Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Hellenic Navy – Brief analysis of the current situation of the Fleet and its future

Written by D-Mitch
Photos by Nick Thodos 

The Hellenic Navy in exercise
Today, the Hellenic Navy maintains a large number of surface combatants and submarines in its inventory. However, the shortfalls suffered by the Navy over the last several years from the severe economic recession that began in mid-2008, are significant. Τhe economic crisis hit hard the country and Greece tried to recover via spending cuts including a high proportion of the defence budget. The vast majority of the warships in active service today are very old and should had been replaced by modern designs at least a decade ago. Having been held back by the pressures of the global economic crisis, the Hellenic Navy is now racing to catch up with its neighbors (source). Greece is a country with vast coastline, archipelagos and enclaves, heavily depended on trade and on the exploitation of maritime resource. However, trade and economic issues depend considerably on the free use of the sea, on the security of the sea lines of communication and the sustainable exploitation of marine resources. Greece is a maritime nation by tradition, as shipping is arguably the oldest form of occupation of the Greeks and has been a key element of Greek economic activity since ancient times. Today, shipping is the country's most important industry worth $21.9 billion in 2018. (source) The responsibility of the Hellenic Navy in this respect is certainly huge. To a large extent, the future of Greece depends on the control exercised on the sea. To continue being effective, the Fleet must be a powerful, balanced and flexible instrument at the service of Greece in this uncertain and ever-changing geostrategic environment. It is vital for the Navy to continue having the necessary means to solve the most complex and demanding situations and constantly protecting and surveilling the maritime domains of national interest. In this article the most important facts about the current situation of the Fleet and its (possible) future are reported. Finally, one graph depict the current fleet composition and its future composition by 2030 in two scenarios, optimistic (O) and pessimistic (P). A second graph depicts the years of active service of the newest and oldest vessel per warship type.
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Tuesday, 17 September 2019

INFOGRAPHICS #44: Adolf Hitler's Navy in 1936

"Adolf Hitler's Navy" is a two-page illustration from Life Magazine, Dec 7, 1936, and depicts all German navy ships afloat or under construction at the time. The image was originally posted by u/AspireAgain on

Adolf Hitler's Navy in 1936. High resolution image here.
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Tuesday, 20 August 2019

INFOGRAPHICS #43: Future Surface Combatants

Written by D-Mitch

In this post, I include some of the infographics I made and published on social media, about new surface combatants that are under construction and about to enter service in the near future. I will update this post periodically with new designs.

1. Type 26 - City class frigate of the Royal Navy (8 ships) 

Type 26 - City class frigate of the Royal Navy. High resolution image here.

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Wednesday, 31 July 2019

BOOK REVIEW #5: Silver State Dreadnought: The Remarkable Story of Battleship Nevada

Welcome to my fifth book review, Silver State Dreadnought: The Remarkable Story of Battleship Nevada, by Stephen M. Younger.

Silver State Dreadnought:
The Remarkable Story of Battleship Nevada
This book is not about a famous battleship that participated in naval battles in World Wars or had adventurous lives neither about the largest nor about the most powerful ever-built battleship. This book is about a battleship that served the United States Navy for almost 33 years in European and Pacific theaters. A revolutionary battleship of that time which features, made the first US Navy "standard-type" battleship; the USS Nevada (BB-36). The Standard-type battleship was a series of twelve battleships across five classes ordered for the United States Navy between 1911 and 1916 and commissioned between 1916 and 1923 before the construction moved on to the first fast battleship, the North Carolina, in the late 1930s. Nevada was the second United States Navy ship to be named after the 36th state, the lead ship of the two Nevada-class battleships. Launched in 1914, she was a leap forward in dreadnought technology. She was the first super-dreadnought of the United States; four of her new features would be included on almost every subsequent US battleship: triple gun turrets on the centerline in fore and aft turrets with no amidships guns, oil in place of coal for fuel, geared steam turbines for greater range, and the "all or nothing" armor principle (protection of the important elements only). She was the first in the world to adopt those features. An ambitious and risky design that would be either a brilliant success or a failed expensive experiment. History would vote for success, since Nevada became the first of a standard design battleship that navies around the world would copy. Nevada was America’s first modern battleship and a political symbol of an ascendant America to a global superpower. With her sister Oklahoma, the Nevada class represented a considerable evolution in battleship design that was well ahead of its time.
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Sunday, 7 July 2019

