Saturday, 23 March 2019

Landing with a Hellenic Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter on an Egyptian Navy Mistral-class helicopter carrier!

The Egyptian Mistral-class LHD as seen from the Greek Chinook's loading ramp
From June 23 to 29, 2018, the bilateral joint exercise “Medousa 6” was conducted, under the existing military cooperation programme between Greece and Egypt. The exercise included phases of activities conducted ashore-Alexandria Naval Base and at sea-in the wider region, north of Alexandria inside Cairo FIR. The Hellenic Armed Forces participated with two frigates, one submarine, eight F-16 fighters, one AWACS, one Super Puma SCAR helicopter, one Chinook carrier helicopter, two Apache attack helicopters, and SOF team The Egyptian Armed Forces with one Mistral-class landing helicopter dock, two frigates, two missile boats, one submarine, six F-16 fighters, two Rafale fighters, one AWACS, a helicopter and SOF team. Cypriot Armed Forces participated also with one patrol vessel and SOF team. The purpose of the exercise was to further advance the cooperation of the Armed Forces in a multi-threat environment. The Medusa joint exercises aim at bolstering cooperation and exchange expertise between the armed forces of Egypt and Greece. The following exclusive photos were taken from the interior of the 4th Army Aviation Helicopter Battalion (1st Army Aviation Brigade, Hellenic Army) CH-47 Chinook carrier helicopter that took part in the "Medusa 6" exercise. Enjoy!

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Sunday, 10 March 2019

BOOK REVIEW #5: In Deepest Secrecy - Dutch submarine espionage operations from 1968 to 1991

Welcome to my fifth book review, In Deepest Secrecy, Dutch submarine espionage operations from 1968 to 1991, by Jaime Karremann.

In Deepest Secrecy
HNLMS Tonijn (1966-1991), a Potvis-class
submarine and today a museum boat.
This is a truly fascinating book about the Royal Netherlands Navy secret submarine intelligence operations during the Cold War, from the freezing Arctic Ocean to shallow waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Only a handful of people outside the Royal Netherlands Navy were aware of these operations, as they were not NATO operations. For the first time, In Deepest Secrecy describes these top-secret deployments in detail. Based on interviews and extensive archival research, Jaime Karremann reveals how the Dutch submarines followed, photographed and listened to Soviet ships unnoticed.

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Wednesday, 13 February 2019

NAVAL FORCES #12: European Naval Forces in 2019

Written by D-Mitch

The following images depict the most important naval forces by each country of the European region. Similarly with my previous Naval Forces posts, I used almost the same criteria to categorize the warships. I avoided each country's system of pennant numbers such as -D- for Aquitaine class that allocates the class to destroyer type despite the non destroyer's capabilities. I tried to avoid also the unfair categorization of warships in a higher position in the hierarchy such as the Joao Coutinho class or various fast attack craft to corvettes, such as Molniya or Nanuchka class, without having missile launch capability or their capabilities are inferior to a modern corvette respectively. I did my best to avoid all these unfair classifications and based on capabilities, size and armament I divided all the classes. I have excluded types of warships such as landing craft, offshore patrol vessels (including the Romanian Type 22 frigates), gunboats, various auxiliaries, etc. Obsolete ships or ships of which their status is unknown, they have been excluded. Bulgarian ships that have missile launchers are reported that they do not carry missiles but I cannot verify that, thus they are included. The warships of the United States 6th Fleet are included in both graphs. Please note that the silhouettes represent the type of the vessel and not the class.

