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Really enjoyed the series, and of course understand compromises must be made.

On a sort of related note – during the “incident” shadowing the Kulakov, in the very unlikely chance that things had escalated – would either Northumberland or the two Typhoons actually have had any means to engage?

Rob N

It looks as if the T23 did not have any ASMs on board the normal load of 8 Harpoons was not there. So its options would have been limited to gunfire. Also at a pinch Sea Ceptor used in anti-ship mode. So it could not have done much. The Typhoons do not have anti-ship missiles so would have to use anti-tank missiles, bombs. I am not sure if Storm Shadow is capable against a ship.

This just demonstrates the utter negligence of successive governments and MoD to arm our forces for war. We have NO heavy anti-ship missile either on our ships or on our planes…,

It is a utter FUBAR…

I wish the film crew had asked ghe same question… Also I think tge RN is not agressive enought against the Russians. The F35 should have remained at 1 mile and not backed off.

In the incident where the Russian sub hit the frigates towed sonar (almost certainly deliberately), the RN shipper did nothing. He did have at his disposal a fully functional active sonar. He should have used it to follow the sub continuously pinging… for a long time…

To timid..l is this Nelson’s navy or an encounter group?


Yeah whilst Harpoon is still nominally in service until next year the T45’s haven’t been spotted with them for a while and lately it seems to be a similar case with the T23’s.

Not sure whether the T23’s are set up with the software to launch Sea Ceptor in an anti-ship role.

In terms of Typhoon Paveway lV could probably be used but I think the sort altitude and distance it would need to be launched from would make it extremely dangerous against any sort of competent opposition!

The Royal Navy (and RAF for the F35 and Poseidon) desperately need a heavyweight, sea-skimming anti-ship missile to remain credible against peer adversaries.

Rob N

As we do not know when the new anglo-French ASM will appear. I thunk there should be a buy of a stopgap missile for all T45/T23 and P8. Also there must be a ASM we can put on Typhoon/F35 now.

The fact we are toothless even near our homeland is unacceptable…



It’s projected to enter service in 2028 but given it’s still in it’s early stages and the Anglo-French relationship isn’t great at the moment who knows if that’s realistic.

The problem is a stopgap could very easily become a long-term solution and buy off the shelf from America provides little-no financial regain from tax and industrial investment or control over the product.

To think in the last days of the Cold War we had 20 something Nimrod’s armed with Harpoon and 2 squadrons of Buccaneers based at Lossiemouth with Sea Eagle dedicted to the anti-ship role!

Rob N

The problem is that we need a ASM now… not in 2028 or later. What happens if the new cold war becomes hot…?

There should be an urgent operational requirement. We should buy some LRASM for F35 and some NSM for T23/T45…


Fully agree. We’ve seen this capability gap coming for years and quietly ignored it hoping progress would be made with the jointly developed weapon at a faster pace, but as it stands, progress has been slow with no guarantee that a weapon will actually appear…….
So, given the current situation in the world it would be logical to purchase at least one other system, but, and its a big BUT, that costs money, and the MOD does not have enough of it….

Last edited 2 years ago by Jack65
Rob N

The UK has money its just a question of political will to use it. The Government could allocate extra funds… they did for the army with vehicles and extra cash for Dreadnaught….


They were quite close to the Russian vessel. VLS missiles and Harpoon and most non trainable launchers have a minimum distance to engage. Guns it might have been.

Rob N

I think about a 1km would be about the minimum for tge T23 VLS, so yes it could have been used….

Rob N

From comments made by T23 commanders the implication is that RN Sea Ceptor does have a secondary anti+ship role.

The manufacturers claim such a capability. But the understanding was that the MoD did not buy the upgrade. However after refit T23 skippers talked of a capability against surface craft, thus implying the RN system had been upgraded.

Supportive Bloke

The Ceptor upgrade was quietly announced about a year ago.

Rob N

This might explain why SSM on 30mm gun mounts were dropped on T23…

Supportive Bloke

A cheaper, better and simpler solution?

