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Tuesday, 14 August 2018

WARSHIPS OF THE PAST: Ivan Rogov class large landing ships of the Russian Navy

Written by Keith Jacobs
Images by D-Mitch

Mitrofan Moskalenko, the third vessel in the Ivan Rogov class
The Ivan Rogov (Project 1174) class amphibious dock landing ships (LPD) were in the early 1970s the largest amphibious warship design then attempted by the former-Soviet Union. They were robust, highly flexible, and expensive in construction and maintenance costs, but offered for the first time, long-distance operational capability to place Soviet naval infantry in such distant locations as the eastern Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, or Southeast Asia, in conducting mosrkaia descantnaia operatsiia (Sea Landing Operation) in support of Soviet policy objectives. Till today, the three vessels of the Project 1174 LPD, are the largest amphibious warfare ships ever commissioned by the Russian Navy.

Mitrofan Moskalenko, the third and most advanced vessel in the Ivan Rogov class

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Monday, 30 July 2018

INFOGRAPHICS #38: World's ballistic missile submarines

Written by D-Mitch

The North Korean Sinpo/Gorae class submarine, currently
the only SSB in service with the North Korean Navy

This is the introduction to an article I wrote some months ago for the world-wide known Popular Mechanics, the official website of the famous classic magazine of popular science and technology (the first issue was published on January 11, 1902!). The article titled "All the Nuclear Missile Submarines in the World in One Chart" looks at today's world's ballistic missile submarines, their numbers and capabilities. A ballistic missile submarine is a submarine capable of deploying submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) with nuclear warheads. Officially only seven countries in the entire world deploy nuclear weapons at sea, an exclusive and deadly club. The ballistic missile submarine, either nuclear-powered (SSBN) or diesel-electric (SSB), is the most reliable means of nuclear deterrence. These vessels would survive a first strike and retaliate, which is meant to prevent an enemy from ever using its weapons. These fearful underwater giants stay hidden in the oceans avoiding detection at all costs and are always ready for the moment they might be needed. Enjoy my take on these marvelous beasts here!
World's Ballistic Missile Submarines. For high resolution image click here.
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Sunday, 22 July 2018

INFOGRAPHICS #37: The Asian submarine forces by subregion in 2018

Written by D-Mitch

In the following infographics, I depict all the submarines that are in active service in Asia as of July 1st 2018, by subregion. I do this in order anyone could easily compare the forces of neighboring countries. The submarine forces of Western Asian, West Asian, Southwestern Asian or Southwest Asian countries (Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Israel) are excluded, as their forces are included already in other graphs such as The attack submarines of the Mediterranean in 2018 or The attack submarines of Asia and Australia in 2018 (China and Russia excluded). The North Asian submarine forces (only Russia belongs to that subregion of Asia) are excluded as well while the Central Asian countries have not submarines in their inventories. In all graphs mini-submarines and small coastal submarines are not included. Notice that in Southeast Asia, Thailand will join the rest of the submarine forces with three submarines in its inventory. There are 136 submarines in total in East Asia, 25 in South Asia and 17 in Southeast Asia.

The East Asian submarines in 2018. For a high resolution image click here.
The South Asian submarines in 2018. For a high resolution image click here.
The Southeast Asian submarines in 2018. For a high resolution image click here.

