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The Participants In Dynamic Manta 2017

The participants to Dynamic Manta 2017 ASW exercise. Click to enlarge.  Photo: NATO Allied Maritime Command

NATO Allied Maritime Command posted photos of the participants to Dynamic Manta 2017 anti submarine warfare exercise at Flicker.

It was announced that, 6 submarines and 10 surface ships were going to take part in this war game. The above photo shows all the submarines and most of the surface units.

The absence of Turkish frigate TCG Giresun from the group photos is noteworthy. It is also remarkable, the addition of Italian tanker ITS Etna, since Italian Navy has not announced this earlier.

Is ITS Etna is substituting for another ship, perhaps for the missing Royal Navy ship or was she photobombing the PHOTEX?

Nr of Photo Number Name Type Country
1 78 USS Porter Destroyer USA
2 D-560 ITS Luigi Durand De La Penne Destroyer Italy
3 781 USS California Submarine USA
4 F-459 HS Adrias Frigate Greece
5 D-642 FS Montcalm Destroyer France
6 A-14 ESPS Patiño Tanker Spain
7 S-120 HS Papanikolis Submarine Greece
8 S-360 TCG 1. İnönü Submarine Turkey
9 S-80 ESPS Mistral Submarine Spain
10 A-5326 ITS Etna Tanker Italy
11 340 HMCS St. John’s Frigate Canada
12 F-82 ESPS Victoria Frigate Spain
13 Ruby class Submarine France
14 S-528 ITS Pietro Venuti Submarine Italy
15 F-104 ESPS Méndez Núñez Frigate Spain
F-491 TCG Giresun Frigate Turkey
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Dynamic Manta 2017 Started In Italy

TCG 1. İnönü in Catania port. Photo: NATO MARCOM

NATO’s Submarine Warfare Exercise Dynamic Manta 2017 began today off the Sicilian coast, with ships, submarines, aircraft and personnel from 10 Allied nations.

According to NATO press release submarines from France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and the United States, under the control of Commander, Submarines NATO (COMSUBNATO), will join 10 surface ships from Canada, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey and the United States.

Nine Maritime Patrol Aircraft and three shore based helicopters from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States will operate from Sigonella Air Base under the control of Commander, Maritime Air NATO (COMMARAIRNATO).

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 list of the participant as best as I could find on internet. Additions and corrections are welcomed.

Number Name Type Country
340 HMCS St. John’s Frigate Canada
D-642 FS Montcalm Destroyer France
Submarine France
F-459 HS Adrias Frigate Greece
S-120 HS Papanikolis Submarine Greece
D-560 ITS Luigi Durand De La Penne Destroyer Italy
S-528 ITS Pietro Venuti Submarine Italy
A-14 ESPS Patiño Tanker Spain
F-104 ESPS Méndez Núñez Frigate Spain
F-82 ESPS Victoria Frigate Spain
S-80 ESPS Mistral Submarine Spain
F-491 TCG Giresun Frigate Turkey
S-360 TCG 1. İnönü Submarine Turkey
781 USS California Submarine USA
 78 USS Porter Destroyer USA

Turkey Deploys Two Warships To SNMG-2

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TCG Giresun passing through Istanbul in 2014. Photo: Yörük Işık.

Gabya class frigate F-491 TCG Giresun and Tuzla class patrol boat P-1201 TCG Karaburun has been deployed to Standing NATO Maritime Group Two.

According to NATO Maritime Command, TCG Giresun is attached to SNMG-2 Task Unit 2 consisting of Spanish frigate ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbon and Canadian frigate HMCS St. John’s. TCG Giresun will join the task force in Toronto, Italy.

The patrol boat TCG Karaburun is deployed closer to Turkey. She is will support NATO activities in the Aegean Sea as part of the international efforts to stop illegal trafficking and migration. Tuzla class patrol boats have been very active last year in the Aegean Sea and rescued hundreds may be thousands of refugees from the sea.

SNMG-2 Ships Arrived In Samsun

NATO SAVAŞ GEMİLERİ SAMSUN’DA NATO'YA AİT İKİ SAVAŞ GEMİSİ SAMSUN LİMANI'NA DEMİR ATTI

HMCS St. John’s in Samsun harbour. Photo: samsunkenthaber.com

Today, Spanish frigate ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbon and Canadian frigate HMCS St. John’s constituting, Standing NATO Martime Group 2, Task Unit 2 arrived in Samsun, Turkey.

