Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Russian Mil Blogger turns his gaze on the Georgian Navy

A Russian Mil Blogger turns his gaze on the Georgian Navy:

The creation of the Georgian Navy was entrusted to a former Soviet submarine commander, Captain First Rank Alexander Dzhavakhishvili in 1990. However, as a result of political strife, Georgia failed to get all the ships of the Soviet 194th Brigade of Coast Guard ships, in which there were five small anti-submarine ships, one escort ship, two sea-going, three base and two roadstead minesweepers, missile, torpedo and artillery cutters, eight landing cutters, three cable layers, two training vessels and a few auxiallary vessels of various classes. Some of these ships Russia claimed for itself, the rest were simply let go in poor condition and to refit them, with a few exceptions, Georgia just couldn’t do. One can also speak of the Border Guards cutters belonging to the former USSR KGB left behind.

In the opinion of The Independent Review, “If Georgian authorities had been more amenable to Mr. Yeltsin in defending Russian national interests, having set the goal of acquiring these ships and boats and not occupied the apartments seized from the Russian population in Poti, maybe Georgia would have had the capacity to deploy a small, but rather decent and well balanced national Navy by 1992.”

Officially only seven Mi-14PL amphibious anti-submarine helicopters were transferred to the Georgian Navy (all of them are unserviceable, and subsequently Georgia bought a pair of Mi-14PL from Ukraine).

Today Georgia has two independent Naval structures:

- the Navy (Samkhedro Sazgkhvao Dzalebi – Naval Defense Forces)
- the Coast Guard (formed in 1996)

According to some reports, the President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili inquired about their unification. The commander of the Navy since 2005 is Colonel Koba Gurtskaya, (born 1966), a graduate of the Georgian Institute of Subtropical Culture. By the way, he studied at the Ukrainian Armed Forces Staff Academy. From 1992 to 1998, Colonel Gurtskaya served as the physical training and sports officer of an independent tank battalion. From 1998, Gurtskaya was in the Navy and commanded an independent Marine battalion, Chief of Staff of a Marine brigade, Chief of Staff and the Navy and Executive Officer for Coastal Defense.

The Georgian Naval Order of Battle consists mostly of types of cutters.

The rocket cutter (RKA) “Dioskuriya” – the former Greek “R 17 Ipoploiarchos Batsis” (a French LaCombattante II built in 1971), transferred to the Georgian Navy April 22nd, 2004. It is the flagship of the Georgian Navy. Underwent repairs in Greece at the beginning of 2003. Total displacement 255 tons, designed maximum speed 36.5 knots, armed with four Exocet MM38 launchers, two twin 35mm Oerlikon AA mounts, two 533mm torpedoes.

RKA project 206MR (Matka/Vikhir class) “Tbilisi” (hull number 302) – transferred from Ukraine 30th June, 1999, the former “U-150 Konotop”, the former Black Sea Fleet RKA R-15 (in service 29th October 1981). The cutter is on hydrofoils. Four P-15M “Termite” anti-ship cruise missiles (SS-N-2C Styx w/auxillary IR seeker head) were transferred with her. All the original armament (two Termite launchers, one 76mm AU-176 gun, one 6 barrel 30mm AK-630M gun) is preserved. It underwent refit in Ukraine.

Project 205P (Stenka class) AKA (artillery cutter) “Batumi” (hull number 301) – the former “PSKR (Border Guard Escort Ship)-648”. Built in Ukraine in 1976. Armed with two 37mm automatic guns. Went into refit in Balaklava but not refit.

Project 386T AKA “Axmetaa/Akmeta” (hull number 102) – former Soviet Navy torpedo retriever, which is assumed to be one of a number of cutters left by the Black Sea Fleet in Poti in 1992. It was built around 1970. It is armed with two 37mm guns and a 40 barrel 122mm Army BM-21 “Grad” launcher.

SKA (rescue cutter) “Iveriya” (201) and “Mestia” (203) – former Greek 75 ton rescue cutters “R 269 Lindos” and “R 267 Dilos” of Greek construction in 1978 to a West German design, transferred to Greece without weapons in February 1998 and Sepetember 1999 respectively, armed by the Georgians with two Army ZU-23-2 each. Displacement 86 tons, speed 27 knots.

SKA “Kutaisi” (202) – tranfered from Turkey 12th May, 1998, the former Turk class cutter “AV-30”, displacement 170 tons, built to a French design in 1969. Speed 22 knots. Armament – one 40mm Bofors, one Army ZU-23-2 installed by the Georgians, two 12.7mm machine guns.

PKA (border cutter) “R-22 Aeti” – former German Lindau-class base minesweeper M1085 “Minden” (German project 320/331B, built 1960), transferred 15th November, 1998. Full displacement 463 tons, speed 16 knots, armament – one 40mm Bofors, two 12.7mm machine guns, minesweeping gear was removed before transfer.

Project 205P PKA “R-21 Georgiy Toreli” – former “PSKR-629” transferred unarmed by Ukraine in 1999. Armed by the Georgians with two old 37mm single barreled guns. It differs from the “Batumi” in that it doesn’t have a general search radar, only a navigation radar.

Project 1400M (Zhuk-class) PKA – eight units with the numbers R-102 through R-104 and R-203 through R-207. It is supposed that cutters R-206 and R-207 are the former “P-139” and “P-518”. Part of the USSR Border Guards, left in Georgia in unserviceable condition and repaired by the Georgians. It is known that three others (P-203 through P-205) were transferred by Ukraine in 1997-1998 and three more (R-102 through R-104) were built in the Batumi Shipyard (before 2004 they were in the Order of Battle of the Adzhariya Coast Guard), where the Zhuks were built in the Soviet era. The Georgian built cutters, according to some sources, have American-built General Motors diesels and a speed of around 12 knots. Six cutters are armed with one 12.7mm machine gun, but the Georgians armed two (R-204 and R-205) with Army 23mm ZU-23-2 mounts. Right now almost all the cutters are in a conservation state, out of the water and on blocks (and some have been stricken).

The “Tskhaltubo” also belongs to the Georgian Naval Order of Battle – a former Black Sea Fleet liaison cutter, “Gantiadi” – a former medium fishing seiner, armed in 1992 or 1993 with two Army ZU-23-2 and two 12.7mm machine guns, “Gali” – a converted Black Sea Fleet Project 371U launch, three small Project 1398 (Aist-class) patrol craft from the USSR Border Service.

There are also amphibious forces – the Soviet Project 106K MDK (small landing ships) “Guriya” and “Atiya”, former Bulgarian reserve MDKs 608 and 612, and also the Project 1176 landing craft “MDK-01” and “MDK-02” (the former Black Sea Fleet “D-237” and “D-293”).

The Auxillary Force counts in its number the Project 364 PZhK (firefighting cutter) “Psou” (the former Black Sea Fleet PZhK-67), the training cutter “Poti”, two former Turkish launches, the Project 1896 large hydrographic cutter “DHK-81” (assumed to be the former Black Sea Fleet “BGK-176”), and Project 1415G DHK-82” (the former “BGK-1628”), and also around a dozen former Project 1398 Black Sea Fleet small hydrographic cutters.

The whole Georgian fleet does not, of course, present a serious force and is capable of perhaps combating the navy of the unrecognized Abkhazia and also of patrolling its own coastline. Only the obsolete missile boats “Dioskuriya” and “Tbilisi”, which the Georgians in a wave of nationalist feeling have proudly called “cruisers”, offer any real military value.

Source: forum
(Translation by Russian Navy Blog)


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