Greek Submarine And Helicopter Are On The Hunt For Turkish Submarine

HS Matrozos (122), a Type 214 class submarine of the Hellenic Navy. The first boat was built at HDW in Kiel, Germany and the rest at the Hellenic Shipyards Co. in Skaramangas, Greece. The Hellenic Navy named them the Papanikolis-class.

There is undeniable superiority of Greek submarines over the Turkish ones, something that the Turkish lieutenant commander of the “Type 209” submarine, of older technology and German construction, discovered.

Nevertheless, the Turkish submarine wanted to illegally navigate last Wednesday night near Evia, an island connected to mainland Greece by only a bridge. Specifically, the Turkish submarine wanted to navigate between Andros and Kafireas (Cape Doro) to test the Greek reaction.

Aegean Tensions: Turkish submarine had difficult night surrounded by Greek helicopter & stealth submarine 1
Type 209 Submarine of Turkish Navy

That Wednesday was a day full of Turkish provocations in the Southeast Aegean as only a few hours earlier the Turkish frigate Kemal Reis, in its attempt to provoke the Greeks who were watching the movements of the Oruç Reis research vessel, attempted to collide with the Greek frigate Limnos but itself got hit and heavily damaged, as reported by Greek City Times.

The commander of the Turkish submarine thought that the entire Greek naval force would be in the area where Turkey had illegally announced where it will do seismic research and that it would monitor whether or not the Oruç Reis had laid cables on the Greek continental shelf. So a Turkish submarine wanted to approach the Greek shores thinking that it would not be noticed, testing the reaction of the Greek Navy.

As soon as it started to get dark, the Turkish submarine found itself constantly diving off Andros. The Turkish submarine thought, according to a senior Greek Navy officer quoted by To Greek Newspapers Vima, that it would surprise Greek defense authorities as they turned their attention elsewhere and might get a glorious mention of exceptional seamanship from the commander at the Turkish port of Aksaz after the Kemal Reis had been humiliated.

The Turkish submarine descended that night to a depth of 120 meters and began to squat, as if it were in Turkish waters or as if performing an exercise. It took under a minute for the Greek anti-submarine forces to locate it. The location of the Turkish submarine was done immediately, not only by a Greek submarine, but also by air from anti-submarine helicopters (Sikorski type SH-70). And as soon as they found it, they immediately started “digging” it out.

No one would have liked to be in the position of the Turkish commander of the submarine, because almost all night the helicopters of the Greek Navy and the submarine that was found in the area started “bombarding” the Turkish one with loud sonar waves/frequencies.

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The closer the Sikorski flew to the surface of the sea, the louder the sound of the sonar frequency was heard by the Turkish captain and his submarine crew. And, most importantly, the Turkish submarine did not know where this sound was coming from. They knew it was sonar frequency, but who was “bombarding” it and from where it came from, the Turkish submarine had no idea.

Glass Cockpit of S70 Maritime helicopter at night.
Sikorsky S70 Maritime helicopter, a specialized variant of Hellenic Navy’s submarine hunter capable of operating day and night. In picture, the S70 is dropping a sonobuoy to detect acoustic signatures.

Of the 11 total submarines that Greece has, four are state-of-the-art type 214-Papanikolis, made in Germany. There is a fifth, the “Ocean”, which has been upgraded and has about the same operational capabilities as the other four 214’s. But what does stealth or invisible submarine mean? And what is the superiority of these submarines over the Turkish ones?

The submarines involved are the Greek-built Type 214 boats HS Pipinos (121), HS Matrozos (122) and HS Katsonis (123), all launched by mid-2009, and the Type 209/1200 boat HS Okeanos (118). The latter was the only vessel of its class to be modernised under the Neptune II programme and fitted with an air-independent propulsion (AIP) plant, similar to those of the Type 214.

Greece’s currently operates three Type 214, the first submarine of this class is HS Papanikolis (120), which was commissioned in late 2010 after nearly five years of delays.

First of all it can operate at a depth of 400 meters, it is quiet and has an aerobic propulsion system, which means that it does not need to climb to the surface to recharge its batteries. And of course it has advanced electronic systems, which make Greek submarines dominant in the Aegean. The Turks have a total of 12 submarines, old technology, but they have ordered, without receiving them yet, six types 214 from Germany.

The Greek Sikorski, but also the (older) naval cooperation AB-212, do not only have sonar systems and submarine detection, they also have torpedoes, something that the Turkish commander of the submarine knew, who on that Wednesday escaped as soon as they could from Greek territorial waters.

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