The ships  will stay in Samsun for 3 days. They have left Varna, Bulgaria on last Monday with the Bulgarian warship Reshitelni and spend the rest of the week cruising the Black Sea.

The ships have sailed to the Black Sea on 31st January and can stay only 21 days in the region. This means that the ships must make their southbound passage through Bosphorus in the next four days.

 

 

NATO Maps The Pattern Of Life In The Med

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From top HS Navarinon, TCG Gaziantep and ITS Aviere. Photo: from Turkish Navy official web site

NATO Maritime Command has started a focused operation to map, patterns of life in the Mediterranean.

This focused operation is led by Captain Emre Sezenler, Commodore of 2. Destroyer Flotilla of Turkish Navy and TCG Gaziantep acts as his flagship. Italian frigate ITS Aviere and Greek frigate HS Navarinon are the other components of this task force.

Below is the press release about the operation:

NORTHWOOD, United Kingdom (Feb. 7, 2017) – Three NATO ships, provided by Turkey, Italy and Greece are dedicating specific attention to portions of the eastern Mediterranean Sea over the next couple of weeks in what is called an Operation Sea Guardian (OSG) focused operation.

Operation Sea Guardian is a standing Maritime Security Operation with three main tasks, Maritime Situational Awareness, counter-terrorism and regional capacity building. As a standing operation, it is continually active through a network of ships and maritime operations centers providing information about Maritime Situational Awareness. This baseline is augmented by focused operations that concentrate on specific areas of interest.

Focused operations dedicate various types of assets under NATO operational control to developing and maintaining an accurate picture of daily activity in various parts of the Mediterranean Sea. This information builds what is called Maritime Situational Awareness (MSA) which is shared across the Alliance and can be used to help identify possible security concerns while at the same time increasing cooperation, flexibility and strength through unified effort.

his is the first focus operation of 2017 and the second since Operation Sea Guardian was initiated on November 9, 2016. The first focus operation provided Allied navies information on daily patterns of life near shipping routes and fishing grounds in the central Mediterranean in order to support building a greater MSA across the Alliance.

The operation as a whole is about the fusion of information to create a more comprehensive picture of daily activities in the Mediterranean. In addition to the details provided by these assets actively collecting information in specific areas, Allied nations’ forces support this operation in various ways through active, standby or associated support.

Sea Shield 2017 Naval Exercise

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Spanish warship ESPS Almirante Juan de Borbon passed through Turkish Straits to take part in the exercise.

Once again Romania is hosting Sea Shield naval exercise. The exercise will take place between 1st and 11th February 2017. The exercise started with the planning and familiarization phase which will end on 5th February.

The participants have already arrived at the Romanian port Constanta for this year’s exercise. Besides, Romania, Bulgaria, Canada, Spain, Turkey and U.S.A. have deployed warships. The only submarine of the exercise is TCG Dolunay. She will play the role of the hunter and the hunted.

According to the press release of the Romanian Naval Forces, 2800 military personnel is taking part in the exercise. Romania will provide besides warships two mobile missile-launchers, a special-operation detachment, two MiG 21 Lancer airplanes and a medical-evacuation helicopter. Turkey has also dispatched one CN-235 ASW patrol plane.

This is the list of the participating naval units:

Number Name Type Country
11 BGS Smeli Frigate Bulgaria
340 HMCS St John’s Frigate Canada
F-221 ROS Regele Ferdnand Frigate Romania
111 ROS Marasesti Frigate Romania
265 ROS Admiral Horia Macellariu Corvette Romania
264 ROS Admiral Eustatiu Sebstian Corvette Romania
190 ROS Lastunul Corvette Romania
188 ROS Zborul Corvette Romania
25 ROS Lieutenant Lupu Dunescu Mine sweeper Romania
29 ROS Lieutenant Dimitrie Nicolescu Mine sweeper Romania
F-102 ESPS Almirante Juan de Borbon Frigate Spain
F-242 TCG Fatih Frigate Turkey
S-352 TCG Dolunay Submarine Turkey
78 USS Porter Destroyer USA

The Flagship Of SNMG-2 Is In Izmir

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FGS Sachsen in Izmir. Photo: Oktay Cömert. Used with permission.

The flagship of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG-2) FGS Sachsen is in Izmir for a liberty call.

The German Navy took over the lead of SNMG-2 in 22. December 2016 and frigate FGS Sachsen has replaced Dutch warship HNLMS De Ruyter as the flagship of the task force.

