Turkish Navy EOD Team Destroys An Old Mine

The deadly catch. Photo: Balıkesir Haber Ajansı

This week a fishing boat operating off the coast of Ayvalık, Balıkesir found a mine in its net.

They have informed the Coast Guard and the harbor master. The old and probably inert mine was brought to the shore on board. A Turkish Navy EOD team was called by the Coast Gaurd. The EOD team brought the mine to an inhabited area and destroyed it by detonation.

The mine is believed to be from 1. World War era. Every year fishermen return with such deadly catch and provide the EOD teams always an opportunity for action.

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TCG Edincik Gets A New Mine Hunting Sonar

The legacy DUBM 20B sonar system on board of TCG Edincik, here off Istanbul in 2017, was replaced by indigenously developed MATESS system.

It was revealed during the industry day of the Nusret 2018 mine warfare exercise, that the Turkish minehunter TCG Edincik was fitted with the mine detection sonar of Aselsan.

Aselsan started to development of MATESS, mine detection sonar as a private project without a firm order from Turkish Navy. When the system was evolved to certain maturity, it was installed on board of Edincik class minehunter TCG Edincik.

The minehunter started her life as FS Calliope in 1971 in French Navy. In 1999 she and her 4 sisters were bought by the Turkish Navy. She was renamed as TCG Edincik and transferred in 1998. In her original configuration, she was fitted with DUBM 20B minehunting sonar.

According to Aselsan MATESS is a mine detection and object avoidance sonar, providing automatic detection, localization and classification capability for underwater objects, supporting ships navigation safety at high reliability.

The system is made up from the transducer array, transmitter and receiver, signal processing and user interface units.

Aselsan expects the testing of the sonar system on TCG Edincik will end in late December and in early 2019 the system will officially be inaugurated to Turkish Navy. Her attendance to the Nusret mine warfare exercise should be regarded as a part of the testing and evaluation process of the MATESS by Turkish Navy.

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

Turkish Navy Has Started To Hunt Mines With Autonomous Unmanned Vehicles


Turkish Navy has entered the age of autonomous unmanned vehicles (AUV). This transition happened without much fanfare or publicity.

The above photo was published on Turkish General Staff website and shows the deck of the Aydın class minehunter TCG Anamur during the ITALIAN MINEX-18 held in Italy between 21 and 29 May.

The orange and yellow gadgets on the back of the deck are practice mines used during the exercise. The large yellow device partially visible on the left is a French-made PAP-104 underwater unmanned vehicle used for exploration, identification and sometimes for the destruction of mines. That system is remotely controlled and is not fully autonomous. This is the standard ROV of all Turkish minehunters.

The yellow torpedo-like object, in the middle, is of much interest. It is a Gavia autonomous underwater vehicle made by Teledyne Gavia.

According to the information provided by the company, GAVIA (AUV) is a self-contained, low logistics, modular survey platform capable of delivering high-quality data while operating from vessels of opportunity or from the shore.

The system is field proven for applications that include MCM, SAR, and ASW training. The field-changeable and easily transportable modules make it well suited for rapid response to emerging requirements.

At least two 1000m rated systems were delivered in 2016. One is named Uluç Bora and the other Barbaros Dora. In one press release, the company states the end user as Turkish Air Force and the AUV’s will provide TAF with highly effective deep water, rapid response capability. I sincerely believe that the there is a mistake. Usually, all underwater operations are the responsibility of Turkish Navy. And currently, these AUV’s are operated by the Turkish Navy Mine Countermeasures (MCM) command in Erdek.

The most striking specialty of this UAV is its modularity. The vehicle can be configured even on the field by adding modules or taking them out according to the mission requirements. The length and the weight of the AUV’s vary according to the modules it has.

Though it is not confirmed I believe each Turkish GAVIA has in addition to the nose, battery and propulsion modules one DVL-aided INS module, one side scan/bathymetry sonar module, one multibeam profiling module.

Among other naval operators of GAVIA AUV are Poland and Russia.

TCG Akçay Discovers An Old Mine Off Romanian Coast

M-270 TCG Akçay, seen here passing northbound through Istanbul 16 days ago.

