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Lord Curzon

Amazing – thank you so much as always!


Great photo essay, thanks.
I´m assuming that HMS Astute sailed home by the Cape of Good Hope? This has been an especially long deployment for a submarine. Do we know if there have been any crew rotations during this deployment?


SSNs don’t have crew rotations per se, some departments will have a 5th watch which will probably fly out at some stage of the deployment and relieve some personnel. Those that are what is termed ‘black watch’ will do the whole deployment.
Astute will have come back through the Suez with the rest of the CSG, going round the Cape adds an extra 3-4000 miles to the trip and burns ‘core life’ needlessly. Although the cores are expected to last some 25 years without refueling, it’s not a unlimited supply of power.


Do SSN’s have to transit the Suez Canal surfaced? Are SSBN’s allowed through?


Yes. they transit the Suez surfaced, it’s far to shallow/narrow and restrictive for anything else.
Not sure if SSBNs would be allowed through, it’s not really something you would do with one, far too vunerable to have one sat in restricted waters for some 20 hrs. Too many mad hatters would likely have a pop at it.


12-16 hours for a transit.


No, they tend to sit below a Tanker to avoid detection.


Always, very sly these SMs!


Hi Deep32, When American SSNs go to foreign ports they usually fly in Navy SEALs to provide security. I was wondering if the Royal Navy do similar as the Astute went to Busan, South Korea without an surface escort?


No we don’t normally do that, ships company provide security for the SM. When in foreign ports they liaise with local authorities who may well provide some form of force protection.


I think the whole reason to send HMS Astute would be to protect the CSG the entire trip including in the Med. That is if it was Astute and only Astute.


What date is the QE expected back?

Captain P Wash



In about 3 1/2 hrs from now!!

Howard Newman

An excellent article and thank you for sharing


Lovely pics. Thank you.


Fantastic, thank you.

Christian Gray

Very nice read, good job.


I see some media are reporting the F-35 has been raised successfully from the Med sea floor.
It wasnt really in doubt this would occur


Enjoyed that, very nice article well put together.


Lot’s to read and some great pictures, can anyone throw any light on why HMS Queen Elizabeth has such odd patches of paint ?

Trevor G

If you are talking deck, those are the heat resistant landing zones for the F35B.
Hull, is called 6 months deployment at sea…


No. The hull was painted in different shades of grey when it was still in Portsmouth. To be honest for 6 months out she looks very well.


Yes X, but any Idea why ?


They could be testing different paints for any number of different reasons.

Or simply knowing today’s MoD (N) they ran out of paint at one point and bought something else.

It does look a mess.

Supportive Bloke

Colour of epoxy paint can depend on the cure temperature and the way it is mixed. If it is aerated and not degassed in application it can have a different hue.

The exact application method can make it look different in different angles of light due to how flat it is/isn’t. This can be down to substrate and preparation and or the application of undercoats.

There can be lots of reasons why paint is the same but looks different.


So, does that explain why all the areas/lines are uniformly square and individual then ? or are you just making it up to sound like you actually know ?


It looks a mess.


I was talking about the Hull, as you can clearly see in all the pictures above and those shown prior to deployment. We see Dazzle on Rivers, is this a type of Dazzle too ?


No its not a dazzle. That dazzle cam business is just spin.


Yes I know that, so what is it for then ? We know the original intentions for dazzle when it was first applied but here we are 100 years later and you can’t blame Dulux for the variation.


It’s just different batches of paint being tested for whatever reason. We live in strange times. As long as she is painted a nice Pusser grey in refit and not that weird aquamarine-grey-bluish shade I don’t care.

Anonymous jack

Ah the photo of the gangway was my doing

Captain P Wash

Your Photo or your Fork Lift skills ?

Phillip Johnson

I suppose there are 2 basic questions with regard to this deployment:

  1. What did a single deployment achieve, and
  2. What are the prospects of similar deployments being repeated?

The QE’s are an important part of the West’s collective defence. Taking the ship out to meet allies especially those going on to buy say F35b can only be a good thing. The RN did need to stretch its legs too. But let us not forget that many container ships do that trip all the year round. RimPac in a year or three perhaps?


I think you’ll find that in terms of training value and interaction with allies that deployment did more for 617Sqn than the preceding four years since it stood up.

Likewise – operating a TG at sea at distance from UK over six months has (re)learned many lessons about how to run and operate ships (and submarines) for sustained periods.

Everyone between the UK and Japan now knows that the UK can operate out there with a significant – and growing – capability.

CSG23 is next. I’d anticipate them becoming more frequent as availability improves.


Great article and fantastic job of work by the RN, RFA and allies.

Do we know how well Crowsnest performed?


Very much looking forward to the TV documentary of this deployment.


what a wonderful essay.

firstly, well done to everyone involved
secondly, I don’t care about the crashed F35 – its part of doing business and does not detract from the success of this mission in my eyes.

thirdly, the picture of the 3 Opsreys just looks so right – surely we need to get a fleet of these or their successors for the UK

and lastly – is it just me or do the T23’s still look amazing!! I have often wondered why we don’t take the best of the spartan design and re use this hull form..

Just shows what can be achieved with the right focus and consistent leadership


You’re pissed, right ?

Commonwealth Loyalist

Thanks so much for this great article and photo essay, very heartening. Global Britain is a real thing, note how much of the world is now based on the British way of doing things.

Just curious, I did not notice any visits of the CSG on this trip to my earlier home in Australasia, or did I miss that? The last time the RN was seen there in any force was in 1970/71 when HMS Eagle, with escorts and RFA ships was sent on a trip to try and reassure us in the remains of the Empire that they still cared, after the announcement of the withdrawl from East of Suez. Of course we were not told that HMG already planned to scrap the aircraft carriers upon which the reassurance depended.

Now it is a new day, and we all look forward to tomorrow.

Great job


PS I agree not to be too upset about losing a plane, one of the huge advantages of UK and US militaries over competing ones is the .infinitely superior training and practice, inevitably resulting in some losses and casualties, but creating an advantage that unpracticed opponents do not have even if on paper their capabilities might seem superior.


HMS Astute called at the Australian submarine base in Western Australia in late October, early November if that counts? Was covered by UK Defence Journal site & various Australian defence media.