Rob N

Yes very possibly. Having both and thus the choice would be best. Being under underarmed appears to be a requirement for RN ships… scrimping by MoD rather than investing in a platform’s comprehensive survivability they do the minimum…

Supportive Bloke

The issue you have is festooning a ship with different weapons systems that need maintaining.

Then on a cramped T23 finding space for all the fire control boxes and another operator station for another system.

Or do you utilise the already fitted modern system to its maximum potential and thereby fully invest in it?

I’d be surprised if the useful range of Ceptor, against a ship, was much less than 60km. Obviously ships move slower than aircraft or missiles so the amount of manoeuvre energy required is much lower.

I’d be more focussed on getting a proper land attack missile on board T45, T26 and T31 that might have a secondary AShM function.


Perhaps the doctor could give you some tablets for your Russophobia?


It’s a hypothetical question about capability to engage a surface target, nothing to do with it being Russian or otherwise. It just seems to me that the RN and armed forces in general seem to have a huge capability gap here – and that often the hardware seems to be for show more than anything else – that’s the point I was raising.
I could ask the same question re the Kulakov – could it have successfully engaged the typhoons or Northumberland?

Rob N

‘Russophobia’! Lets see.. they were heading towards our SSBN base and dumping unknown object into waters used by our subs. They launched a chemical weapons attack on UK soil. They invaded Georgia. Annexed Crimea and are now threatening to invade the rest of the country…. Russophobia I do not think so, just wake up….



Rob N

I think the patronising ‘bless’, shows that you are not a serious contributor to this forum. The examples I gave cost people’s lives…


The examples I gave cost people’s lives…

We have bombed our way across the Middle East for the last 30 years and killed hundreds of thousands. And caused misery to many, many more. And you brazenly speak about costing lives?

You lack awareness and spend too much sucking on the tit of the BBC.

You are utterly clueless.

Rob N



typical troll agent provocateur

Meirion x

I totally agree with you Rob, with Putin type behaviour from x.
I saw has true colours last year.

Last edited 2 years ago by Meirion x

UK with US illegally invaded Iraq, was involved with Nato in the Libya civil war. Supported Saudis in their attack on their neighbour Yemen which is ongoing.
then there is Kosovo a province of Serbia which is now a Nato protectorate/frozen conflict of their own

Supportive Bloke

That is a very fair way of expressing what we saw.

It is a discussion about capability X against eventuality Y.

Nobody was talking about the specifics.

It could have been a Chinese or NK sub in the future – they would all love to tweak RN tails….

I too was puzzled that neither the active hull mounted sonar nor the Merlin were used to follow up after the tail was cut off.

Very odd. After a collision using active sonar wouldn’t be seen as aggressive anyway but simply as a safety measure.

Rob N

Yes I agree too timid.. and if you are timid with tge Russians they will just push more…

RN sub commanders are known fir their aggression, I cannot say I saw much of that from this T23 commander. A disappointing performance from the surface navy.


Why are you replying to me? I wasn’t addressing your comment. 🙂


grow up


That’s bad, grumpy X selling his Homeland to Putin while crying about China.


How does ‘chose your own government’ work in UK …thats right the Scots wont be getting that again.


It says shown on Canadian media platforms but I haven’t seen it on a TV schedule and I’m a pretty keen consumer of this type of thing. I have to watch on YouTube and its pretty hit n miss.If anyone knows of any broadcast pls let me know!


If you have a VPN you might be able to ‘pretend’ to be British and watch on Channel 5 player – It’s all on there. Good luck 🙂


There hasn’t been a better TV series about the RN than Sailor, the documentary programme set onboard the Ark Royal in the 1970’s, still available on DVD and also on Youtube. It was before my time but in my opinion the best I’ve seen. I watched some of the recent Northumberland series, and I guess from the viewers listed above I fall into group 2. I doubt I’m the target demographic so as long as the series is a success with group 3 then that’s what counts really.


It’s good the RN gets this publicity.

David Steeper

Far too often when the general public comment on Defence they talk about ‘soldiers’ or the ‘army’ Programmes as well made as these change the way people think. I think these programmes along with Chris Terrill’s on HMS Queen Elizabeth have materially changed the way the general public view the Navy. There’s a reason the Navy’s training programmes are full to bursting. So a big thank you is well deserved.