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Sunday, 15 July 2018

INFOGRAPHICS #36: The Americas submarines in 2018

Written  by D-Mitch
The Chilean Scorpenes are currently the most
modern diesel-electric submarines in the continent
In the following infographic, named The Americas Submarines, I depict all the submarines that are in active service in America as of July 1st 2018. Currently, the United States Navy operates a massive amount of powerful nuclear-powered submarines, consisting of 14 Ohio class ballistic missile submarines (SSBN), four (4) Ohio class (modified) guided missile submarines (SSGN), three (3) Seawolf class nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSN) (including the highly modified USS Jimmy Carter SSN-23), 16 Virginia class SSN, 22 Improved Los Angeles class SSN, and 10 Los Angeles class SSN (see The United States Navy submarines in 2018). Three more Los Angeles boats are on paper still in commission but actually are out of service. San Francisco is being converted to Moored Training Ship (MTS), Jacksonville, has started a months-long preparation for inactivation and decommissioning and Buffalo is under inactivation and decommissioning procedure. Regarding the rest of the countries in the continent, there is no nuclear-powered  submarine (SSN) in any Navy (at least until Brazil commissions its first vessel after 2020), neither there is a submarine equipped with Air-Independent Propulsion (AIP) system (the Chilean Scoprene class submarines are fitted but not with the system and will receive it in a future refit). It should be mentioned also that from the 21 countries of Latin America, only seven navies (7) have submarines in their fleet; Peru has the most numerous fleet but Brazil and Chile the most modern submarine fleets in the region. Moreover, the 92% of the Latin American submarines are German-built (!). Also, Argentina, while it has in its inventory the largest submarine in the region (TR1700 class: 67 meters length and 2,100t displacement), none of its submarines is currently in active service (see more details at The Attack Submarines of Latin America in 2018). In the Americas, there are 98 submarines in total of which the 69 are of the U.S.Navy.

The Americas submarines in 2018. For a high resolution image click here.
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Saturday, 30 June 2018

INFOGRAPHICS #35: HMS Rodney battleship of the Royal Navy

HMS Rodney, Nelson class battleship of the Royal Navy
HMS Rodney (pennant number 29) was one of two Nelson-class battleships built for the Royal Navy in the mid-1920s. The ship was named after Admiral Lord Rodney. The Nelsons were unique in British battleship construction, being the only ships to carry a main armament of 16-inch (406 mm) guns (nine guns in three turrets!), and the only ones to carry all the main armament forward of the superstructure (the French followed the British example in 1937 with the commissioning of their Dunkerque class and later with the Richelieu class). They were designed as larger ships but 'cut down' by the Washington Treaty of 1922, the design was limited to 35,000 tons (216 meters overall length) and showed certain compromises. To accommodate 16-inch main guns in three turrets, all of the turrets were placed forward and the vessel's speed was reduced and maximum armor was limited to vital areas. Even with the design limitations forced on the designers by the treaty, Rodney and Nelson were regarded as the most powerful battleships afloat until the new generation of all big gun ships was launched in 1936. Note that they were the only British battleships built between the Revenge class (ordered in 1913) and the King George V class, ordered in 1936. As her superstructure was located aft of midships like RN fleet oilers whose names carried the ...'ol' suffix, she was sometimes derisively referred to as "Rodnol".

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Thursday, 14 June 2018

BOOK REVIEW #3: The Best of Don Winslow of the Navy

Welcome to my third book review, The Best of Don Winslow of the Navy, A Collection of High-Seas Stories from Comics' Most Daring Sailor!

The Best of Don WInslow of the Navy.
Publisher: Dead Reckoning, U.S. Naval Institute
Welcome to my third book review! This time, the book I will present and review here isn’t actually a literature book but a book collection of the best stories from a famous American comic! This comic is the classic Fawcett run of Don Winslow of the Navy, one of the most popular comics running during and after World War II! Don Winslow of the Navy was introduced to the American public in March, 1934, originally as a comic strip in newspapers in the ‘30s and ‘40s. The comic magazine, as it was known at the time, was launched in February, 1943, by Fawcett Publications containing the original stories of Don Winslow in the form of short stories. The Don Winslow of the Navy comic was originally created by Frank V. Martinek, Lt. Commander in U.S. Naval Intelligence in order to stimulate the interest of young Americans about military life and thus to foster recruitment (especially in the Navy), as well as to entertain and engage military audiences and the general public. Somebody can imagine how exciting or mysterious a life on the sea would be to people from the Midwestern United States and Mountain United States, many of whom might not have even seen the ocean.
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Monday, 28 May 2018

INFOGRAPHICS #34: The attack submarines of Asia and Australia in 2018 (China and Russia excluded)

