Carrier Charles De Gaulle taking on board "fighting groups" for Libya

Charles De Gaulle

 "The French Aircraft Carrier Charles De Gaulle today passed through the Suez Canal," maritime officials from the Authority managing the Egyptian waterway said March 3.
On March 1 a "French military source" cited by an Arab media organ indicated that the aircraft carrier is headed "toward being off the Libyan coast" and was taking on board "fighting groups at the disposition of the French Army to gather information on Libya by air and sea".
The French source, cited by Al-Wasat, had indicated that the aircraft carrier left the Persian Gulf a week earlier and was due to arrive off the coast of Libya "at the end of the current week," which in Islamic countries finishes Friday, March 4.   It was sent to the Gulf in December to strike ISIL in Syria. It will carry out joint exercises with Egypt - a country very concerned about the ISIL's activities in Libya that conducted air strikes there in 2015.

[April 28 2014   Mediterranean: all those submarines]
American adversaries, such as Iran, Syria and Russia itself, still believe that President Obama is capable of using force to advance American interests, despite his reluctance to strike Syria last year. “We’ve now seen 15 to 20 percent of those chemical weapons on their way out of Syria with a very concrete schedule to get rid of the rest,” Obama says. “That would not have happened had the Iranians said, ‘Obama’s bluffing, he’s not actually really willing to take a strike.’ If the Russians had said, ‘Ehh, don’t worry about it, all those submarines that are floating around your coastline, that’s all just for show.’ Of course they took it seriously! That’s why they engaged in the policy they did.”

[;March 2 3014]
USS George H W Bush (CVN 77)

The US Navy's Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George H W Bush (CVN 77) departs Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, on 15 February on its second deployment to support US Fifth and Sixth Fleet operations. It will carry out maritime and theatre security activities, and will support Operation 'Enduring Freedom'.

Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HST CSG) and French Navy Task Force 473 concluded five weeks of combined carrier strike group operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility (AOR) Feb 2.

The two strike groups began conducting integrated operations Dec. 26 in the Gulf of Oman and have operated together in the northern Arabian Sea and the Arabian Gulf

The aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush left Naval Station Norfolk on February 15  on its second deployment, leading a strike group of ships and aircraft to the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean Sea.

The deployment is part of an ongoing rotation of U.S forces in the region, the Navy said.

Besides the Bush, the strike group consists of the guided missile destroyer USS Truxton, which also left from Norfolk, plus two warships based at Naval Station Mayport in Florida: the guided missile destroyer USS Roosevelt and guided missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea.

The strike group is commanded by Rear Adm. John C. Aquilino and includes Carrier Air Wing 8, which consists of squadrons of fighter jets, early-warning aircraft, support planes and helicopters.

The USS Boxer ARG with the 13th MEU embarked is underway in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR supporting maritime security operations and conducting theater security cooperation efforts.

The USS Bataan with the 22nd MEU embarked is underway for an eight-month deployment in the US 5th and 6th Fleet AORs supporting maritime security operations and conducting theater security cooperation efforts.

USS Maine (SSBN 741) 

The Ohio-Class Ballistic Missile Submarine USS Maine (SSBN 741) returns home to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor following a strategic deterrent patrol.

[February 28]

A Russian warship is blocking the port of Balaklava in the Crimea. A Russian Tarantul-Class Missile Boat is seen in the video below blocking Balaklava bay incuding a coast guard base. Ivanovets # 954, Black Sea Fleet, 295th Sulinsk Missile Boat Division,Tarantul lll class corvette(1988).

Kaliningrad from Syria for Sevastopol?

Two Ropucha class landing ship from Russian Navy passed through Bosphorus returning from their Syrian deployment.   In Crimea, tensions are mounting as the Russian majority population threatens to secede and join Russia. Rallies have been held across the region, including in Sevastopol, which is home to Russia's Black Sea fleet.
Behind Kaliningrad at an interval of 20 minutes, at 07:40, was landing ship  Minsk, 127. This ship also belongs to the 71th Brigade of the Russian Navy.

[February 26]

On February 25, the Taylor's commander, Cmdr. Dennis Volpe, was relieved after the ship ran aground Feb. 12, 2014, in the Black Sea.

U.S. Naval Forces Europe confirms that the frigate USS Taylor is being inspected for damage after it ran around February 12 while preparing to moor in the northern Turkish port of Samsun which is 240 miles southwest of Sochi. The vessel was able to moor without further incident. There was some damage to the propeller blades, but there appears to be no damage to the hull.

The aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov stopped briefly in the Outer Moray Firth to refuel in December 2013. The Clyde-built HMS Defender escorted the group while it was in the "UK's area of interest", said Mr Hammond. The minister was responding to challenges from MPs on Monday that the Royal Navy was not prepared for the appearance of the Russian warships. Mr Hammond said that the Russian task group's deployment was "openly declared" on social media sites. Nato was also informed of the route and planned training exercises. Mr Hammond said: "Once it became apparent that the task group was indeed likely to enter the UK's area of interest, HMS Defender, as the fleet ready escort ship, was ordered to sail from Portsmouth to meet and escort the group through the UK's area of interest.

HMS Defender from The aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov

[February 9]
USS Mount Whitney off Sochi
USS Taylor off Sochi

"Seliger", it was commissioned in December 2012 and was described at the time as a "deep-sea research vessel".
Officer of the watch, USS Mount Whitney, in the Bosphorus

February 4, at 16:10 (Kiev time) command ship of the U.S. Navy «Mount Whitney» was the Bosphorus (Turkey) in the direction of the Black Sea. 

 [February 5]

The command ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC-20), which carries 300 military and civilian personnel arrived in The Black Sea on February 4.

The Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Taylor (FFG-50) is expected to enter the Black Sea February 5.

Besides the mini-naval task force expected to sail between the Dardanelles within the week,US Marines out of Camp Lejeune, NC are already in the Black Sea Area of Operations.
When it absolutely, positively has to be destroyed overnight ...
Formed as a rapid reaction force in 2010, Marines have been tasked with manning the Black Sea Rotation Force (BSFR) if and when the United States needs people killed and things destroyed in the region, post haste.
With the exact number of Marines assigned to BSRF-14 not available for public consumption, the Military Times noted on Jan. 11, 2014, that Leathernecks from the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) Battalion are currently deployed, with their base of operations being out of the Black Sea port city of Constanța, Romania.

The USS Mount Whitney supports maritime security operations with the Georgian coast guard in the Black Sea, which is within the U.S. 6th Fleet’s area of responsibility, Nov. 13, 2013.
guided-missile frigate USS Taylor (FFG 50)

The USS Mount Whitney left its homeport of Gaeta, Italy, January 31 — the first of two U.S. Navy ships that will be operating in the Black Sea during the Sochi Olympics. The other vessel, the frigate USS Taylor, is scheduled to depart an Italian port on February 1. Both ships will likely enter the Black Sea sometime over the coming week. The USS Mount Whitney (LCC-20) left Italy “to conduct scheduled maritime security operations in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations. The USS Taylor (FFG-50) began operating in the Sixth Fleet in early January, officials said. The fact that two U.S. Navy ships would deploy to the Black Sea around the time of the Winter Games has been known for a few weeks but Pentagon officials had not identified the vessels until today.

29 January 2014, 17:11
Welcome to Sochi, no US warships required.   In reality however there is no need for US warships. The Russian Black Sea Fleet is perfectly capable of dealing with such contingencies

 The Voice of Russia   http://voiceofrussia.com/
[January 25]

The January 17, 2014 Ramage Sailor of the Day is CTT2 Kevin Hammick from Stockton, California. He reported onboard the USS Ramage in July 2013 and serves as an Electronic Warfare Operator in CIC. During the recent port visit in Istanbul, Turkey, CTT2 Hammick responded to an early morning Snoopie Team call. Although not in a duty status, CTT2 did not hesitate to proceed on station, bringing along critical equipment needed by the Team for data collection to the Pilot House. Thank you for your selfless devotion to duty and a job well done!

Snoopie team

Underway Replenishment

 Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby clarified reports that the U.S. had deployed two Navy ships to the Black Sea solely to provide assistance if called upon by the Russians. His office had issued a statement earlier this week saying two ships would be available in the Black Sea for support.

"They are not in the Black Sea now. I don't want to get ahead of the ship's movements," he said, adding the ships already had been planning to steam into the Black Sea for unrelated reasons.
 Breedlove, commander of U.S. European Command, had considered offering up the ships to assist the Russian government, Kirby said, but only in anticipation of the Russians possibly asking for help.

"The responsibility for security at the Olympics rests with the Russian government," Kirby said. "It's their responsibility and not anybody else's."

"There are no such requests and we don't envision any such demand" from the Russians, he added. "There has been no specific planning for evacuation. There has been no request to have a plan to do that right now."

Most Navy ships are able to deploy and receive helicopters and provide medical assistance. They also can serve as command-and-control centers if the need arises, Kirby said.

 U.S. warships occasionally make port calls to countries in the region, such as Ukraine, Romania and Georgia. A ship has also participated in the annual Sea Breeze naval exercise, held each summer with co-host Ukraine.

Turkey limits the number and tonnage of foreign warships passing through the Turkish Straits and operating in the Black Sea through a 1936 convention that the U.S. has adhered to in the past. Aircraft carriers or large amphibious ships often used for humanitarian assistance would exceed the aggregate 30,000-ton weight restriction of the agreement, although smaller dock landing ships, destroyers and cruisers, would all fall under the limit. 