Aydın class minehunter TCG Akçay has discovered a mine probably a relic of Second World War, as she was conducting training operations with SNMCMG-2 off the coast of Romania.

The NATO task force made its northbound passage through Turkish Straits 16 days ago.

The mine was discovered at 8 A.M. local time while TCG AKÇAY, under the command of Turkish Navy Lieutenant Commander Abdulla Yildiz, was using her mine hunting sonar to scan the sea bed and the water below her. The crew detected an object, which was thought to be a potential mine.  TCG AKÇAY then used her Remote Controlled Mine Discovery Vehicle (RCMDV) to investigate the possible mine further.  The RCMDV is remotely controlled from the mine hunter and used to identify mine-like objects using an onboard camera. If necessary, the RCMDV can also lay a 100kg explosive charge to destroy the mine.

SNMCMG2 was conducting mine countermeasure training with the Romanian Navy just off the Romanian coast near Constanta when the historic ordinance was discovered.  The area in question is shown on maritime charts as a formally mined area and this means that this is likely to be an historic mine.  The mine sits on the seabed at approximately 40 metres depth.  Images show that the mine is still attached to the ‘sinker’ or weight, which means that it likely didn’t deploy correctly when it was laid. Normally these mines were suspended mid water, attached to the weight on the seabed.

“Finding this historic mine demonstrates NATO’s capability to find uncharted mines in the Black Sea,” said Royal Navy Commander Justin Hains, Commander of SNMCMG2. “We work hard to practice our skills to ensure safe sea lanes. Identification and disposal of historic ordnance is just part of the mission.”

NATO is liaising with the Romanian authorities with regards to the neutralization or disposal of the mine

Nusret 2017 Mine Warfare Exercise

M-62 HS Evropi takes part in naval mine warfare exercise Nusret 2017. This is a photo of her from her Black Sea deployment in 2016.

Each year Turkish Navy organizes a mine warfare exercise 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 the exercise will be held between 25 November and 3 December  2017 in Saros Bay.

The aim of the exercise is to provide training for the planning and execution of mine warfare and to improve the interoperability in mine warfare, between warships from participant countries.

Turkish Armed Forces will take part with 6 mine hunters, one minelayer/command ship, one frigate, one patrol boat, one mine retriever, one Coast Guard vessels, one naval EOD team, one helicopter, 2 F-16C fighters and one C-130 cargo plane. For the first time, a Turkish autonomous underwater vehicle and its crew are listed among participants.

Bulgaria participates in one mine warfare ship. Greece and Qatar will each deploy one EOD team.

The below is the list of the participating warships as far as I could identify:

Number Name Type Nationality Fleet
H-88 HMS Enterprise Command Ship UK SNMCMG-2
M-265 TCG Alanya Minehunter Turkey SNMCMG-2
5558 ITS Crotone Minehunter Italy SNMCMG-2
62 BGS Shkval Minesweeper Bulgaria SNMCMG-2
M-62 HS Evropi Minehunter Greece SNMCMG-2
32 Tsibar Minehunter Bulgaria
M-260 TCG Edincik Minehunter Turkey
M-261 TCG Edremit Minehunter Turkey
M-263 TCG Erdek Minehunter Turkey
M-267 TCG Ayvalık Minehunter Turkey
M-269 TCG Anamur Minehunter Turkey
M-270 TCG Akçay Minehunter Turkey
L-402 TCG Bayraktar Landing ship Turkey
F-XXX TCG XXX Frigate Turkey
P-12XX TCG XXX Patrol boat Turkey

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

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

Nusret 2016 Mine Warfare Exercise

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Romanian mine sweeper ROS Sub Lieutenant Alexandru Axente will take part in the Nusret 2016 mine warfare exercise. This photo is from her spring deployment.

Each year Turkish Navy organises a mine warfare exercise named after the famous minelayer Nusret.

This year the exercise will be held between 25 November and 4 December  2016, in İzmir Bay.

The aim of the exercise is to provide training for the planning and execution of mine warfare and to improve the interoperability in mine warfare, between warships from participant countries.