PHOTO GALLERY #29: Gokova, upgraded Gabya class frigate of the Turkish Navy and Generał Kazimierz Pułaski, O.H. Perry class frigate of the Polish Navy

Perrys! Turkish Gokova (left) and Polish Generał Kazimierz Pułaski frigates
In this post you will enjoy more than 90 photos of two frigates, Gokova, a Modernized Gabya (O. H. Perry) class frigate of the Turkish Navy and Generał Kazimierz Pułaski, an O.H. Perry class frigate of the Polish Navy. I took the photos during my visit to Kiel, on 21st and 22th of June, the first days of the 137th Kiel Week (see previous post about Kieler Woche). The two ships were some of the many visiting warships that had returned from the NATO BALTOPS (Baltic Operations) Exercise. Both ships are currently participating in the Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1). The Oliver Hazard Perry class is a class of guided missile frigates named after the U.S. Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, the hero of the naval Battle of Lake Erie. The 136-meter warships were designed in the United States in the mid-1970s as general-purpose escort vessels inexpensive enough to be bought in large quantities to replace World War II-era destroyers and complement 1960s-era Knox-class frigates. Fifty-five (55) ships were built in the United States: 51 for the United States Navy (US Navy) and four (4) for the Royal Australian Navy. In addition, eight (8) were built in Taiwan, six (6) in Spain, and two (2) in Australia for their navies. The last remaining in active service with the US Navy, USS Simpson, was decommissioned on 29 September 2015. Former U.S. Navy warships of this class have been sold or donated to the navies of Bahrain (1), Egypt (4), Poland (2), Pakistan (1), Taiwan (10), and Turkey (8). 

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PHOTO GALLERY #28: Thetis, multi-mission ocean patrol vessel of the Royal Danish Navy

HDMS Thetis of the Royal Danish Navy
Another gallery of photos which were taken during my visit to Kiel, on 21st and 22th of June, the first days of the 137th Kiel Week (see previous post about Kieler Woche). One of the many visiting warships that had returned from the NATO BALTOPS (Baltic Operations) Exercise, was Thetis, the lead ship of the Thetis class multi-mission ocean patrol vessels of the Royal Danish Navy. The class comprises four ships, all built and commissioned in the early 1990s. The ships' tasks are mainly maintenance of sovereignty, search and rescue, fishery inspection and support to local authorities. The ships each have double-skinned ice-reinforced hulls so that the ships can break through 80 centimeters (31 in) of solid ice. The ships of the class have receive several upgrades lately, including a new Scanter radar on a reconverted mast, new electronics and a reconverted hangar that accommodates RHIBs in the enclosed deck. The HDMS Thetis serves as staff ship for the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasure Group One (SNMCMG1). It was a good opportunity for visitors to admire in person the latest Saab MCM equipment in service with the Royal Danish Navy. The 112-meter Thetis was laid down in October 1988 2001 by Svendborg Skibsværft launched in July 1989 and commissioned on July 1, 1991. Enjoy photos! 

