Notes On Deniz Yıldızı 2018 Naval Exercise

On 26 March 2018 Turkish Navy started its spring exercise Deniz Yıldızı 2018. Ships departed from their ports and the first phase of the exercise was held in the Marmara Sea. On 27 March 2018 Turkish warships passed northbound through Istanbul and continued the exercise in the Black Sea. The exercise will end on 5th April

Though it has not been officially announced, the decommissioned oiler ex Binbaşı Saadetin Gürcan, that was observed being towed to the Black Sea in February is believed to be sunk as a target.

This weekend these warships are dispersed all over the ports in the Black Sea for a well earned weekend break. Turkish warships are simultaneously visiting Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, and Ukraine. It is neither an easy nor a simple act of sending 8 warships to foreign cities for port visits and small scale exercises at the same time.

The list of the warships taking part in the exercise and their port of call for the weekend is below:

Number Name Type Port Country
S-360 1. İnönü Submarine Varna Bulgaria
P-1207 Tekirdağ Patrol Boat Varna Bulgaria
A-578 Darıca Tug Varna Bulgaria
F-242 Fatih Frigate Batumi Georgia
P-343 Volkan Fast Attack Craft Batumi Georgia
F-504 Bartın Frigate Constanta Romania
P-331 Kalkan Fast Attack Craft Constanta Romania
Novorossiysk Russia
Novorossiysk Russia
A-572 Yüzbaşı İhsan Tulunay Tanker Giresun Turkey
F-240 Yavuz Frigate Hopa Turkey
P-341 Martı Fast Attack Craft İğneada Turkey
S-350 Yıldıray Submarine Karadeniz Ereğli Turkey
A-580 Akar Tanker Karadeniz Ereğli Turkey
F-245 Oruçreis Frigate Rize Turkey
F-247 Kemalreis Frigate Samsun Turkey
S-349 Batıray Submarine Samsun Turkey
F-243 Yıldırım Frigate Sinop Turkey
F-500 Bozcaada Corvette Trabzon Turkey
P-335 İmbat Fast Attack Craft Trabzon Turkey
P-336 Zıpkın Fast Attack Craft Zonguldak Turkey
F-246 Salihreis Frigate Odessa Ukraine
F-512 Büyükada Corvette Odessa Ukraine

It is interesting to note that Novorossiysk, Russia was declared the fifth foreign port of call by Turkish Navy on 16th March 2018, in the pre-exercise press release. However, Novorossiysk was not mentioned by the daily dispatch of Turkish General Staff on 31st March 2018, as one of the ports where Turkish Navy ships are conducting a visit.

On the other hand, the same dispatch mentioned 23 warships are taking part in the Deniz Yıldızı exercise but only disclosed names and location of 21 warships. So there could be two warships conducting a port visit in Novorossiysk, Russia or not.

Another interesting thing to note is the absence of Gabya ex-Perry class frigates. Turkish Navy operates 8 Gabya class frigates. None was observed to pass to the Black Sea recently.

Here are the photos of some of the participants:

A-572 TCG Yüzbaşı İhsan Tulunay.

A-580 TCG Akar

F-243 TCG Yıldırım. Note the new ESM mast.

F-245 TCG Oruçreis

F-247 TCG Kemalreis

F-500 TCG Bozcaada

F-504 TCG Bartın. Both TCG Bozcaada and TCG Bartın have their original MM-38 Exocet missiles still installed.

F-512 TCG Büyükada

TCG İmbat

P-343 TCG Volkan

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TCG Preveze Arrives In Durrës

TCG Preveze arrives in Durres. Photo: balkanweb.com

Turkish submarine TCG Preveze arrived in Albanian port Durrës for a port visit.

In accordance with the cooperation plan between the Albanian Maritime Force and Turkish Navy, the submarine TCG Preveze arrived at the port of Durrës for a several day harbor visit. 

While in port TCG Preveze will host members of the Albanian Maritime Force, representatives of the Durres Port Authority, Military Police.

This is the second time TCG Preveze visits Durrës. She was there 3 years ago. The message, sending the submarine named after an important naval victory by Ottoman Navy  against the Papal fleet in the Gulf of Arta, near Preveza should be clear.

