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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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The First Block Of TCG Anadolu Is Laid

The first block of TCG Anadolu laid on the slipway. Photo: Navantia

The first keel block of TCG Anadolu was laid on 7th February 2018, nine 21 months after the construction has started.

The contract for the construction of the ship was signed in May 2015 after a four year long tender process.

The delivery of the ship is scheduled for the year 2021.

TCG Anadolu is based on Navatia’s Juan Carlos 1 design. She will be very similar to SPS Juan Carlos 1 in Spanish Navy and HMAS Adelaide and HMAS Canberra in Royal Australian Navy.

However, unlike her nears sisters in Spanish and Australian navies, the Turkish ship will only have diesel engines. There will be five MAN 16V32/40 engines each creating 7.680kW and propelling the ship up to 21 knots. The range is estimated to be 9.000 nautical miles.

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

Like A Lamb to The Slaughter

On 8th February 2018, three Turkish Navy tugs towed the hulk of an old tanker ex- TCG Bnb. Sadettin Gürcan to the Black Sea.

The tanker was named after the commander of the submarine TCG Atılay that sunk with all hands in 1942. She hit a mine while submerged and never resurfaced.

The tanker was laid down at Gölcük Naval Shipyard in 1968 and commissioned in 1970. She served till 2016.

As there are no shipbreakers in the Black Sea and the markings on the hull of ex- TCG Bnb. Sadettin Gürcan is consistent with a target, she will be used in a sinking exercise.

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.

Fire On Board TCG Beykoz

TCG Beykoz sailing southward through Çeşme Strait. This photo was taken in November 2017.

In the early morning hours on 13th January 2018, a fire erupted in the engine room of the corvette TCG Beykoz. The ship was in a berth at Foça Naval Base. Damage control party interfered and put out the fire. 11 sailors were hospitalized of which 8 were later released the same day. According to news reports, the fire started at electrical cables.

The ship is assigned to Escort and Patrol Fleet and based in Foça, İzmir. The extent of the damage and whether the ship needs a lengthy overhaul and repair period is unclear.

National Electronic Warfare Suite

A comparison between the new EW configuration on board TCG Fatih (left) and the old one.

The new electronic warfare suite on board of TCG Fatih has been accepted after rigorous testing according to Aselsan.

The system is made of the following units:

  • Electronic Support Measures
  • Decoy Launching System
  • Dedicated or Shared Multi-Function Consoles

The heart of the system is the CPU of the EW processing and its interface with the operator. Aselsan has developed and installed similar systems to Ada class corvettes and Bayraktar class landing ships. So they have a good knowledge of development and implementation of EW systems. The most important physical obstacle was the mast on with the ESM antennas were installed. On Ada and Bayraktar class ships, these antennas are integrated into the closed mast. There was no place or top weight problems. On TCG Fatih, however, the antennas had to be put on top of the thin part at the end of the main mast of the ship. Therefore Aselsan used the antenna solution they have developed for Ay class submarines. Since it was compact enough to fit on a pole on a submarine, so it was also good enough to be mounted on the mast.

According to Aselsan, tests have been conducted both for ECM / EW suit and for the decoy launching system before the system was accepted by Turkish Navy.

It is not clear at the moment if this EW suite will be back fitted to the other Yavuz class frigates or if this EW system is part of the mid-life modernization program of Barbaros class frigates.

 

TCG Akın Decommissioned

Here is a photo from 2015 showing TCG Akın sailing through Bosphorus.

Today the long career of TCG Akın in naval service has finished. The ship can have a well-earned rest after 75 years.

TCG Akın began her life as USS Greenlet, a Chanticleer-class submarine rescue ship in the United States Navy. She was launched in 1942 and served in US Navy during World War 2, Korean War and Vietnam War. She was even in Tokyo Bay when Japan surrendered in 1945.

On 12 June 1970, she was decommissioned from US Navy service and immediately commissioned in Turkish Navy at Pearl Harbor Naval Submarine Base. Her transfer to Turkey took 40 days.

She was the sole dedicated submarine rescue ship untill the commissioning of TCG Alemdar in 2017.

I wish this old and elegant lady to be restored as a museum but most like she will either sunk during an exercise or scrapped.

Anyway, thank you for the service.

Doğu Akdeniz 2017 Naval Exercise Started In Eastern Mediterranean

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook arrives in Aksaz, Turkey. Photo: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Theron J. Godbold

Doğu Akdeniz 2017 naval exercise kicked off yesterday at Turkish Naval Base in Aksaz, Marmaris

The biannual, invitation exercise will take in areas near Aksaz in the Eastern Mediterranean between 7 and 16 November 2017.

Turkey has invited the NATO Standing Maritime Task Force-2 (SNMG-2), the United States and Romanian Naval Forces. They will join the Naval Forces, Air Forces and Coast Guard elements from Turkey.

25 warships and submarines 27 helicopters and airplanes and 3500 personnel from 5 participating countries will take part in the exercise. The exercise is a multinational maritime exercise designed to improve combined combat capabilities, increase operational capacity and strengthen relationships among NATO allies.

This is the list of the participating ships and submarines as fas as I could comply:

Number Name Type Nationality Fleet
F-245 TCG Oruçreis Frigate Turkey
F-24X TCG XXX Frigate Turkey
F-24X TCG XXX Frigate Turkey
F-24X TCG XXX Frigate Turkey
F-24X TCG XXX Frigate Turkey
F-511 TCG Heybeliada Corvette Turkey
P-344 TCG Rüzgar Fast attack craft Turkey
P-345 TCG Poyraz Fast attack craft Turkey
P-347 TCG Fırtına Fast attack craft Turkey
P-338 TCG Bora Fast attack craft Turkey
P-33X TCG XXX Fast attack craft Turkey
S-35X TCG XXX Submarine Turkey
S-35X TCG XXX Submarine Turkey
S-35X TCG XXX Submarine Turkey
A-580 TCG Akar Tanker Turkey
A-XXX TCG XXX Tanker Turkey
L-402 TCG Bayraktar LST Turkey
A-XXX TCG XXX Tug Turkey
SG-703 TCSG Yaşam OPV Turkey CG
L-12 HMS Ocean LSH UK SNMG-2
F-244 TCG Barbaros Frigate Turkey SNMG-2
41 BGS Drazki Frigate Bulgaria SNMG-2
265 ROS Admiral Horia Macelariu Corvette Romania
75 USS Donald Cook Destroyer USA

Furthermore following military and civilian search and rescue and emergency responce teams will tke part in the exercise:

 

  1. Turkish Land Forces Command Natural Disaster Relief teams and ambulance helicopters,
  2. Turkish Air Force Command, search and rescue helicopter and AKİP (Search and Rescue Specialist Staff) team,
  3. Ministry of Interior (Gendarmerie General Command), JAK (Gendarme Search and Rescue) teams,
  4. Transport, Maritime and Communications Ministry, Coastal Security General Directorate, Nene Hatun emergency response ship,
  5. Ministry of Health mobile hospital, command control instrument and UMKE (National Medical Rescue Team) teams,
  6. The Turkish Red Crescent

An important part of the exercise will be the attempts to provide coastal safety during disasters by means of disaster and emergency operations, search and rescue, humanitarian aid and air sanitary evacuation procedures.  The command, control and communications capabilities of the newest amphibious ship of Turkish Navy, TCG Bayraktar will be tested and evaluated in this scenario extensively.

 

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.

 

 

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