Hosted by the Turkish Navy, Nusret 2019 Invitation Exercise (INVITEX) was held between October 4th – 20th 2019 in the Dardanelles and the Saros Gulf

Date: Issue 96 - December 2019

The aim of the exercise, which takes its name from the legendary Nusret Mine Layer, is to train participants in mine warfare and mine countermeasures, to provide training on planning and execution of mine warfare, and to improve cooperation and interoperability between the Turkish Navy and friendly & allied Navies. 

This year, the Italian ITS Vesuvio (A-5329) Command Control Ship, one of the elements of the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2 (SNMCMG-2), and the Italian ITS Numana (5557), the Spanish ESPS Sella (M-32), the Greek HS Kallisto (M-62), and the Turkish TCG Amasra (M-266) Mine Hunters participated in the exercise. In addition to the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group, a Hydrographic Research vessel from Romania and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams from the USA, Belgium, and Romania participated in the Exercise. 

Turkish Naval Forces participated in the Excercise with TCG Bayraktar (L-402) Command Control Vessel, TCG Burgazada (F-513) Corvette, TCG Türkeli (P-1210) Patrol Boat, TCG Ayvalik (M-267    ), TCG Akçakoca (M-268), TCG Akçay (M-270), TCG Edincik (M-260), TCG Erdemli (M-264) and TCG Edremit (M-261) Mine Hunters (MAG), an S-70B Seahawk ASW/ASuW Helicopter, an Underwater Defense (SAS) Team and a Light Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Team. Additionally, two Coast Guard Boats from the Coast Guard Command, two F-16 Fighter Jets, and one C-130 Hercules Military Transport Aircraft (for air-dropped naval mines) from the Air Force Command participated in the exercise. 

A total of 62 Observers and 3 Staff Officers from Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Qatar, Kuwait, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Romania participated in the exercise. 

NUSRET 2019 INVITEX, which was conducted in Çanakkale and the Saros Gulf in odd years and in İzmir and the İzmir Gulf in even years due to their proximity to the suitable training areas, is carried out in four stages including mine-laying, mine countermeasures, and port visits. 

The first phase covered the gathering of ships and teams participating in the exercise at Çanakkale Nara Port and port training. At this stage, a press briefing was given on the Exercise on October 5, and defense industry companies engaged in mine warfare and underwater activities exhibited their products and solutions at Nara Castle. 

In the second stage of the Exercise, which was conducted by the Mine Fleet Commander from the flagship TCG Bayraktar, the Command Place Exercise (CPX) and mine-laying operations were carried out by air and surface elements at the Exercise Area in the Gulf of Saros.

In the third stage, the Minehunters participating in the exercise detected these mines with their sonars. The detected mines were identified by unmanned autonomous underwater vehicles and subsequently disabled. Meanwhile, AUVs were used in addition to the existing sensors for the detection and identification of mines. 

The Light Autonomous Underwater Vehicles, which have been used in the Turkish Navy since 2016 (One of these is the Gavia AUV solution from Teledyne Marine, which operates under the name of ÇAKABEY on Aydın Class ships), can both dive deeper than the other underwater vehicles used on the Minehunters and can safely detect and identify mines without causing any risks to the Minehunters.  

While conducting mine countermeasures operations in the Gulf of Saros, the vessels also carried out air defense training with Turkish Air Force F-16 aircraft and force protection training with Tuzla Class Patrol Boats against asymmetric surface threats. 

The fourth and last stage of NUSRET 2019 INVITEX covered social and cultural activities within the scope of the Çanakkale Port visit. The exercise ended on October 20, 2019. 

Underwater Defense Industry Products Exhibition

Within the framework of the Nusret 2019 Invitation Exercise (INVITEX), many defense industry companies engaged in mine warfare and underwater activities exhibited their products and solutions at Nara Castle on Saturday, October 5, 2019.

Aselsan, Havelsan, STM, Koç Sistem, Meteksan Defence, Turkish Aerospace, Bayraktar, Roketsan Armelsan, Hoytek, Roketsan, Seyir Savunma, TR ARGE, and Teledyne Marine companies participated in the exhibition.

Aselsan exhibited its solutions for underwater warfare, including the MATESS Mine Detection Sonar System, which is currently used in the TCG Edincik (M 509) Minehunter. An official we interviewed said that the testing phase of the MATESS system is near completion, and the end-user is very satisfied with the performance of the system. He also shared information about the Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) of the Preveze Class Submarines. 

In fact, there is a connection between the Reis Class and the Preveze Class MLU Project. The know-how acquired from the studies on the ESM System of the Reis Class Submarines will be transferred to the Preveze Class. However, the satellite dish to be installed on the Preveze Class Submarines will be a domestic product. The SatCom System of the Reis Class was procured from abroad. Likewise, the sonar system of the Reis Class is of foreign origin, but a domestic product will be used in Preveze. The ceramics parts of the sonar system to be used in the Preveze Class will also be indigenous production. The Integrated Combat System is similar in both submarines. The experience from the Reis Class is used during the modernization of the previous generation system in the Preveze Class. The navigation radar will be new as well. According to the projected schedule, the first submarine TCG Sakarya will be delivered following the sea trials in 2023. Then the other three submarines will be modernized at about ten-month intervals. 

In the exhibition, the companies Turkish Aerospace and Bayraktar introduced domestic and national Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, while the company Koç Sistem introduced its data center software for Mine Countermeasures (MCM) operations. With the help of this software, data of man-made objects such as sunken barrels will be collected via the sonars of vessels connected to the system, and inventory of such objects and underwater obstacles will be collected in a data center. The product that attracted the most attention at Roketsan’s stand was undoubtedly the model of the ATMACA Anti-Ship Guided Missile (ASM). Most of the visitors asked questions about this new system. The Turkish Navy currently uses the Unmanned underwater vehicles of the company TR ARGE. The company introduced its newly developed autonomous underwater vehicles at the exhibition. These new generation Light Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) are designed in a modular structure. This allows them to be easily transported and, if necessary, quickly and easily reconfigured on-site. Havelsan introduced the ADVENT Combat Management System (CMS) product at its booth. Although the ADVENT CMS is known as the Combat Management System of the TCG Kınalıada Corvette, ADVENT CMS also suitable modules for mine countermeasures operations