Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 In Casablanca

Turkish frigate F-246 TCG Salihreis entering Port of Casablanca as port of SNMG-2

Turkish frigate F-246 TCG Salihreis entering Port of Casablanca as port of SNMG-2. Photo: NATO/HQ MARCOM

On 19 October 2013, three NATO ships F-101 ESPS Alvaro De Bazan, F-219 FGS Sachsen and F-246 TCG Salihreis assigned to Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) arrived in Casablanca for a scheduled port visit.

During the visit, the NATO forces will exercise together with the Moroccan Navy, conducting personnel exchange visits in port. The port visit will also mark a welcome break for the crew of SNMG2, which has been operating at a very high tempo during the past few weeks.

In addition to supporting the counter-terrorism Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR (OAE), the Group has just completed participation in the major maritime exercise BRILLIANT MARINER, a multinational force of 21 ships and submarines that worked together to ‘stress test’ the crisis reaction capabilities of the NATO Response Force (NRF). Upon departing Casablanca, SNMG2 will return to the Mediterranean to resume support to OAE, actively deterring threats to maritime security and trade.

The Mediterranean Odyssey of TCG Heybeliada (Part 2)

The Turkish corvette F-511 TCG Heybeliada arrived in La Goulette Tunisia today after finishing her visit in Algeria.

TCG Heybeliada will stay in Tunisia till 6 July 2013.

According to the Algerian news portals the visit of TCG Heybeliada was within the framework of military cooperation between to nations.

Within the framework of military cooperation between Algeria and Turkey, the Turkish corvette TCG Heybeliada docked yesterday at the port of Algiers, during a stopover to spread until July 2.Entered service in September 2011, the vessel in question, 99 meters long, has a crew of 93 men between sailors and officers, and has its board a helicopter, as well as a mini-track aterrissage if we rely on the data sheet provided to reporters on his landing.   
weapons side, the corvette has eight anti-ship missiles Integred Defense Systems Boeing AGM-84 Harpoon, a launcher Mk.49 for Mod.3 21 missiles and a vertical surface to air launcher Raytheon RIM-162 ESSM Rolling Airframe Missile Block 1A missiles. 
TCG Heybeliada is also equipped with a retractable 76 mm gun, torpedoes, four 324 mm guns and two 12 , 7 mm. For electronic equipment, a three-dimensional naval surveillance radar and air surface Haselsan combat system and radar navigation round a table already well stocked with, among others, a hull sonar system and anti-torpedo decoy launching said “Sea Sentor SSTD.” 
When he arrived in Algiers, the crew of the corvette, led by Commander Bulent Bustano was received by the Commander of the Maritime Front Centre, General Mohamed Guelmami, pending the organization of a military exercises with the Algerian Navy.

Speaking at a press briefing yesterday on board the ship, Colonel Yasar Camur is said to be “convinced” that he is beautiful “opportunities” in the fields of defense, security and the military industry to further strengthen relations between the two countries, the rest qualified “excellent” and said an agreement was signed between the two countries in September 2013. 

“The Turkish naval forces are prepared for possible exchange of experiences with our Algerian friends, as we participate in exercises and other military operations,” he said, recalling that in the wake of the relations between Algeria and Turkey are “old”.”We are Turks and Algerians, the descendants of Barbarossa,” he said not without observing that the fleets of the two countries often bear common names.  

The emphasize on the last paragraph is mine.

Here is a short video of TCG Heybeliada arriving in Algiers.

The Mediterranean Odyssey of TCG Heybeliada

 TCG Heybeliada, in Tripoli      Photo: Aimen Eljali

TCG Heybeliada, in Tripoli Photo: Aimen Eljali

The Ada class corvette F-511 TCG Heybeliada is continuing her trip across the North African Countries.

After Alexandria Egypt, she has visited Tripoli Libya.

The first Turkish navy ship to enter Libyan waters since 1911, when the Ottomans lost what became Libya to the Italians, docked yesterday in Tripoli harbour. The frigate, TCG Heybeliada, arrived yesterday morning on a visit designed to promote Turkish-Libyan naval ties, including support for the Libyan navy.

The visit also celebrates the 500th anniversary of the world map drawn in 1513 by Ottoman admiral and cartographer Piri Reis and is part of North Africa tour to mark it.

As well as Tripoli, the frigate is visiting ports in Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. It arrived from Alexandria.

