ANKARA — Pakistan Navy Ship, PNS SAIF (FFG 253), with an embarked Z9EC Helicopter is participating in multinational naval exercise “Mavi Balina 2018” and will be hosted by the Turkish Navy during 28 September to 7 October 2018. According to a report Pakistan Navy P3C-Orion aircraft is also participating in the exercise from Dalaman Airbase in Turkey.
“Mavi Balina 2018” defence exercise is being conducted in the Eastern Mediterranean and is aimed at practicing anti-submarine defense drill.
Naval and air forces from Turkey, Pakistan, NATO, the United States, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Algeria, Qatar, Kuwait, Romania, and Saudi Arabia are participating in the week-long exercise.
Pakistan Navy ships have regularly been participating in Mavi Balina Exercise in the past. This exercise has evolved into a common forum for both Western and Eastern nations, to share, discuss and propose solutions for collaborative maritime security, which is one of the critical contemporary maritime challenges.
At the same time, PNS SAIF arrived in Turkish waters to participate in the joint Pakistan-Turkish Navies exercise TURGUTREIS-II” from 8-9 October 2018.
Commanded by Captain Shahid Wasif, PNS SAIF is the 3rd Ship of Sword Class, which is a multi-mission frigate, commissioned in the Navy on 15 September 2010. The ship is fitted with state-of-the-art weapons and sensors for undertaking all types of maritime operations in the multi-threat environment. The ship is also embarked with organic Anti-Submarine Warfare helicopter Z9EC.
Pakistan Ambassador to Turkey Muhammad Syrus Sajjad Qazi and Commanding Officer of PNS SAIF Captain Shahid Wasif co-hosted a reception on-board on Saturday evening. Admiral Ercüment Tatlıoğlu, Fleet Commander of Turkish Naval Forces was the chief guest. Rear Admiral Asif Khaliq, Commander Karachi, Naval Attache of Pakistan in Turkey Capt. Khan Mahmood Asif, senior officers of the Turkish Navy, participating navies and foreign defence attaches based in Turkey attended the reception.
Welcoming the guests at the reception, Capt. Wasif said Pakistan and Turkey enjoy close fraternal ties. As brothers in arms, Pakistan and Turkish navies have also maintained warm and cordial relations since decades.
The interaction between the two navies includes regular exercises, port calls, training exchange programmes and collaboration in naval construction. “PNS SAIF’s participation in Mavi Balina-2018 is the manifestation of strong bondage between the two navies and firm commitment to cooperate for enhancing interoperability and mutual understanding,” he added.
Mavi Balina is a biannual anti-submarine warfare exercise. Participating units will have the opportunity to increase their readiness for actual operations and to increase their ability to perform joint operations.
Turkish Navy will participate with 4 frigates, 5 submarines, 2 corvettes, 1 replenishment ship, 1 patrol boat 3 maritime patrol planes, and 6 helicopters. Airplanes from Turkish Airforce will also take part.
NATO Maritime Group Two will deploy the flagship The Dutch frigate HNLMS De Ruyter, the Spanish frigate ESPS Cristóbal Colón, the Greek frigate HS Elli and one yet undisclosed Turkish frigate.