HMS Defender, a Type 45 Destroyer, is shadowing a Russian naval task group off the UK coast.

The warship, say the Royal Navy, was called upon to sail over the weekend and keep watch on the frigate Admiral Gorshkov and three auxiliary ships as they passed close to UK territorial waters.

Defender is monitoring the Russian task group and keeping track of their activity in areas of national interest.

HMS Defender left Newcastle on Saturday the second of Match to head north east of Scotland and meet the Russian task group in time for them to pass the UK coastline yesterday, soon after they anchored in the Moray Firth temporarily in order for bad weather to bypass the group.

The group comprises of the frigate Admiral Gorshkov, tug Nicolay Chiker, supply ship Elbrus and tanker Kama.

Commander Richard Hewitt, the Commanding Officer of HMS Defender, said:

“The security of the seas around our coastline remains crucial to our national interests. Escorting the Admiral Gorshkov has demonstrated the Royal Navy’s enduring commitment to protecting our home waters and readiness to undertake such tasking whenever it’s required.”

HMS Defender will continue to escort the Russian naval task group this week as it passes through the English Channel say the Royal Navy.


  1. The tug that escorts the Russian naval groups around the world must severely deteriorate their range. Really strange that their risk assessment for this keeps coming up with that mitigation.

  2. Shadowing another vessel with no anti-ship missiles I see. Pathetic isn’t it! We must be a real laughing stock in other navies.

    • Defender is a state of the art sigint I think. I’m sure the RN are gathering lots of info on the Admiral. And Daring can be fitted with Harpoon Block 1C though I don’t know if she is carrying them on this assignment.
      The Admiral will be well within range of Defenders 4.5in ….hope any optical aiming is not dazzled!

      • You sir are just rude and are the worst type of internet troll, no debate, just insults. Well done for showing yourself up.

        By the way, I get my information from my family members who actually serve, one of which is a weapons specialist on a T23 and another a pilot in the army. They love their jobs and the armed forces but are the first to admit its failings. Lack of lethality being a major one.

        • The point is that this shadowing operation is not designed to cause a war it is merely an observational task. They have no need to put a ship able to destroy another ship as the ships passing through are not going to be attacking anyone!

          • Of course we aren’t going to start shooting and I never said that shadowing another vessel would end up with an engagement. But we frequently put our £1bn destroyers to sea with few offensive weapons, please name another 1st tier navy that does the same? The Americans quite rightly prepare for the worst and carry the biggest stick they can, we on the other hand carry very little to save money.

        • Sir , i’d respectfully like to point out that no nation on earth is immune from shortcomings or issues with availability ,serviceability lack of spares, lack of trained users etc etc so on and so forth. The U.K. is no different, infact even the mighty US has from time to time same concerns. Let me enlighten just because on paper the US has 6-700 or so F15’s does not mean they can put all of them into action at once infact things have been known to be so poor at least 50% of them can’t fly yet here if a story emerges that the RAF has a problem with something on the Typhoon the tabloids are all howling how terrible it is headlines “ planes can’t fly , nothing to defend our sky’s “ . Back in the day I was sitting in 2nd year art class and the topic of the soon to happen start to Gulf war 1 came up. The general theme spouted by those beside me was whoooa Sadam has 4000 tanks and million strong army Britain and America are gonna get their ass kicked! Now these fellows as cognitively challenged as they were were sadly relying on information from The Sun and ‘my brothers in the Black watch routine” so history shows the outcome -True story by the way .So anyways as I was saying 1 type45 sailing near home with no anti ship missiles (if correct) isn’t really a scandal . The time to be upset is when QRA typhoons start operating with no ammunition or missiles or the army move onto a 3 day week till then perspective needs to be maintained.

        • ‘Lack of lethality’ that is a valid point and one which should excercise those who defend our seas and Maritime interests generally. How has this ‘not-sink-the enemy’ strategy become UK Naval doctrine?
          There is virtually no way for either the RN or RAF to sink an enemy ship except by gunfire or exposing an SSN to getting within torpedo range. Even the RAF have no effective anti ship missile.
          How for instance could we even sink a convoy cripple? If you understand the difficulty of sinking a large modern merchant ship with gunfire you understand my point. In wartime towing to safety at 3 knots or so is often hardly a realistic proposition.
          This topic needs urgent attention. Neglectful omission by those responsible.

          • 4thwatch, I totally agree what has happened to Fishers saying of “hit first, hit hard and keep on hitting.
            It is really time that the government understands that when a warship deploys it needs to deploy on a war footing as it needs to be ready for anything including defending itself 24 hours a day anywhere in the world.
            Speaking about this, does anyone know if the Type 45 is designed for Mk 41 VLS and if so for how many?

          • Rob,

            The Type 45 is primarily an air defence platform, the Sea Viper system is unmatched by any ship in the world. But the point of the shadowing operation is for political reasons. If the Russians (Hypothetically) ever tried something we have Astute’s, Typhoon’s and (soon to be) Poseidon.