At a press conference on board yesterday, attended by members of the Libyan navy, Turkish navy officers spoke both of the relations between the two countries and the need for naval cooperation between all Mediterranean countries, particularly in the field of military training. In Libya’s case, this was anticipated to include support from the Turkish navy in the rebuilding of the Libyan navy and training for Libyan naval cadets. It is also expected to include the construction of vessels as well as the provision of expertise and technical support, as well as an exchange of visits and consultations between officials of the two countries’ navies.

The vessel’s commander said during the press conference that what is now Libya and Turkey had enjoyed good relations for 500 years. Asked if the Turkish naval skill support had been offered to Libya, a Libyan navy officer said that a number of friendly countries has agreed to provide help and support.

The above report of the Libyan Herald ignores the fact that a number of Turkish warships docked in Libyan ports during the civil war in this country that ended the Qaddafi regime, but this is not my point.

The Moroccan port of Casablanca was the next stop for TCG Heybeliada after Tripoli.

Casablanca, June 25, 2013 (MAP) – The military ship TCG Heybeliada, Commander of the Turkish Naval Forces, visited Tuesday at Casablanca port for two days before heading to Spain before returning to Istanbul, its home port after 35 days journey.

This building, modern multi-role, was built entirely by the Turkish shipbuilding industry Milgem kind. It is 99.5 meters long, 2,400 tons and gauge uses two MTU diesel and turbine LM-2500 gas engines, said at a press briefing Captain Yachar Chamour.

This corvette, the first building of this class (Milgem) 85 sailors onboard account between officers and crew. It was launched in September 2008 and had made his first trip two years later in November 2010, he said, adding that the second ship will be operational in September.

It is equipped with electronic systems including weapon launchers cruise missiles and Harpoon anti-ship, anti-aircraft missiles RAM, the 76 mm gun and MK46 torpedo, explained the captain.

The Milgem class has a radius of 5,000 km, a top speed of 30 knots, can stay 45 days at sea and has a platform to accommodate a helicopter.

This visit to the port of Casablanca offers the opportunity to promote dialogue and cooperation and contribute to the development of military relations between the two countries, he said.

The Algerian capital, Algeria is the next scheduled port of call for TCG Heybeliada. She is planned to arrive there tomorrow and will remain till Tuesday.

I find this trip very interesting:

  • This is the first cruise of TCG Heybeliada for such a long duration. It will bring valuable lessons about operating this class, as a single unit for extended periods away from the organic support of Turkish Navy.
  • This tour is a very good way of increasing the soft power of Turkey in the region by using a Turkish designed and built warship. It is a text book example of power projection by naval forces in peace time operations.
  • I am sure that this voyage is also a part of the efforts to market the Ada class corvettes to foreign navies.

Further Reading:
TCG Heybeliada Starts Her Mediterranean Tour
The Mediterranean Cruise of TCG Heybeliada

NATO Mine Task Force Departed From Casablanca

Yesterday, Standing NATO Mine Counter Measure Group 2 (SNMCMG2) ended their 5 day visit to Casablanca, Morocco. The port visit was a part of an extensive Programme for the Group aimed at furthering and increasing cooperation and understanding between NATO and Morocco.

SNMCMG-2 visited Tunisia and Algiers before arriving in Morocco.

The visit will allow NATO units to foster relationships with civilian and military authorities building further on the excellent relations already developed under NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue Programme. It also offers national authorities the opportunity to apprise themselves of SNMCMG2’s capabilities. During the visit, the crews will have an opportunity to visit historical and cultural sites.

The Commander of SNMCMG2 is Captain Abdulhamit SENER (Turkish Navy) embarked on his flagship TGS S. MEHMETPASA. “It gives me enormous pleasure to begin this important visit to Morocco and in particular to have this opportunity to meet and train with the Royal Moroccan Navy. The visit will culminate in a PASSEX (Passage Exercise) which will be a great opportunity for both NATO and Morocco to demonstrate how well our ships can work together,” stated Captain Sener.

This is the current composition of SNMCMG-2:

A-577 TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa Turkey Flagship
M-268 TCG Akcakoca Turkey Minehunter
M-34 SPS Turia Spain Minehunter
5556 ITS Alghero Italy Minehunter
M-30 HMS Ledbury UK Minehunter
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