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Tuesday, 13 June 2017

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

This is the sixth article about various countries' navies today; a new Fleets post after a long time. 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.




Spanish Navy (Armada Española)

The Spanish Navy in 2017 consists of the following warships:
  • 1 landing helicopter dock/aircraft carrier (Juan Carlos I)
  • 2 landing platform docks ships (Galicia, Castilla)
  • 5 destroyers (Álvaro de Bazán, Almirante Juan de Borbón, Blas de Lezo, Méndez Núñez, Cristóbal Colón)
  • 3 attack submarines (Galerna, Mistral, Tramontana)
  • 6 frigates (Santa María, Victoria, Numancia, Reina Sofía, Navarra, Canarias)
  • 8 offshore patrol vessels (Meteoro, Rayo, Relámpago, Tornado, Aydaz, Infanta Elena,
    Infanta Cristina, Cazadora)
  • 7 patrol vessels (Serviola, Centinela, Vigía, Atalaya, Alborán, Arnomendi, Tarifa)
  • 8 coastal patrol vessels (Tagomago, Medas, Tabarca, Toralla, Formentor, Cabo Fradera, and two others)
  • 6 mine counter-measure vessels (Segura, Sella, Tambre, Turia, Duero, Tajo)
  • 2 replenishment/logistic support ships (Patiño, Cantabria)
  • 1 submarine rescue vessel (Neptuno)
  • 1 signals intelligence ship (Alerta)
  • 3 transport ships (Contramaestre Casado, Martín Posadillo, El Camino Español)
  • about 13 fighters and about 30 helicopters
 and several other auxiliaries such as salvage vessels, landing craft, transport and training ships.

Spanish Navy in 2017 (full fleet depicted). For a high resolution image click here.


Polish Navy (Marynarka Wojenna)

The Polish Navy in 2017 consists of the following warships:
  • 2 frigates (Generał Kazimierz Pułaski, Generał Tadeusz Kościuszko)
  • 5 attack submarines (Orzeł, Sokół, Sęp, Bielik, Kondor)
  • 2 corvettes of which the first one will enter in service initially as an offshore patrol vessel (Ślązak, Kaszub)
  • 3 fast attack misisle craft (Orkan, Piorun, Grom)
  • 5 landing ships/minelayers (Lublin, Gniezno, Kraków, Poznań, Toruń)
  • 1 oiler (Baltyk
  • 1 logistic support ship (Kontradmiral Xawery Czernicki)
  • 1 training/escort ship (Wodnik)
  • 20 mine counter-measure vessels (Kormoran, Flaming, Mewa, Czajka, Gardno, Bukowo, Dąbie, Jamno, Mielno, Wicko, Resko , Sarbsko, Necko, Nakło, Drużno, Hańcza, Mamry, Wigry, Śniardwy, Wdzydze)
  • 2 signals intelligence ships (Nawigator, Hydrogaf )
  • about 8 aircraft and 21 helicopters
 and several other auxiliaries such as salvage vessels, survey and training ships.

Polish Navy in 2017 (full fleet depicted). For a high resolution image click here.


Irish Naval Service (an tSeirbhís Chabhlaigh)

The Irish Naval Service in 2017 consists of the following warships:
  • 6 offshore patrol vessels (Samuel Beckett, James Joyce, William Butler Yeats, Eithne, Róisín, Niamh)
  • 2 coastal patrol vessels (Orla, Ciara)
 and few training vessels

Irish Naval Service in 2017 (full fleet depicted). For a high resolution image click here
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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.

The flagship of the Irish Naval Service, LÉ Eithne, in formation with Emer
class (retired) and Roisin class offshore patrol vessels.

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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, the Durand De la Penne 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.

Israel Navy Saar 4.5 class missile boats. Photo: Nir Ben-Yosef (AKA xnir)

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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.
The two Naresuan class frigates, after their upgrade, in formation
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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
Grumman's Navy Cats. In high resolution here.
US Navy Blue Angels. In high resolution here.
Drawing showing the different aircraft flown by the U.S. Navy "Blue Angels" aerobatics team (top to bottom):
  • Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat: June–August 1946
  • Grumman F8F-1 Bearcat: August 1946 – 1949
  • Grumman F9F-2 Panther: 1949 – June 1950; F9F-5 Panther: 1951 - Winter 1954/55
  • Grumman F9F-8 Cougar: Winter 1954/55 - mid-season 1957
  • Grumman F11F-1 (F-11A) Tiger: mid-season 1957 – 1969
  • McDonnell Douglas F-4J Phantom II: 1969 – December 1974
  • Douglas A-4F Skyhawk: December 1974 – November 1986
  • McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A/C Hornet: November 1986 – present
Source: U.S. Navy All Hands magazine February 1996, p. 24.
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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)!
HMS Warspite During The Spanish Civil War (1937)

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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.
The final results of the poll after three (3) days (from Jan 24, 2017)
Bow view of HMS Warspite
Polishing HMS Vanguard's gun caps
Notice, that I gave four options. The first one, HMS Warspite, is a famous battleship with long career and notable history, earning more battle honours than any other Royal Navy ship. The second, HMS Queen Elizabeth, is the lead vessel of the class that HMS Warspite belongs; also a quite famous battleship but without so much significant action. The third choice is Britain's ultimate battleship, HMS Vanguard, the biggest, fastest and last of the Royal Navy's battleships and the final battleship to be launched in the world. The ship though served less than 15 years and quickly she was towed to the breakers, as she was considered obsolete and too expensive to maintain. The fourth option is any British aircraft carrier or any kind of vessel they like which they should specify; it is like two options in one but gives a lot of freedom to the voters to choose anything they like.The poll run for three days, starting as I mentioned on January 24, 2017.

The photo that inspired for this poll: The former Royal Navy HMS Illustrious (R06)
at the ship-breaking yards in Aliaga, Turkey (Jan 13). Photo by Fatih Takmakli
From the beginning I believed that HMS Warspite will receive the most votes, however I was not expecting that HMS Vanguard, a ship with really zero history, will finish second and not the 2-in-1 option, the 4th one (finished 3rd), where the voter can name any kind of ship. Interestingly enough, five different vessels were named by only six (6) people from the total 43 who chose the fourth option. The five warships are the following:
  • HMS Inflexible, an ironclad battleship
  • HMS Plymouth, a Rothesay-class frigate
  • HMS Ark Royal, an aircraft carrier (the voter did not specify which ship)
  • HMS Hermes, the last Centaur class aircraft carrier
  • HMS Illustrious (by two people), the last Invincible class aircraft carrier 
If you ask my opinion, I would loved to see HMS Warspite moored opposite of the Tower of London, next to HMS Belfast... It is such a pity, Britain did not save that ship, a ship that never gave up, and won everything and everywhere, except its own creators who led her to the breakers. Even, that day, she fought well to avoid a sad end. I would really love to hear your opinion!

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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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Thursday, 12 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.

Landing ships Chios and Lesvos in a amphibious landing exercise

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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 (in black font), after approximately two years and six months 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 first months of 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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