          • Ron – yes they are,articles on here and elsewhere seem to suggest room for 12 Tubes – as to the chances of them being fitted at some stage that’s another can of worms.

      • now,now ladies, don’t lower the tone of the site with silly fall outs over nothing. i CAN say that portsmouth naval base supports six admirals, i’d imagine the same at a mix of rosyth, faslane and devonport, plus those at the admiralty and the M.O.D so yes in all probability there ARE more admirals than ships, and worst of all it would appear w’re stuck with it. while all we get are silly ‘fanny boat’ opv then that’s about it.

        • LOL. Who are these 6 Admirals?

          There are Admirals, and there are Admirals.

          Admiral. Vice Admiral. Rear Admiral. All have their roles to play, down to Commodore.

          I think off memory Pomey has one 3 *, a Vice Admiral at Fleet who doubles as CinC Home, with several other 2 *Rear Admirals the heads of the varied Directorates at Fleet HQ, or at Fleet Battle Staff, which is right and proper.

          Others are at Fleet Ops at Northwood, like “COS Ops” who is also FOS Flag Officer Submarines.

          All three services have reduced the 1* above several times already.

          People complaining about too many admirals, generals and the rest in my view do not understand how the MOD and military run and the countless number of supporting organisations and directorates required to put assets in the field.

          • I do agree, I think many on here have a very dated Battle of Trafalgar view of Admirals on here. Things are a lot more nuanced and wide ranging now than even the concept of what they do in the last War. I don’t care how many there are as long as they are all in useful roles and not simply financing their pension.

          • That, I think spy, is the key.

            There are many other RN 1* star Commodore’s through to Rear Admirals I did not mention, like in training establishments, at FOST, at tri service organisations from DES to JFC, DI and Main Office.
            All are there for a reason.

            There was fat and it has been culled for years, going back to Front Line First in 1995.

            Organisations often up to several hundreds with budgets of many tens of millions cannot be overseen by able seamen!!

    • We’re not likely to need to sink Gorshkov. HMS Defender is there to shoot Gorshkov’s Oniks and Kalibr out of the sky. After that Gorshkov is as impotent as Defender.

      Besides, I’m pretty sure Defender is merely the visible part of the escort and other things happen under and above the waves 🙂

      • Fair enough, but I am not sure I share your optimism that there is always a sub around. We just do not have enough for that.

        • With 6 hunter killer subs currently active I see no reason why we wouldn’t have 1 patrolling UK waters. We rarely get told when and where they are for a reason.

    • Really don’t see an issue with no embarked anti shipping missiles on such a mission, close to home most likely with an Astute lurking close by and localised air support, for Ivan to cause trouble would be a suicide mission.
      Just out of curiosity is it standard practice for such ships to be allowed into the likes of the Moray Firth to shelter from bad weather? I assume HMS Defender would have remained with the Russian group?

    • You may find that we do not know what is under the water Rob. I would be amazed if there wasnt an Astute prowling around.
      And in any case, the Russians are not going to start a war, fire on one of the most advanced destroyers in history with a frigate and a tug! Defender is equipped with the most advanced intelligence gathering and data interception suites, they will be learning a lot from the Russians.
      The Russians are just showing off one of their newer surface vessels.
      Although i get your point re harpoon, i think this isnt going to be a surprise attack by 1 frigatte and a few Russian surface vessels today.

    • Out of interest whats the American situation at the moment with their anti ship missiles if Harpoons are as inadequate as we hear so regularly (fitted or otherwise in this case). I know they have plans to fit new missiles but what do they have at the MOMENT that doesn’t make them a laughing stock too? Anyone have a definitive answer as this question keeps coming up but no real clear answer other than the future plans that I have seen.

      • @spy, from my understanding the US navy are purchasing the Naval Strike Missile from Norway to launch from ships. With its 100 mile range and 125kg warhead its a bit lightweight but as an interim it should be ok.
        From what I have being reading there does seem to be a final upgrade package available for Harpoon to Harpoon II+ developed in 2007 with continuation development until 2017. It should take Harpoon up to 2030. If this is the case and Perseus is on time then there should not be a problem as long as the MoD does something about it as the 1C is now becoming obsolete.

          • Yeah it’s the JSM and it can be fired from land, f35 a Ships mk41 or canister, and it’s has a warhead twice the size of NSM at 250kg, oh and they even offered it for the typhoon. This would be my choice because of the options it gives.

      • Harpoon is getting outdated, but at least they’re carrying an AShM of some description. The USN is currently looking into NSM and LRASM if I recall correctly.

    • I’m all in favour of providing the best possible kit for our armed forces. However, I’m quite sceptical of the value of ship based anti-ship missiles. If you decide to use them aren’t you likely to be extremely exposed to the same threat in reverse? Plus when was the last time we needed to use that capability? In the Falklands we were chasing Veinticinco de Mayo with Harriers and Belgrano with SSN (one of which was super effective in that task). We have a lethal SSN force and have a (re)developing naval air capability. Isn’t that the right focus?

