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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.
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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.
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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!

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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? 

Unidentified boxy launchers amidships
Unidentified launchers on a Sa'ar 4.5
The following photos were taken on May 29, 2017 and were posted for the first time by the user Eugene 5110 at forums.airbase.ru. 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?

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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.

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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!

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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!

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PHOTO GALLERY #14: Degiannis, fast attack craft of the Hellenic Navy

HS Degiannis of the Hellenic Navy. Photo: D-Mitch
On Friday, October 27, I had the opportunity to visit the fast attack craft P-26 Degiannis, third vessel in the Kavaloudis class (Combattante IIIB) of the Hellenic Navy. The six vessels in the class were built in Hellenic Shipyards and delivered to the Navy in the period 1980-1981. One of the vessels, P-25 Kostakos which was sunk in November 4th, 1996, when it was struck by Samaina a passenger ferry and four members of the crew lost their lives in that tragic accident. The Kavaloudis-class boats have not been modernized as their older sisters, the Laskos class (Combattante IIIA) (photo gallery of HS Blessas here). However, they have replaced their ageing missile systems, the 40km-range Penguin anti-ship missiles, with Harpoon that has three times the maximum range of a Penguin missile. Another new addition to the equipment of the vessel is that of a SIMRAD navigation radar which supplements the old Decca radar. HS Degiannis, together with the Hydra class frigate HS Psara (photo gallery here) and Papanikolis class submarine HS Matrozos were opened to the public at Piraeus harbor due to the forthcoming celebration of Ohi Day (anniversary of the "No") to commemorate the rejection by Greek Prime Minister Metaxas of the ultimatum made by Italian dictator Mussolini on October 28, 1940 during WWII. I hope you will enjoy the photos!

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Tuesday, 31 October 2017

The attack submarines of Europe by 2030

Written by D-Mitch

Astute class submarine of the Royal Navy
The most important developments in the European surface and submarine fleets were described in detail by the author in two previous articles, the very recent The major surface combatants of the most powerful European Navies and the attack submarines of Europe, in 2017 and the 2016 article The major surface combatants of the most powerful European Navies in 2030. This article describes the European submarine fleets based on the latest official statements from European governments about future shipbuilding and procurement programmes for their Navies. Those submarine classes that have not entered service yet, are illustrated based on the latest official artist's impressions. Boats that were commissioned prior the year 2001, have been excluded from the future submarine fleets as they will have either reached 30-years of active service by 2030, which is normally the life limit in a modern day's navy, or they will have been replaced much earlier by newer classes.

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Wednesday, 25 October 2017

INFOGRAPHICS #26: The major surface combatants of the most powerful European Navies and the attack submarines of Europe today

Written by D-Mitch

Row of Type 209 and Type 214 submarines at the
Hellenic Navy Salamis Naval Base (Jan 31, 2018).
This article includes two infographics. In the first infographic, named The major surface combatants of the most powerful European Navies in 2018, I depict the major surface combatant fleets of the seven (7) most powerful Navies in Europe, those seven navies that historically maintain and develop a strong naval fleet of very advanced warships (a similar article The major surface combatants of the most powerful European Navies in 2030). But what is a surface combatant? According to the Office of Naval Research of the United States Navy, "..surface combatants (or surface ships or surface vessels) are a subset of naval warships which are designed for warfare on the surface of the water, with their own weapons. They are generally ships built to fight other ships, submarines or aircraft, and can carry out several other missions including counter-narcotics operations and maritime interdiction. Their primary purpose is to engage space, air, surface, and submerged targets with weapons deployed from the ship itself, rather than by manned carried craft.". The term is primarily used to mean any modern vessel type that is not a submarine; although a "surface ship" may range in size from a small cutter to a large cruiser, the largest surface combatant today in any Navy.


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Friday, 20 October 2017

FLEETS #18: Italian Navy, Japanese Navy, French Navy (v.II) and Turkish Navy in WWI

The following images illustrate the most important classes of warships that were in service with the navies of Italy, Japan, France (version 2) and Turkey (Ottoman Empire) during the World War I. More posts will follow for your collection of current naval fleets but also of fleets from the past.

