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bacon burger and fries

The first one to be in service in a year or so ? seems a bit quick to me given our history.


Sounds like it will be an off the shelf purchase with a civilian/RFA crew rather than Royal Navy. Not sure how good they will be at protecting cables and gas pipelines. I believe Russia sabotaging their own pipes was more of a warning that if we can sabotage our own yours will be next.


Great news!

Given MROSS was always going to be an indirect replacement for HMS Scott having 2 vessels will allow for deep sea hydrographic survey to continue whilst also having the flexibility to place an emphasis on infrastructure security closer to home.

Completely agree that getting Cammell Laird to refit the first first and build the second seems like an obvious route given their recent experience with RSS Sir David Attenborough.

Hopefully the budget is coming from the (presumably now defunct?) National Flagship nonsense!


In addition, mandating a substantial user’s fee from the corporations benefiting from this increased infrastructure security, does not seem unreasonable.


There will be no increased security. It is an impossibility.

Armchair Admiral

Yes please! HMS RN Boaty McBoatface.


not Jacky McJackface?


Guess who else has a recent purchase of autonomous/remote control underwater vehicles with offensive capability

The Mark III is 80 centimetres (31 in) longer and 130 kilograms (290 lb) heavier than its predecessor.

The ROV’s payload can consist of scanning sonar, echo locationsdoppler logs, or self-navigation systems. All Double Eagles are equipped with an extendable manipulator arm, which is commonly used to place a small explosive charge on a mine


We need a one for one replacement for Scott. Far too important for it to be a diluted add on function.

I should imagine there are some secondhand ships out there with dynamic positioning and able to operate ROV that would suit this role. Not sure what surveilling a pipe or cable will do. If something needs to be fixed it will need a specialist vessel. Not sure what we are getting or why.


Yes. The whole MROSS idea has been ‘becalmed’ for a while and is likely this is just another ‘announceable’ for the party conference with no real funding other than ‘from savings’ elsehere

this is quite funny as it asks about the MROSS and national flagship at the same time

….My Lords, with the new multi-role ocean surveillance programme announced in the defence Command Paper of 2021 currently in its concept phase, and the national flagship programme in its design stage, with a competitive procurement process in progress….
So the MROSS was in concept phase and flagship was in design stage 3 months back and yet here we are !


Yes. Ships have high general or low level utility but need to be built for specific purposes.

It will be another fudge.


I wouldn’t disagree with you. I’m equally sure that a suitably equipped Hunt/Sandown class vessel would be equally capable of conducting surveillance on pipeline/cables should the need arise, after all one of their jobs is sweeping the seabed for threat objects, then eliminating said threats!


No. Think about it. Let us say you have a pipeline a 1000 miles long. Your little ship trolls along at say about 15 knots. It would take 3 days to get to the end. What happens once you have passed to stop the ‘enemy’ engaging in their activity? What could you do if they had done something? These pipelines and cables run everywhere and are a lot longer than a 1000nm. It is an impossible task. There is too much to do in a very difficult environment.

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Route surveillance needs a well mapped route with lots of assets to patrol it.

It’s an impossible task.

This also feeds back into why it is stupid the RN thinking it can ditch hulls for MCM. From what I can tell we are the only leading European state doing this. Italy, Netherlands, and France all have new MCM designs in the pipework. As do powers outside of Europe.


Three different threads here,
If you do want to conduct surveillance on the infrastructure, you don’t really need a new design, drone equipped Hunt/Sandowns could do it.
Agree it’s an impossible task, far too much infrastructure to constantly monitor, especially if you add in the cable network that comes in from the Atlantic to land in the Bristol channel area.
Also agree we need hulls for MCM work, perhaps along the lines of the Bel/Dutch MCM that will carry and control these new vehicles if that’s the way they want to go.


The first link is a graphic of the cable network.

David Barry

Over on Arrse there was a discussion vis a vis. Why can a MCM not at least detect Subs in the Baltic? The answer was fudged.

Could you provide an answer o/s of national security because I wondered why we could not help the Baltics with MCMs and they feedback on what they, ahem, find.


So have we doubled our saturation diver & clearance diver training?
Huge budget increase needed there.
The lessons from HMS Challenger have hopefully not been forgotten. Rather ironically I think she may still exist though looks and operates very differently today.
Will be great when these vessels are commissioned and fully supported.


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Thats a massive supplementary anchor up front ! BTW notice the prominent helicopter deck, even utility civilian vessels ( above a certain size) seem to find them essential. Perhaps their use on naval vessels is essential too, unlike your distaste for them


Flight decks have been essential since the 70s. It is the reason for example that the RN purchased the Castles to supplement the Islands. And why the RN purchased B1 River without the facility I don’t know.

