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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

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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Monday, 7 May 2018

INFOGRAPHICS #33: The destroyers and frigates of the European Union in 2018

Written by D-Mitch

British and French destroyers in formation.
The following infographic depicts all The destroyers and frigates of the European Union in 2018, in a single image! Note though that the military forces of European Union are not integrated and thus there is not a single European Navy from the members of the European Union. However, in March 2017, the European Union approved a new military command center for foreign training missions after Britain dropped its opposition (which was the main obstacle), the latest step in EU efforts to integrate its military forces and defense industries.Therefore, the formation of a "EU Navy" is closer than ever. The EU major surface combatant fleet consists of 115 frigates and destroyers of which 29 are anti-aircraft warfare (AAW) warships and the rest 86 are general purpose (GP) and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) warships (SSBN)! There are 31 classes in commission (some of them are actually are variants of main classes such as the Karel Doorman or O.H. Perry). The major contributor to the EU naval fleet (till today at least) is the United Kingdom (UK) with 19 major surface combatants. France and Italy have just one less ship in their fleets, while Greece counts 13 ships with Spain and Germany 11 each. UK has six (6) AAW destroyers in commission, Spain five (5) and France and Italy four (4) each. Note that the Danish opt-out from EU defence cooperation and the UK will leave the EU on March 29, 2019. Moreover, countries such as Romania and Bulgaria have warships with limited armament; especially the two Type 22 frigates could be characterized as large offshore patrol vessels as they lack any missile system.

The destroyers and frigates of the European Union in 2018. For a high resolution image click here.
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Sunday, 6 May 2018

INFOGRAPHICS #32: The submarines of the European Union in 2018

Written by D-Mitch 

Greek HS Poseidon (Type 209), Portuguese NRP Tridente (Type 214)
and German U33 (Type 212) submarines during the
Exercise
NOBLE JUSTIFICATION 2014
This is another article about submarines. This time, I depict all The submarines of the European Union in 2018, in a single image! After the recent graphics, where all the submarine classes of China, United States of America and Russia are illustrated in single images, I thought it was a good idea to present the whole (honestly impressive) undersea fleet of the European Union. Note though that the military forces of European Union are not integrated and thus there is not a single European Navy from the members of the European Union. However, in March 2017, the European Union approved a new military command center for foreign training missions after Britain dropped its opposition (which was the main obstacle), the latest step in EU efforts to integrate its military forces and defense industries.Therefore, the formation of a "EU Navy" is closer than ever. The EU submarine fleet consists of 65 boats of which eight (8) are nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBN), 13 nuclear-powered attack submarines, 44 diesel-electric submarines (SSK) of which SSK the 22 are equipped with air-independent propulsion system (AIP). There 21 classes in commission (some of them are actually are variants of basic submarine types such as Type 214 and Type 212). Only two countries, United Kingdom (UK) and France operate nuclear-powered submarines while there are five countries that operate submarines equipped with Air-Independent Propulsion (AIP). The UK has by far the largest submarines among all the European countries with its Vanguard class SSBN being 150 meters in length and displacing less than 16,000 tons. Romania actually has no submarine as its sole submarine, Delfinul, has been inactive since 1995. The two countries with the most numerous submarine fleets in their Navy, are the UK and Greece (each has 11 boats in commission) however the former has all its submarines nuclear-powered. The UK will leave the EU on March 29, 2019.

The submarines of the European Union in 2018. For a high resolution image click here.
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Sunday, 22 April 2018