Italian Navy (Regia Marina) in WWI

Click to enlarge and save the image to view the details - Italian Navy in WWI

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Saturday, 16 September 2017

Turkish Navy modernization and shipbuilding plans through 2030

Written by D-Mitch

Turkish Navy 2017 - 2021
Without doubt, Turkey today has the strongest and most numerous naval forces in the Eastern Mediterranean. Turkish Navy has more frigates, submarines and fast attack missile boats (Egypt has more FACM but most of them are not serviceable) than any other navy with significant naval fleet in the region such as the Hellenic Navy, Egyptian Navy and Israeli Navy. Not only Turkey has more warships but also those vessels have been modernized or upgraded recently as it will be described thoroughly in the next paragraphs. But Turkey has even greater naval ambitions. This article will summarize the most important developments in the Turkish Navy force structure and its impressive shipbuilding plans from 2010 with a look toward 2030. It should be mentioned here that when I refer to "upgrade" I mean new electronics - sensors and weapons while "modernization" is either new weapons or new electronics and not both.

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Saturday, 26 August 2017

India’s Maritime Aspirations: Zone Defence and a Bubble

Written by Periklis Stampoulis *

India’s maritime “destiny” was early cited by K.M. Panikkar, an Indian diplomat and influential scholar: “The vital feature which differentiates the Indian Ocean from the Atlantic or the Pacific is the sub-continent of India, which juts out far into the sea for a thousand miles. It is the geographical position of India that changes the character of the Indian Ocean...”[1].

Talwar class frigates of the Indian Navy in formation
By fulfilling its “destiny”, India bumps into Chinese regional interests. Attempting to expand its own interests, commercial activities and energy goods imports, the “String of Pearls” project, namely the construction of a web of naval infrastructure (ports and bases) throughout the IOR, has been issued. These activities along with the arms sales to IOR states cause fears of Chinese encirclement [2]. Moreover, China has already built and fully operates a military base in Djibouti and according to a U.S. Pentagon report “most likely will seek to establish additional military bases in countries with which it has a longstanding friendly relationship and similar strategic interests [3]”. Already, a naval base/logistics infrastructure has been built in Gwadar, Pakistan, and certain ports in the IOR, such as Hambantota in Sri Lanka [4] and Chittagong along with Sonadia [5] in Bangladesh provide amenities to Chinese Navy ships. Therefore, the best way of countering Chinese descent to the IOR is a strong Indian Navy.

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Saturday, 19 August 2017

Wonsan and Nampo minelayer classes of the Republic of Korea Navy

Written by D-Mitch

RoKS Nampo, world's most advanced minelayer today
Today, some of the most advanced and most capable modern minelayer classes belong to the Republic of Korea Navy (South Korean Navy). This is the Wonsan class and its evolution, the Nampo class, which will be analyzed thoroughly in this article. The first ship in the Nampo class, RoKS Nampo with the pennant number 570, was launched just recently by the Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), on 27th of May of 2017. It is not known yet how many ships in the class will follow exactly but at least three more ships are expected. The designation name of the class is Mine Layer Ship (MLS)-II following the previous sole ship and predecessor of the type, MLS-I type, the Wonsan (560), which was delivered to the Republic of Korea Navy in 1998. Initially, South Korea was planning to build three MLS-I ships but due to budget constraints of that time only one vessel was completed. Big, modern, heavily armed, multi-purpose ships, these are definitely the most well equipped minelayers in the world today proving that the minelayer designs have still future.

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Wednesday, 9 August 2017

BOOK REVIEW #2: The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn - The Untold Story of the American Revolution

Welcome to my second book review, The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn - The Untold Story of the American Revolution, by Robert P. Watson.

The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn
The Jersey Prison Ship as moored at
the Wallabout near Long Island, in 1782
This is the shocking and tragic yet largely-unknown story of the notorious HMS Jersey, an old rotting British warship that was used as a floating prison during the American Revolution. A carefully-researched story by Robert P. Watson focusing on the struggles of American prisoners imprisoned aboard that ship, that everyone should read it! Moored off the coast of Brooklyn, in the shallows of Wallabout Bay, until the end of the war, HMS Jersey was a living hell for thousands of Americans. A dreaded prison for American soldiers and sailors who were captured in the battle, crews of captured American privateers, which constituted the main population aboard the ships, and civilians suspected of supporting the colonial cause or refusing to swear an oath to the Crown. These unfortunate souls were incarcerated in the diseased and deadly holds of this large floating coffin whose dark and filthy appearance fitly represented death and despair.

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Saturday, 29 July 2017

Egyptian Navy upgraded - Seeking for security or an indication of strategic aspirations?

