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 The vast majority of the warships in active service today are very old and should had been replaced by modern designs at least a decade ago.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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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.

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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) 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.

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