Analytically, the criteria I set are the following:
  1. Aircraft Carriers: all the conventional aircraft carriers (CV), nuclear-powered aircraft carriers (CVN) and light aircraft carriers (CVL) belong to this class
  2. Large Helicopter Carriers: this class includes all those ships that have the primary mission to operate a a large number of helicopters or aircraft and they support amphibious operations. Thus, here they are included Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships, Landing Helicopter Assault (LHA) ships and Landing Platform Helicopter (LPH) ships.
  3. Amphibious Support Ships: all the large ships that fill two of the following requirements such as ships the capability too support amphibious operations, ships that have floodable dock for landing crafts, they can operate more than two helicopters on large flight deck and they have hangar to accommodate them. Thus, in this class are included Landing Platform Dock (LPD) ships like San Giorgio class, Landing Ship Dock (LSD) like Bay Class and partly LPH like the unique Argus.
  4. Ballistic Missile Submarines: the nuclear-powered submarines that are equipped to launch submarine-launched ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads (SSBN).
  5. Cruise Missile Submarines: nuclear-powered submarines that launch cruise missiles (SLCMs) as their primary armament. The only boats in the European region are the Russian Oscar II class.
  6. Attack Submarines: conventional (SSK) or nuclear-powered submarines (SSN) with the purpose to attack enemy vessels.
  7. Cruisers: in this category belong large nuclear-powered cruisers (CGN) such as Kirov class and cruisers (CG) such as Moskva class. Ships generally heavier than 10,000t at full load and larger than 160 meters. Only Russia has cruisers in the European region.
  8. Anti-Aircraft Warfare (AAW) Destroyers and Frigates: in this category belong ships that have the primary mission to provide anti-aircraft protection (AAW) to other ships and for this role they are equipped with launcher(s) dedicated to this role and only. O.H. Perry class frigates are included. Also destroyer is a surface combatant between 150-165m and lighter than 10k at full load while frigate is a surface combatant between 110-150m
  9. Multi-mission Frigates: ships larger than 110m and less than 150m that carry missiles and capable to carry out a large variety of missions. These are general purpose (GP) or anti-submarine warfare (ASW) frigates (FFG). Here also belongs the Danish Absalon class multi-mission ships.
  10. Light Frigates and Corvettes: ships between 70-110m that are equipped either with missile or torpedo launchers, or both, performing as light frigates (FFL) and light escorts. Here also belongs the Finnish Hameenmaa class despite their main mission of minelaying as the ships have such equipment and armament that can have the role of a major surface combatant.
  11. Fast Attack Craft Missile: boats that are fast, small in size (not less than 200t at full load) and they carry surface-to-surface missiles (SSM). These are called FACM.
  12. Large Landing Ships: ships that are larger than 50m and they support amphibious operations by carrying vehicles and tanks such as LST and armed large LCAC such as the Zubr class.
  13. Mine-sweepers/hunters: mine countermeasure vessels (MCM) larger than 200t with the primary role of mine sweeping, mine laying or mine hunting. Minelayers are excluded.
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Monday, 4 February 2019

INFOGRAPHICS #41: The United States Navy cruisers and destroyers in 2019

Written by D-Mitch

US Navy Arleigh Burke class destroyers and Ticonderoga class cruisers
In the following infographic, The United States Navy Cruisers & Destroyers in 2019, I depict all the cruisers and destroyers that will be in active service with the United States Navy by December 31, 2019. A similar graph (#1) titled The United States Navy Submarines in 2019, illustrates all the submarines that are in active service with the United States Navy in February 2, 2019. Currently, the United States Navy operates a massive amount of powerful guided missile large surface combatants,  92 in total (!), consisting of two 190-meter Zumwalt class destroyers (DDG) (which are actually 16,000ton cruisers) with one more vessel to join the fleet this year, 22 Ticonderoga class cruisers (CG) (of which one vessel, the USS Bunker Hill, will be retired this year, being the first of the class with the exception of the first five with the Mark 26 twin-arm launchers) and 66 Arleigh Burke class destroyers with two more vessels to join the fleet this year. The Ticonderoga class cruisers are "double enders", and along with the Zumwalt class "destroyers", are the only surface combatants in the US fleet that can employ two large caliber guns simultaneously. Ticonderogas have received several upgrades including the removal of the AN/SPS-49 radar and the installation of the SPQ-9B radar on the first 11 vessels in the class. Currently, the US Navy has no frigates in the fleet. However, if the littoral combat ships of the Freedom and Independence classes will receive anti-ship and anti-aircraft missile weapons, they will be considered as light frigates. 
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Saturday, 26 January 2019

FLEETS #27: Royal Yugoslav Navy, Polish Navy, Royal Hellenic Navy and Finnish Navy in WWII

The following images illustrate the most important classes of warships that were in service with the navies of Yugoslavia, Greece, Poland and Finland during the World War II. All the images are created by In that page you can read some excellent naval history articles, to download other graphs or you can purchase the same graphs in high resolution in the online shop! More posts will follow for your collection of current naval fleets but also of fleets from the past.

