Sunday, 31 December 2017

Bayraktar class landing ships of the Turkish Navy

Written by D-Mitch

TCG Bayraktar (L402), lead ships of the Bayraktar class LST
There are very few countries today which develop and built modern tank landing ships (LST). Such countries are South Korea with the Cheon Wang Bong-class, Russia with the Ivan Gren class and Turkey with the Bayraktar class. Of these three classes, the largest, the most modern and most heavily armed, is certainly the Turkish Bayraktar class, which will be described thoroughly in this article.The first of the ship in the class was launched on October 3, 2015, and was commissioned just recently, in April 2017. The ship, which was designed and built for the Turkish Navy by Anadolu Deniz Insaat Kizaklari Sanayi ve Ticaret (ANADOLU Shipyard), was named Bayraktar (L402) replacing the old TCG Bayraktar, a LST-542 class landing ship/minelayer (and not LST-511 class as it is reported in many sources). The original contract signed in June 2011 for the procurement of two vessels with an option for two more ships and thus to replace the two 30-year old Bey-class ships. It should be mentioned that the Bayraktar was designed, built and commissioned in a period of just 46 months! Moreover, the domestic industry participation in amphibious ship construction is more than 70 percent! The second ship, TCG Sancaktar (L403) was launched on 17 July 2016 and will be commissioned the coming months. The ships of the class are primarily intended for amphibious missions and transportation of troops and equipment, while their secondary missions include humanitarian aid, disaster relief, medical assistance and transportation. The ships of the class will also serve as flagships and logistic support vessels. 

Aerial view of the TCG Bayraktar landing ship

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Thursday, 14 December 2017

NAVAL FORCES #12 and COAST GUARD VESSELS #5: Cyprus Naval Command & Coast Guard patrol vessels

Written by D-Mitch

Cypriot C382 patrol boats during a maritime exercise. Notice
that the one in the back belongs to the Coast Guard while the
other one in the foreground to the Cypriot Navy
This article will summarize the current naval vessels in service with the Cyprus Naval Command and Cyprus Port and Marine Police (i.e. Cyprus Coast Guard). The article is accompanied by graphs and tables, a large number of photos and a brief description of the vessels' armament. The Cyprus Naval Command (Greek: Ναυτική Διοίκηση Κύπρου) (also known as the Cyprus Navy or Cypriot Navy) is the armed sea wing of the Cyprus National Guard. This force does not possess any capital ships or other major warships, but is equipped with patrol boats, none of them equipped with missiles except MANPADS, a number of Aerospatiale MM40 Exocet Block II mobile coastal defence missile systems and integrated radar systems, as well as SEALs-type naval underwater demolitions units. The Cyprus Navy has the primary mission of defending the sea borders of the Republic of Cyprus. 

P02 Kyrenia, the second Cypriot patrol vessel as it was once
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Saturday, 2 December 2017

NAVAL FORCES #11: The Hellenic Navy emits SOS - Current situation and challenges

Written by D-Mitch

Frigates of the Hellenic Navy fleet in formation
This is the introduction to an article I wrote in Greek, for Πτήση & Διάστημα (Ptisi & Diastima, english: Flight & Space) magazine's website, the oldest aviation and defense magazine in Greece, about the current situation of the Hellenic Navy fleet and the challenges the Navy will face by 2025. The title of the article is "The Hellenic Navy emits SOS". Today, Hellenic Navy, is one of those Navies that maintain a significant amount of firepower thanks to the numerous fleet of surface combatants and submarines in its inventory.  However, this situation is bound to change in the near future as the ongoing economic crisis hits hard the country and moreover as Greece tries to recover via spending cuts including a high proportion of the defence budget. This article briefly summarizes the issues, the needs for immediate replacements and modernization programmes as well as the serious efforts by the Navy staff, who despite the wage cuts and the few available resources, to keep the aging fleet operational and prepared for battle. Enjoy the article Το Πολεμικό Ναυτικό εκπέμπει SOS!

Modernizations made by the Navy staff, with their own initiative on various vessels.
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Friday, 24 November 2017

Unidentified systems on warships

Written by D-Mitch

In this short article I will include all those tweets where I asked for help in order to identify weapon systems or sensors on various warships. Those systems have not been identified yet.If you know the systems I would be grateful.
1. Launchers on an Israeli Navy Sa'ar 4.5 class FACM? 
Add caption
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The following photos were taken on May 29, 2017 and were posted for the first time by the user Eugene 5110 at . Some people identified those boxes on an Israeli fast attack missile boat (FACM) as Spyder, Iron Dome or Spike (NLOS) launchers. Another person suggested that it was a Green Dragon loitering missile/munition. Indeed, the launching system looks similar to that. Others proposed different kind of systems. The tweet and the comments are at this link. Do YOU know the system?

