British ships are leading a multinational task group into the High North in an operation that demonstrates the commitment of the UK and its allies to freedom of access and navigation in the region.

According to a news release from the Royal Navy, Type 23 frigate HMS Sutherland and RFA Tidespring will work alongside the United States Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Ross and the Norwegian Fridtjof-Nansen-class frigate HNoMS Thor Heyerdahl, supported by Danish patrol aircraft.

The vessels operated in sub-zero conditions to “further enhance our understanding of the challenging environment while helping to maintain peace in the region”, according to the release.

RFA Tidespring

“The UK, US, Denmark and Norway are working together to boost our readiness to operate in the High North and increase resilience in an area which is vital to UK interests. This builds on a previous UK/US operation in which HMS Kent deployed into the Barents Sea in May this year.”

By operating alongside each other in an open and transparent manner, the Royal Navy and its allies say they aim to show they are dedicated to maintaining peace and freedom of navigation for all in a vital area.

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Peter Crisp
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Peter Crisp

I know Tidespring is a refueling ship but she must have some defensive capabilities.

How determined a boarding craft and party could she repel on her own in that unlikely scenario?

Will
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Will

She has 2x Phalanx CIWS and 2x 30mm Guns on here and I assume at least mounting points for additional 50cals, Miniguns, and GPMGs. Plus probably some marines onboard with rifles

Hope that helps 🙂

Supportive Bloke
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Supportive Bloke

Probably GPMG, mini guns & side arms would be routinely carried. Maybe manpad/RPG – I, many moons ago, fired the useless blowpipe off an RN vessel in an exercise. Thankfully no longer in the inventory. The heat resistant, cought asbestos, cape was Something special. If RM are onboard their kit too. In a hot or semi hot environment Phalanx – which would make a right mess of a boarding attempt. You’d have to be a bit nutty to attack an RFA as once the first shot is fired you would soon find out what was onboard. And they can Legitimately… Read more »

Steve
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Steve

I am curious how many Phalanx the royal navy actually has and how many of them are functional on average. They seem to get moved around a lot, which makes me wonder if we have enough to actually protect our vessels, if it came to it.

Supportive Bloke
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Supportive Bloke
Paul T
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Paul T

Steve – Gunbuster would have more knowledge but from what i read the RN has around 40 Systems.

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Many stored at HMNB Devonport I believe.

Gunbuster
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Gunbuster

Why spend money on putting phalanx on a vessel along with the RN maintainers ( RN maintain it not RFA Staff) that is doing say FOST refuelling tanker or something like W indies Hurricane relief? The systems , like lots of other optional extras, are fitted as the operating environment and threat level dictate. Hence in the Gulf you get all the optional extras fitted. In the W Indies not so much and UK day running doing Fost refuelling nothing. There are lots of systems in various states of repair , overhaul and operational. If push comes to shove they… Read more »

Frank62
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Frank62

Why? Because if suddenly conflict breaks out they’ll be immedeatly at risk like any of our warships & an easy kill for any enemy. Nobody is going to miss the chance to eliminate a vital asset(replenishment at sea is vital to operating our(allied) fleets) & won’t let us off so we can steam somewhere so the FFBNW kit fitted, even if it is available, which is unlikely.
The underfunding of our forces is as much a danger to this nation as any agressor. It’s like buying a world class football team but not fielding a goalie to save money.

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

We don’t. We’ve done and dusted that many times over the years here. I support all units having CIWS as standard. Others point out we fit them when units deploy into certain areas and lack of money.

While true, for me the cost of a CIWS is low compared to other defence equipment and id like our ships properly armed. Especially as we have few of them now.

Steve
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Steve

If there are 40 around, that should be enough to fit every operational ship that has support for them (the frigates don’t and multiple ships mothballed/in maintanance) so why take them off all the time and not just leave them installed and turned off?

Paul T
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Paul T

It just seems to be SOP for the RN,as has already been said they are rotated from a Pool,and fitted as and when the Ship or Mission dictates,which probably helps with Maintenance ,Upgrades and Readiness etc.

