Category Archives: Maritime Security

Photos show B-52s loaded with mines for simulated massive naval mine drop outside Sweden

During Baltops exercise, U.S. Air Force B-52s have also conducted mine-laying mission off the coasts of Sweden, simulating a counter-marine invasion mission.

U.S. Air Force B-52H strategic bombers deployed to RAF Fairford, UK, used inert MK-62 Quick Strike Mines with MK-15 tail fins to train and test the aircrew’s ability to precisely drop munitions into a target zone during Baltops exercise.

B-52 mine-laying

The two Stratofortresses were each loaded with 9 inert mines built by minemen from the Navy Munitions Command Unit Charleston and Airmen from the 5th Munitions Squadron out of Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota.

Inert mine in B-52

The B-52 used the bombs to simulate a mission against ships supporting a naval invasion near Ravlunda, Sweden, on the Baltic Sea.

The Mk-62 mines is a Mk-82 500-lb general purpose bomb fitted with a Fin Mk 15, Fin BSU-86/B, or Tail Section Mk 16 and dropped by either a B-52H (or a B-1B – that is also capable to drop JDAMs on naval targets) at high-speed and low altitude (around 1,000 feet). Once in the water, the mine uses an MK57 Target Detection Device (TDD) to detect a ship passing above: basically, it can detect the vessel by pressure of the ship on the water, by magnetism of the ship’s metal or vibration caused by the ship.

B-52s mine-laying ex

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

Video shows Iranian Aircraft buzz U.S. Navy Destroyer, warn it to leave exercise area in Strait of Hormuz

Footage shows Iranian Naval Aviation Fokker 27 warn a U.S. Navy destroyer to leave training area

Several aircraft belonging to the the Iranian Air Force, Navy and Army are currently taking part in Joint Exercise “Mohammad Rasullollah.”

During the drills, Tehran’s maritime patrol aircraft overflying the Strait of Hormuz and Sea of Oman have had some close encounters with U.S. Navy and UAE vessels operating in the same waters.

According to Iranian defense expert Babak Taghvaee, a very well-known author of several publications about the Iranian air forces and a regular contributor to some of the most read aviation magazines, the first such encounters occurred on Dec. 25 and 26 when the foreign vessels were spotted by an IRIAF (Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force) P-3F serialled 5-8706.

On Dec. 28, an Iranian Naval Aviation’s Fokker 27-400M, serialled 5-2601, carrying journalists “buzzed” the U.S. Navy’s USS Gridley (DDG-101), a Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. Footage of the flybys conducted by the Iranian plane close to the American warship including radio communications was later released by FARS News Agency.

Similar encounters occur quite frequently in those waters and are almost routine: you can find several images showing Iranian, Russian or U.S. maritime patrol aircraft overflying foreign ships in the high seas all around the world.

Furthermore, foreign warships cross Iranian territorial waters in the Straits of Hormuz when entering the Persian Gulf, that’s why they are often “inspected” by Iranian Air Force and Navy planes.

Still, the footage in this post is particularly interesting as it is one of the few (if not the only) to let you hear the (quite polite) messages exchanged between the Iranian patrol aircraft and the U.S. warship.

H/T to Babak Tagvaee and ACIG.info for the heads-up. Footage, FARS via B. Tagvaee.

 

Photos from Aircraft involved in rescue mission to evacuate people trapped on burning ferry

Italian and Greek military and coast guard aircraft, helicopters and boats are battling strong winds and massive waves to rescue 478 people trapped on a burning ferry adrift between Italy and Albania.

A complex rescue mission is underway since early in the morning on Dec. 28, when fire broke out on a car deck of the Italian flagged “Norman Atlantic” ferry, travelling from Patras, Greece, to Ancona, Italy, with 478 people on board.

Italy and Greece dispatched helicopters and maritime patrol aircraft (including an Italian Coast Guard ATR-42MP and Hellenic C-130) to support the rescue mission that will go ahead until everyone aboard is evacuated from the ferry, adrift about 15 nautical miles from the Albanian coast.

Smoke

Italian Air Force HH-139s, Italian Navy SH-212 and EH-101s helicopters are rescuing passengers from the ship and carrying them to the nearby ships or hospitals in southeastern Italy.

