Thursday, 22 September 2016

The major surface combatants of the most powerful European Navies in 2030

Written by D-Mitch

In this article, I will describe briefly the future developments in the major surface combatant fleet of the five most powerful in Europe, the five navies that historically maintain and develop a strong naval fleet of very advanced warships. But what do we mean when we talk about 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. 

Three major surface combatants of
US Navy in formation: the destroyer
USS Buck (DD-761), battleship USS
 Wisconsin  (BB-64), and heavy cruiser
USS Saint Paul (CA-73) off the Korean
coast in 1952.
The (once) major surface combatant
classes of the US Navy. By Jeff Head
Notice that I refer to the major surface combatants that includes the largest surface combatants, battleships and battlecruisers (outdated types of warships), cruisers (only few in the world), destroyers, frigates, and corvettes. Therefore, non-surface combatants such as the attack and ballistic missile submarines are excluded. The same stands for the fast attack craft or gunboats. Of course those types of ships and boats can boost dramatically the capabilities of a naval force or even to discourage absolutely any naval battle if one of the naval opponent  have a ballistic missile submarine in its inventory. This may sounds unfair for some traditional naval forces such as the Hellenic Navy or the Dutch Navy. The former has in its inventory 13 frigates but without an declared replacement plan for the future, 17 fast attack craft and 11 submarines of which the five (5) are very advanced. The latter has four (4) very modern anti-aircraft warfare frigates (equipped with 40-cell VLS), four (4) modern submarines but only two general purpose frigates. But as I mentioned in the introduction, this article focuses only on the front line surface combatants of the most powerful navies in the region and those that have announced an ambitious shipbuilding program.

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Friday, 2 September 2016

The STIDD Diver Propulsion Devices (DPD) of the Turkish Navy

Written by D-Mitch

Two U.S. Marines of the MSPF operating a Diver Propulsion
Device (DPD). Photo: United States Marine Corps
In a recent a article by e-amyna titled The YUNUS Project for the defence of the Turkish  naval bases (in Greek language), the author analyzes the effectiveness of the YUNUS Project to defend the main naval bases and harbors of Turkey against surface and sub-surface threats. In the discussion that followed the article and in regard to the Greek Swimmer Delivery Vehicles (SDVs), a reader (kostaspgn) posted a nice video about the Sualtı Taarruz Grup Komutanlığı, the Turkish Underwater Offence Group Command, known also as SAT, which is the special operation unit of the Turkish Navy, based in the Foça Naval Base near İzmir, on the Aegean coast of Turkey and Istanbul. The missions of the Su Altı Taarruz (SAT) include the acquisition of military intelligence, special reconnaissance, direct action, counter-terrorism and visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) operations. They are trained and organized in a similar way to the U.S. Navy Seals who have close training relationships with them. In that video, for just two seconds, from 2:23 till 2:25, two SAT divers use a STIDD Diver Propulsion Device (DPD) (many thanks to my friend, blogger and expert in the field of mini-subs, H.I. Sutton, for the recognition of the vehicle and of course kostaspgn who spotted first the device!). I should mention here that this article except the video and some screenshots of that video, does not include any actual photo of the Turkish DPD, but I find useful to publish this article about the capabilities of this device as a follow-up from the Greek SDVs article. Therefore, I may say that the title is not the most accurate one. Some screenshots are following before the complete video.

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Wednesday, 31 August 2016

WARSHIPS OF THE PAST: Tiger class cruisers of the Royal Navy

Written by D-Mitch

HMS Blake as a helicopter cruiser
Laid down in 1941-42, the three cruisers of the Tiger class were originally to have been sister ships to Superb, an improved variant of the Swiftsure class cruisers (also known as the Minotaur class), a modified version of the Crown Colony class cruisers, but their construction was slowed down. Finally, the ships were launched in 1944-45 and they were left incomplete until their future had been decided. It was not until 1951 that a plan was agreed under which the three ships would be completed as advanced gun-cruisers due in large part to the perceived threat of the new powerful Soviet Sverdlov class 210-meter cruisers. Their completion took significant amount of time and they joined the fleet between 1959 and 1961, nearly two decades after they have been laid down. The Tiger class cruisers were the last class of all gun cruisers completed for the British Royal Navy. With the three “new” cruisers entering the fleet, the Royal Navy decommissioned their half-sister, Swiftsure and Superb, and both were scrapped by 1962.

