Nice little documentary, around 26-minutes, put the kettle on and have a look.
Features landing platform dock HMS Fearless (L10), frigate HMS Andromeda (F57), and submarine HMS Dreadnought (S101).
Nice little documentary, around 26-minutes, put the kettle on and have a look.
Features landing platform dock HMS Fearless (L10), frigate HMS Andromeda (F57), and submarine HMS Dreadnought (S101).
The Russian Navy is moving the LPD Nicholas Phylchenkov from the Black Sea Fleet to the Mediterranean where it will conduct operations off the coast of Syria. The Nicholas Phylchenkov is a Tapir class (Project 1171) ‘large landing ship’ that was commissioned into the Soviet Navy in 1975. The class can accommodate 20 main battle tanks, or 45 armoured personnel carriers, or 50 trucks and 300 troops.
БДК “Николай Фильченков” вышел из Новороссийска к берегам Сирии
Завтра корабль пройдет пролив Босфор, в пятницу – Дарданеллы, и в назначенное время присоединится к группировке ВМФ России, рассказал представитель ВМФ РФ.
МОСКВА, 11 сен — РИА Новости. Большой десантный корабль Черноморского флота “Николай Фильченков” с грузом накануне вышел из Новороссийска и направился в восточную часть Средиземного моря, сообщил РИА Новости в среду высокопоставленный представитель ВМФ РФ.
В минувшую пятницу источник в бригаде десантных кораблей Черноморского флота (ЧФ) сообщал РИА Новости, что “Николай Фильченков” зайдет в порт Новороссийска для заправки топливом, а потом примет на борт грузы для Сирии. По его словам, этот поход нельзя считать каким-то особенным, так как экипаж корабля “ходил в Сирию десятки раз”.
“БДК “Николай Фильченков” 10 сентября с грузом на борту вышел из Новороссийска и взял курс на Средиземное море. Завтра корабль пройдет пролив Босфор, в пятницу — Дарданеллы, и в назначенное время присоединится к группировке ВМФ РФ”, — сказал представитель ВМФ РФ.
Во вторник высокопоставленный представитель ВМФ РФ сообщал РИА Новости, что сторожевой корабль Черноморского флота “Сметливый” выйдет из Севастополя и направится к берегам Сирии 12 сентября. По его данным, 17 сентября в район восточного средиземноморья прибудет ракетный крейсер “Москва”, а 29 сентября в район сирийского побережья прибудут два корабля ЧФ: ракетный катер “Ивановец” и малый ракетный корабль “Штиль”. В пятницу отряд кораблей, включающий БДК “Новочеркасск” (ЧФ) и “Минск” (Балтийский флот), а также разведывательный корабль “Приазовье” (ЧФ), прошел Дарданеллы и поступил в распоряжение командования средиземноморской эскадры.
STRIKFORNATO is the Alliance’s primary battle staff for integrating US maritime forces into NATO operations and replaced the old STRIKFORSOUTH (est. 1952) in 2004. The current command platform is the US Navy Blue Ridge-class amphibious command ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC-20). Utilizing HMS Bulwark (L15) as an alternative command platform would ensure operational flexibility for NATO’s maritime operations.
NATO staff take tour of HMS Bulwark
The Commander of Naval Striking and Support Forces at NATO (STRIKFORNATO), Vice Admiral Frank Pandolfe USN, has paid a visit to the Royal Navy’s Fleet Flagship HMS Bulwark. VAdm Pandolfe took the opportunity to visit the ship while she was alongside in Lisbon as part of a multi-national exercised called Cougar 13.
The aim of the visit was to evaluate the use of HMS Bulwark as a future Alternative Command Platform (ACP) to the current platform of choice – the USS Mount Whitney.
STRIKFORNATO is NATO’s premier Maritime Battlestaff and the Alliance’s primary link for integrating US Maritime Forces into NATO operations.
Managed by a Memorandum of Understanding comprising 11 nations, STRIKFORNATO is a rapidly deployable, maritime headquarters that provides command and control across the full spectrum of security tasking.
As part of on going contingency planning, the staff of STRIKFORNATO are visiting as many potential ACPs as they can when the opportunity arises.
HMS Bulwark is deployed for four months on Cougar 13 as part of the Royal Navy’s Response Force Task Group (RFTG) along with three other warships – HMS Illustrious, HMS Westminster and HMS Montrose.
Captain Andrew Burns Royal Navy, Commanding Officer HMS Bulwark said:
“One of the main roles of the Fleet Flagship is command and control due to HMS Bulwark’s advanced communications suite and capacity to accommodate large numbers of personnel.
“It is therefore a privilege and delight to show the STRIKFORNATO team our facilities because it helps both of us prepare for potential contingent operations where we could be working together.”