Last edited 2 years ago by David Steeper
Supportive Bloke

It is generally positive and does dispel a few of the crazy myths that used to perpetuate.

It is also good to showcase kit that the crews have a lot of confidence in QEC, T45 and F35B being good examples but also Merlin and T23 sonar – “sub is loud so it must be nearby” was a classic comment. Nobody wants their nucs to be described as “loud”!!

David Steeper

LOL. I just hope mainstream media defence correspondents watch them. Some of the stuff you see and read is jaw dropping. Kinda understand general public not knowing basic stuff but it’s their job for gods sake.


We have some good kit. We also have some poor kit. And most troubling of all in some areas we have no kit.

I think today’s RN is more professional. But lacks depth and breath culturally.


Overall a good series and like you said cut together in a way to keep the wider audience engaged. I cant/couldn’t help but notice though that most of the ‘speaking parts’ were all officers. Maybe it’s just me but it seems the navy is reluctant to showcase the bulk of it’s workforce other than token bits here and there.

Supportive Bloke

All down to quality of soundbites and willingness of people to speak on camera. A lot of people don’t want 5 mins of fame when it comes down to it.


a lot of people don’t like your “truth and enlighten” universal facts also


I remember way back when the BBC produced that series on HMS Brilliant. I think one or three of the lower deck got a bit carried away with it all. Perhaps the MoD(N) just trust the Wardroom to stay on message? And everything is about diversity now.


Maybe? But in a doco like this where they can cut/chop/edit as necessary it’s less of an issue and there’s less of a ‘message’ to push or get right. No wonder all people want to join as officers when they are all they ever see. I think you are right about trust though, there’s this weird sort of thing going on where it’s like the RN just doesn’t trust ratings, especially JRs


No wonder all people want to join as officers when they are all they ever see.

I think that is also to do with 1 in 2 kids going to uni. Most of them seem to expect to jump straight into management positions.

I will say I used to prefer to being with senior rates over the Wardroom.


I get what you mean, the Wardroom can be very up itself sometimes


The RN has always been a Middle Class organisation and in an odd way is very ‘class conscious’. Um. The Army is different in the the tribes separate themselves. Probably more egalitarian today but……

David Barry

Many, many quibbles but, if it boosts Royal Navy numbers, I’m happy.


Slightly off topic, even though she appeared in Warship, does anyone know how long it would take to unmothball Bulwark? Is it drydocked?


According to this, she’s currently in dry dock and due to return to the fleet next year.

Last edited 2 years ago by Chris

That’s good to hear. Was wondering when she would actually get refitted after spending a few years alongside in 5 basin at Guz.

Last edited 2 years ago by Jack65

Excellent, interesting series and far better coverage of our armed forces than the BBC ever does. It also makes obvious the limited war fighting capabilities that the MoD needs to get a grip on. Plenty of tech and data coming in but then what do you do with it?


Did anyone notice in the last episode an overhead shot over the bow of northumberland there was a submerged orange shape around 6-8 meters long under the water, any ideas what it was.

Commonwealth Loyalist

Wonderful article as usual, just wish the UK would find it all worth devoting more than 1% to it (I know they claim 2% but that includes a lot of fudge factors)


John P

Really enjoyed this as with previous series. One thing that did puzzle me when the Bear flew over was the lack of mention of Sea Ceptor. I guess it was more dramatic to show the ships general purpose machine guns being readied rather than the fact they could have blown it out the sky at 20k out.

David MacDonald


Last edited 2 years ago by David MacDonald

There is a case to be made for the RN to restarting commissioning conventional Submarines again. The situation is likely to get more serious at sea with the Russians. The likelihood of us having more than 7 Astutes or SSN’s sooner that 20 years ahead is remote.
This is not enough to cover our requirements. Add in the likelihood of the Australians needing us to help them build SSN’s means we will never have the 10 SSN’s we need.
We should build at least 9 German type 206’s. These require a less technical build force and can be used for training and operations in the UK littorial and Europe. Otherwise we are going to be very hard pressed in a peer on peer conflict, especially if some Euro Navies remain neutral.