It is interesting to note that Turkish warship but particularly submarines regularly visit Durrës. As far as I know, the following  Turkish naval units were in Durrës:

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.

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.

French Frigate In Batumi

French La Fayette class frigate F-714 FS Guépratte transiting toward the Black Sea.

According to Georgian website agenda.ge, French frigate FS Guépratte will make a port visit in Batumi Georgia between 22nd and 25th November.

The ship was met with a welcoming ceremony at the Batumi port. Following the ceremony, French Ambassador to Georgia Pascal Meunier and Commander Jacques Mallard have met local authorities and officials of the Georgian coastguard department.

During the visit of the frigate French and Georgian sailors will conduct joint diving, search and rescue, firefighting exercises on 23rd and 24th November.

The French frigate will leave Batumi on November 25.

NATO SNMCMG-2 In Batumi And In Piraeus

Bulgarian minesweeper Shakval is one of the ship visiting Batumi. This photo was taken in February 2016 during her visit with SNMCMG-2 in Istanbul.

A part of the UK led NATO mine warfare task force Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2 arrived in Batumi Georgia on 3rd November for a port visit.

The NATO delegation led by Vice Admiral Bléjean, the Deputy Commander of the Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) held meeting with Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia, Mr. Giorgi Mgebrishvili. According to official statements, the sides discussed issues of bilateral relations between NATO and Georgia in the maritime field and cooperation enhancement matters. Special emphasis was made on the participation of the Georgian Joint Maritime Operations Center (JMOC) in NATO-led operation – “Sea Guardian” which is aimed at ensuring safety in the Mediterranean Sea and nearby maritime space.

Since Georgia does not operate warships with enough range and endurance to actually deploy to Operation Sea Guardian, the participation of the Georgian JMOC is the only possible way for this country.

The SNMCMG-2 is spilled in two parts. One part, consisting of frigate ROS Regele Ferdinand, mine hunter ROS Lupu Dinescu from Romania, minesweeper BGS Shakval from Bulgaria and mine hunter TCG Edremit from Turkey is visiting Batumi. The second part, consisting of HMS Enterprise, HMS Pembroke, and ITS Crotone is in Piraeus Greece.

 

 

Chinese Warships Visited Istanbul

Type 054A frigate 532 Jingzhou (left) and Type 052C destroyer 150 Changchun docked to Istanbul Sarayburnu quay.

Type 093 replenishment tanker 890 Chaohu

Between 18 and 21 July 2017 a task force of 3 Chinese warship made a visit to Istanbul

Task Group 150 consisting of Type 052C destroyer 150 Changchun, Type 054A frigate 532 Jingzhou and Type 093 replenishment tanker 890 Chaohu have left China on 23 April 2017, on the 68th anniversary of the founding of the PLAN, for a goodwill voyage to some 20 countries in Asia, Europe, Africa and Oceania.

The task force headed by Admiral Miao Hua were welcomed by Chinese Military Attaché to Ankara Zheng Qinli, Consul General to Istanbul Qian Bo and a group of Chinese citizens.

This year’s visit was very similar to the previous PLAN visit to Istanbul in 2012 and 2015. In both cases the PLAN fleet was made of one destroyer, one frigate and one replenishment ship.

In 2012 and in 2015 however the destroyer and the frigate have passed through the Bosphorus and entered the Black Sea. This year the ships stayed in Istanbul and have not transit through the Strait northbound. The PLAN task force spend 4 days in Istanbul and left for the Mediterranean.

Here are some close up photos of the destroyer Changhun:

And here are some close up photos of the frigate Jingzhou:

Turkish Navy Conducting Simultaneous Port Visits In 5 Countries

TCG Oruçreis arrives in Varna. Photo: Nikolay Zlatev.

10 Turkish warships are conducting port visits in 5 different ports, in 5 different countries.

The long needed rest came after the end of the first phase of naval exercise Deniz Yıldızı 2017. The exercise has started on 27 March and will end on 7 April.

Of course the small size of the Black Sea helps. But Turkey is the only Black Sea 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.

This is the list of the ships doing port visits. Most of them  will be open for public to visit.

