The SNMG-2 Is Back In Istanbul

The flagship of the SNMG-2 HMNLS Eversten in Istanbul.

Turkish contribution to SNMG-2, TCG Yıldırım in Istanbul after sailing the Black Sea for 21 days.

On 29 March four ships of NATO Standing Maritime Force 2 transited northbound through Turkish Straits and entered the Black Sea.

This was the start of the task force’s first Black Sea deployment in 2019.

The French National Marine contribution to the SNMG-2 FS Var also arrived in Istanbul but she did not proceed to the Black Sea with the rest of the group. She remained in the city for a 4-day port visit and later returned to France as her deployment with the task force was over.

Once in the Black Sea Bulgarian frigate, Drazki and Romanian frigate Regele Ferdinand joined the task force before SNMG-2 split in two.

The Canadian frigate HMCS Toronto and the Spanish frigate ESPS Santa Maria sailed to Odessa, Ukraine. According to NATO press release, while in Odesa, the ship captains meet with local military and elected officials, worked with Ukrainian Navy personnel and welcomed local Ukrainian civilians aboard during scheduled open ship periods.

The Canadian and Spanish frigates conducted PASSEX with Ukrainian Matka class (Project 206 MP) corvette Priluki. This exercise was dutifully observed by the Russian intelligence-gathering ship Ivan Khurs.

Turkish town Trabzon was the first stop for the remaining four ships of the task force namely HMNLS Eversten the flagship, TCG Yıldırım, BGS Drazki, and ROS Regele Ferdinand. Following a short 3-day visit, they have sailed to Poti Georgia. Like in Ukraine, following the visit to Poti, SNMG-2 ships conducted a Passing Exercise with the Georgian Coast Guard vessels.

The task force joined in Romanian port Constanta prior to the start of the largest multinational naval exercise in Romania’s territorial waters and in the international waters of the Black Sea: Sea Shield 2019. The Spanish frigate left the taskforce and exited the Black Sea before the task force’s arrival in Romania.

In addition to the ships of SNMG-2, the Greek fast attack craft HS Ritsos, Bulgarian corvette BGS Bodri, and Romanian frigate ROS Marasesti, corvettes ROS Contraamiral Macellariu, ROS Contraamiral Horia Macellariu, missile-carrying fast attack craft ROS Pescarusul, ROS Zborul, minesweepers ROS Lieutenant Lupu Dinescu, ROS Lieutenant Dimitrie Nicolescu also took part, along with Romanian detachment of EOD divers, two mobile anti-ship missile launchers and other support units.

According to the Romanian Defence Ministry approximately 2,200 troops, took part in the exercise who practiced against underwater, surface and air threats, adapted to the typology of security threats in the Black Sea region. The scenario of the exercise was fictional and aimed planning and execution of crisis response operations under the mandate of Security Council resolutions of the United Nations (UNSC), in the context of a security environment characterized by symmetrical and asymmetrical threats.

SNMG-2 exited the Black Sea on 17th April and arrived in Istanbul for a well-deserved port visit. HMNLS Eversten and TCG Yıldırım berthed while HMCS Toronto sailed to the Mediterranean without stopping in the city.

French replenishment tanker FS Var. She arrived in Istanbul with the rest of the task force but did not enter the Black Sea.

Canadian frigate HMCS Toronto. This photo was taken when she was passing through Istanbul. She spent 21 days in the Black Sea and left it sailing directly to the Mediterranean.

This is Spanish frigate ESPS Santa Maria passing northbound through Istanbul. She stayed only 7 days in the Black Sea before exiting it while the rest took part in the Sea Shield naval exercise.

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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

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

The Participants of Mavi Balina 2018 Naval Exercise

TCG Bandırma (left) and TCG Gemlik (right) receiving fuel underway from replenishment ship TCG Akar. Photo: Turkish Navy

Mavi Balina (Blue Whale) 2018 invitation naval exercise is going to end today with a post-exercise briefing in Aksanz Naval Base in Marmaris.

Mavi Balina is a biannual anti-submarine warfare exercise where the participating units had the opportunity to increase their readiness for actual submarine warfare operations.

Here is a list of the surface units took part in the exercise:

Number Name Type Country
F-245 TCG Oruçreis Frigate Turkey
F-490 TCG Gaziantep Frigate Turkey
F-491 TCG Giresun Frigate Turkey
F-492 TCG Gemlik Frigate Turkey
F-493 TCG Gelibolu Frigate Turkey
F-502 TCG Bandırma Corvette Turkey
F-512 TCG Büyükada Corvette Turkey
P-1204 TCG Tarsus Patrol Boat Turkey
A-580 TCG Akar Tanker Turkey
F-804 HNLMS De Ruyter Frigate Netherlands
F-105 ESPS Cristobal Colon Frigate Spain
F-253 PNS Saif Frigate Pakistan
F-211 ROS Regele Ferdinand Frigate Romania

Mavi Balina 2018 Naval Exercise Starts Tomorrow

Romanian frigate ROS Regele Ferdinand seen here passing through Istanbul on 25th September 2018. She is going to take part in Mavi Balina Exercise.