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Sunday, 30 June 2019

PHOTO GALLERY #27: U33, submarine of the German Navy

U33, submarine of the German Navy
The following photos were taken during my visit to Kiel, on 21st and 22th of June, the first days of the 137th Kiel Week. The Kiel Week (German: Kieler Woche) or Kiel Regatta is an annual sailing event in Kiel, the capital of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It is the largest sailing event in the world, and also one of the largest Volksfeste in Germany, attracting millions of people every year from all over Germany and neighboring countries. The first weekend of the Kiel Week, the famous Naval Base of Kiel, opens its gates for just four hours per day, for thousands of tourists who are eager to visit the German Navy warships and dozens of foreign warships which visit the city of Kiel, to honor the Kiel Week. Note that, the majority of the visiting warships had returned from the NATO BALTOPS (Baltic Operations) Exercise, an annual joint, multinational maritime-focused exercise. It is designed to improve training value for participants enhance flexibility and interoperability, and demonstrate resolve among allied and partner forces in defending the Baltic Sea region. The only submarine present those days a German Navy Type 212 class, the submarine U33. Type 212 class is a highly advanced design of non-nuclear submarine developed by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG (HDW) for the German and Italian navies. It features diesel propulsion and an additional air-independent propulsion (AIP) system using Siemens proton exchange membrane (PEM) compressed hydrogen fuel cells. The submarines of the class can operate at high speed on diesel power or switch to the AIP system for silent slow cruising, staying submerged for up to three weeks without surfacing and with little exhaust heat. Type 212 is the first fuel cell propulsion system equipped submarine series. The U33 was laid down in April 2001 by Howaldtswerke, Kiel, launched in September 2004 and commissioned on June 13, 2006. Enjoy photos! 
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Wednesday, 15 May 2019

PHOTO GALLERY #26: Agios Efstratios offshore patrol vessel of the Hellenic Coast Guard

HCG080 (ΛΣ 080) Agios Efstratios Sa'ar 4 OPV
This is my first photo gallery about a Coast Guard patrol vessel. In this post, you will enjoy some good photos I took some days ago when I visited the HCG080 (ΛΣ 080) Agios Efstratios, the latest of the three 58-meter Sa'ar class offshore patrol vessels (Περιπολικό Ανοικτής Θαλάσσης, ΠΑΘ) that serve with the Hellenic Coast Guard (Λιμενικό Σώμα - Ελληνική Ακτοφυλακή). These patrol vessels are the the most heavily armed boats currently in the Hellenic Coast Guard inventory. The ships are based on the former Sa'ar 4 fast attack missile craft of the Israeli Navy. The contract for the procurement of the ships was signed on November 11, 2002. This was the first Israeli naval sale to a European Union country. The first two ships, Fournoi and Ro, were built in Israel by the Israel Shipyards Ltd and they were delivered in December 2003 and March 2004, respectively. The third vessel, Agios Efstratios, was built in Greece by the Hellenic Shipyards S.A and was delivered in June of 2004. I would really like to thank the crew for the excellent tour aboard this very well-maintained ship and of the major vessels of Greece's Coast Guard. Enjoy the photos!

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Thursday, 25 April 2019

INFOGRAPHICS #42: The United States Navy guided missile cruisers 1955 - 2019

Written by D-Mitch
The impressive USS Long Beach entering Sudic Bay, in 1987.
The infographic in this article depicts all the twelve (12) classes of guided-missile cruisers of the United States Navy. These 12 classes of 15 sub-types in total include 65 vessels of which nine (9) were nuclear-powered, from 1955 until today. The vessels CG-1 through 8 and CG-10 through 12 were World War II converted cruisers; specifically former Baltimore-class heavy cruisers (CAG-1, CAG-2, CG-11 and CG-12), Cleveland-class light cruisers (CLG-3, CG-4, CG-5, CG-6, CG-7, CLG-8) and Oregon-class heavy cruisers (CG-10). CAG-1 USS Boston and CAG-2 USS Canberra retained most of their original gun armament and were later returned to their gun cruiser designations CA-69 and CA-70. Before 30 June 1975, ships CG-16 USS Leahy through CGN-38 USS Virginia (thus including also the two 11,550-ton Californias) were designated DLG or DLGN (Destroyer Leader, Guided Missile (Nuclear powered)). They were redesignated cruisers in the 1975 ship reclassification. 

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