The First And Final Passage Of Ex USS Duncan Through Bosphorus

3 navy tugs are pulling the hull of ex USS Duncan against the current towards Black Sea. Just a shell of the former frigate is left.

The effects of cannibalization can be better seen in this photo.

Perry class frigate USS Duncan was the first ship of this class to be decommissioned active service. She was striken from US Navy service on 5 January 1998. In May 1999 she was sold to Turkish Navy. She has never entered in to service therefore she doesn’t have a Turkish name. She was used as spare part source, to keep other ship working. This practice is lovingly called cannibalization. And you can see the effects of it on the hull of USS Duncan in above photos.

TCG İnebolu, TCG Özgür and TCG Darıca, three Turkish Navy tugs, towed the hull of ex USS Duncan through Istanbul northbound, on 22 March 2017. Since there are no scrap yards along the Black Sea coast of Turkey, this journey is not going to end at one scrapyard.

The markings on the hull of the former frigate are consistent with a live firing test. A few days after the passage of ex USS Duncan it was announced that she was going to be used as a target during the Deniz Yıldızı annual naval exercise.

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Poseidon 2017 Naval Exercise

NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two passing through Istanbul before taking part in Poseidon 2017.

Mine warfare exercise Poseidon, hosted by Romania is continuing in Black Sea

The exercise has started on 5 March 2016 and will end on 15 March 2017. Exercise Poseidon began in 2015 as a bilateral Romanian-Bulgarian naval exercise. The host for the exercise alternates each year between Romania and Bulgaria. NATO Standing Groups regularly participate in exercises in the Black Sea to support interoperability, practice NATO standard procedures, tactics and techniques with Allied nations bordering the Black Sea.

The main aim of the exercise is to promote mutual understanding, confidence, interoperability and defense cooperation among participating nations.

Furthermore, the exercise intents:

  • To enhance operational capabilities and readiness of all participants;
  • To exercise NATO maritime warfare procedures and tactics in a joint interagency, multinational environment;
  • To exercise NATO maritime procedures for command, control and communications;
  • To exercise NATO Rules of Engagement (NATO ROE – MC 362);
  • To enhance the CIMIC and interagency cooperation in multi-threat environment;
  • To practice standard operational procedures, communications, and support to maritime forces taking part in Crisis Response Operation (CRO)
  • To improve the operational and tactical interoperability between participating MW, ASW ships and EOD team.

Over 1500 troops and following ships are taking part in the exercise:

Number Name Type Country
63 BS Priboy Mine sweeper Bulgaria
M-1061 FGS Rottweil Mine hunter Germany
M-62 HS Europa Mine hunter Greece
511 Kontradmirał X. Czernicki Tender Poland
25 ROS Lieutenant Lupu Dunescu Mine sweeper Romania
30 ROS Sub Lieutenant Alexandru Axente Mine sweeper Romania
264 ROS Admiral Eustatiu Sebstian Corvette Romania
M-35 ESPS Duero Mine hunter Spain
M-265 TCG Alanya Mine hunter Turkey
M-269 TCG Anamur Mine hunter Turkey

Sea Shield 2017 Naval Exercise

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Spanish warship ESPS Almirante Juan de Borbon passed through Turkish Straits to take part in the exercise.

Once again Romania is hosting Sea Shield naval exercise. The exercise will take place between 1st and 11th February 2017. The exercise started with the planning and familiarization phase which will end on 5th February.

The participants have already arrived at the Romanian port Constanta for this year’s exercise. Besides, Romania, Bulgaria, Canada, Spain, Turkey and U.S.A. have deployed warships. The only submarine of the exercise is TCG Dolunay. She will play the role of the hunter and the hunted.

According to the press release of the Romanian Naval Forces, 2800 military personnel is taking part in the exercise. Romania will provide besides warships two mobile missile-launchers, a special-operation detachment, two MiG 21 Lancer airplanes and a medical-evacuation helicopter. Turkey has also dispatched one CN-235 ASW patrol plane.

This is the list of the participating naval units:

Number Name Type Country
11 BGS Smeli Frigate Bulgaria
340 HMCS St John’s Frigate Canada
F-221 ROS Regele Ferdnand Frigate Romania
111 ROS Marasesti Frigate Romania
265 ROS Admiral Horia Macellariu Corvette Romania
264 ROS Admiral Eustatiu Sebstian Corvette Romania
190 ROS Lastunul Corvette Romania
188 ROS Zborul Corvette Romania
25 ROS Lieutenant Lupu Dunescu Mine sweeper Romania
29 ROS Lieutenant Dimitrie Nicolescu Mine sweeper Romania
F-102 ESPS Almirante Juan de Borbon Frigate Spain
F-242 TCG Fatih Frigate Turkey
S-352 TCG Dolunay Submarine Turkey
78 USS Porter Destroyer USA

Turkish Navy Conducted An Exercise In The Black Sea

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Turkish fast attack craft TCG Atak (left) and TCG Tufan passing through Bosphorus in formation.