STRIKFORNATO and the RFTG were involved in NATO Operation Unified Protector in 2011, protecting Libyan civilians from attack, and threat of attack from pro-Colonel Gadaffi supporters.
The Cougar 13 deployment will operate in the Mediterranean, Red Sea, the Gulf, and Horn of Africa.
It involves exercising with partner nations, and will show the UK Armed Forces’ capacity to project an effective maritime component anywhere in the world.
Naval Station Rota (NAVSTA Rota) is a Spanish naval base opened in 1955, commanded by a Spanish Admiral, called Base Naval de Rota in Spanish, and yet fully-funded by the United States of America. Often described by the US Navy as the “Gateway to the Mediterranean,” Rota is headquarters for Commander US Naval Activities Spain (COMNAVACTSPAIN). Under the mutual defense agreement signed by the US and Spain during the Franco regime (Convenio de Defensa y Ayuda Económica Mutua), the US is responsible for maintaining the station’s infrastructure, including a 670-acre (2.7 km2) airfield, three active piers, 426 facilities and 806 family housing units.
Rota is home to the Spanish Navy’s Grupo de Acción Naval 2, comprising the aircraft carrier Príncipe de Asturias (R-11), the LPDs Galicia (L-51) and Castilla (L-52), and the LST Pizarro (L-42). On its transfer to a state of “restrictive standby” (or what the rest of the world calls “decommissioning”), the Príncipe de Asturias will be replaced by the LHD Juan Carlos I (L61).
Rota is also home to the 41ª Escuadrilla de Escoltas, comprising the Santa Maria-class frigates Santa Maria (F-81), Victoria (F-82), Numancia (F-83), Reina Sofía (F-84), Navarra (F-85) and Canarias (F-86). The Spanish vessels are based on the US Navy’s Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates.
US tenant units based at Rota include Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team Company Europe (FAST Co. Europe), US Naval Hospital Rota, Naval Special Warfare Unit 10 and 725th Air Mobility Squadron.
The strategic location of the base allows it to provide excellent support to US Sixth Fleet units in the Mediterranean and to US Air Force Air Mobility Command units. It is the only base in the Mediterranean which supports amphibious readiness group (ARG) post-deployment wash-downs. The naval station also offers pier-side maintenance and backload facilities. The base complements the ARG unit transfers, and accommodates the sailors and marines of visiting ships.
During the Cold War, Rota was home port to Submarine Squadron 16 (SUBRON 16) and the depot ship USS Proteus (AS-19), later USS Holland (AS-32). Submarines assigned to the squadron included the USS Lafayette (SSBN-616) and USS Francis Scott Key (SSBN-657).
For the much-reduced Royal Navy and “austerity Britain”, this is a *BIG* deployment.
Royal Navy sails for annual ‘Cougar’ deployment
Thousands of Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Fleet Auxiliary personnel will leave the UK on Monday (12 August) for an annual deployment to the Mediterranean and Gulf region – Cougar ’13.
The long-planned deployment will see elements of the UK’s Response Force Task Group (RFTG) – the naval force formed under the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review – hone its world class maritime skills thousands of miles from home through exercises with a number of key allies.
Four Royal Navy warships, the Lead Commando Group from 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines and elements of Naval Air Squadrons will be supported by five vessels from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
This is the third time the deployment has taken place, after Cougars ’11 and ’12, with its aim to demonstrate the ability to operate a highly effective maritime force anywhere in the world to protect UK interests.
Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond MP, said:
“Since its creation under the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review, the Response Force Task Group has demonstrated its formidable strength and readiness to respond to emerging threats worldwide through a number of operations and exercises.
“This now routine and long-planned deployment will demonstrate once again its ability to operate as a rapid reaction force on behalf of the UK and, importantly, underlines the global reach and flexibility of the modern Royal Navy.”
The Task Group is able to conduct simultaneously a range of operations from deterring adversaries and maritime security to international engagement and supporting regional stability.
Its units can operate independently on discrete tasks or as a single entity.
Most importantly, it is an adaptable force that is able to work jointly with Army and Royal Air Force assets, other government agencies and partner nations when required.
After a number of planned port visits in the Mediterranean, the first major exercise for the force will be Albanian Lion, in the Adriatic.
Personnel will work with Albania’s armed forces, building on a similar exercise last year, with the goal to put the Lead Commando Group ashore within a high tempo scenario and sustain it as it moves inland.
The ships will then sail through the Red Sea, Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf where the focus will transfer to the series of exercises with UK allies in the Gulf region; alongside Army and RAF units.
Commodore Paddy McAlpine, Commander UK Task Group, said:
“Cougar ’13 is a bespoke opportunity to enhance the Royal Navy’s enduring core skill – the ability to operate and project power as a task group at range. In so doing, it will also remind interested domestic and international parties of the enduring utility, employability and interoperability of the Royal Navy.