Mr Roo

How would protection work? Unless you trail the enemy vessel and disrupt their UUVS in the act of disrupting the Infrastrucutre then I don’t know how you can provide protection. If you are disrupting the disruption then you are going to need a fleet of vessels that can keep up with the enemy. Sounds more likely to be tapping comms or removing taps than protecting pipelines.

bacon burger and fries

I think X’s Graphic above, shows the complexity of the job in hand quite well to be honest with you.


There are two pictures there. One is in webp so didn’t auto display.

It is a ‘uge task.

bacon burger and fries

To be fair though, this has been a worry for decades, the whole how to protect our pipelines, Cables and other under sea/seabed vital arteries……… nothing new but suddenly much of a worry….. Again……


I know it has been a ‘worry’. I am saying it cannot be undertaken at all.


There is now the suggestion that both the NS1 and 2 gas pipelines were taken out by “pipe inspection gadgets (PIGs). The suggestion is that the PIGs were packed with explosives, then driven within the pipe to detonate near the Swedish/Danish coast. Which would mean they wouldn’t have been detected before exploding.

bacon burger and fries

Are they a bit like the Pipeline intervention Gadgets also known as Pigs ?


Should be able to tell when the get a closer look using ROV cameras.
Did they explode ‘outwards’ or inwards

These pipe walls are pretty thick from 3.6cm to 2.4cm in the last section from Sweden to Germany ( as the pressure drops from 220 at Russia to 177 bar- there is no intermediate compressor stations like land pipes have). As well there is then a reinforced concrete coating for outside protection


How long before an LNG carrier mysteriously blows up at sea?


From what I was recently told the first ship has been procured . It will be RFA manned and will be “grey”. ROV operators etc will be contractors.


RFA crew have already been told that they will be crewing them, crew of around 25-30. Two coming into service, the first one arriving in cammel lairds this year for conversion.


So unless pipelines / cables are in the Baltic, Sea of Azov, or Arctic near Russian coasts, aren’t they, or other “bad actors” going to have to deploy submersibles from surface ships and/or their own submarines (which we know they have done in the past) – so doesn’t that mean what we need to be surveilling for is …. surface ships and submarines?

In other words, isn’t this just a nuanced form of ASW and surface search? So more P8’s, Sea Guardian UAS, XLUUV, perhaps something along the lines of BMT Venari 85, which could be an MCMV or tow a towed array, and deploy UUV’s ? As X has noted, isn’t this plan to deploy 2 specific ships a bit of “pipeline security theatre” ???


All I can think if they are serious is to lay pipes with hydrophones every couple of hundred metres to listen for noises outside the expected ones. But how to deal with a problem when it is discovered quickly I don’t know. An airplane with USV? But how long before that could reach a point of interest? I don’t know. It all sounds so fuzzy. An enemy could come and go within a few hours.

David Barry

Or, 16 T26 which given we had the 22s and 23s, isn’t asking for much,is it?


Got told the first new vessel was arriving in cammel laird for conversion in early October and this arrived this morning, quite possibly the new ship in question.


It would seem an odd choice if it is. She’s an AHTS, designed and built for moving rigs and other big infrastructure around, rather than sea-bed ops.

ALP Forward (

I’d have expected an MROSS to be something like a DSV or ROV support ship that was set up to do sea bed ops.

I suspect she’s there to take the other AFSH to Egypt (the tug for the first one belonged to the same company and is of the same class).

Last edited 1 year ago by N-a-B

Thanks – accommodation and training ships explains a lot. Couldn’t fathom why the Egyptians bought two large solid support ships when they don’t really have a need to sustain task groups at sea for long.


Accommodation on board but tied to the wharf would seem to be the most expensive way to arrange a ‘barracks’. Normally it might be for a ship in refit where the crew are needed close by.

I was reading something recently on the background to the T23 development and the helicopter maintenance was proposed to be done on these RFA who would only hot deck for short periods to the Frigate. That wasnt how it worked out

Last edited 1 year ago by Duker

Think less “barracks” more “training ship” (ie onboard living environment, maintaining and checking live systems). Plus all those cargo holds will make for decent training spaces and workships.

Not sure what your point wrt T23 is. Lots of assumed concepts fell victim to post-cold war reality. Not least 28 days out and back with civvy support contractors to clean ship.


Is it not practical to place sensors every few Km along pipeline /cable that would be capable of sending data to a central/mobile monitoring centre?

David Barry

Interesting idea re the hydrophones etc.

Civi companies pay for them and NATO collect the data. SOSUS galore with that amount of int and a huge headache for our Commie friends.


MOD have purchased two OSV from two separate companies. One is the vessel in the picture. Both to be operated by the RFA.