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.

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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.

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

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.

 

 

Brilliant Mariner 2017 Has Kicked Off In France

A part of the NATO fleet gathering in Toulon for Brilliant Mariner 2017. Refer the numbers to the list below for identification. Photo: French Armed Forces.

A large fleet of warships gathered in French town Toulon this week. The ships are part of NATO Maritime Command’s both Standing NATO Maritime Groups (SNMG) and Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2 (SNMCMG-2). In addition to the four NATO task forces, France and Spain have sent additional ships for the exercise.

France will take command of the maritime component of the Nato Response Force (NRF) from 1 January 2018, for a period of one year. This exercise will create a suitable training for the French
Rapid Response Force Headquarter as well as the participating units.

According to French Armed Forces Brilliant Mariner 2017, will take place from 29 September to 13 October 2017 in the Mediterranean Sea with the participation of 3500 sailors and thirty of units  and numerous aircraft from 3 nations

Below is the list of the ships taking part in the exercise. For the names of the ships of the photo above please refer to the last column.

Number Name Type Nation Fleet Number In the Photo
H-88 HMS Enterprise Support ship UK SNMCMG2 17
M-261 TCG Edremit Mine hunter Turkey SNMCMG2 18
M-5558 ITS Crotone Mine hunter Italy SNMCMG2 8
339 HMCS Charlottetown Frigate Canada SNMG1 1
A-1443 FGS Rhoen Support ship Germany SNMG1
F-312 HNoMS Otto Sverdrup Frigate Norway SNMG1 7
F-334 NRP Francisco De Almedia Frigate Portugal SNMG1 10
F-363 HDMS Niels Juel Frigate Denmark SNMG1 2
F-805 HNLMS Eversten Frigate Netherlands SNMG1 3
F-83 ESPS Numancia Frigate Spain SNMG1 14
L-17 HDMS Esbern Snare Support ship Denmark SNMG1
D-34 HMS Diamond Destroyer UK SNMG2 4
F-103 ESPS Blas de Lezo Frigate Spain SNMG2 5
F-244 TCG Barbaros Frigate Turkey SNMG2 9
F-451 HS Limnos Frigate Greece SNMG2 12
F-710 FS La Fayette Frigate France SNMG2 15
A-608 FS Var Support ship France
D-621 Chevalier De Paul Destroyer France 6
D-643 FS Jean De Vienne Destroyer France
D-653 FS Languedoc Destroyer France
F-714 FS Guépratte Frigate France 16
L-61 ESPS Juan Carlos 1 LHD Spain 11
L-9013 FS Mistral LHD France 13
M-645 FS Orion Mine hunter France
M-648 FS Lyre Mine hunter France

Any additions and corrections are most welcome.

UPDATE: I have removed SNMCMG-1 as it is taking part in another NATO exercise.

Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group Two In Istanbul

The Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group Two arrived in Istanbul on 24 March 2017. The task group had made her northbound passage through the city 20 days before.

During this 20 days the task force first took part in Poseidon 2017. The mine warfare exercise was held between 5 and 15 March 2017.

After the completion of the exercise the task force sailed to Odessa, Ukraine. There the ship were open to public and received thousands of visitors during their stay there.

One day short of their allowance by the Montreux Convention the Task force sailed southbound through Istanbul Strait and docked in Istanbul port for a well-earned post visit.

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

Breeze 2016 Naval Exercise

Bulgaria is hosting the Breeze 2016 naval exercise from 8. July till 17. July 2016.

As many as 25 naval vessels from Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Spain and Turkey, two aircraft and two helicopters, and 1700 troops will take part in the exercise.

Turkish led NATO mine task force SNMCMG-2 is also in Bulgaria for this occasion.

This is the list of the participating warship That I could find:

Number Name Nation Type
A-579 TCG Cezayirli Gazi Hasanpaşa Turkey Tender
M-260 TCG Edincik Turkey Mine hunter
M-34 SPS Turia Spain Mine hunter
62 ROM Sub Lieutenant Alexandru Axente Romania Mine sweeper
 S-356 TCG Anafartalar Turkey Submarine
P-1207 TCG Tekirdağ Turkey Patrol boat
P-337 TCG Atak Turkey Fast attack craft
F-222 ROM  Regina Maria Romania Frigate
190 ROM Lastunul Romania Corvette
P-70 HS Y. Grigorpoulos Greece Fast attack craft
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