“During Cougar ’13 we will engage with our partner nations through a series of exercises, reinforcing our commitment and demonstrating our contribution to security in the Mediterranean and Gulf region.”
Commodore McAlpine and his staff will command from the nation’s flagship HMS Bulwark. Alongside Brigadier Stuart Birrell (Commander of 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines) he will choreograph the efforts of Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary sailors, Royal Marine Commandos and Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm personnel.
Joining Bulwark will be Portsmouth-based helicopter carrier HMS Illustrious and frigates HMS Montrose (Plymouth) and HMS Westminster (Portsmouth) to provide escort duties, as well as undertake ongoing counter-piracy operations outside the exercise programme.
HMS Montrose is also due to reprise her role from Cougar ‘12 as the launch pad for small Royal Marines reconnaissance parties, which are sent ashore to scout the lie of the land and ‘enemy’ forces.
The Royal Marines will be embarking HMS Bulwark, RFA Mounts Bay and RFA Lyme Bay: the nation’s Lead Commando Group, including 42 Commando, elements of 30 Commando IX Group, and the Commando Logistics Regiment who will meet all the supply and medical needs and 16 Vikings of the Corps’ Armoured Support Group.
A number of Army Commandos from 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery and 24 Commando Engineer Regiment will also deploy as part of the Lead Commando Group.
Brigadier Stuart Birrell, Commander 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines, said:
“Cougar ’13 provides a superb opportunity to demonstrate the capability and capacity of the Response Force Task Group and the Lead Commando Group. Operating in a wide variety of countries across the Mediterranean and Gulf region, the task group will engage in capacity building and defence engagement with a range of partner nations, in some truly outstanding exercises.
“A demanding and ambitious deployment, we will look forward to the challenges and opportunities that Cougar ’13 presents.”
RFA Fort Austin will provide stores, fuel, water, and ammunition and RFA Diligence is on hand to attend to any of the Cougar ’13 ship’s engineering requirements.
The majority of the Task Group is due home to the UK in December, although Diligence, Westminster and Montrose are due to remain east of Suez in support of the Navy’s long-standing mission in the region to keep the sea lanes safe and secure for lawful trade.
The USS Ponce, until 2011 one of the oldest LPDs in commission with the US Navy, escaped a trip to the mothball fleet by finding a new role as the USN’s Afloat Forward Staging Base, Interim (AFSB-I) supporting mine countermeasures vessels and helicopters in the Persian Gulf.
USS Ponce stays afloat in unique role as forward staging base
MANAMA, Bahrain — When the USS Ponce returned to Norfolk in December 2011 with its 360 crewmembers and thousands of additional shipmates — roaches that had inhabited the vessel — it was supposed to be its final deployment.
After its “victory lap,” it was scheduled to decommission in March 2012. But the U.S. Navy decided the race wasn’t quite yet over for the 41-year old ship.
The Ponce, nicknamed the Proud Lion, was reclassified from an amphibious landing transport dock to an interim afloat forward staging base for the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, and it arrived at its new Bahrain homeport in July 2012.
It was a first for the Navy, whose officials described it as an experiment, partially inspired in part by the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk’s role as an afloat special operations staging base during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001.
For the first time, the Navy has such a platform permanently based in the 5th fleet theater and capable of doing a variety of missions — including humanitarian relief or special operations — utilizing the ship’s flight deck, well deck and immense storage capacity.
Another experimental aspect was that in its new role the ship would essentially be manned by a crew of civilian mariners from the Military Sealift Command integrated with U.S. Navy sailors. It currently has about 220 crewmembers — 165 civilians and 55 servicemembers.
“It keeps you on your toes,” said Capt. Jon Rodgers, commander of the USS Ponce. “I’ve touted two cultures, one crew.”
Walking aboard the ship, it’s common to see civilians with beards, long hair, and men with earrings — all things that would be considered to be contrary to good order and military discipline on a regular U.S. Navy ship.
Still, the biggest challenge for the Proud Lion in past year has been physically converting the ship to an afloat staging base. Since the ship was expected to have been decommissioned, it was in severe disrepair and much of the task of retrofitting and modernizing it fell to the crew, who did so even as the ship transited from Norfolk to the Middle East June last year.
“The ship was pretty broken,” said Christopher Semmler, an engineer on the Ponce, adding that all the maintenance work has given him good experience to put on his resume.
The bridge, pilot house, combat information center and many more compartments were completely overhauled. The crew also installed some new compartments such as a shipboard ER complete with an operating room designed by Navy surgeons. And the work continues, especially in engineering where temperatures below regularly exceed 130 degrees in the Gulf.
“We are constantly dealing with breakdowns, overhauls and fixes,” said Steven Wojtasinski, an engineer. Since the Ponce was built in the late 1960s, the engineering equipment “brings you back in time a little bit,” he added.