Written by Theodore Bazinis*

''A navy is a state’s main instrument of maritime force. What it should do, what doctrine it holds, what ships it deploys, and how it fights are determined by practical political and military choices in relation to national needs. Choices are made according to the state’s goals, perceived threat, maritime opportunity…'' [1] (Baer, 1994)

Some of the most modern additions to the Egyptian Navy, Type 209/1400
submarine, Ezzat class missile boat and Aquitaine class frigate
Are the recent Egyptian naval procurements in coherence with the above mentioned words? On March 17, the first Gowind Corvette of the Egyptian navy successfully completed the first phase of sea trials and will soon be fully operational. Furthermore on April 19, the second Submarine Type 209/1400 was acquired. During the last five years the Egyptian Navy has materialized procurements which have upgraded its capabilities. What’s the ultimate purpose? Just seeking for Security, reflect of extensive strategic aspirations or political oriented decisions?

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Tuesday, 13 June 2017

FLEETS #17: Spanish Navy, Polish Navy and Irish Naval Service today

Written by D-Mitch

This is the fifth article about various countries' navies today. In these articles, I briefly describe a country's naval fleet by reporting the ships in each type/category of warships and by providing a nice image where all the types of warships are illustrated and the units of its class are reported. I include the vessels that will enter in service this year and I have excluded those that are about to be decommissioned. I deliberately excluded many classes of auxiliary ships; those that they have "0" defence capacity and those that have secondary roles such as hydrographic survey ships, tugs, depollution vessels and training ships.

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Tuesday, 6 June 2017

The Irish Naval Service fleet today

Written by D-Mitch

The Force is strong with the Irish Naval Service!
Samuel Beckett crest, a photo by Salvador de la Rubia
The Naval Service (Irish: an tSeirbhís Chabhlaigh) is the maritime component of the Defence Forces of Ireland and is one of the three branches of the Irish Defence Forces. The Naval Service provides the maritime component of the State's Defence capabilities and is the State's principal seagoing agency. The Naval Service operates jointly with the Army and Air Corps. Its base is in Haulbowline, County Cork. The Naval Service is tasked with a variety of roles including defending territorial seas, deterring intrusive or aggressive acts, conducting maritime surveillance, maintaining an armed naval presence, ensuring right of passage, protecting marine assets, countering port blockades; people or arms smuggling, illegal drugs interdiction, and providing the primary diving team in the State. The Service supports Army operations in the littoral and by sea lift, has undertaken supply and reconnaissance missions to overseas peace support operations and participates in foreign visits all over the world in support of Irish Trade and Diplomacy.

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Tuesday, 30 May 2017

FLEETS & INFOGRAPHICS: improvements and updates

During the last months, I finally managed to update and improve the majority of the articles and especially the Infographics that are included almost in every post and the Fleets. I received many comments suggesting me to create Fleet graphs similar to the Royal Navy and Hellenic Navy graphs where all the combat units are depicted one by one and not just the classes. So I finally did that for all the Fleets I have created until now! But I did not stop only there but I did the following (which was not an easy work at all...):
  • The font has been changed in almost every graph and infographic such as the Andrea Doria class, Vittorio Veneto, Horizon class, Aquitaine class, the Karel Doorman class, etc. I still though need to improve the font of the Elli class graphs and very few others
  • Crests/seals were added or improved on many Fleet graphs and Infographics
  • Ship figures were improved on Fleet graphs
  • The Fleets are now all depicted as of December 2017, thus ships that are about to be decommissioned have not been included while those that are about to enter service this year have been included
  • Many dead links in some articles have been replaced with new ones while new information and photos were added. The information in the articles is updated constantly accordingly to latest news
  • Emblems, flags and others have been changed or improved on graphs and infographics
  • New infographics were added of which some have replaced old ones, such as the Egyptian Navy Aquitaine class, the Italian Navy Bergamini class, the Republic of Singapore Navy improved Formidable class , the Turkish Navy Kilic I/II class and the Turkish Navy Yildz class
The Italian Navy Bergamini class FREMM, old (up) and new (bottom)
More analytically about the Fleets graphs, in the following images you can see the huge improvements were made. Now, it is finally time to proceed with new Analyses and the design of new Fleets such as Spanish Navy, Polish Navy, Irish Navy, Japanese Navy, Indonesian Navy and more. Stay tuned!

