Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Do Russian vessels still call at Rota and Cueta on there way to the Eastern Med?

Nothing like a unified front from our Spanish allies!


They used to call into Portsmouth as well, but that seems like a different era nowcomment image

Bloke down the pub

I’ve never understood the Navy’s antipathy towards corvettes. A compact, well armed vessel would be ideal for operations close to base facilities and free up the hard pressed frigate fleet for the jobs only they can perform.


I agreed 6 Visby class Corvettes would be useful as home fleet to patrol and monitor the area around the UK and Baltic region complemented by the opvs for the policing and fishery protection. Never understood why we did not keep a home fleet the frigates can then deal with the global stuff away from home one in the north Atlantic one in South Atlantic one in the med, 2-3 in the Asia Pacific leaving the rest to cover the carrier’s.


Any need for a new class of stealthy plastic corvettes? Give the OPV’s some extra teeth and maybe a few more hulls and thats a fairly credible Home Fleet for the current task of shadowing visiting Russian antiques surely? Maybe upgrade Batch 3 OPV’s to operate an ASW Merlin?


Problem is guys the Royal Navy wouldn’t get 6 new corvettes on top of a fleet of 19 destroyers and frigates – it would be instead of something else.

With pretty dire economic condition the UK broadly and the MoD specifically are in I think retaining 8 OPV’s and a plan to increase the surface fleet to 24 with the Type 32 (albeit pretty slowly) isn’t a bad result – certainly better than the doldrums the 2010 SDSR left the fleet in.


Erm, aren’t we getting the type 32, And the 26 and 31, so finally the fleet is actually growing it’s teeth. I would love to know the 32s plans, 5 would be nice and replaces the sold 23s and 22s.


Think the fleet no’s are way to small as maintenace and overhauls has dropped current fleet to 13 we could do with at least 36 surface fleet and definitely an additional 4 air defence destroyers.


Budget to one side the British solution would be aircraft. The RN sees itself as a global blue water navy with no place for such ships. If there was a threat here in NW Europe a couple of squadrons of FJ with AShM would be the choice. (I do have bizarre thoughts about 2 seat Typhoon with conformal tanks……. 🙂 )

The Visby is a wonderful ship. But the hull isn’t right for us.

I think there is a need for a clutch of fast FP vessel about 750 to 1100 tonnes-ish. But there wouldn’t be a need to arm them for serious combat.

Supportive Bloke

That then sounds as if they do much the same as a B2 River!


Expand on that a bit more as you have lost me. Or I have lost you. Or we are both lost. 🙂 😉


I thought about the two seater typhoons too, to replace the tornados, the Two seater training typhoons look good, I wonder how it affects performance ect, anyone know?


I don’t know how much a second seat impacts performance. Not much I should imagine as they are not short of power. Conformal tanks would of course. But out over the sea a long, long way from opfor it wouldn’t be a problem.


It’s just the body was changed for the two seater mate, it looks a fair bit different to the single seater.

Meirion X

The Buccaneer was a good low level strike aircraft in the past, with internal bays as well.


The capability exceeds that of the 2 seat Tornado with just a single pilot. It can do anti-air and air to ground missions at the same time and can carry the different weapons to do so- except nuclear weapons The electronics to enable this with a single pilot manager just wasnt around in the 1980s.
Maybe the electronic combat mission would need two people as the Germans are buying the F18F/G for nuclear mission and electronic jammer.

Paul T

AFAIK It was the Squadron’s worth of Two Seat Typhoons that went down the RTP Road.


As the article says, the real security threat is sub-surface. A diesel powered corvette is of little use in ASW operations. To my mind an OPV is fine for escorting passing warships in peacetime. What we are lacking is platforms to counter the under surface security threat.

I’d have far rather seen us buy 6 rather than 9 P8’s for maritime patrol, cancel the Type 31 and sell two of the five new Rivers (retaining two for home water patrols and one for Falkland patrol) to raise the money to buy 3 SS’s off the shelf. The SS’s would take care of sub surface security, the OPV’S would escort surface vessels and that would release a high value T23/T26 from the towed array/ foreign warship shadowing missions onto global operations.