Turkish Armed Forces will take part with 7 mine hunters, one mine layer / command and control ship, one corvette, one patrol boat, one mine retriever, 3 Coast Guard vessels, one naval EOD team, one helicopter, 2 F-16C fighters and one C-130 cargo plane.

Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Romania and Spain will send one mine warfare ship. Belgium will take part with one autonomous underwater vehicle and its crew. Greece and Romania will each deploy one EOD team as well.

The below is the list of the participating warships as far as I could identify:

Number Name Type Country
63 BGS Priboy Mine sweeper Bulgaria
M-1058 FGS Fulda Mine hunter Germany
A-470 HS Aliakmon Command Greece
M-63 HS Kallisto Mine hunter Greece
30 ROS Sub Lieutenant Alexandru Axente Mine sweeper Romania
 M-36 ESPS Tajo Mine hunter Spain
F-511 TCG Heybeliada Corvette Turkey
M-265 TCG Alanya Mine hunter Turkey
M-266 TCG Amasra Mine hunter Turkey
M-267  TCG Ayvalık Mine hunter Turkey
M-269 TCG Anamur Mine hunter Turkey
M-260 TCG Edincik Mine hunter Turkey
M-261 TCG Edremit Mine hunter Turkey
M-262 TCG Enez Mine hunter Turkey
A-577 TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa Command Turkey
P-1206  TCG Karşıyaka Patrol ship Turkey

Further reading:

Nusret 2014

Nusret 2013

Nusret 2012

Nusret 2011

Nusret 2010

NATO SNMCMG-2 In Istanbul

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The ships of the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2 in one photo. From left to right: A-579 TCG Cezayirli Gazi Hasan Paşa, M-33 ESPS Tambre (inside), 62 BGS Shkval, M-261 TCG Edremit.

Turkish led NATO mine warfare task force Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2 arrived in Istanbul for a port visit on 5th February 2016. The last time when the SNMCMG-2 visit the town was in July 2014.

The task force spend the previous week in Marmara Sea practising mine sweeping and hunting operations. Duration of  the port visit in Istanbul was not disclosed. But presumably the task force will leave Istanbul on 8th February or on 9th February latest and will sail to the Black Sea.

According to the previously announced schedule the task force will visit Georgian port Batumi and at the end of the month will take part in the Bulgarian led mine warfare exercise Poseidon. Currently the task force is made up with these ship:

Number
Name
Nation
Type
A-579 TCG Cezayirli Gazi Hasanpaşa Turkey Flagship
M-261 TCG Edremit Turkey Mine hunter
M-33 SPS Tambre Spain Mine hunter
62 BGS Shkval Bulgaria Mine sweeper

The Romanian MoD announced that their mine sweeper 30 ROS Sub Lieutenant Alexandru Axente will join the task force. Since this mine sweeper is not present in Istanbul I believe she will participate when the task force is in the Black Sea.

The Spanish mine hunter is the only non Black Sea nation warship of the task force. Her presence in the Black Sea is subject to the rules of Montreux Convention. The convention limits the duration of stay of non Black Sea nation warships to 21 days.

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M-261 TCG Edremit

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62 BGS Shkval

 

NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2 Conducts Training In Marmara Sea

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Spanish mine hunter ESPS Tambre (left) and the Bulgarian mine sweeper BGS Shkval (right). Photo: SNMCMG-2

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The flagship of the task force TCG Cezayirli Gazi Hasanpaşa. Photo: SNMCMG-2

The task force has started its recent activities in Turkish naval base in Erdek, Balıkesir in early January. Erdek is the home port of the Turkish mine hunter ships. TCG Cezayirli Gazi Hasan Paşa replaced her sister TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa as the flagship of the task force. Following this change the task force sailed to the Aegean Sea to conduct a port visit in İzmir and some training activities in Saros Bay in Northern Aegean.

The ships of NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2 passed through Çanakkale Strait on 27 January 2015 and entered Marmara Sea. Later in this month the task force will sail through Istanbul Strait and enter the Black Sea to participate in Bulgarian mine counter measures exercise Poseidon between 20 and 27 February 2016.

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