But the underlying problem of how much money should the Navy put into a vessel considered an interim solution, remains unresolved.
On July 10, 2013, the Ponce celebrated its 42nd birthday, and there is much uncertainty about how many more birthdays it will have. Rodgers said he believed it will remain in service at least until 2016 when it may possibly be relieved by a newer vessel.
Since the ship’s arrival in the 5th Fleet, it has played a key command and control role as the centerpiece in two 5th Fleet led, large-scale international maritime security exercises in the Persian Gulf.
“It is an experiment, and I think it’s been a successful one,” said Rodgers, who claims the vessel has 10 more years of life in her.
But, he admits he has a bias.
“She is a wise old ship, and if the nation needed her to go further I’m sure she can do it.”
The Chilean Navy is on track to buy another reconditioned amphibious multirole assault vessel from France, Chilean defense media reported.
The Armada de Chile currently has several reconditioned foreign vessels in its fleet. The Almirante Williams (FF-19) is a former Royal Navy Type 22 frigate, the Almirante Cochrane (FF-05), the Almirante Condell (FF-06) and the Almirante Lynch (FF-07) are former Royal Navy Type 23 frigates, and the Sargento Aldea (LSDH-91) is a former French Navy Foudre-class LPD.
Chile on track to buy another French assault ship
SANTIAGO, Chile, July 1 (UPI) — The Chilean navy is on track to buy another reconditioned amphibious multirole assault vessel from France, Chilean defense media reported.
Purchase of the Sirocco 12,000-ton vessel was delayed through 2012 and this year as the Chilean navy considered various options for equipping Chile’s year-old Amphibious Expeditionary Brigade. The force eventually will have at least 1,400 troops in its ranks and an unspecified number of ships, helicopters and armored vehicles.
President Sebastian Pinera and aides see the expeditionary force as a prestige addition to the military infrastructure, to be used for a range of missions from disaster relief to international peacekeeping under U.N. auspices.
In 2011 Chile acquired another Sirocco multirole ship from France, previously called the Foudre. The vessel was renamed Sargento Aldea after it entered Chilean naval service and heralded the launch of the Amphibious Expeditionary Brigade.
Chilean officials have not yet discussed details of the second purchase. The Foudre was sold to Chile for $80 million but it’s far from clear if the same price will apply to the second ship. The Foudre was involved in an incident while pursuing French military operations in west Africa in 2009. On Jan. 17 that year, one of the ship’s helicopters crashed off the coast of Gabon, killing eight French military personnel. Casualties during the ship’s previous operations in Ivory Coast and during the NATO operations in Yugoslavia were not discussed.
The Sargento Aidea operates out of Valparaiso, Chile’s historic transit point for ships operating between the Pacific and the Atlantic via the Magellan Strait. The waterway has assumed strategic importance for Chile as it projects its military and political presence in the Antarctic and surrounding regions.
Official consideration of the second purchase was also held up amid leadership changes in the Chilean navy. This month Adm. Enrique Larranaga Martin took over as the new naval chief, replacing Admiral Edmundo Gonzalez-Robles. Military analysts say with that change at the top the stage was set for completing the purchase.
The French navy plans to retire an amphibious assault ship later this year.
Progress on the Amphibious Expeditionary Brigade has been slow. The Sargento Aidea still is being refurbished and may add more helicopters to its inventory. At full capacity, the Foudre-class vessel can carry up to seven helicopters, about 100 armored vehicles and transport up to 450 troops, Chile’s Defense and Military blog said on its website.
Chile regards the amphibious ships as valuable to its program of developing patrol duties along the Pacific coast, enhancing the ship’s role as a hospital on the move to cater for outlying inhabitants along the coast and perform other peacetime security duties.
There are plans also to acquire more helicopters and armored vehicles.
Chile would be able to move its Amphibious Expeditionary Brigade many thousands of miles, and be able to support it with armor and logistical units, the blog said.
“But the brigade still would lack one of the key elements of a true blue water navy: warplanes,” it said. Chile has no plans to acquire vertical-takeoff planes such as Harriers to give its marines an air-attack or air-superiority arm. Instead, the brigade is being built to serve as a peacekeeping force, though it certainly could be used in case of armed conflict.
Former Navy Commander Adm. Gonzalez-Robles said the Foudre’s purchase was more than a new acquisition.
“What we are doing is recovering the capacity we lost when Valdivia after fifteen years in service was decommissioned,” he said, citing the former U.S. Navy ship acquired by Chile in 1995 and retired in January 2011.
Earlier Chile bought a 42,000-ton tanker, Andrew J. Higgins, from the U.S. Navy. Renamed Almirante Montt the vessel replaced AO-53 Araucano, which was decommissioned after 40 years of service.