Foreign naval vessels are only allowed to stay in the Black Sea for 21 days under the convention

In comparison, for the Athens Games in 2004, the FBI sent 150 agents and the Defense Department positioned an aircraft carrier off the coast, said Raymond Mey, a former FBI agent and deputy on-scene commander at the time. 
[October 7 2013]

An accused al-Qaida operative captured by U.S. commandos in Libya, known by the alias Anas al-Liby, is in military custody on the USS San Antonio and is being interrogated for intelligence purposes without a lawyer present.    The USS San Antonio, an amphibious ship carrying Marines, arrived September 4 in Haifa, Israel.   A Navy press release called the visit routine.    Amphibious dock landing ship  Carter Hall was still in the Middle East as of Sept. 2
[September 18]
Russian Mediterranean TASK FORCE UNITS ARRIVING (SEPT 29)
Corvette – RFS Ivanovets – Tarantul Class Guided Missile Corvette
With over 30 sales on the export market the Tarantul has been a relative success for the Russian shipbuilding industry.

Corvette – RFS Shtil – Nanuchka Class Guided Missile Corvette
These ships were designed around the P-120 Malakhit anti ship missile.   It was the Mirazh, a  Nanuchka Class corvette, that sank a Georgian vessel during an attempted attack on Russian ships near Abkhazia's coast on August 10, 2008

[September 17]
The destroyer Smetlivy left a naval base in Sevastopol, Ukraine, on September 10 on a mission to the Syrian coast.   Smetlivy would travel to the Mediterranean with the amphibious assault ship Nikolai Filchenkov, which left Novorossiysk  carrying unidentified supplies for the Damascus government.
USS Kearsarge - USS Arctic

GULF OF OMAN (Aug. 30, 2013) The amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) conducts a replenishment-at-sea with the Military Sealift Command fast combat support ship USNS Arctic (T-AOE . Kearsarge is the flagship for the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.


Russian missile cruiser, the Moskva [ex-Slava], will arrive by Sept. 17 .    The Slava class cruiser (Soviet designation Project 1164 Atlant),    launched 1979, commissioned 1982, renamed in 1995.    As there was nothing revolutionary about the design of the class western observers felt they were created as a hedge against the failure of the more radical Kirov class.

 The helicopter hangar deck is located 1/2 deck below the landing pad with a ramp connecting the two The Baltic and Black Sea fleets are each sending a destroyer

Kuznetsov to deliver Yak-130 jets on order?

“At the end of the year, most likely in early December, the Project 11435 heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser the Admiral Kuznetsov will set off on a long-distance sea voyage during which it will call at the Russian Federation Navy's logistical support centre located in the Syrian city of Tartus,” Russia refers to the ship as an aircraft-carrying cruiser because “under international treaties aircraft carriers are banned from passing through the Bosporus and Dardanelles…. But this ban does not extend to aircraft-carrying cruisers.”

Spy ship Priazovye

The reconnaissance ship Priazovye left Russia's naval base in the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Sevastopol for the Syrian coast on September 1

The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group  had been in the Indian Ocean supporting U.S. operations in Afghanistan but was due to sail east around Asia to return to its home port in Everett, Washington, after being relieved in recent days by another aircraft carrier, the USS Harry S. Truman.

Given the situation in Syria, U.S. military officials decided to reroute the Nimitz and send it west toward the Red Sea, and possibly the Mediterranean, officials said.

The five American guided-missile destroyers and one amphibious transport are going to continue to stay in place for now.   President Barack Obama pushed back the timetable August 31 for a potential attack on Syria, saying, the chairman has indicated to me that our capacity to execute this mission is not time-sensitive; it will be effective tomorrow, or next week, or one month from now.   

Defense officials did not – and do not ever – address the movements of U.S. Navy submarines, which also may be lurking in the waters off Syria and could be called upon to launch missiles.

Missile firing from Horizon-class Frigate Chevalier Paul,

The French Navy frigate Chevalier Paul, is steaming toward the eastern Mediterranean.

USS Florida
KINGS BAY, Ga. (July 3, 2013) The Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Florida (SSGN 728) departs Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay. Florida will perform routine operations while at sea. 
July 11, 2013.   As political unrest continues in post-coup Egypt, USS San Antonio amphibious assault ship has moved to the coast there.
USS San Antonio GULF OF ADEN (Aug. 18, 2013)

August 31, 2013.   The USS San Antonio, an amphibious ship with several hundred US Marines on board, was positioned near five US destroyers armed with cruise missiles.
 San Antonio's passage into the Mediterranean was long-planned, but officials thought it prudent to keep the ship in the eastern Mediterranean near the destroyers given the current situation.
"It's been kept there as a precaution," one said.