Sa'ar 4.5 class fast attack missile boat with boxy launchers amidships

2. New sensors on a Horizon class destroyer of the French Navy? 
Chevalier Paul with her new equipment
The devices on the C. Paul's hangar.
Photo by Devrim Yaylali
The following photos were taken on October 9, 2017 by Giorgio Arra and were posted at While I was looking those photos I noticed that that the French Navy Horizon class destroyer D621 Chevalier Paul is equipped with some new, unknown to me, devices in her equipment. I have modified those photos for the purpose of highlighting the unidentified systems. I think that they look like ECM/ESM systems. Somebody said that they look like SATCOM which I do not believe that this is the case as the ship has already numerous SATCOM. Those radomes are really small and are spread all over the ship (I spotted four such systems). They look also in specific direction and have protected plate behind them for interference avoidance. They are definitely not SATCOMs. Somebody else proposed that they are sensors part of a thermal sea skimming missile detection system while another one proposed that they are electro-optical sensors. There were those also that agreed with my proposition. The tweet and the comments are at this link. Do YOU know the system?

The unknown device
Another view of the devices
Three of the unknown devices atop the hangar


3. Unknown system on Israeli Navy Sa'ar 4.5 FACM and Sa'ar 5 class corvettes

The unknown to me system
of a Sa'ar 5 class corvette
The main mast of a Sa'ar 4.5 class FACM
The following photos show the main mast of the Sa'ar 4.5 class fast attack missile boat and the foremast of a Sa'ar 5 class corvette of the Israeli Navy. There is a kind of electronic equipment hidden inside the enclosed masts of the two warship classes and it is clear that this is a sensor as it can be noticed the NO PAINT warning on the surface of the cover. Do not forget that when we talk about any kind of Israeli military platform, we expect a variety of sensors and antennas, of which the majority of them have usually an unknown to the general audience purpose. My guess is that this is an electronic/communication support measures system but I cannot identify which exactly system. Therefore in my analysis of the Sa'ar 4.5 class here, I mentioned what I strongly believe it is enclosed there but I did not mention a specific system. The tweet and the comments are at this link. Do YOU know the system?

The main mast of a Sa'ar 4.5 class FACM
The foremast of a Sa'ar 5 class corvette

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Friday, 17 November 2017

Gurza-M class small armored artillery boats of the Ukrainian Naval Forces

Written by D-Mitch

Berdiansk (U175), second boat in the Gurza-M class (pr.58155)
It was December 6th of 2016 when the Ukrainian Naval Forces commissioned their first new naval vessels after decades. The only exception was the Grisha-V class corvette Ternopil (U209) which was commissioned in 2006 and which was later on captured by Russian forces during the Crimean crisis on March 20, 2014. The two boats that entered service on that date, were the first boats of the new Gurza-M class (Project 58155) small armored artillery boats; a larger derivative of the Gurza (Desert Viper) class (Project 58150) boats which serve with the Border Service of Uzbekistan. The boats of the class are like floating infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) if I could say; they have even gas barrels at the stern similarly to modern Ukrianian/Russian tanks! They remind also a lot the river monitors but their displacement if far much less than them, they are lighter armored and carry less weapons (see for example the Romanian Mihail Kogălniceanu-class river monitor). The boats are designed by the State Research and Design Shipbuilding Centre (SRDSC) of Ukraine and being built by PJSC Leninska Kuznya Plant, headquartered in Kiev, Ukraine. The Gurza is considered a product of UKROBORONPRO, the association of multi-product enterprises in all sectors of the Ukrainian defense industry.

Akkerman (U174) and Berdiansk (U175) first two boats in the class.
Photo: Ministry of Defense of Ukraine

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Wednesday, 8 November 2017

PHOTO GALLERY #16: Matrozos, submarine of the Hellenic Navy

HS Matrozos as seen from the fast attack craft Degiannis
The third warship that I visited on Friday, October 27 (see previous post here), which was opened to the public at Piraeus harbor due to the forthcoming celebration of Ohi Day (anniversary of the "No"), was a Papanikolis class submarine, the HS Matrozos. Submarine Matrozos was commissioned in March of 2016 and it is the third vessel in the class. The four 65-meter vessels of the Papanikolis class (Type 214HN) submarines, are equipped with  air-independent propulsion (AIP) system, and are the most modern and advanced submarines in service with the Hellenic Navy and some of the most advanced submarines in the world today! The Papanikolis class is indeed the pride of the modern Hellenic Navy. Enjoy some photos from my visit!

HS Matrozos, submarine of the Hellenic Navy

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Sunday, 5 November 2017

PHOTO GALLERY #15: Psara, frigate of the Hellenic Navy

HS Psara, Hydra class frigate of the Hellenic Navy
The second warship that I visited on Friday, October 27 (see previous post here), which was opened to the public at Piraeus harbor due to the forthcoming celebration of Ohi Day (anniversary of the "No"), was a Hydra class frigate, the HS Psara. Frigate Psara was commissioned in December of 1998 and she is the third vessel in the class. The four vessels of the Hydra class (MEKO 200HN) frigates are the most powerful surface combatants in the Hellenic Navy today and the only ones equipped with a 5in gun as well as with a vertical launching system for Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM). A complete article about the class will follow in the near future. Meanwhile, enjoy more than 50 photos from my visit! I would like to thank the crew for the guided tour in the ship's various compartments but especially a big thank to a young Petty Officer on the bridge who was a real expert on reporting the systems onboard, showing that he really loves his job!

HS Psara, frigate of the Hellenic Navy. Photo: D-Mitch
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