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Rob Collinson

A great article! Keep up the great work! Stay safe!


This morning, Lord Digby Jones is banging on about his idea to build a new £100m Royal Yacht to boost British Trade. Well, given that the RN Hydrographic Team make a real “profit” surely it would be better to build a replacement for HMS Scott and keep “Admiralty Charts” as the International Standard for information rather than an unproven vanity scheme..




Although I agree in principle, I would argue for both. I would also rename any Royal yacht as a national yacht or something else not tied to Royalty. I would want our OM to use it when abroad on trade missions, and other senior ministers during other times. I would have it come out of somone else’s budget too, if it’s a trade asset then clearly either Trade budget, Forrign affairs or if the Navy still wants a use, a third each?

Bloke no longer down the pub

<I>’We know more about the typography of other planets in our solar system </I>’
Is there any?


Should have had Cat’s and Trap’s 🙂

Bobs Baradur

Updated Mission space can now hold Thunderbird 4.


A replacement built in Britain would be an excellent investment right now.

Last edited 3 years ago by Mike

The guns are too small you can barely see them, we need 18 inchers on her!! Sad state of affairs…


It does strike me that the requirements for HMS Scott, RSS Boaty McAttenborough and to a lessor degree HMS Protector are so close that a common architecture if not exactly a common hull could have been put forward for a three or four ship production run -of relatively similar ships, not identical ones – instead of one new build, one conversion (out of Norway if I recall rightly) and some nothing. 


Build a new hull and chop the deck house off to be fittted


One of my friends served on her and spoke fondly of his time on her. OSD 2022. Maybe they should build a second RRS Richard Attenborough to replace her; the vessels are virtually the same size, we keep CL busy and then make sure we dont lose yet another asset by stealth.


Yet another unique capability of the UK with no replacement in sight.


Good overview of an often under-reported branch.
I had no idea that beyond being incredibly useful survey work also brings in almost £30 million a year of profit! It would be madness to let such a capability wither away for what’s quite modest sums compared to the big ticket items.
Given Scott’s OSD is only 2 years away a life extension will be unavoidable, but longer term you’d think Cammell Laird will be would placed to construct a replacement vessel building on the expertise gained with RRS David Attenborough.
Sadly I fear in trying to preserve the higher profile parts of the fleet the Royal Navy may allow the hydrographic fleet to wither away as we’ve already seen with the mine-hunter’s and also the patrol vessels until Brexit necessitated retaining the older River’s. Death by a thousand cuts!

David Barry

It’s about there was a serious discussion over Cost and Income lines, given her low running costs but exceptional ability to earn hard cash it would seem a no brainer that she would be replaced, likewise some multirole platforms coming HADR coming out of of DFID overseas aid pot given the changes to the weather mean we are likely to see more disasters in the future.


For such an important ship and one of the few assets to actually pay for itself yet make money for the Treasury, surely it makes logical sense to replace the ship with one that is equally capable?
Rather than use the design of the RSS David Attenborough, what about one based around the Tide class hull on the BMT Aegir 18? This would give the ship not only a heli-deck but also a hangar at the rear. It would have sufficient hull volume to convert to a specialised hydrographic vessel. Plus with the flexibility of the HNoMS Maud design she could also have a multi-mission capability. But perhaps more importantly share significant items with the larger Tide class. Built in the UK obviously!


I think it’s a bit of a stretch to directly relate HMS Scott’s output to UKHO profit. That said given the current focus on unmanned capabilities a replacement with a moonpool acting as a “mothership” with a complementary survey capability would seem highly useful. Could possibly even be an RFA. However, recent messaging and focus on the manning crisis suggests that outsourcing is on the agenda and would also subsume the SVHOs as well now that OPV capacity has increased to cover their non-surveying duties.


I disagree. I think the data that Scott provides the UKHO along with the other survey vessels is an obvious income stream and something that can’t just be passed on. Perhaps there’s a retired Admiral saying he can provide the UKHO with a service cheaper than the RN, though that’s probably a little pessimistic, I really can’t see why the Navy aren’t fighting harder to retain this capability.


SDA has a hangar – not that it’s a requirement for a survey vessel. It also has all the requisite facilities for UW sensor packages and the required level of acoustic isolation to make the most of those sensor packages.
Tide – or any sort of variant thereof – doesn’t have any of the relevant features.
Not that is there any money to build either of these one-offs.


How is HMS Scott’s role different from that of the Echo class? To the uninitiated the roles appear similar.


I believe Scott is for deep ocean work, Magpie is coastal and the Echo’s are multirole but primarily focus on shallower areas in support of submarine and amphibious operations.


Great thank you for clarifying

Stray Vector

Could the Scott’s mission be done using UUVs like the REMUS series (for example), launched from ships of opportunity perhaps with some type of containerized support facilities?


This was superb! I knew so little about this aspect of the Royal Navy, and always wondered how all those hydrographic ships of the four Hecla class, Beagal, Bulldog, Fox and Fawn, were replaced by so few.
If they make a net profit, surely this builds up over years to afford replacement?


I am having a great deal of difficulty trying to understand why common sense and sound judgement have disappeared from our Governments decisions regarding a whole range of serious issues affecting our country today. HMS Echo and Enterprise are being used more and more as patrol boats off the coasts of Europe than as survey ships and doing a great job too but that only leaves HMS Scott and HMS Magpie to earn any money for UKHO. If HMS Scott needs to be replaced then it must be done, or a Life Extension carried out, or an off the peg replacement ship obtained obtained and fitted out for purpose which is probably the better idea as it avoids the “build in Britain and pay the premium” brigade. Of course HMS Scotts threatened demise could be down to any number of retired Admirals realising that junior rates are actually living in single cabins and have the use of a squash court and gym and are not being flogged every day and sleeping in hammocks as they had been informed.