Mavi Balina (Blue Whale) 2018 invitation naval exercise will be held between 28th September and 7th October in the eastern Mediterranean.  Turkish Navy will host ships, airplanes, helicopters, boarding teams and observers from, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Pakistan, Romania, Saudi Arabia and the United States of America. Furthermore Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) will take part in the exercise too.

Mavi Balina is a biannual anti-submarine warfare exercise. Participating units will have the opportunity to increase their readiness for actual operations and to increase their ability to perform joint operations.

Turkish Navy will participate with 4 frigates, 5 submarines, 2 corvettes, 1 replenishment ship, 1 patrol boat 3 maritime patrol planes, and 6 helicopters.  Airplanes from Turkish Airforce will also take part.

NATO Maritime Group Two will deploy the flagship The Dutch frigate HNLMS De Ruyter, the Spanish frigate ESPS Cristóbal Colón, the Greek frigate HS Elli and one yet undisclosed Turkish frigate.

Pakistan will join with the frigate PNS Saif and one maritime patrol plane. Romania will deploy the frigate ROS Regele Ferdinand and one helicopter. One maritime patrol plane from US Navy will take part in the exercise too.

Algeria, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Pakistan, Romania, Saudi Arabia NATO, and the United States will send 19 observers

18 visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) team members and 7 VBSS trainers from Azerbaijan are going to take part in Mavi Balina exercise. Their training will be evaluated by 3 men strong VBSS audit and evaluation team from NATO MARCOM.

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.

Dynamic Manta 2018 Starts Tomorrow

TCG Gaziantep takes part in Dynamic Manta 2018. Here is a photo of her from February 2018 as she was passing through Istanbul with SNMG-2.

NATO’s Submarine Warfare Exercise Dynamic Manta 2018 kicks off tomorrow, 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 Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, the UK and the United States, under the control of Commander, Submarines NATO (COMSUBNATO) taking part in the annual exercise.

Altogether 6 submarines, 9 ships, 10 ASW planes and 10 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 participant:

Number Name Type Country
F-931 BNS Louise Marie Frigate Belgium
340 HMCS Windsor Submarine Canada
D-653 FS Languedoc Frigate France
F-450 HS Elli Frigate Greece
S-122 HS Matrozos Submarine Greece
S-73 ESPS Mistral Submarine Spain
F-82 ESPS Victoria Frigate Spain
F-105 ESPS Cristobal Colon Frigate Spain
S-353 TCG Preveze Submarine Turkey
F-490 TCG Gaziantep Frigate Turkey
D-37 HMS Duncan Destroyer UK
SSN 785 USS John Warner Submarine USA
S-529 ITS Romeo Romei Submarine Italy
58 USS Laboon Destroyer USA
F-593 ITS Carabiniere Frigate Italy

Click here for reports on previous Noble Manta exercises.

NATO Task Forces Arrive In Bulgarian Ports

Romanian frigate ROS Regele Ferdinand (left) and Turkish frigate TCG Gaziantep (right). The mast of the HMS Duncan is visible at the background. Photo: BTA

After meeting up in Constanta, Romania last week, the both UK led NATO maritime task forces  SNMG-2 and SNMCMG-2 have arrived in Bulgaria.

The mine countermeasure warfare task force made a port call in Burgas while the naval task force arrived in Varna.

Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group Two (SNMCMG2), under the command of Royal Navy Commander Justin Hains, will depart from Burgas on 11th February. The task group consists of the Romanian minesweeper ROS Lupu Dinescu, Turkish mine hunter M-270 TCG Akçay and  H-88 HMS Enterprise the flagship of the task force.

Standing NATO Group Two (SNMG2), under the command of Royal Navy Commodore Mike Utley OBE, will depart from Varna on 11th February. The task group consists of the Romanian frigate F-221 ROS Regele Ferdinand, Turkish frigate F-490 TCG Gaziantep and D-37 HMS Duncan the flagship of the task force.

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

NATO SNMCMG-2 In Sinop

M-270 TCG Akçay the Turkish contribution to SNMCMG-2, passing through Istanbul.

The flagship of the SNMCMG-2, H-88 HMS enterprise passing through Istanbul

The UK led NATO mine warfare task force Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2 made a northbound passage through Turkish Straits last week and arrived in Sinop, Turkey on 25th January for a 4-day port visit.

The SNMCMG-2 is Romanian minesweeper ROS Lupu Dinescu, Turkish mine hunter M-270 TCG Akçay and  H-88 HMS Enterprise the flagship of the task force.

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