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.

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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

TCG Gökçeada Deployed To The Indian Ocean

TCG Gökçeada heading into a sand storm. Photo: Turkish Naval Forces

TCG Gökçeda will start her goodwill visit to Doha, Qatar on 28th January 2019.

The frigate departed from Aksaz Naval Base on 13th January 2019 for a 3-month deployment to the Indian Ocean which will be her third. The frigate passed through the Suez Canal on 16th January and proceed to Djibouti her first port of call.

Following her visit to Qatar, TCG Gökçeada will sail to Pakistan and will take part in the exercise AMAN-19.

Pakistan started to organize AMAN multinational exercises in 2007 to promote regional cooperation and stability, greater interoperability and to display a united resolve against terrorism and crimes in the maritime domain including Piracy. AMAN-19 is the sixth such exercise planned.

After completion of the exercise, TCG Gökçeada will join CTF-151, the multinational task force against piracy off the coast of Somalia and will return home on 17th March 2019.

 

 

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

NATO Naval Taskforces End Their Deployment To The Black Sea

The flagship of Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two FGR Rhein, during her southbound transit through Istyanbul.

Turkish contribution to Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two, TCG Anamur making her southbound passage through Istanbul as the taskforce departs from the Black Sea. A new minehunter will replace her for the future deployment of SNMCMG-2.

On early July, flagships of Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) and Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two (SNMCMG2) HNLMS De Ruyter and FGS Rhein arrived in Bulgarian port Burgas for the Bulgarian led exercise Breeze 2018. Replenishment ship FS Marne of Marine Nationale and Greek fast attack craft HS Daniolos followed them. BREEZE 2018 from 13 to 20 July.

The exercise was designed to enhance the interoperability of the participating units and strengthen cooperation by practicing different warfare techniques in a multi-dimensional scenario. Multinational participating forces and their crews will be tested in a wide range of warfare tactics focusing on regional security.

Bulgaria as host took part with 16 combat and auxiliary ships and cutters, 2 helicopters and staff of 930 members. Two aircraft of the Bulgarian Air Force and units of the Land Forces were also involved in the exercise with most ships. Turkey was the second largest contributor to the exercise with TCG Fatih for SNMG-2 and minehunter TCG Anamur for SNMCMG-2, submarine TCG Gür, fast attack craft TCG İmbat and one patrol plane.

In total 25 combat and auxiliary ships and cutters, 1 submarine, 4 aircraft, 5 helicopters and 2,340 service members from the navies of Bulgaria, Belgium, Greece, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, the USA, Turkey, France, the Netherlands took part in the exercise, which was held from 13th to 20th July.

Following the conclusion of the exercise Sea Breeze Greek fast attack craft HS Daniolos and French replenishment tanker, FS Marne exited the region while the remaining ships of both NATO Standing Maritime Groups made a port visit in Odessa between 23rd and 25th July. During this port visit, the warships were warships were open to the public. According to the Turkish Navy, TCG Fatih and TCG Anamur have hosted 2413 visitors for 6 hours when they were open to the public.

After the port visit, all NATO warships conducted a passing exercise (PASSEX) with Ukrainian naval forces. The flagship of the Ukrainian Navy Hetman Sagaidachny and warships BerdyanskVyshgorod, Kremenchuk, Lubny, and Pochaiv also took part in this PASSEX.

Upon leaving Odessa, NATO naval task forces separated. While SNMCMG-2 sailed towards Constanta Romania to conduct mine warfare exercise with Romanian Navy, SNMG-2 sailed to Samsun Turkey.

On the first day of August 2018, both HNLMS De Ruyter and FGS Rhein departed from the Black Sea ending their deployment in the region.

TCG Gediz Takes Part In Dynamic Mongoose 2018

TCG Gediz as part of SNMG-1 takes part in the Dynamic Mongoose ASW exercise. During the exercise, she has crossed the Arctic Circle. Main photo: FRA N WO Christian Valverde, insert Turkish General Staff.

Gabya class frigate TCG Gediz is hunting for submarines at the top of the world. As Turkish contribution to the Standing NATO Maritime Group One TCG Gediz takes part in anti submarine warfare exercise Dynamic Mongoose 2018.

According to the Turkish General Staff, the frigate has crossed the Arctic Circle on 29th June.

Submarines from Norway under operational control of NATO Submarine Command (COMSUBNATO), will join 7 surface ships from Denmark, Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Turkey under the command of Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) Commodore Søren Thinggaard LARSEN. To support the simulated multi-threat environment, Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA’s) from Germany, Norway, and the United States will operate from Andoya Air Base under the operational command of NATO Maritime Air Command (COMMARAIR).

In March 2018 Turkish warship TCG Gaziantep took part in the southern ASW exercise Dynamic Manta held in Italy.

Below is the list of the participating units to Dynamic Mongoose 2018:

Number Name Country Type
F-363 HDMS Niels Juel Denmark Frigate
F-828 HNLMS Van Speijk Netherlands Frigate
F-831 HNLMS Van Amstel Netherlands Frigate
273 ORP General Tadeusz Kosciuszko Poland Frigate
Z-1 ORP Baltik Poland Tanker
F-101 ESPS Álvaro de Bazán Spain Frigate
F-495 TCG Gediz Turkey Frigate
Norway Submarine
Norway Submarine
P-3C Orion Norway Patrol plane
P-8A Posedion VP-10 USA Patrol plane
P-3C Orion Germany Patrol plane

Turkish Navy Conducts Another SINKEX

Turkish Navy disposed of another decommissioned warship by sending it to the Davy Jones’ Locker with a big bang.

Ay class submarine TCG Yıldıray commissioned in service in 1981, sunk the decommissioned tanker TCG Sadettin Gürcan. She was decommissioned in November 2016, after 46 years of service.

The ship was named after Lieutenant Commander Sadettin Gürcan the commander of the submarine TCG Atılay. This submarine was lost with all hands in July 1942 as she hit submerged an old naval mine from First World War off Dardanelles Strait.

The decommissioned tanker was observed being towed towards to the Black Sea in February 2018. She had markings painted on her bow were consistent with previous targets towed to the Black Sea.

According to unconfirmed reports, the torpedo fires from TCG Yıldıray was an SST-4 Mod 0.

Just 8 months ago, in October 2017 Turkish Navy conducted another SINKEX in the Black Sea. In that exercise, the Oliver Hazard Perry-class hull, ex-USS Duncan was sunk by an Mk-24 Mod. 2 Tigerfish torpedo.

On 11th June 2018, two Ay class submarines were observed sailing towards the Black Sea. One of them is TCG Yıldıray. Unfortunately, I am not in a position to tell you which is which but here are the photos of the two submarines:

Turkish Coast Guard Rescues 275 People, During Search And Rescue Exercise

Dost class OPV, TCSG Güven acted as the flagship for the Turkish Coast Guard units taking part in the exercise.

Turkish Coast Guard rescued 275 illegal immigrants from the sea on 6 different occasions during the Deniz Aslanı 2018 search and rescue exercise.

According to Turkish Coast Guard, on 14 May 2018 during the search and rescue exercise held in the Aegean Sea, in 6 different incidents total of 275 the illegal immigrants were rescued from hardly seaworthy rubber boats.

Deniz Aslanı is an annual exercise held, in international waters of the Aegean Sea covered by Turkish Search and Rescue Area. Search and Rescue units from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and elements of Transportation, Maritime Affairs, and Communications Ministry participated in the exercise.

The aim of the exercise is to improve the coordination and collaboration between the military and civilian search and rescue units and coordination centers.

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