INFOGRAPHICS #31: The People's Liberation Army Navy submarines in 2018

Written by D-Mitch 

Jin class ballistic missile submarine of the PLA Navy
In the following infographic, The People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) submarines in 2018, I depict all the submarines that are currently in commission with the PLA Navy (as of April 1, 2018). Currently, the PLA Navy (PLAN; Chinese: 中国人民解放军海军), operates a large number of nuclear-powered and diesel electric submarines. The Chinese ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) fleet  consists of  at least five (5) Jin class (09IV/09IVA, from now on 094/04A) SSBN  vessels (other sources mention six boats already in the class) and one Xia class (Type 092) SSBN (other sources report also a sub-variant, the Type 092G, consisting of a pair of boats) and perhaps one boat of the third generation of Chinese SSBN, the lead ship of the Type 096 SSBN (NATO:Tang-class). Therefore the total number of boats is the minimum six boats and maximum ten boats! Moreover, China operates at least seven (7) Type 093/093A/093B (Shang class) nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSN), at least one Type 095 SSN and possibly one more boat already has been commissioned, the third generation of Chinese SSNs and three (3) Type 091 (Han class) SSN boats. Other sources report one more Type 093B in active service, thus the number of Chinese SSNs increases to 12-13. The active diesel electric submarine (SSK) fleet consists of approximately 58 boats in active service! About 18 Type 039A/039B/039C SSK (Yuan class) boats (other sources mention 12 Type 039B/C boats and two other vessels in sea trials) and 13 Type 039/039G SSK boats (other sources mention 16 boats in the class). Furthermore, the Chinese Navy operates 12 Kilo class SSK, five (5) Type 035B (Ming class) SSK and about nine Type 035G old SSKs, the remaining of total 12 boats completed of which one was lost and two were transferred to Bangladesh. It is not known if they are still in active service. China operates also a sole boat of the Type 032 class (Qing-class), a diesel-electric submarine currently as a testbed in PLAN. It is said to be the world's largest conventional submarine, at a submerged displacement of 6,628 tonnes (!) and a length of about 93 meters. This impressive vessel is armed with a number of 533/650 mm torpedo tubes, 2-3 SLBM VLS in the conning tower and four (4) tube VLS for cruise/ASW/AShM missiles in the forward section! The submarine tests new technologies such as torpedoes, compartments for special forces, underwater unmanned vehicles, new missiles, and others. Take into account please that the sources vary a lot on the amounts of boats in each class and moreover on the pennant numbers of the boats (for example Wiki reports the same pennant numbers for different classes of vessels). Moreover, the new classes are illustrated according to the latest artist's impressions as well as the few existent photos.

The People's Liberation Army Navy submarines in 2018. For a high resolution image click here.
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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

INFOGRAPHICS #30: The Russian Navy submarines in 2018

Written by D-Mitch 

Dmitriy Donskoy, the last of the Typhoon class undersea giants...
In the following infographic, The Russian Navy submarines in 2018, I depict all the submarines that are currently in commission with the Russian Navy (as of April 1, 2018). Currently, the Russian Navy (Russian: Военно-морской Флот Российской Федерации (ВМФ России), lit. Military-Maritime Fleet of the Russian Federation) operates an impressive number of powerful nuclear-powered and diesel electric submarines,. The Russian ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) fleet  consists of  four (4) Borei class SSBN (the fourth vessel and lead ship of the fifth generation Borei II-class, Knyaz Vladimir, is scheduled to enter service this year), six (6) Delta IV class SSBN, one recently overhauled Delta III class SSBN (Ryazan) and the last (and upgraded) boat of the largest ever built submarine class, the Typhoon class Dmitriy Donskoy (TK-208). Moreover, Russia operates eight (8) Oscar II class guided missile submarines (SSGN), 11 Akula I/II/III class nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSN) plus one more boat (Nerpa) which has leased to India from 2012 for 10 years (Chakra), one Yasen class SSN while one more, K-561 Kazan, is about to be commissioned this year, three (3) Victor III class boats and four (4) Sierra I/II class boats. The active diesel electric submarine fleet consists of 21 boats, all of them except one boat (Lada class B-585 Sankt Peterburg) belong to the Kilo/Improved Kilo class attack submarines. The Russian Navy maintains also a significant amount of special purpose submarines including two nuclear-powered modified Delta III/IV boats (they operate as motherships for mini submarines, for a combination of oceanographic research, search and rescue, and underwater intelligence-gathering) as well as the 90 (?) -meter Sarov and the nuclear-powered AS-12, known also as Losharik. It should be mentioned that many boats are still inactive or in modernization overhaul, so for some of them their status is unclear.

The Russian Navy submarines in 2018. For a high resolution image click here.
I would like to thank a lot my friend Artjom H for his great help, and specifically for the provision of accurate information about the number of boats and their current status in service with the Russian Navy as well as for his (really impressive) patience answering all my questions!
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Wednesday, 11 April 2018

INFOGRAPHICS #29: The United States Navy submarines in 2018

Written by D-Mitch

Ohio class SSBN of the United States Navy
In the following infographic, The United States Navy submarines in 2018, I depict all the submarines that are currently in active service with the United States Navy (as of April 1, 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 modified USS Jimmy Carter SSN-23), 15 Virginia class SSN while one more, the USS Indiana SSN-789 is about to join the fleet, 23 Improved Los Angeles class SSN, and 12 Los Angeles class SSN. Of the Los Angeles class submarines, three (3) are about to decommissioned in the near future (USS Buffalo (SSN-715), USS Olympia (SSN-717) and USS Jacksonville (SSN-699)). There will be only one vessel from the Los Angeles class Flight I & II in active service for limited time, which is the USS Bremerton (SSN-698). This year, two more Virginia class SSN are scheduled to join the fleet, the USS South Dakota (SSN-790) and USS Delaware (SSN-791). These two vessels will be the last of the Block III while a new Block IV that will consist of ten (10) boats is under construction. It should be mentioned that all the boats are nuclear-powered.

The United States Navy submarines in 2018. For a high resolution image click here.
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