The destroyer Stout is en route to the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, marking the fifth destroyer to be positioned near Syria, a defense official tells Navy Times.
It’s unclear how long five destroyers would be in the area, but the official said all are expected to remain “for the time being.”
The Stout is expected to arrive in the eastern Med later August 29 the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity

Pentagon has yet to release to the public if the Truman Battle Group is steaming back to the Mediterranean or towards the Arabian Sea.

The MoD cryptically says that "a number of warships recently left Britain for exercises in the Mediterranean."
A Royal Navy (RN) currently has a Naval Rapid Reaction Force on station in the Eastern Mediterranean centered around the helicopter carrier HMS Illustrious along with two frigates and a yet to be identified nuclear-powered Trafalgar class submarine as well as three RFAs

[earlier] On 25 August, 2013 fhere are now four destroyers positioned in the eastern Mediterranean Sea: the Mahan, Barry, Gravely and Ramage. The Mahan was initially scheduled to head home, being replaced by the Ramage. But for now, Mahan will remain deployed, the official said. Mahan has been ordered to patrol the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, amid the rising rumors of an imminent military action in Syria.     

Factions within the administration line up largely along two fronts: those who want the U.S. to take more decisive action to counter widespread violence in both Egypt and Syria, and senior military who are arguing for moderation.   Aug. 21, 2013 “The use of U.S. military force can change the military balance,” Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, added. “But it cannot resolve the underlying and historic ethnic, religious and tribal issues that are fueling this conflict.”

Instead, he spoke in favor of an expansion of the Obama administration’s current policy.

The U.S. can provide far greater humanitarian assistance and, if asked, do more to bolster a moderate opposition in Syria. Such an approach “represents the best framework for an effective U.S. strategy toward Syria,” Dempsey said.

The lack of a unified position — both within the administration and in Congress  — is giving Obama time and space for his cautious approach.

Class & type: Arleigh Burke-class destroyer
Displacement: Light: approx. 6,805 tons
Full: approx. 8,939 tons
Length: 505 ft (154 m)
Beam: 66 ft (20 m)
Draft: 31 ft (9.4 m)
Propulsion: 4 General Electric LM2500-30 gas turbines, two shafts, 100,000 total shaft horsepower (75 MW)
Speed: >30 knots (56 km/h)
Range: 4,400 nautical miles at 20 knots
(8,100 km at 37 km/h)
Complement: 33 Officers
38 Chief Petty Officers
210 Enlisted Personnel
Sensors and
processing systems:
AN/SPY-1D 3D Radar
AN/SPS-67(V)2 Surface Search Radar
AN/SPS-73(V)12 Surface Search Radar
AN/SQS-53C Sonar Array
AN/SQR-19 Tactical Towed Array Sonar
AN/SQQ-28 LAMPS III Shipboard System
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
AN/SLQ-32(V)2 Electronic Warfare System
AN/SLQ-25 Nixie Torpedo Countermeasures
MK 36 MOD 12 Decoy Launching System
1 × 29 cell, 1 × 61 cell Mk 41 vertical launch systems with 90 × RIM-156 SM-2, BGM-109 Tomahawk or RUM-139 VL-Asroc missiles
1 × Mark 45 5/54 in (127/54 mm)
2 × 25 mm chain gun
4 × .50 caliber (12.7 mm) guns
2 × 20 mm Phalanx CIWS
2 × Mk 32 triple torpedo tubes
Aircraft carried: 1 SH-60 Sea Hawk helicopter can be embarked

The aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman, by far the most powerful warship in the region, left the Mediterranean last weekend, passing through the Suez Canal into the Red Sea.   ST CSG includes Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10; aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75); guided-missile cruisers USS San Jacinto (CG 56) and USS Gettysburg (CG 64); guided-missile destroyers USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) and USS Mason (DDG 87); embarked 1st Combined Destroyer Squadron staff; and embarked Carrier Air Wing 3 and its squadrons: Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFA) 32 "Swordsmen," VFA-37 "Ragin' Bulls," and VFA-105 "Gunslingers," Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 312 "Checkerboards," Airborne Early Warning Squadron 126 "Seahawks," Electronic Attack Squadron 130 "Zappers," Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 7 "Dusty Dogs," and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 74 "Swamp Foxes".

Having completed a major refit in the past few weeks, the French nuclear aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle is operational. Officials say she remains for now in the Mediterranean port of Toulon
The helicopter carrier HMS Illustrious left Portsmouth Naval Base and will join the navy flagship HMS Bulwark, which has sailed from Devonport for the Cougar '13 operation.

Sailing on August 27 will be HMS Westminster, a type 23 frigate, which will visit Gibraltar en route.

Other UK ships taking part are another type 23 frigate, HMS Montrose, and six Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) ships.    The Royal Navy has kept a nuclear-powered Trafalgar class submarine, armed with Tomahawk missiles,in the Mediterranean in recent months 

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