Written  by D-Mitch

Japan, perhaps except Russia and China, has the most
modern and advanced submarine fleet in Asia region.
In the following infographic, named The Attack Submarines of Asia and Australia in 2018, I depict all the attack submarines that are in active service in Asia and Australia continents  right now (and will continue to be part of their Navies until the end of 2018). Please note that in comparison with the previous graphs,  The Attack Submarines of Europe in 2017 (updated for 2018), The Attack Submarines of Latin America in 2018, and The Attack Submarines of the Mediterranean in 2018, two countries are excluded from the graph; China and Russia, both superpowers which have numerous submarines in their fleets (Russian Navy submarine fleet and PLA Navy submarine fleet). Countries such as the United States of America and others that have naval bases in the region are not included as well in the graph. Note that there is only one navy in the region (except Russia and China always) with nuclear-powered  submarine (SSN), and specifically only India has in its inventory an Improved Akula class submarine which has been leased from Russia for 10 years. India also is the only country with nuclear ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) in its fleet (currently two Arihant class boats). There are also navies that have submarine-launched cruise missile capability which belong to Vietnam (Kilo class with Club-S), India  (Kilo and Akula classes with Club-S) and Israel (Dolphin I/II class with Popeye Turbo). Moreover, there are seven countries in the region with submarines in their inventories equipped with (or fitted but not with) Air-Independent Propulsion (AIP) system; Japan (nine in its inventory), India (two in its inventory), South Korea (eight in its inventory), Pakistan (three in its inventory), Singapore (two in its inventory), Israel (two in active service) and Malaysia (two in its inventory). Japan has the most numerous fleet (20 boats), India has the largest submarine (INS Chakra: displacement of 12,700t submerged and length of 110 meters), Iran the smallest one (Fateh class: displacement of 590t submerged and length of 48 meters) except the numerous midget submarines that has together with North Koerea, and Taiwan the oldest ones (the two Hai Shih class submarines were launched in 1944-45!) which however they are sure superior to the younger Type 033 class submarines of North Korea. One more country will join the club in the coming years and this is Thailand.

The Attack Submarines of Asia and Australia in 2018. For a high resolution image click here.
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Tuesday, 22 May 2018

PHOTO GALLERY #17: Aboard the Hellenic Navy destroyer Sachtouris (D-214), in the STANAVFORMED, back in the '90s

Photos by Spyros P.

Sachtouris (D-214), Gearing-class FRAM I destroyer
The Sachtouris (D214) was a United States Navy Gearing-class FRAM I destroyer launched in 1945 as USS Arnold J. Isbell (DD-869), she was transferred to Greece in 1974 and renamed. She remained in active service until October 1992 and reportedly scrapped in Turkey in 2002. The following (scanned) photos were taken by Spyros P. who served aboard the destroyer; all photos were taken in 1992 (some time before she was decommissioned) when the Greek vessel was part of the NATO Standing Naval Force Mediterranean (STANAVFORMED or SNFM) (Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 - SNMG2) today) and its patrols and visits in the Adriatic Sea and the Mediterranean. A big thank to Spyros for sharing with us these unique photos. From my side, I tried to identify the ships illustrated and provide some descriptions. All the frigates and destroyers are mentioned, were part of the force that time. Enjoy!

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Sunday, 13 May 2018

Greek Maritime Patrol Aircraft: Past, Present and Future

Written by Γ.Μ.

A pair of Hellenic Navy P-3B Orions in formation
Compared to other operational means, the specialized maritime patrol aircraft offers a number of advantages such as high response speed, great autonomy, the ability to carry a variety of sensors and weapons, and others, in order to fulfill their mission. Thus, provided that they are equipped with the appropriate equipment, they can perform Maritime Patrol Surveillance (MPS), Intelligence Gathering, Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW), targeting beyond the horizon, and others. They can also contribute to other missions such as SAR and aerial minelaying. Even other means that often appear to be more cost-effective substitutes for MPAs, such as Unmanned Aerial Systems - which are useful supplements for some cases which require persistent surveillance - are usually lagging behind in critical areas such as speed, the ability to transport simultaneously many different mission modules and / or weapons (especially in relation to medium / large MPAs) and, of course, in the absence of the human factor, the immediacy of the crisis and its intervention, is decisive in many missions of naval cooperation.
Three P-3B Orions of the Hellenic Navy in formation

In countries with a long coastline and hence with extensive maritime borders, such as Greece, the operational utility of MPA is obvious. Therefore, the availability of such means to the Hellenic Armed Forces should be considered as absolutely necessary for a number of national as well as international tasks.
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