The RAN old (2015) and new graph (2017)
The RCN old (2015) and new graph (2017)

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Sunday, 21 May 2017

Malaysian 15 to 5 Armada Transformation Program - Meeting Mahan’s Perspectives while Adjusting to the Fiscal Environment

Written by Theodore Bazinis*

Alfred Thayer Mahan. Source
Royal Malaysian Navy vessels in formation
In his essay “Considerations Guiding the Dispositions of Navies’’, for the British journal National Review (1901), Mahan defined the ways that a nation should deploy and dispose its naval forces in times of peace. Τhe godfather of Sea Power, determined the constitution of the fleet, as a critical factor for naval power. Aiming to cope with a range of threats and challenges and fulfill its nation’s ambitions in maritime domain, a fleet should consist of adequate number of ships and of requisite types. Naval Strategists and Naval Policy Makers are charged to correspond in such a manner so that to achieve an ideal connection between naval procurements (which define the future constitution of the fleet) and ambitions, threats and challenges within a given fiscal context. Mahan determined four elements (abilities) which constitute a balanced fleet: (1) projection of sea power and overcoming a contingent or future enemy, (2) protection of vital sea lanes, (3) scouting and operating toward the coast and (4) exercise naval diplomacy.

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Monday, 17 April 2017

Sa'ar 4.5 (Hetz) class fast attack craft of the Israeli Navy

Written by D-Mitch
 
Sa'r 4.5 class fast attack missile craft (FACM), the powerful
naval protectors of Israel. Photo by Ofek Ron-Carmel
When we talk about Israeli vessels, aircraft or any kind of 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. This is exactly the case for the naval class which is analyzed in this article where its sensors related to electronic countermeasures, are reported mainly based on my experience and also on my judgement according to the producers' product descriptions. I must admit this article was not easy at all; an article which I started writing about a year ago and reached over than 35 pages... It was worth it though as I believe I managed to write the most complete article about the class online. The Israeli naval class which is analyzed in this article is the Sa'ar 4.5 class or else Hetz class of fast attack missile craft (FACM); the backbone of the modern Israeli Navy (Hebrew: חיל הים הישראלי‎‎, Ḥeil HaYam HaYisraeli (English: Sea Corps of Israel); Arabic: البحرية الإسرائيلية‎‎) which is the naval warfare service arm of the Israel Defense Forces. Actually there are two different subclasses that are both named Sa'ar 4.5. The first subclass consists of two boats and was initially called Chochit (Hebrew: חוחית‎‎), but renamed to Aliya (Hebrew: עליה‎‎) and later on were sold to the Mexican Navy which renamed to Huracan class. Two Aliya subclass boats are in service with the Mexican Navy. This class will be analyzed in a future post. The second subclass was initially called Nirit (Hebrew: נירית‎‎) but renamed to Hetz (Hebrew: חץ‎‎). It should be mentioned here that this class was once the most heavily armed and most advanced in the world in the fast attack missile craft type. Today, Sa'ar 4.5 (Hertz), in its regular configuration, shares the first place together with the Egyptian Ezzat class (Ambassador Mk III) the latest addition to the Egyptian Navy, and certainly is one of the best FACM in the world today.

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Saturday, 1 April 2017

An (early) April Fool's Day joke, the Greek media and the journalistic professionalism

Very early in the morning of Friday the 31th, I read in the news that the shipowner Alexandros Goulandris is intended to make the armored cruiser Georgios Averof sailable, a legendary ship of the Hellenic Navy (Πολεμικο Ναυτικό) and now for many decades a memorial and museum ship. I found it really funny to be honest, someone to spend so much money to repair an old museum vessel and make it sailable again when the priorities of the Hellenic Navy are so many and when the country is broke. I am Greek as many of you know (or you can realize that from my posts that give an emphasis to the Navy of Greece), and as a navy enthusiast, researcher (operations research analyst)  and amateur blogger, I do care about the future of my country's Navy. Therefore I wanted to raise up an issue, to see the reactions of the people and moreover to test the Greek media. This was not an easy decision for me to make and took a lot of consideration before I posted the fake news. I hope that my followers will not have bad feelings and enjoyed the joke as much as I did. I must admit also that I was not expecting that huge domino effect and the reproduction of my "news" in so many blogs and websites and most important in so many variations! I was also seriously "bombed" from dozens of phone calls and private messages.