HMS Swiftsure - outside Sydney Harbour 20 December 1945
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Saturday, 9 July 2016

HISTORY #6: CosMoS CE2F, the Swimmer Delivery Vehicles (SDV) of the Hellenic Navy

 Written by D-Mitch

CE2F/X60 SDV of the Hellenic Navy
CosMoS CE2F were a series of Swimmer Delivery Vehicle (SDV) built by M/s Cos.Mo.S Spa. which was in Livorno of Italy. Cosmos is probably the most famous military wet-sub (chariot) / midget sub manufacturer in the world. The firm originated in the 1950s when Ing. Sergio Pucciarini, an ex member of the Decima Flottiglia Mezzi d'Assalto (MAS), also known as La Decima or Xª MAS, an Italian commando frogman unit of the Italian Royal Navy, started to build wet subs for civilian and military use. The Hellenic Navy (Πολεμικό Ναυτικό) purchased some SDVs of the CE2F/X60 model (perhaps four) in the late '70s. In service, they were known as ΥΠ.ΟΧ. (Υποβρύχια Οχήματα). The CE2Fs are designed from the outset as a mean for attacking enemy warships in harbor mainly as well as for other special operations.

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Thursday, 30 June 2016

NAVAL FORCES #9 and INFOGRAPHICS #22: World's Ballistic Missile Submarines

The following artwork was created by H. I. Sutton and it was included in his excellent article published on June 18 of this year entitled The Gods of M.A.D.ness which analyzes the Nuclear Ballistic Missile Submarines that are in service nowadays. Just click on the previous title to learn all the amazing details regarding the current ballistic missile submarines in world's navies as well as other great infographics about submarines in general but especially about submarines designed for special purposes such as Swimmer Delivery Vehicles (SDVs), midget subs and similar craft. For other infographics and information in this blogger-page about Nuclear Ballistic Missile Submarines click here or just the appropriate label.

Today's World's Ballistic Missile Submarines. High resolution image here.
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Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The evolution of Japanese destroyers after WWII

Article written by Jon Harris
Editing, photos and graphs by D-Mitch

JMSDF destroyers (DDG and DDH) in formation
Since the end of World War Two, Japan has commissioned as many different destroyer type designs as the United States and the former Soviet Union. This exceptional feat has gone little noticed. The Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) has produced a steady stream of gradually improving designs, culminating in the powerful, well-balanced fleet of today. Their design bureau didn't produce radical forms such as the Russian KYNDA class cruisers, or Swedish VISBY class corvettes. Rather, this island nation developed a variety of platforms designed to defend the homeland and its vital oceanic trade. The application of existing weapons and sensors, primarily of US origin, provided for robust growth, and limited expenditures on research and development.
A massive fleet of Japanese destroyers in formation
As of 2016, the JMSDF operates a total of 50 destroyers including; four (4) helicopter destroyers of three different classes (IZUMO, HYUGA, SHIRANE), eight (8) anti-aircraft warfare (AAW) destroyers of three different classes (ATAGO, KONGOU, HATAKAZE), 18 destroyers of three different classes (AKIZUKI, TAKANAMI, MURASAME), 11 small destroyers similar in size to frigates of two different classes (ASAGIRI, HATSUYUKI), six (6) destroyer escorts of the ABUKUMA class (similar in size to light frigates and corvettes) and three (3) small SHIMAYUKI class (reconverted HATSUYUKI-class) destroyers that are used mainly for training purposes but they keep all their armament intact. But let's go back some decades ago...

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Tuesday, 31 May 2016

HISTORY #5: 100 years since the Battle of Jutland!

The 2nd Division of the Royal Navy's Grand Fleet prepares
to open fire on the German High Seas Fleet.
The 31st of May 2016 marks 100 years since Britain and Germany fought each other in the Battle of Jutland. It was the biggest fight to take place on sea during World War One and happened in the North Sea, just off the coast of Denmark. British ships had set sail to stop the German fleet and there was an expectation that Britain would win the battle. Britain's navy was superior to Germany's - they had a bigger fleet and more firepower. But the battle didn't unfold as simply as many thought it would do. Around 100,000 men were involved in the battle of Jutland and 250 ships. The battle was fought over 36 hours from 31 May to 1 June, 1916. The German High Seas Fleet was under the command of the Admiral Reinhard Scheer. In charge of the British fleet that day was Admiral Sir John Jellicoe. It brought together the two most powerful naval forces of the time and it became the largest sea battle in naval warfare history in terms of the numbers of battleships involved. More than 6,000 Britons and 2,500 Germans died. Who won the battle? The Germans claimed victory, as they lost fewer ships and men. The British press reported this and Admiral Jellicoe was criticized for being overly cautious in the battle and was later sacked. But within days, attitudes changes and Jutland was seen by some people as a victory for the British. This was because Germany never again tried to challenge the British Grand Fleet and stayed in their bases for the rest of the war. Who really won the Battle of Jutland is a topic that is still debated now, 100 years on. More information, details and photos from the battle here and here.

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