Royal Yugoslav Navy (Jugoslavenska Ratna Mornarica, Југословенска Pатна Mорнарица) in WWII

Click to enlarge and save the image to view the details - Royal Yugoslav Navy in WWII
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Saturday, 12 January 2019

FLEETS #26: The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force today

Written by D-Mitch  

The Izumo-class "helicopter destroyers" of the JMSDF. Both will
be converted to aircraft carriers and will carry F-35B fighters
Following Japan's defeat in World War II, the Imperial Japanese Navy was dissolved by the Potsdam Declaration acceptance. Japan's 1947 Constitution was drawn up after the conclusion of the war, Article 9 specifying that "The Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes." The prevalent view in Japan is that this article allows for military forces to be kept for the purposes of self-defense. In 1954, the JMSDF was formally created as the naval branch of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF), following the passage of the 1954 Self-Defense Forces Law. The first ships in the JMSDF were former U.S. Navy destroyers, transferred to Japanese control in 1954. In 1956, the JMSDF received its first domestically produced destroyer since World War II, Harukaze. You can read more about The evolution of Japanese destroyers after WWII. This FLEETS post is devoted exclusively to the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force today, one of the most powerful navies on the planet. The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (海上自衛隊 Kaijō Jieitai), JMSDF, also referred to as the Japanese Navy, is tasked with the naval defense of Japan. The JMSDF has a fleet of 154 ships and 346 aircraft and consists of approximately 45,800 personnel. The first graph (G #1) includes all the carriers, submarines, destroyers, frigates, missile boats and naval aviation (ASW/SAR/MPA/ELINT) that will be in active service by March 2019. The.. "offensive" force if I may say. Note that in December 2018, the Japanese Cabinet gave approval to convert both 248-meter Izumo-class helicopter destroyers into aircraft carriers capable of operating the F-35B STOVL fighter! A second graph (#2) will follow soon in this post, whith all the replenishment ships (5 ships), mine countermeasure vessels (25 vessels), landing craft (9 craft), training ships (8 ships) and other auxiliaries.
Japan Maritime Self Defense Force today (G#1). High resolution image here.
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Friday, 28 December 2018

FLEETS #25: Algerian National Navy, Latvian Naval Forces and Estonian Navy today

Written by D-Mitch

This is the seventh 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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Monday, 17 December 2018

FLEETS #24: Republic of Singapore Navy, Royal New Zealand Navy and Lithuanian Naval Force today

Written by D-Mitch

This is the sixth 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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Friday, 16 November 2018

PHOTO GALLERY #25: Chios and Lesvos, tank landing ships of the Hellenic Navy

Chios and Lesvos, tank landing ships of the Hellenic Navy
On Saturday, October 27, I visited the HS Chios (L173), tank landing ship of the Hellenic Navy, which was anchored at the Port of Thessaloniki, alongside one of her sister vessels in the class, HS Lesvos (L176). I did not visit Lesvos, because it is identical to Chios except some very few differences, but I took plenty photos of her while I was aboard Chios. The Jason class Landing Ships Tank (LST) of the Hellenic Navy (Greek: Πολεμικό Ναυτικό) consists of five (5) ship in service. Lot of information about the class you can find in the article Jason class landing ships of the Hellenic Navy. The two  ships, together with the frigate HS Hydra (F-452), lead ship of the Hydra-class frigates (MEKO 200HN), were opened to the public at Thessaloniki 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. Enjoy my photos!

Jason class tank landing ships at the at the Port of Thessaloniki
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