The modern corvette is as big as our front line frigates of 50 years ago.

And if the diesels are properly rafted, plus other measures, they can be made quiet. I would say a CODLAD would be effective for second rate ASW with decent sensor fit out.

I agree we need SSK’s. But we need more P8 not fewer.

comment image

Last edited 3 years ago by X

Hell they are better armed and bigger than old destroyers.


Only mentioned Visby to replace the 13 or so mine sweeper hulls we are loosing with no replacement hulls, t32 we are told are additional frigates as they realise the fleet is too small, batch2 rivers are just patrol boats with limited potential to up arm as seen in the recent arrival. Rivers were always designed as a make shift and expensive patrol vessel to keep the yards employed, a better designed black swan would have been more useful with a hanger/multi mission bay and better accomodations. As for the additional ssk’s is the xluuv not going to be built for additional subs albeit automated.


If the move is towards unmanned system remotely operated we are going to need something much larger than Visby. The new Dutch / Belgian MCM vessel is getting on for nearly 3000 tons. These drone systems aren’t small.

Visby is designed for the Swedish littoral and Baltic. How it would fair mid-Atlantic I do not know.

I didn’t mention Visby beyond saying they were good ships, but not for our needs.


Are you sure that replacement MCM vessels are not envisaged? If Belgium and Holland with a combined coastline of 320 miles are ordering 6 each to operate drones, UK with 7000 miles will need more.The idea that we will use a frigate as the standard mothership for remote systems seems insane. As the article and others have noted, we don’t have enough frigates for other tasks never mind hunting for mines.


The ‘MCM module’ in the ‘mission bay’ talk here drives me batty too. As does ‘we can operate it from land’……..

It is an ideal job for reservists.

Supportive Bloke

With the advances in electric propulsion being propelled by the EV revolution it isn’t out of the question for hybrid River type vessels or even T32 to be hybrid sub hunters. Those might fit your description as battery drive would be dead quiet and I suspect cheaper than rafting everything.

Always struck me as strange to have electric drive in T45 and not quieten it.


I’ve always 5nought we need some we’ll armed corvettes, maybe the new type 32 Might be similar, but I bet it’s Relatively poorly armed like the 31s for their size. Maybe a corvette that’s armed like the 31s would be fine, but a global frigate….


That picture of HMS Liverpool would make a nice painting.


its such a shame we didn’t save a 42 like Edinburgh or Liverpool as a museum, we have the spare room with all our empty ship building yards and dry docks to store her, I would visit, heck I would get married on it.


There was more than enough space next to HMS Warrior for HMS Plymouth but it just didn’t happen. A T42 would have been good. But no.

David Graham

If you are interested in warship paintings, drop me an e-mail and I’ll send you some images.


Wilmington House John Marshall

That there should be occasions when the UK cannot field, at least, a frigate or above to monitor and protect territorial and near territorial waters is appalling and a dereliction of the government’s security and defence responsibilities


I totally agree but I think there is a bit of PR in fielding clearly smaller, and at least to the untrained eye, inferior hulls in these encounters. It shows the public that the RN’s strength is not necessarily up to where it should be compared to our peers, hopefully encouraging further support. It also feeds into the popular belief that the RN has quality over quantity which has been the backbone of our naval tradition since the Spanish Amada. If (chance would be a fine thing!) a carrier battle group was fielded every time a Russian ship came nearby, very quickly we would hear cries of a bloated service and the necessity of deep cuts


You are always going to look inferior against a 28.000 ton ‘battle cruiser’ like the Peter the Great.
That is unless the RN uses the right sort angle in its telephoto pictures released..its all down to ‘staging’comment image


No. The public just see a ship. If they bother to look at all. I think perhaps you over estimating or not understanding how the modern RN Wardroom thinks too. Where we here see problems in terms of well equipped hulls with well trained crews operating for our national interest the modern officer sees capabilities in the broader context of Western defence………..The latter is why we are in the mess we are in today. Governments that don’t put the UK first, and ‘civil servants’ who follow suit……


Agreed. The only naval threat the UK faces is Russia; in essence we are back to the Cold War after a fairly brief respite. Given this single threat, the decision to build aircraft carriers at the inevitable expense of ASM frigates and submarine numbers looks utterly perverse. Britain now has only 8 ASM frigates and has ordered 5 cheap Type 31 s which will have no ASM capability, to maintain the illusion that overall fleet power is not falling further.