USS Stout (DDG-55), one of the ships that was "acquired" by the Hellenic Navy

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Monday, 20 March 2017

INFOGRAPHICS OF COAST GUARD VESSELS #4: Azerbaijan and Colombia

Written by D-Mitch


This is the fourth post, after a long time, of a new category of infographics of various coast guard vessels from around the world. These infographics aim to highlight the most important equipment of the vessels; I do not analyze the systems in depth as I do for the warships instead I provide some basic information mainly from Wikipedia (if else I provide the source) about the ships, their history and their capabilities.
1.  Sa'ar 62 class offshore patrol vessels of the Azerbaijani Coast Guard
President Ilham Aliyev inspecting the
new shipyards and the boats
Typhoon MLS-NLOS missile launcher
Azerbaijan is one of the very few countries in the world that has in her inventory missile-armed coast guard vessels. Jane's, reported in summer of 2014, that Azerbaijan had bought six Sa'ar 62 offshore patrol vessels (based on the Sa'ar 4.5 class) and six lighter Shaldag Mk V patrol boats. The purchase came to light flowing the release of images from the commissioning of a new naval shipyard in Azerbaijan, which showed the first vessels during handling and construction in new shipyards in Türkan (video here), which is also according to Jane's believed to have been built by Israel Shipyards. The construction hall has capacity for at least three vessels to be constructed simultaneously. It should be mentioned that  Azerbaijan became second country in the world, after Russia with her remaining Krivak III (Nerey) class cutters armed with SA-N-4 surface-to-air missiles, that introduced in the coast guard fleet, vessels armed with missile weapon systems. However, in the Azerbaijani service, the distinction between  a coast guard vessel and a naval vessel is blur, as none of the naval vessels is equipped with missiles in contrast to.. the coast guard vessels! A nice video about the Azerbaijan Coast Guard can be watched here. Recently, Turkmenistan and United Arab Emirates commissioned coast guard vessels with missile weapon systems. These vessels, will be analyzed in a future post.


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Monday, 27 February 2017

Naresuan class frigates of the Royal Thai Navy

Written by D-Mitch

The lead ship in the class, Naresuan (421), after the upgrade.
Via Fb Combat-Zones
The most advanced and heavily armed surface combatants of the Royal Thai Navy (Thai: กองทัพเรือไทย; rtgsKong Thap Ruea Thai) are two (2) Naresuan class frigates, cooperatively designed by the Royal Thai Navy and China but built by the China State Shipbuilding Corporation in Shanghai the period 1991-94. The two vessels in the class, Naresuan (421) and Taksin (422), were commissioned in December 1994 and October 1995 respectively. The Naresuan class is considered a modified version of the Chinese-made Type 053 frigate. When Thailand ordered four new 053 frigates in 1990, China built them to the (then) latest 053H2 (Jianghu III) standard. Two were modified with helicopter decks in the back. Although the price was excellent, the Thai Navy complained of quality issues. The interior wiring was exposed and had to be re-wired. The ship's battle damage control system was very limited, with poor fire-suppression system and water-tight locks. It's said that if the ship's hull was breached, rapid flooding would lead to loss of ship. The Thai Navy had to spend considerable time and effort to correct some of these issues. The harsh criticisms lead to many improvements in China's shipbuilding industry. By the mid-1990s, the Thai Navy was confident enough to order two enlarged 053 hulls (F25T), later named HTMS Naresuan and HTMS Taksin, to be fitted with western engines and weapon systems. The ships were purchased at "friendship prices" of 2 billion baht each, compared to the 8 billion baht price tag for Western-built frigates.

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Wednesday, 22 February 2017

INFOGRAPHICS #25: United States Navy Blue Angels, Grumman's Cats and United States fighter aircraft

The following images are created by Steve Freeman (sfreeman421 for deviantart) and depict all the all the types of fighters that were/are in service with the United States Navy as well as the eight different demonstration aircraft that the United States Navy's flight demonstration squadron, the "Blue Angels", have flown from 1946 to present, and the Grumman's Navy Cats. Enjoy this great artwork!

US Navy fighter planes (1915 - present). In high resolution here
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Tuesday, 31 January 2017

INFOGRAPHICS #24: HMS Warspite, Royal Navy's most distinguished battleship that should have been preserved!

HMS Warspite model by Julian Seddon
Τhis article is related to the POLL which was published yesterday. The "winner" of the poll, was HMS Warspite, thus I thought it would be appropriate to post its glorious story which I borrowed from Wikipedia and I added some extras (see sources). HMS Warspite was one of the five 33,000-ton Queen Elizabeth-class battleships built for the Royal Navy during the early 1910s. Her thirty-year career covered both world wars and took her across the Atlantic, Indian, Arctic and Pacific Oceans. She participated in the Battle of Jutland during the First World War as part of the Grand Fleet. Other than that battle, and the inconclusive Action of 19 August, her service during the war generally consisted of routine patrols and training in the North Sea. She was involved in several major engagements, including battles in the North Sea and Mediterranean, earning her the most battle honours ever awarded to an individual ship in the Royal Navy and the most awarded for actions during the Second World War. For this and other reasons Warspite gained the nickname the "Grand Old Lady" after a comment made by Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham in 1943 while she was his flagship. It should be mentioned that HMS Warspite holds the record for the longest hit on a moving target in naval warfare history, when during the Battle of Calabria in 1940, Warspite, hitting the Italian battleship Giulio Cesare at a range of approximately 24km (26,000 yards)!