Name Type Port Country
TCG Oruçreis Frigate Varna Bulgaria
TCG Tuzla Patrol Boat Varna Bulgaria
TCG Kalkan Fast Attack Craft Batumi Georgia
TCG Yıldırım Frigate Batumi Georgia
TCG Turgutreis Frigate Constanta Romania
TCG Yıldız Fast Attack Craft Constanta Romania
TCG Büyükada Corvette Novorossiysk Russia
TCG Barbaros Frigate Novorossiysk Russia
TCG Heybeliada Corvette Odessa Ukraine
TCG Gaziantep Frigate Odessa Ukraine

TCG 1. İnönü In Durrës

TCG 1. İnönü in Durres port. Photo: Durres Lajm

It is not usual for submarines to make port visit in foreign countries.  TCG 1. İnönü visited the Albanian port Durrës between 30 March and 1 April 2017.

According to Albanian press:

Her visit to our country made in the framework of strengthening relations between the navies of the two countries and NATO operations. The submarine is about 62 m long and has a total carrying capacity of our 1456. It is equipped with eight torpedo visible, and other military equipment, the number of which has been withheld for military reasons.

It is engaged in the protection of Turkish national security and in the framework of the activities of NATO forces in support of global peace and security. The submarine, the Turkish production in 2008, has a crew of 45 soldiers of various ranks. After entering the port, command of the submarine crew and officers are expected in separate meetings with the mayor of Durres Vangjush Dako and then by the Prefecture of Durres Roland Xhelili.

It is interesting to note that Turkish submarines regularly visit Durrës. As far as I know, the following  Turkish submarines were in Durrës:

Deniz Yıldızı 2017 Naval Exercise Has Started

The hull of ex USS Duncan will be on the receiving end of at least one UGM-84 Sub Harpoon missile or one Tigerfish torpedo.

The annual naval exercise Deniz Yıldızı has started in Black Sea on Monday. The exercise will end on, 7th April 2016.

The scope of the exercise indicates, Turkish Navy’s intentions showing a strong presence in the Black Sea.

For me, the most noteworthy aspect of this exercise, will be the simultaneous port visits of Turkish naval units in Varna, Constanta, Odessa, Novorossiysk and Batumi. All Black Sea nations, will be visited on the next week-end on 3rd and 4th April 2017. This is an impressive way of showing the flag, an important message.

According to Turkish General Staff website, there will be a Harpoon Block II test firing, from a ship to a land based target. This is going to be a first for Turkish Navy.

Furthermore one live UGM-84 Sub Harpoon missile and one live Mk-24 Tigerfish torpedo will be tested too. Ex USS Duncan that was towed last week, will likely be on the receiving end at least one of them.

The following ships along with submarines were observed making a northbound passage through Bosphorus in the last couple days:

Number Name Type
A-595 TCG Yarbay Kudret Güngör Tanker
A-XXX TCG XXX Tanker
A-XXX TCG XXX Tanker
F-240 TCG Yavuz Frigate
F-241 TCG Turgutreis Frigate
F-242 TCG Fatih Frigate
F-243 TCG Yıldırım Frigate
F-244 TCG Barbaros Frigate
F-245 TCG Oruçreis Frigate
F-247 TCG Kemalreis Frigate
F-490 TCG Gaziantep Frigate
F-494 TCG Gökçeada Frigate
F-496 TCG Gökova Frigate
F-505 TCG Bafra Corvette
F-511 TCG Heybeliada Corvette
F-512 TCG Büyükada Corvette
M-260 TCG Edincik Mine hunter
M-263 TCG Erdek Mine hunter
NL-125 TCG Osmangazi Landing ship
P-1200 TCG Tuzla Patrol Boat
P-12XX TCG XXX Patrol Boat
P-330 TCG Kılıç Fast Attack Craft
P-331 TCG Kalkan Fast Attack Craft
P-335 TCG İmbat Fast Attack Craft
P-336 TCG Zıpkın Fast Attack Craft
P-341 TCG Martı Fast Attack Craft
P-348 TCG Yıldız Fast Attack Craft
S-349 TCG Batıray Submarine
S-353 TCG Preveze Submarine
S-358 TCG Çanakkale Submarine
S-3XX TCG XXX Submarine
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