Meirion X

Here we go again! How many times you have to be told Peter, that the cost of the QE carriers is small when compared to the cost of Big Ticket projects like Astute, Typoon and Deadnought?
I am Not saying either that we should cancel Astute, most of them have been built already. Same with Typhoon.
The Royal Navy is not a Blue Water navy without aircraft carriers!

You remind me of Iqbal, remember him?

Last edited 3 years ago by Meirion X

The large carriers were born out of Blair wanting the UK to be seen as the globe’s second policeman after the USA. As an aid perhaps to him becoming leader of the EU. The Rules Based International System and all that. And the peace dividend with unlikely rise of a power to compete with the US. All very short sighted, but hindsight is a wonderful thing! The carriers as part of a fleet compromising 32 decent escorts, 12 SSN’s, 3 (ok-ish) amphibs, and a clutch of good support ships make sense. The carriers as part of a fleet of 6 destroyers with a wonderful missile system but woefully armed and mechanically problematic, 13 aging ASW frigates to be replaced with 8 good but woefully armed (compared to other sub classes and peers), 2 ageing amphibs, 6/7 SSN’s, and smaller number of support vessels doesn’t make as much sense. The USN must have given the nod to us acquiring carriers, but that was the USN that gave birth to Zumwalt, LCS, etc. and today’s USN is now struggling for escorts and SSN’s. And that is before we talk about the air group, T31, etc.

At the end of the Cold War we had the second best submarine flotilla, just about the best ASW in NATO, and the RM were still on form. Despite what many here think fixed wing aviation was an added bonus. Nice to have in the limit way we had it but not really essential. It might shock many here but Argentina isn’t going to invade the Falklands again. With hindsight two large fleet carriers probably weren’t the best option for us. We should have gone down the large LHD route with them as a support to the rest of the fleet not at the centre of it. We cannot as we are seeing now within the mindset of the current political class afford to operate strike carriers. It is a Top Gun Top Trumps fantasy too many on sites like this have. A 40k tonne LHx would have allowed 6 F35b, 4 cabs for Crowsnest (more important than FJ TBH), 6 Wildcat, and 12 Merlin. Three or so big fast dock ships and a cruise every year with the duty commando aboard would have seen us set. As for escort numbers and SSN’s well though I can understand why numbers were cut they went too far. I can’t believe the RN just dropped the ball. But it did. So…….


Just noticed from excellent photo posted that Kirov’s still have portholes… 2 levels!

Supportive Bloke

Insert jokes along the lines of at least you can see the toilets that don’t work half of the time…..

That ship may look big and impressively but I’d be amazed if most of its systems still worked.

Hopefully the kettle is still working properly……..


Every Russian ship I have visited smells of cabbage.


Back in the late 80s on the oldest surviving T42 we spent lots of time escorting the Red Banner ships when they came out to play. Kuznetsov and Kirov especially. It was really really boring. You pick them up in say the western approaches, stand a couple of Nm’s off for days or weeks at a time as you make your way up to the North Cape and then hand them over to Norway.
got some good pictures though.
No radars on bar navigation sets. Very little in the way of radio transmissions. CTs embarked to monitor Sigint if there is any, The cab goes up and takes pictures, theirs go up and take pictures.
The RAF come out to tickle them to see if they respond…they don’t…
Nothing changed in the 90s on B2 T22s except the Sigint gear was better. Same routine.
New millenium on T23s…same routine…
Its a well worn path.


I remember stories of Leanders following Soviet ships because of mysterious deck houses only to find them to be hen houses.