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Monday, 30 January 2017

POLL: Which warship should Britain had preserved?

On January 24, I had the idea to create a poll and to ask my followers which warship they think Britain should had preserved as a museum ship. I got the idea, when I saw a photo by Fatih Takmakli (which I tweeted), showing the former Royal Navy HMS Illustrious (R06) at the ship-breaking yards in Aliaga, Turkey on January 13.They were many people who said Britain should have saved her as a museum ship, similarly to the United States' USS Intrepid. Someone can remeber the numerous warships the United States have preserved and the handful of ships Britain have kept as museum ships (of which the most important of them are HMS Belfast, HMS Warrior and HMS Victory). In contrast, the United States, preserves a large number of various types of vessels, including numerous cruisers and submarines, five aircraft carriers (!), but also eight (8) battleships! Britain, the once superpower, not a single one battleship, not a single one carrier! Then I asked my audience their opinion, through the following tweet.

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Tuesday, 17 January 2017

NAVAL FORCES #10: Evolution of European Naval Capabilities and the Hellenic Navy - Propositions to meet future needs

This is the introduction to the second article, written by me (D-Mitch) and fox2, about the Hellenic Navy (Πολεμικό Ναυτικό).  The first article titled ΝΑΥΤΙΚΕΣ ΕΞΕΛΙΞΕΙΣ ΣΤΗΝ ΑΝΑΤΟΛΙΚΗ ΜΕΣΟΓΕΙΟ (English: Naval Developments in the Eastern Mediterranean), published on November 24, 2015, marked my cooperation with fox2 through his blog idbam.blogspot.gr. Enjoy a long article (in Greek) that describes in brief the evolution of European naval capabilities (based on the much detailed article The major surface combatants of the most powerful European Navies in 2030) as well as some propositions to the Hellenic Navy in order to meet future needs and to follow the rest European Navies. You can read the new article here!

Photoshopped image of a Hydra class frigate of the Hellenic Navy after an upgrade programme (minimum)
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Friday, 13 January 2017

Jason class landing ships of the Hellenic Navy

Written by D-Mitch

HS Rodos (L177), final vessel of the Jason class LST
The Jason class Landing Ships Tank (LST) of the Hellenic Navy (Greek: Πολεμικό Ναυτικό) consists of five (5) ship in service. It is worth mentioning that all ships in the class were built and designed by the Greek Elefsis Shipyard in cooperation with the National Technical University of Athens and the Hellenic Navy. The class was ordered to Elefsis Shipyards in 1986. The keel for the first vessel, Chios (L173), was laid down in April 1987. It was launched in December 1988 and commissioned in May 1996. The second vessel, Samos (L174), was laid down in September 1987, launched in April 1989 and commissioned in May 1994, two years earlier than the first vessel in the class. Construction of all the ships was originally scheduled to be completed by September 1990. However, all the vessels, in particular the last three, were delayed due to a financial crisis faced by the shipyard. Privatization of the shipyard in October 1997 resulted in steady progress of the construction. A sixth ship was added to the programme in 2000, but cancelled before construction began.

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Friday, 6 January 2017

Existing and Future Naval Analyses for 2017-18

In the following image, I have included all those warships or classes that I have analyzed until today (the image was updated in November 2017) (in black font), after approximately three years from the creation of this blog, as well as the articles I am currently working on (in blue font) in order to publish them this year and the next one. I just hope for one thing only: to have enough free time and therefore to be more productive than 2016 (which by the way I had very limited amount of time). This year my main goal is to analyze more Russian and Asian designs and also for the first time I am planning to write a detailed article about a battleship or a class of battleships. Of course, there will be posts about Fleets, Infographics, History, Facts & Trivia and Photo Galleries, etc. too. So, go ahead, take a careful look at the following picture and feel free to propose adjustments and suggestions or even anything you would like to read about such as your favorite class or warship of the past! I thank you all for your constant support!

Existing and future analyses for 2017-18. High resolution image here.
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