Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bodrum Corvette in Dry Dock

The Greek blog “Εν κρυπτώ” (En Kripto) reports that the Turkish Navy Corvette Bodrum (F-501) is currently in dry dock. Several weeks ago Greek media reported that this Corvette ran aground in Greek territorial waters off the island of Kastellorizo. Instead of talking the quickest route through Greek waters (harmless passage as provided for in the UN Convention on the Law Of the Sea) the Turkish Captain plotted a course close to the island’s harbour, in what only can be presumed to be a show of force.

During the ship’s impact with the Koutsoumba rock it apparently lost its sonar dome. In the following days the Greek Navy was alerted by local fishermen that some metallic objects had been spotted just under the surface of the water. Greek Navy divers identified the objects as parts of the Bodrum’s sonar dome. The Turkish Navy has not confirmed the incident. If the Bodrum is indeed in dry dock as “En Kripto” reports then it is almost certain the Turkish ship hit the rocks.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Hellenic Air Force Modernization Program?

A few days ago various Greek sources reported that the Supreme Air Force Council approved a program to modernize over 120 F-16 fighter jets plus another 20 Mirage 2000 jets to the latest Block50/52+ Advanced and Dash 5 respectively. The news was welcomed by various websites and blogs as the issue is considered to be of crucial importance for the Air Force. For an example see this:

Unfortunately today “DefenceNet” posted an article saying that high ranking Air Force officers denied that such a decision has been made and that only a feasibility study has been approved. This is odd considering the fact that this same feasibility study was ordered back in January of 2008, again according to “DefenceNet”. The DefenceNet article can be found here:

The Hellenic Air Force operates a variety of different F-16 versions (blocks) with the oldest being around 20 years old. The oldest Block 30 machines have only received moderate improvements from the Falcon Up and Falcon Star programs. Among other things this has enabled them to fire the medium range AIM-120 Amraam air-to-air missile.

A decision regarding modernising the fleet is already overdue as it is considered by some to be a waste of money to modernize aircraft that have logged as many hours as the Greek Block 30s and Mirage EGMs. Some would prefer to see that money be spent on newer aircraft.

One more complicating factor is that Greece will have general elections soon. The Socialist Party, which is expected to win, has already announced that it will review all current and pending defence procurement projects. Undoubtedly the fleet modernisation program will receive heavy scrutiny as in total it is expected to cost more than 1.5 billion USD.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Airspace Violations Start Again

With Ramadan over The Turkish Air Force started a new round of violations of Greek airspace over the Aegean. A total of 18 aircraft divided in 3 formations caused 5 airspace violations. 10 of the Turkish fighters were armed. Three mock dogfights occured. The flights took place in the central and northern Aegean.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hellenic Navy Submarine Fleet Facing Severe Problems

German submarine builder HDW and Hellenic Shipyards have announced they will seek legal remedies over the purchase of 4 Type 214 submarines by the Greek Navy. The prototype submarine (Papanikolis) was not accepted by the Greek Navy due to serious issues that developed during her sea trials. HDW claims all the problems have now been fixed but so far the first submarine has not been accepted.

Currently the Greek Navy operates 4 Type 209/1100 and 4 Type 209/1200 subs. Most of these are technologically outdated and in need of replacement. One Type 209/1100 (Okeanos) was recently upgraded by HDW/Hellenic Shipyards. This submarine is not back in service with the Greek Navy and it looks like it will not enter back into service for some time due to the legal issues between the two sides.

This leaves the Greek Navy with 7 active duty subs while the force level requirement for the fleet is 14.

The timing of the move by HDW is interesting as it comes after elections were scheduled in Greece. The elections will almost certainly be won by the Socialist party which was in power when the original contract with HDW was signed. It will be interesting to see how the new government will handle the situation.

If a solution with HDW can be found it could mean the acceptance of the 4 Type 214 subs, return to service of the upgraded Type 209/1100 and the purchase of an additional 2 new subs with AIP (Air Indepent Propulsion) technology.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Frontex Mission Documents Turkish Moves on Illegal Immigration

A Latvian helicopter patrolling the Eastern Aegean against illegal immigration captured images of an inflatable boat carrying 24 illegal immigrants while a Turkish Coast Guard vessle following the boat did nothing to intervene. The immigrants were on their way to Farmakonisi island having set off from the Turkish coast.
The Latvian helicopter (registration YL-HMK) is part of Frontex, a European Union initiative to use common EU member state means to combat illegal immigration to the EU.
The Greek Ministery of Foreign Affairs notified EU member states of the event. This event is seen as evidence of Turkey turning a blind eye, even helping, illegal immigrants enter Greece.
It is reported that while the Frontex helicopter was identifying the vessels a Turkish radar station on the opposite coast sent out a broadcast that the heliccopter was flying in Turkish airspace, which was not the case.
For the original article in Greek see:

Welcome to the Hellenic Defence News Blog

This blog is dedicated to bring you defence related news from Greece in English. Updates will (hopefully) be made on a regular basis and will rely on a host of sources, either TV, newspapers, websites or other blogs.

The reason for creating this blog is simple. There are a host of Greek language sources available on Greek defence issues but there are relatively few up to date sources in English.

The topic itself is an interesting one. Greece currently faces several challenges in its foreign affairs issues and the up and coming elections in Greece could result in a radical shift in current policies. Whatever the outcome of the elections, the challenges facing Greece will continue to play an important role in the country’s defence posture.

This blog will focus on some of the most important issues Greece currently faces. The main issue is the tension with Turkey over the Aegean Sea. Other issues are the “Macedonian” issue, the Cyprus issue and the growing problem of illegal immigration.

Feel free to comment on any posts. The comments on this blog are subject to moderation although anyone can comment. We reserve the right to use our discretion on what comments we allow and which ones we do not.
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