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FGS Sachsen in Izmir. Photo: Oktay Cömert. Used with permission.

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FGS Sachsen in Izmir. Photo: Oktay Cömert. Used with permission.

 

Can NATO Really Help With The Migrant Crisis In Aegean? (Part 2)

The year 2015 will be remembered by the horrendous stories of ordinary people who had to leave their homes, possessions, who had to made painful and dangerous voyages to reach Europe just to survive.
If you think the refuge crises was bad in 2015 it will be a lot worse in 2016.

Başlıksız-3

Numbers of irregular migrants rescued from the sea by Turkish Coast Guard in the frist two months of 2015  and 2016.

First the number of people trying to cross Aegean to go To Europe has increased dramatically. According to the statistics of Turkish Coast Guard number of refuges rescued from the sea in the first two months of 2016 is 14.378. This represents an almost 10 fold increase compared to same period in 2015.

Furthermore to make the things far more worse these numbers will climb higher as thousands of Syrians are running away from their demolished villages and towns because of the indiscriminate bombing of Russian Air Force on behalf of Syrian regime. The high water mark may still to come.

And European countries are not offering the even the lukewarm welcome they have given to the refuges in 2015. Existence of these immigrants are causing sever political tensions in most of the host countries. These tensions will have dire consequences for all political parties in the next election cycle.

Since Europe doesn’t want to harbour any more refugees it is trying to stop the influx by protecting its sea borders more efficiently.

Başlıksız-1

To hop across the Aegean is still the most convenient way to reach for Europe.

The Aegean Sea offers the most convenient router for the refugees. The close proximate of many Greek island to Turkish mainland makes it possible for thousands of refugees to reach to EU by entering Greece. The sea trip from Turkish mainland to Greek islands on overfilled and unstable RHIBs is often dangerous and deadly. %90 percent of 316 irregular immigration incidents in the first two months of 2016 have happened in Aegean according to Turkish Coast Guard.

Since early February, NATO, EU, Greece  and Turkey are trying to formulate plans how NATO’s assigned maritime task force SNMG-2 will perform its anti-immigration operation in the Aegean Sea.

This operation was conceived right after the German Chancellor Frau Merkel’s visit to Turkey in early February 2016.  Germany, Greece and Turkey proposed and in a record-breaking 3 days’ time NATO’s Foreign Ministers have approved the plan to commit SNMG-2 for this mission.

SNMG-2 currently consists of German Navy flagship FGS Bonn, Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Fredericton, Turkish Navy frigate TCG Barbaros and Greek Navy frigate HS Salamis. France and Great Britain have also disclosed that they are sending warships to reinforce the task force. The units are patrolling in the assigned areas and conducting reconnaissance, monitoring and surveillance activities.

According to a press release from 6th March, the commanders of NATO have defined SNMG-2’s area of activity in close consultation and coordination with both Greece and Turkey. Their activities in territorial waters will be carried out in consultation and coordination with both Allies. The purpose of NATO’s deployment is not to stop or push back migrant boats, but to help our Allies Greece and Turkey, as well as the European Union, in their efforts to tackle human trafficking and the criminal networks that are fueling this crisis.

NATO’s Maritime Command has also agreed with FRONTEX on arrangements at the operational and tactical level. NATO and FRONTEX will be able to exchange liaison officers and share information in real time, to enable FRONTEX, as well as Greece and Turkey, to take action in real-time.

NATO has gained some knowledge by conducting anti piracy operations in Gulf of Aden and must have the knowledge to differentiate between the small plastic boats full of immigrants and ordinary fishermen. Thus they may apply the lessons they have learned in Gulf of Aden for a good use in Aegean. I have personally talked with a few sailors of Turkish Coast Guard operation in Aegean and they are suffering from various psychological symptoms as they fish day after day dead bodies mostly children and women from the sea. Thus presence of a NATO fleet might ease their burden.

But I still have my misgiving about the intentions of NATO’s mission and I am very sceptical about this whole thing because instead of draining the swamp Europe is trying to kill the individual mosquitoes. And what makes this effort worse is that Europe uses the NATO hammer is stead of a fly swatter.

 

Can NATO Really Help With The Migrant Crisis In Aegean?

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Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 trains with Turkish Navy. From left to right: F-501 TCG Bodrum, 337 HMCS Fredericton, A-1413 FGS Bonn, F-494 TCG Gökova, F-244 TCG Barbaros

Last week NATO has decided in a very unorthodox speedy way -in a very un-NATO fashion- to deploy one of her naval task force to the Aegean sea to deter people-smugglers taking migrants from Turkey to Greece.

Dispatching Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG-2)to the Aegean was not a big deal since the task force spend the previous week near Aksaz Naval Base in Marmaris conducting joint trainings with Turkish Navy. The task force was literally just a few hours away when NATO Defence Ministers agreed that NATO should provide support to assist with the refugee and migrant crisis on 11 February 2016.

The SNMG-2 is made up by the A-1413 FGS Bonn, 337 HMCS Frederiction, ITS Libeccio and TCG Barbaros.  The flagship of the task force is the German auxiliary FGS Bonn. She is a combat stores ship capable of underway replenishment and can carry 7,850 tons fuel; 1,330 tons water; 280 tons cargo; 220 tons ammunition; 115 tons lubricants.  The others are frigates from Canadian, Italian and Turkish Navies, build to hunt and destroy enemy submarines and ships.

It is clear that none of these ships are specially designed to the given task of contribute critical information and surveillance to help counter human trafficking and criminal networks.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, stressed that this mission is “not about stopping or pushing back refugee boats,” but about contributing “critical information and surveillance to help counter human trafficking and criminal networks.” As part of the agreement, NATO will co-operate closely with national coastguards and the European Union. Military authorities are now working out the details of the mission.

And General Philip Breedlove, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), said that deployment of SNMG-2 was not about stopping or pushing back refugee boats. NATO will provide critical intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance information to others to stop the human trafficking and criminal networks in co-operation with national coastguards and the Frontex. The SNMG-2 will be tasked to do monitoring and other support tasks

The seat of purpose for every naval action is on land. The criminal and human trafficking networks are on land. On the sea are just the migrants trying to survive and cross the sea to the other side. Thus it just does not makes sence for NATO to send one oiler and 3 frigates to fish the helpless migrants from the sea and return them back to Turkey. While the ships of SNMG-2 especially the frigates are capable of gathering information about their enemies through their sensors, I have my doubts if these sensors will be adequate to fulfill the given task in this mission. Searching and locating large metal targets on the surface or submerged is one thing locating small dinghies made from plastic is something else.

If NATO nations really wanted to do anything to stop the these criminal networks they should have sent specialised police officers or other law enforcement forces or may be some specialised intelligence gathering ships.

The migrant crisis has a very destabilising effect on the European nations and indirectly threatens the security. But instead of draining the swamp NATO is trying to kill the individual mosquitoes. And what makes this effort worse is that NATO uses a hammer is stead of a fly swatter.

 

UPDATED: Anti Submarine Warfare Exercise Dynamic Manta 2015 Started In Italy

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TCG Yıldırım in Çanakkale in March 2015. She is taking part in Dynamic Manta with SNMG-2

The largest anti submarine warfare exercise NATO holds in the Mediterranean has started in Italy.

The exercise Dynamic Manta formerly known as Noble Manta kicked on 12 September 2015 in Sicily. The Augusta Naval Base and the Sigonella Air Base in Catania are full with participating naval and air units.

Submarines from France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States, will join 5 surface ships from France, Germany, Italy, Turkey and the United States. To support the simulated multi-threat environment, 7 Maritime Patrol Aircraft and Helicopters from Canada, France, Italy, Turkey and the United States will operate from Sigonella Air Base

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 to safety. During the exercise, an analysis team of ASW experts (In-stride Debrief Team) will be located in Sigonella Air Base. The team will analyse anti-submarine warfare events real time and will provide debriefs to ships, submarines and aircrews. It allows crew to accelerate their process, make adjustments, improve the performance and boost the anti-submarine warfare readiness.

UPDATE: As usual I have tried to find out the participating naval units and I have succeed it with the exception of the US submarine. Thanks to Victor M.S. Barreira and D_Mitch, for detailed info on participating surface units.

Any corrections and additions are welcomed.

Number Name Type Nationality
D-643 FS Jean De Vienne Destroyer France
 S-606  FS Perle Submarine France
F-220 FGS Hamburg Frigate Germany
S-116 HS Posedion Submarine Greece
 F-571  ITS Grecale Frigate Italy
S-522  ITS Salvatore Pelosi Submarine Italy
 S-73  ESPS Mistral Submarine Spain
F-243 TCG Yıldırım Frigate Turkey
S-353 TCG Preveze Submarine Turkey
 S-96  HMS Ambush Submarine UK
75  USS Porter Destroyer USA
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