I hope the gravely ill sailors may get well soon.

>BlackSeaFor in Ukraine

>On Friday 20th August 2010, the ships with the Black Sea Naval Cooperation Task Group Blackseafor  arrived at the port of Sevastopol, Ukraine in accordance with the plan of the Blackseafor regular activation, according to the press center of the Ukraine Navy.
Click here to read more.

It is a pity  that Istanbul is not among the ports of visit this year.

>Order Of Battle For Exercise Sea Breeze 2010

>

The exercise Sea Breeze will end today. But finally I was able to find the names of (almost) all participating ships:

US Navy:
FFG-50 USS Taylor, frigate

Turkish Navy:
F-240 TCG Yavuz, frigate
P-330 TCG Kılıç, missile boat
P-331 TCG Kalkan, missile boat

Ukrainan Navy:
U-402 Konstantin Olshansky, landing ship
U-401 Kirovograd, landing sahip
U-311 Cherkassy, minesweeper
U-331 Mariupol, minesweeper
U-360 Genichesk, minesweeper
U-206 Dnieper, frigate
U-209 Ternopil frigate
U-705 Kremenets, tug
Plus 3 unidentified border guard ships.

Special Thanks to: Dave Shirlaw.

Sources: Here and here.

>Sea Breeze 2010

> The exercise Sea Breeze 2010 is about to begin in Ukraine this week. The annual exercise Sea Breeze was usually held as a bilateral organization where Ukraine and the United States are the main participants. Other countries are invited as necessary.

This year’s main focus will be fighting sea piracy. The exercises will involve about 1,000 Ukrainian servicemen and almost 500 servicemen from twelve countries – Azerbaijan, Belgium, Greece, Georgia, Denmark, Moldova, Germany, Poland, Romania, Turkey, Sweden and the United States. The exercises will be held until July 23.

According to various news portals, there will be a land phase of the Sea Breeze drills, which will focus on fighting sea piracy, will be held at a military training area in the Nikolayev region, while the sea drills will take place in northwestern Black Sea.

I find it interesting that a military exercise that has fighting sea piracy as its main focus will have a land phase. What will be exercise in this phase? Landing marines to the shores of a pirate territory and fight them on land? Doesn’t it sound a little bit far stretched?

I was not able to find more information about the naval units taking place in the Sea Breeze. Some reports mention about three dozen warships and cutters.

From Turkish Navy, the frigate F-240 TCG Yavuz and fast attacks boats P-330 TCG Kılıç and P-331 TCG Kalkan will take part in the exercise.

>Renewal of Naval Relations Between Russia and Ukraine

>Since Viktor Yanukovych’s election as Ukraine president the ties between Russia and Ukraine is improving on the naval front. The relations between two countries were at low ebb after 2008 Caucasian war. At that time Ukraine Forbid Russia to use warships based is Sevastopol to be used in a war.

But since February 2010 the relations are improving fast. First Ukraine prolonged the leasing agreement of Sevastopol Naval base for Russian ships, which was crucial for the continuation of Russian Black Sea Fleet. As a gesture Russia offered help to modernize for the Ukraine’s sole submarine the Foxtrot (Project 641) class Zaporizya.

She was acquired by Ukraine after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, but she was seldom at sea. She entered into a dry dock for an overhaul, in February. In March Russia offered help to to ensure the technical maintenance of her.

“We are stepping up our work. We received an application of our Ukrainian partners on the technical maintenance of the submarine, which they repaired and which is going to be put to use,” Vice Admiral Oleg Burtsev, first deputy chief of the staff of the Russian Navy.

While Zaporizya is still in drydock, Now Russia is considering buying the half finished Slava class cruiser Ukraina from Ukraine.

The construction of the cruiser was launched in 1984 at the Nikolayev shipyard in Ukraine but stalled in the 1990ss due to reduction in military expenditure and break up.

The cruiser initially named as Admiral Lobov was renamed the Ukraina in 1992.