This week between 5th and 8th September 2016,  Turkish Navy conducted an unannounced exercise in the Black Sea.

During the week several Turkish warships of different types and some tugs towing practice targets were observed passing through Istanbul.

Interestingly there was no official statement from Turkish Naval Forces or from Turkish General Staff about the exercise. Since some of these passages were during the night, the exact number of the participating warships remains elusive.

Here is the list of the warships seen during the week:

Number Name Type
A-577 TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa Tender
A-579 TCG Cezayirli Gazi Hasanpaşa Tender
A-595 TCG Yarbay Kudret Güngör Tanker
F-241 TCG Turgutreis Frigate
F-243 TCG Yıldırım Frigate
F-244 TCG Barbaros Frigate
F-245 TCG Oruçreis Frigate
F-496 TCG Gökova Frigate
F-497 TCG Göksu Frigate
F-512 TCG Büyükada Corvette
P-333 TCG Tufan Fast attack craft
P-336 TCG Zıpkın Fast attack craft
P-337 TCG Atak Fast attack craft

TCG Akçakoca Searched For Two Missing Georgian Soldiers

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TCG Akçakoca in Georgia. Photo: Georgian MoD.

On 20 August 2016, Aydın class mine hunter TCG Akçakoca entered Georgian waters for a sad mission.

According to Agenda.ge, Corporal Iago Sharadze and First Class Private Giorgi Nanetashvili were taking part in dive training on August 16 but failed to surface after the planned dive, which took place off the coast of Gonio in the Black Sea. The men’s bodies have not yet been found but they are presumed dead.

As a mine hunter TCG Akçakoca has the suitable equipment on board, to find small objects underwater. Thus sending her for search of the bodies of the Georgian soldiers was very appropriate. According to initial news, she was to stay in Georgia for 3 days. I could not find any news whether she has returned or not.

Georgian Defence Minister Levan Izoria visited the TCG Akçakoca.

“I met with the crew of the Turkish vessel. They are highly skilled and professional specialists. The vessel is equipped with high technology and modern rescue capabilities which makes possible to conduct the operation effectively. Readiness is huge. They intend to stay for three days. Thus, in case of necessity the rescue operation will continue”, said Minister of Defence Levan Izoria.

Breeze 2016 Naval Exercise

Bulgaria is hosting the Breeze 2016 naval exercise from 8. July till 17. July 2016.

As many as 25 naval vessels from Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Spain and Turkey, two aircraft and two helicopters, and 1700 troops will take part in the exercise.

Turkish led NATO mine task force SNMCMG-2 is also in Bulgaria for this occasion.

This is the list of the participating warship That I could find:

Number Name Nation Type
A-579 TCG Cezayirli Gazi Hasanpaşa Turkey Tender
M-260 TCG Edincik Turkey Mine hunter
M-34 SPS Turia Spain Mine hunter
62 ROM Sub Lieutenant Alexandru Axente Romania Mine sweeper
 S-356 TCG Anafartalar Turkey Submarine
P-1207 TCG Tekirdağ Turkey Patrol boat
P-337 TCG Atak Turkey Fast attack craft
F-222 ROM  Regina Maria Romania Frigate
190 ROM Lastunul Romania Corvette
P-70 HS Y. Grigorpoulos Greece Fast attack craft

Russian Submarine Stary Oskol Passed Through Bosphorus

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Russian submarine Stary Oskol passing through Istanbul.

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Russian submarine was escorted by Turkish Coast Guard vessel TCSG-88 and trailed by Turkish ASW boat P-1207 TCG Tekirdağ during the submarines passage through Istanbul. Frigate TCG Yıldırım was waiting for the submarine at the northern entrance of the Strait.

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Stary Oskol is the third improved Kilo class submarine assigned to the Black Sea Fleet.

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On 29 June 2016, the improved Kilo submarine of the Black Sea Fleet, Stary Oskol made her inaugural passage through Istanbul Strait.
She is the third of a four Varshavyanka submarines being build for the Russian Black Sea Fleet. The first pair of these submarines, Novorossiysk and Rostov-na-Donu are already been commissioned.

With the arrival of this boat, the number of submarines in Russian Black Sea Fleet has increased to four: the Kilo class Alrosa and the impreoved Kilo (Varshavyanka) class Novorossiysk, Rostav-na-Donu and Stary Oskol.

During her passage through Istanbul Strait, the submarine was escorted by Turkish Coast Guard vessel TCSG-88 and trailed by anti submarine warfare patrol boat TCG Tekirdağ. Turkish frigate TCG Yıldırım was waiting for her at the northern enterance of the Istanbul Strait.

Romania Is Set To Modernize Its Frigates

Romanian frigate F-221 Regele Ferdinand on her way to home. Photo: Kerim Bozkurt. Used with permission.

Romanian frigate F-221 Regele Ferdinand on her way to home. A 2012 photo by Kerim Bozkurt.

Romania has officially started the modernization process of her 2 Type-22 frigates on 16 March 2016.