Steve
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Steve

It does however mean that if they urgently need to redirect a ship(s) due an unexpected crisis, the ship(s) would needs to go into port to get it fitted, slowing down the deployment. It would also mean that aircraft would need to be freed up to transport them out of stock, which could slow down other operations. If the ship is a supply ship, such as tide class, then it also has a knock on effect on the ships it is meant to be supplying, as they wait for it to be fitted out. I had always assumed it was… Read more »

Gunbuster
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Gunbuster

Because you need maintainers who are RN staff. You don’t turn kit off and leave it. There are still maintenance schedules to perform. The dehumidifier will run to keep wave guides dry ( So they don’t corrode and screw up the radar) . Anti condensation heaters will be on so you dont get moisture inside. Lifting equipment and maintenance platforms need to be indate for use and test. You need to grease it and move it. Do positional accuracy checks and test shoots…. Regularly grease and maintain the cannon. So taking all that into account you take it off when… Read more »

Supportive Bloke
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Supportive Bloke

Sorry forgot the 2 x 30mm – which will see off most threats from a decent distance.

Frank62
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Frank62

Useless against aircraft.

Peter Crisp
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Peter Crisp

Thanks for the informative replies everyone 🙂

Andy
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Andy

Type 23 is looking very old fashioned now.

Meirion X
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Meirion X

No more unfashionable then ruSSki warships!
6 T23s are having upgrades to take their life spans into the 2030s.

Paul T
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Paul T

Andy – The Type 23’s look much better with all the Sea Wolf Gubbins removed.

Gavin Gordon
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Gavin Gordon

Regardless of the generally bad press the MOD is receiving due to perennial monetary restrictions, I’ve mentioned before indications of the effort evidently being devoted to support infrastructure latterly. Alongside this it’s worth mentioning here the increased investment in bringing more of our T23 frigates into modernised, active service. It seems fair to conclude that the MOD, and maybe even the Treasury (I cannot believe I’ve just said that), are aware of increasing international threats and are attempting to mitigate to a degree. It would thus also seem fair, following on from this, to state that any real terms reduction… Read more »

Steve
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Steve

We have to remember our relative size, people (21st in the world), landmass (78th), natural resources (not sure how you compare), gdp (6th), average salary (20th) and many others. Even if we do take a cut in the next review (seems inevitable to me, but you never know) we are still hitting well above our weight. Countries like Russia have higher gdp, lower wage costs, lower health and safety costs, way more natural resources etc and so can build a bigger military for a fraction of the cost. France is the obvious comparison, although not the only country with similar… Read more »

Gavin Gordon
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Gavin Gordon

Russian GDP and overall wealth is not higher than the UK, though it does have significantly less debt, which is a factor. Within NATO, and allies elsewhere, our GDP contribution can be described as about par for the course. Only half that of Russia, in part due to her different political realities of course. However, the main issues concerning security and thus desired expenditure during increased periods of tension obviously don”t change over time, and it is decidedly debatable whether 2%, or in fact less in reality, is currently sufficient for any major country. Hence my statement over real terms… Read more »

dave12
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dave12

Russias GDP is ranked 11th in the world ,the UK is ranked 5th or 6th.

Airborne
Guest
Airborne

Again our RFA are at the forefront of training and Ops, something we still have (just about) which is pretty unique and essential to European/NATO deployments and operations. We need to increase numbers and defend them properly.

Supportive Bloke
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Supportive Bloke

Fantastic resource, very good value for taxpayer ££ as well as massive force multiplier.

Other than the solid ships the RFA fleet is actually pretty good with ships that are fully up to the job.

Andy
Guest
Andy

I’d like to arm them properly.

Gavin Gordon
Guest
Gavin Gordon

Not mentioned here is the presence of Typhoons serviced by Voyager. Clearly, the need for air cover so far north is understood, accepting that this is not an example of the RAF doing another Vulcan act a la Falklands. It follows that no serious consideration can be being given to removal of CSGs, unless you concede that the Government is perfectly capable of cutting a supreme military asset in the face of all logic (?)
Regards

Andy
Guest
Andy

It’s hard to be optimistic these days, but the review is a chance for us to get things right, and I think that’s what will happen, primarily because of Dominic Cummings.

Other countries have military plans up until 2049, and we need one too.

Steve
Guest
Steve

Dominic Cummings seems to go from one disaster to another, i would consider the reverse with him involved. Based on his past record, he will reallocate huge amount of money to companies that are not involved in defense but contribute to the conservative party.