According to news portals, Russian-Ukraine intergovernmental commission discussed the purchase of the Ukraine last week.

“We agreed with the Ukrainian side that we will consider all variants of the ship’s fate and present our proposals by the next meting in the fourth of the year,” said Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky, Commander of Russian Navy.

A another senior Russian Navy official told RIA Novosti the cruiser was only 50% complete and that the repairs and upgrade would cost up to 35 billion rubles.

For the price of this ship, four Kilo class diesel electric submarines or four Steregushchy class corvettes can be acquired for the Russian Navy. We will see if Moscow will pay that amount for a single old warship, to reset relation with Kiev or to buy newer corvettes which are desperately need.

>The Resurrection Of The Russian Black Sea Fleet

>Эй, ухнем!
Эй, ухнем!
Ещё разик, ещё да раз!”

All together!
All together!
Once more, once again, still once more

The famous “Ei Ukhnyem”, or “The Song of the Volga Boatmen” starts with a deep, slow and heavy chorus, slowly increasing in tone. It is a motivational song, helping the exhausted Burlaks endure the burden, struggle more, once again, once more. Just like the well known painting with the same name, “Ei Ukhnyem” is the symbol of doggedness, struggle and slow-but-strong steps forward. The struggle for Volga, for keeping the boats afloat in Volga and for pride.

As is the case with Черноморский Флот, the Black Sea Fleet.

Formed in late 18th Century, Black Sea Fleet is responsible from the naval operations in Black Sea Region and Mediterranean Sea, especially Eastern Mediterranean. The strength, both in terms of manpower and equipment, decreased dramatically right after the collapse of the Soviet Union, followed by disputes between Russian Federation and Ukraine on the ownership and status of the primary base of the fleet at Sevastopol. However, the rising geopolitical importance of the Black Sea as a gateway between Europe and Caucasus & Central Asia, forced Russia to focus much of its military modernization efforts on its forces in the region. Thus, to secure vital interests on energy transfer, regional influence and hegemony on the hinterland of former Soviet states, Russian Federation is now on the process of resurrecting the once venerable Black Sea Fleet.

Click here to read the whole article written by a good friend of mine.

>Strategic And Military Importance Of The Sevastopol Basing Agreement

>Last week both Ukrainian Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) and Russian Parliament (Duma) ratified the agreement between Russia and Ukraine to extend the use of Sevastopol naval base in Ukraine for Russian Black Sea Fleet (BSF) for 25 more years after May 28, 2017.

Dr. Dmitry Gorenburg, argues that this agreement has more strategic value than military as the strength of Black Sea Fleet is diminishing every passing year.

He argues that the Black Sea Fleet is essentially a dying enterprise. The average age of the 37 ships of BSF is 28, which makes it the oldest fleet in the Russian Navy. Although it has been promised by Russian military that some of the newly build warships will be send to BSF it will be still inferior to Turkish Navy.

He sees the importance of the deal in its strategic value as Ukraine and Russia are formally resuming a partnership that was dissolved five years ago after the Orange Revolution. This partnership will have major economic and political benefits for both countries and will keep Ukraine out of NATO.

His analysis and thoughts are worth of reading.

Military significance of the Sevastopol basing agreement

The strategic significance of the Sevastopol basing agreement

>Varna Visit Of BlackSeaFor Is Over

>
According to the Blackseafor commander, the On-Call Naval Force of Black Sea navies BlackSeaFor has left the Bulgarian port of Varna to conduct its next stage of exercises. The April 2010 activation of BlackSeafor is scheduled to end on 27th April and is commanded by Bulgarian Navy.

As reported earlier, the first stage of the exercises was conducted in the south-western region of the Black Sea which involved search and rescue operations, and replenishment and refuelling at sea as well as monitoring of civilian aircraft.

During the next stages, the Blackseafor warships will exercise tactical manoeuvres, conduct combat operations against surface ships, practise air defence and communications, assistance to ships in distress and ship inspection.

Click here for photos of the Ereğli port visit.

%d bloggers like this: