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.

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TCG Burgazada Started Her Sea Trials

TCG Burgazada sets sail for her first cruise. Photo: SSM

Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) published photos from the first test cruise of TCG Burgazada on 20 March.
The photos show an unfinished ship sailing on the Marmara Sea. Though SSM did not disclose the exact date when the photos were taken it is assumed that they were taken on 19 March 2018.

The cruise conducted as part of the factory acceptance tests. The ship was launched on 18 June 2016 and is expected to be commissioned in September 2018


This photo also taken during the test cruise shows three interesting things:

  1. New Aselsan made HIZIR torpedo countermeasure system launcher is installed instead of Ultra SeaSentor system used in the first pair.
  2. The antennas of the Aselsan built ARES-2N ESM system is not mounted
  3. The back looking AselFLIR-300D has not been installed yet.

There is clearly a lot of work to do to finish the ship on time. I think the test on Monday was done to check the performance of the propulsion system, whether the engines were functioning properly, how did they react to the controls, whether the acceleration and deacceleration of the ship were within the limits.

I wish TCG Burgazada fair winds and following seas.

TCG Göksu Deployed To Gulf Of Aden As Turkish Parliament Extends The Presence Of The Navy

TCG Göksu is deployed in the Gulf of Aden for anti-piracy operations.

On 24th February 2018, Frigate TCG Göksu left her home port for deployment in the Gulf of Aden. This is her second deployment in the region. Currently, she is with multinational anti-piracy task force CTF-151.

On 8th February 2018, The Grand National Assembly of Turkey, extended the presence of Turkish Navy in the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, and adjacent seas for one more year.

The first bill allowing Turkish government to deploy Turkish Naval Forces for anti-piracy operations was accepted on 10 February 2009. It was extended in one year periods ever since.

Turkish warships are  tasked with:

  • Performing reconnaissance and patrol duties,
  • Calling on ships suspected of piracy/ armed robbery, on the radio, boarding them if their flag country approves and interfering by the international law if the ship is not showing any flag,
  • Escorting and protecting merchant ships,
  • Helping merchant ships under attack of pirates/sea robbers,
  • Intervening, stopping, neutralizing, and confiscating any vessels used by pirates/sea robbers, and using proper force if necessary,
  • Arresting and detaining pirates/sea robbers and armed persons in these vessels,
  • Accepting the representatives of the countries that will prosecute pirates/ armed robbers on board, for the preparations of judicial proceedings, according to the UN resolution 1851.
  • Arresting and detaining, pirates/armed robbers on board until they are being handed over to the countries that will prosecute them,
  • Turning in, the suspects of pirates/sea robbers except for the case that these are Turkish citizens, to the authorities the nation where the pirates/sea robbers will be prosecuted,
  • Executing all kinds of policing duties including interrogation, collecting evidence.

Apart from the two task force deployments in 2011 and 2014, since 2009 following Turkish frigates took part in anti-piracy operations in the region:

Number Name Start of Deployment End of Deployment
F-496 TCG Gökova 29.10.2008 6.12.2008
F-491 TCG Giresun 17.02.2009 17.06.2009
F-490 TCG Gaziantep 17.06.2009 6.10.2009
F-495 TCG Gediz 21.06.2009 15.10.2009
F-496 TCG Gökova 16.10.2009 8.02.2010
F-492 TCG Gemlik 8.02.2010 24.04.2010
F-493 TCG Gelibolu 27.02.2010 13.08.2010
F-494 TCG Gökçeada 5.08.2010 22.10.2010
F-490 TCG Gaziantep 22.10.2010 25.01.2011
F-491 TCG Giresun 25.01.2011 15.06.2011
F-495 TCG Gediz 18.09.2011 7.12.2011
F-491 TCG Giresun 28.11.2011 19.06.2012
F-492 TCG Gemlik 7.06.2012 10.12.2012
F-496 TCG Gökova 10.12.2012 15.06.2013
F-497 TCG Göksu 6.06.2013 7.12.2013
F-493 TCG Gelibolu 7.12.2013 14.03.2014
F-494 TCG Gökçeada 10.03.2014 17.06.2014
F-492 TCG Gemlik 5.08.2015 29.12.2015
F-493 TCG Gelibolu 21.01.2017 13.03.2017
F-491 TCG Giresun 2.06.2017 19.11.2017
F-496 TCG Gökova 9.07.2017 26.08.2017

Turkish And Greek Coast Guard Boats Collide

According to news reports Turkish Coast Guard vessel TCSG Umut and Greek Coast Guard vessel HCG Gavdos has collided when they were maneuvering near Kardak Islets.

HCG Gavdos sustained damage and reported to be heading to Piraeus to be repaired. There are no reports about any damage on TCSG Umut. But her sister TCSG Güven has observed leaving her home port in Büyükdere Istanbul and heading to the south. It is at this moment too early to say whether she sailed to replace TCSG Umut.

Since both sides are blaming the other for this incident it is not clear at this point how the incident really happened. But since TCSG Umut is the larger and heavier of the ships it is possible that HCG Gavdos may have bear the brunt of the collision.

Here is a comparison between the to ships:

LS 090 Gavdos SG-703 Umut
Length (m) 58 88
Beam (m) 9,55 12
Displacement (tons) no data 1727
Crew 30 60

 

HCG Gavdos seems to be damaged at near the wireless antennas towards the aft of the boat. Photos: protothema.gr and news.in.gr

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.

Republic Day 2017


Today we are celebrating the 94th anniversary the creation of Turkish Republic.

I am grateful to those who made it possible for me and my family to live in this beautiful country under our own flag.

And I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our independence with a couple of elegantly decorated ships.

Happy Navy Day!

The 27th September, the anniversary of the Battle of Preveza, is celebrated as the Navy Day.

On 27th September 1538, a naval battle for the supremacy in the Mediterranean was fought between the Ottoman Navy commandeered by Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa and the fleet of a Christian alliance assembled by Pope Paul III and commandeered by Andrea Doria.

With the victory at Preveza and the subsequent victory in the Battle of Djerba in 1560, the Ottoman Empire successfully repulsed the efforts of Venice and Spain, the two principal Mediterranean powers, to stop the Turkish drive to control the Mediterranean. This only changed with the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.

According to marvelous book Empires of The Sea by the historian Roger Crowley, the importance of the Battle of Preveza lays in its psychological effects as the battle shattered the morale of the Christian Alliance that fought against the Ottoman Empire for the control of the Mediterranean.

I could not think about a better day today to update the order of battle for Turkish Navy:

Active Building Planned
Submarines (Note-1) 12 1 5
Frigates (Note-2) 16 1 7
Corvettes 8 2
Fast Attack Craft – Missile (Note-3) 19 4
Patrol Craft 16
Mine hunters/Mine sweepers (Note-4) 15 6
LPD (Note-5)  1 1
LST 4 1
LCT/LCU/LCM/LCAC (Note-6) 21 8
Fleet Support Tankers 2 1
Tankers / Replenishment Ships (Note-7) 5  2
Training Ships 10
Salvage Ships 19 1
Helicopters (Note-8) 33 6
Planes 8 6

Here is a detailed version of the above list:

Active Building Planned
209 Type 1400 submarines 8
209 Type 1200 submarines 4
214 Type 1800 submarines 1 5
MEKO 200 class frigates 8
Gabya (Perry) class frigates 8
TF-2000 class frigates 4
İstanbul class frigates 1 3
Milgem class corvettes 2 2
Burak (Type A 69) class corvettes 6
Kılıç class fast attack craft 9
Yıldız class fast attack craft 2
Doğan class fast attack craft 8
Turkish type fast attack craft 4
Tuzla class patrol craft 16
Aydın class minehunters 6
Edincik (Circé) class minehunters 5
Mine hunters/sweepers 4 6
LPD  1 1
LST 5 1
LCT/LCU/LCM/LCAC 21 8
Support tankers 5 2 1
Training ships 10
Salvage ships and tugs 19 1
AB-212 ASW helicopters 11
S-70B ASW helicopters 24
ATR-72 ASW planes 2 6
CN-235 ASW planes 6

Note 1: The construction of the first Type 214 class submarine TCG Pirireis has started on 10th October 2015.
Note 2: The second batch of 4 Ada class corvettes has been enlarged to the new İstif class frigates.
Note 3: Procurement of 4 (plus 6 optional) fast attack of local design armed with missiles is planned.
Note 4: The procurement of 6 new minesweepers is planned.
Note 5: The construction of the first LPD TCG Anadolu will start in Autumn 2016.
Note 6: 6 LCM and 2 LCAC may be procured with the LPD but the acquisition of these smaller vessels is not definite yet.
Note 7: Two oil tankers are constructed by a private shipyard. Additionally, procurement of one fleet replenishment ship is planned.
Note 8: The AB-212 helicopters are mostly used for utility duties. 6 additional Seahawk have been ordered.

Dynamic Monarch 2017 Paticipant List

Submarine rescue exercise Dynamic Monarch is continuing in Eastern Mediterranean, near Turkish Naval Base Aksaz.

The exercise is hosted by Turkey and sponsored by NATO. The participants are demonstrating multinational submarine rescue cooperation and interoperability. The exercise enables worldwide partners to share submarine escape and rescue related knowledge.

The above photo posted by NATO Submarine Command shows the participants to the exercise.

The names of the ships and submarines are below:

Number Pennant Number Name Type Country
1 P-1202 TCG  Köyceğiz Patrol Boat Turkey
2 A-5309 ITS Anteo Submarine Rescue Ship Italy
3 S-359 TCG Burakreis Submarine Turkey
4 M-270 TCG Akçay Mine Hunter Turkey
5 F-492 TCG Gemlik Frigate Turkey
6 SD Northern River Submarine Rescue Ship UK
7 S-74 ESPS Tramontana Submarine Spain
8 A-582 TCG Alemdar Submarine Rescue Ship Turkey
9 M-265 TCG Alanya Mine Hunter Turkey
10 S-353 TCG Preveze Submarine Turkey
11 A-590 TCG İnebolu Tug Turkey
12 P-1208 TCG Kaş Patrol Boat Turkey
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