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

Read More ->>

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
Read More ->>

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.
Read More ->>

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
Add caption
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

Read More ->>

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

Read More ->>

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

Read More ->>

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
Read More ->>

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!

The three warships at Piraeus harbor. Photo: D-Mitch
Read More ->>

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.

Read More ->>

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

INFOGRAPHICS #26: The major surface combatants of the most powerful European Navies and the attack submarines of Europe, in 2017

Written by D-Mitch

Greek HS Poseidon (Type 209), Portuguese NRP Tridente
(Type 214) and German U33 (Type 212) during the Exercise
This article includes two infographics. In the first infographic, named The major surface combatants of the most powerful European Navies in 2017, 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.  

German Navy Baden-Württemberg and Brandenburg class frigates in formation

Read More ->>

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

Japanese Navy (Imperial Japanese Navy) in WWI

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

French Navy (Marine Nationale) in WWI (version 2)

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

Turkish Navy (Ottoman Navy) in WWI

Click to enlarge and save the image to view the details - Ottoman Navy in WWI. It should be mentioned
here that the battlecruiser Yavuz was acquired by the Ottoman Empire in 1914 and not 1912.

Finally I discovered the original source of those WWII and WWI fleet graphs and it is the There you can read some excellent naval history articles, to download other graphs or you can purchase the same graphs in high resolution in their online shop!
Read More ->>

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.

Naval power in the Eastern Mediterranean in 2017. High resolution image here.

Read More ->>

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.

Read More ->>

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.

The two Korean minelayer classes
Read More ->>

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.
Dr. Robert P. Watson, author of the book
Robert P. Watson, is a professor of history at Lynn University and has published over three dozen nonfiction books, two encyclopedia sets, three novels, and hundreds of scholarly journal articles, book chapters, and reference essays on topics in politics and history. His book The Presidents' Wives, Affairs of the State, and America's First Crisis, received the 2014 Gold Medal in History from the Independent Publishers' Association (IPPY). In his new book, which will be published on August 15th, the author explores one of the worst tragedies in American military history; a prison ship that the British believed would frighten patriots into submission. Revealing for the first time hundreds of accounts culled from old newspapers, long-lost diaries, and military reports, historian Robert P. Watson follows the lives and ordeals of the ship's few survivors, to tell the astonishing story of the ghost ship of the Revolutionary War that killed thousands of Americans and yet helped secure victory in the fight for independence. It is worth of mention that the ship's name had become notorious, an object for terror, bringing panic and nausea to those who knew that they were about to be incarcerated aboard that death ship. Others attempted suicide or tried to escape. Those who survived and later on released as well as the few fortunate ones who managed to escape wrote detailed narratives of the experience offering in that way a firsthand telling of the conditions aboard this floating dungeon. Their testimonies inspired the struggle for independence as newspapers everywhere described the horrors onboard the ship sparking a backlash of outrage throughout the colonies.
Prisoners aboard HMS Jersey. By Library of Congress
The author recalls and artfully describes the struggles that occurred on this ghost ship where roughly twice the total of American lives lost in combat during the entirety of the war, died in her holds! More than a thousand prisoners at a time were held aboard the HMS Jersey, the most infamous among the prisons ships, that earned the nickname “Hell Afloat” or simply “Hell”, for its inhumane conditions and the obscenely high death rate of its prisoners! Prisoners crammed below deck in a rat-infested ship designed once for 400 sailors, in complete darkness, breathing foul air and listening in the night the groans of the sick and dying while trying to rest with the fear of crazed men in the grip of disease or mental anguish due to the harsh conditions aboard this death ship. The deplorable conditions resulted in about to six to twelve men on average dying every day from diseases such as dysentery, smallpox, yellow fever and typhoid, of exposure to the cold or the suffocating heat, as well as from malnutrition, limited and polluted water and the brutal treatment by the cruel guards. One of the survivor said that no other ship in the British navy ever proved the means of the destruction of so many human beings! 

But this tragedy has largely forgotten. Americans who met martyr’s deaths in defense of their country. Forgotten patriots who did not bend the knee and chose the almost certain death instead of accepting the British offer to serve the Royal Navy after their capture. The vast majority of those brave men were never heard again. Lost without prayers, tears or stones. Wretched souls whose bodies just dumped unceremoniously into shallow, unmarked graves on the Brooklyn shoreline. Robert Watson, through his well-written book, one of the undeniably few books devoted to the subject of the British prison ships, ensures the memory of these American Patriots will never be forgotten.

I highly recommend this book not only to those who love history in general but to anyone who enjoy adventures and certainly to those who pursue to know more about interesting unheard stories and dark details from the United States War of Independence. It is an easy-to-read book as the author provides all the necessary background in order even somebody with limited knowledge about American Revolution, to be able to understand the background of the story. This is undoubtedly a book you won’t be able to put down! The Robert P. Watson’s The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn: An Untold Story of the American Revolution is available as a hardback and eBook here.
Read More ->>

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?

Read More ->>