Like Bulgaria, Romania too needed modern, up to date and NATO compatible warships when both countries joined NATO. While Bulgaria opted to buy second hand frigates and mine hunter from Belgium, Romania bought two Type-22 frigates from Great Britain in 2003.

The frigates ROS Regina Maria (ex London) and ROS Regele Ferdinand (ex Coventry) were overhauled in UK before their delivery to Romania. They were transferred armed with only guns and torpedoes The frigates lack long-range offensive weapons and adequate air defence systems. The new contract will allow this deficiencies to be fixed. The vaule of the contract is estimared by Romanian MoD at 839 million Lei, without VAT  aproximatel Euro 190 million.

According to the published information the modernization will be done in Romania. The frigates will be fitted with anti ship missiles, anti air missiles and guns or short range missiles for self protection. And all of these new weapons and sensors will be integrated to the combat information system.

According to a press MapN Wednesday, the procedure for the award of the contract is “restricted procedure”, organized under the Emergency Ordinance no. 114/2011 regarding the award of certain public contracts in the fields of defense and security.

Through this contract, the frigates “King Ferdinand” and “Queen Mary” will be equipped with anti-aircraft missile, rocket antinavă and gun systems and / or missile for missile defense antinavă, and sensors with superior performance (radar, electronooptici and towed sonar). They will be integrated into a computerized system of Fight Management, Modern, which will enable it to perform the full range of specific missions frigates.

Modernization of vessels will be made compulsorily in Romania, as a requirement of security of supply, according to art. 1 para. (1) and art. 50 of GEO. 114/2011, in conjunction with art. 346 par. (1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union it is approved by CSAT memorandum entitled: multiannual program “multipurpose frigate – the second stage of modernization”.

Bulgaria Plans To Buy 2 New Warships In 6 Years Time

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Bulgarian frigate Verni. She is nearing her obsolescence. Here is a photo of her from 5 years ago

According to Sofia News Agency, Bulgarian defence minister Nikolay Nenchev announced that Bulgaria was planing to spend up to $477.80 million to procure two multi purpose warships.

The procurement cost, which comprises armaments, equipment and communication systems for the ships, could be one-third lower if the vessels were built in Bulgaria, Nenchev said during a visit to the Black Sea city of Varna on Thursday, according to a statement of the Defence Ministry.

“Within three-and-a half to six years the Navy will have two completed vessels,” Nenchev said.
The project will be submitted to Parliament in the next few days and the lawmakers are expected to approve it by the end of May, Nenchev added.
Preliminary talks have already been held with EU and NATO member states about potential acquisition of patrol ships, according to the statement.

It is the high time for Bulgaria to invest in new warships to protect her interests in the Black Sea.

The Bulgarian Navy has terminated its submarine service after 94 years and decommissioned her sole submarine in 2011. The 3 Wielingen class frigates and one Tripartite class mine hunter all bought from Belgium are the only new warships commissioned into naval service since the end of the Cold War. Thus around the year 2022 when the above mentioned two new warships are commissioned, the 3 Wielingen frigates Drazki, Verni and Gordi will be almost 45 years old.

I do not think Turkey’s burgeoning naval ship building industry despite its close geographical location will have much chance to win the bid for these ships. French, Dutch or German companies may have an advantage here.

Ukrainian Warships Paid a Short Visit To Istanbul

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Hetman Sahaidachny (left), TCG Salihreis (middle) Balta (right) in Istanbul.

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TCG Salihreis (left) and Hetman Sahaidachny (right) in Istanbul. Photo: Deniz Yaman.

Ukrainian warships Hetman Sahaidachny and Balta made a short port visit to Istanbul today.

Both ships passed through Istanbul Strait on 7th March 2016 and sailed to main Turkish Navy base in Gölcük, Kocaeli. There the ships have conducted joint exercises with Turkish warships.

The frigate Hetman Sahaidachny and the degaussing ship Balta arrived on the morning of 10th March 2016 accompanied by Turkish frigate TCG Salihreis to Istanbul. Balta left for Ukraine in a few hours later whereas the frigate stayed longer. The Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko who is in Turkey for an official visit, visited the frigate.

President Petro Poroshenko visited flagship of the Ukrainian Naval Forces Hetman Sahaidachny frigate that takes part in the common training with the Naval Forces of Turkey in the Sea of Marmara.
Commander of the sea campaign Dmytro Hlukhov and commander of the frigate Denys Ivanin demonstrated the equipment and mobile military hospital provided by the Turkish side.
Ukraine will receive 5 such hospitals. They will be relocated to the sectors of responsibility in the ATO area after the return of Hetman Sahaidachny frigate to Ukraine.
The President emphasized that such mobile hospitals were essentially important in the ATO area. He called them the evidence of partnership relations between the two states. “Earlier, we received them from the United States, Canada and Australia. It emphasizes strategic character of our relations,” the Head of State noted.

Later in the afternoon, Hetman Sahaidachny departed with two containers on her flight deck to Ukraine.

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