Ferry EH101

At 21.43 GMT, 287 people must still be evacuated. One of the passengers has been declared dead. Rescue operations are particularly difficult because of the high seas, darkness and amount of smoke coming from the ship.

Ferry MM 4

Both the ferry and the nearby ships can be tracked by AIS (Automatic Identification System), an automatic tracking system used for identification and geo-localization of vessels that can be considered the naval homologous of the ADS-B used by airplanes and it is used for collision avoidance, search and rescue, and for aids to navigation.

Here below you can see the track followed by the Norman Atlantic until the present position (from MarineTraffic.com):

Norman Atlantic track

Here below you can see the position of the ferry at 21.39 GMT:

Norman Atlantic position

It looks like one of the supporting helicopters is also using broadcasting its flight data by means of AIS and can be tracked. Have a look at the path it has followed.

Norman Atlantic helicopter

Image credit: Guardia Costiera, Marina Militare, Marinetraffic.com

 

Sweden has released a photo of the mysterious foreign vessel in Stockholm’s archipelago

Sweden is investigating a mysterious, foreign underwater activity in the Stockholm’s archipelago.

On Oct. 19, Sweden Ministry of Defense released a grainy photo of a vessel in waters less than 30 miles (50 km) from Stockholm.

Although this version was partly denied by the Swedish military, according to Swedish media outlets the search for the mysterious vessel, a submarine or underwater vehicle used to deploy divers, started on the night of Oct. 16, after the National Defence Radio Establishment (“Försvarets radioanstalt”, FRA) intercepted a radio communication in Russian, most probably a distress call, and, later, an encrypted radio communication that was used to pin-point the position of both the transmitter and the receiving station. Whilst the transmitter was located somewhere in the Stockholm’s archipelago, the receiver was situated in Kaliningrad oblast, on the Baltic Sea.

Chart Sweden

The hunt for the mysterious vessel started on Oct. 17 and included ships, planes and helicopters.

Area of search

The presence of the vessel (that could be involved in a spying mission) was then confirmed by three different witnesses, in three different locations. One of those people managed to take the picture, from distance, of the object above the sea surface, released by the Swedish Navy.

Among the various theories, there is also the possibility that the submarine, involved in a clandestine mission, experienced an emergency and it is now sailing towards a rescue vessel.

[Read also: Italian Navy Elite team conduct disabled submarine rescue training with support of EH-101 Merlin helicopter]

The Swedish authorities have not linked the submarine to Russia: officially, the vehicle is “very likely” involved in “foreign” underwater activity in an area of interest for many nations.

Regardless to whether the submarine, or mini-sub, is Russian, the incident, which reminds the incident of the Soviet submarine that went aground near a Swedish naval base in 1981, takes place amid raising tensions with Moscow: Stockholm has often accused the Russian Air Force aircraft for their increasingly aggressive behaviour during close encounters with Swedish planes over the Baltic Sea.

Last month, two Russian Su-24s intentionally violated the Swedish airspace to probe local air defense.

Image credit: Swedish Navy

 

Photo shows 38 warships and 4 submarines during RIMPAC 2014’s group sail

An impressive naval armada was arranged for RIMPAC 2014 photo.

It does not happen too soon to see +40 warships sailing together.

The reason is quite obvious: first, there are some navies that are made by little more (if not less) than 40 serviceable surface ships. Second, even though it would not be that easy to come too close to the naval formation (considered that the flagship is a U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier), this *could be* an huge target for air, naval and underwater assets involved in maritime attack/anti-ship missions.

Nevertheless, the sight is quite impressive and, alone, it can represent a good deterrent.

The photo was actually taken during RIMPAC 2014, the 24th exercise in the series of world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise taking place in the Pacific Ocean from Jun. 26 to Aug. 1.

Twenty-two nations are taking part to this year’s edition of the drills that marks the first particpation of China with four ships belonging to the People’s Liberation Army Navy.

RIMPAC 2014 reportedly involve 55 vessels, more than 200 aircraft, and some 25,000 personnel.

Image credit: U.S. Navy