      • It’s clear I think that the RN and probably the USN share your scepticism as to the value of ship launched AShM.
        Against fast attack craft and in the littoral the RN has chosen the ‘sniper’ approach – Wildcat and Sea Venom.
        In open water against a peer frigate oppoment if you can call on air support from a carrier or land base then air launched AShM is a good option. The US equips it’s F-18s with these. The P-8 can carry Harpoon and I think LRASM is planned. I think we should fit these to our P-8s and buy enough to provide global air cover for all RN ships. Our sub fleet is too small to guarantee one will be available and Paveway glide range is within the AA missiles on most frigates these days. Neither Typhoon nor the UK F35B is slated to carry a long range heavyweight AShM; only Spear 3. I don’t know whether this is designed to kill frigates.

        • Last I heard SPEAR3 is basically going to be an upgraded Brimstone. You’d need about two dozen to kill anything big enough to be labelled a ship, and more for anything with decent CIWS as I’m pretty sure they’re planned to be subsonic.

          Given previous Anglo-French cooperation on Storm Shadow, I’d put money on Perseus coming with an air-launch capability. Probably won’t fit internally on an F-35 but shouldn’t be a huge deal for a Typhoon or for external carriage on an F-35, albeit at the expense of some reduction in stealth.

          • SPEAR3 is a bit more than an upgraded Brimstone. What I’ve read says it is pretty much exactly twice the overall weight of Brimstone so presumably the warhead is about twice the size. It is also much longer range. At the end of the day though you are right, twice the size of the small Brimstone warhead is still small and it would need to rely on precisely targeting specific areas of a larger vessel to get a mission kill because it isn’t going to get anywhere near sinking it outright.

          • It actual takes very little to mission kill a modern warship, you don’t need to sink it, just knock out its sensors etc and it’s out the game. There have been examples of single Anti radar missiles mission killing cruiser size air defence ships.

            From what I understand spear 3 will be able to target specific parts of a ship, 12 of those is going to be far more likely to penetrate defences that a pair of larger heavyweights.

  3. This article fails to mention Russia’s “Vomit Weapon”. Apparently one of the Ships Is carrying a new Disorientation Device which Is said to Induce vomiting.

    • It’s called the 5P-52 Filin. And It’s fitted to the Admiral Gorshkov. If anyone’s Interested.

    • Yep, the ship’s fitted with the Filin 5P-42 device. This type of device was originally designed for tanks and is an optical visual/IR and UV dazzler designed to jam SACLOS or laser anti-tank guided weapons targeting systems. The dazzler’s side effect is quite well known as uses a variable speed strobe.

        • Just googled the Filin weapon, its only any good against people looking directly at it, so looking at it through a camera is fine. Also its not considered very reliable.

          I think the vodka idea teamed with 2 lamb Bhunas is a more reliable vomit inducing idea. Or maybe we could play the Spice Girls really really loudly at enemy vessels?

          • I have a better Idea, Load the Spice Girls into the VLS and See how the Russians like their Tuneless Screaming !

  4. Seriously though, Non Lethal Weaponry has been around for decades and is quite hush hush, but surfaces from time to time.

    Many of the occupants of the US Embassy in Moscow were getting ill and it was discovered the Soviets were using Microwaves on the building. Just one example.

    A study of mind control and MK ULTRA experiments leads on to that sort of stuff.

    • Yes I’ve read a couple of papers on emotional control, it’s actslly possible to make a person feel basic emotions like fear etc using electromagnetism or some such magic.

        • my son is on duncan, and says the ship is so good, they still haven’t had o change a lightbulb! slagging off our state of the art warships is pointless, too many on here are reading the tabloids too often.

          • The British press is less interested in accuracy than it is in winding up its readers with negative and reporting and divisive opinions. I tend to stick to Reuters these days.

          • For the record, despite what Jack says I do not read tabloids. I actually get most of my defence news from this site, Save the Royal Navy, and most importantly my family members who serve.

            The T45 is a fantastic ship but is under-armed, that was and is my argument, nothing more.

  5. Genuine question… At that range would an ASM have even have time to arm itself and correct its course after launch to impact an enemy ship?

    30mm & main gun (even small arms .50cal) would surely be the first choice at what? Crica 600-800mtrs?

    • My understanding is that the Mk 8 4.5in gun very accurate up to 12 miles…and has a rate of fire of about 25 shells per minute. Within the horizon it is a no brainer versus one or two Harpoons which would be easy to decoy or shoot down. NSM or LRASM are the up wnd coming over the horizon weapons.

      • @Rear Gunner, in some ways I agree, but I wonder if a sub wants to be on the end of a Type 23 search. In their primary role the T23 will still give any modern stealth frigate a run for their money.
        I have often wondered why don’t we just take all the gubbings out of the T23 and put it in a new hull superstructure and call it T31. The radar suite of the T23, surface to air missile suite, the sonar suite, much of the powerplant is new or newish and the underwater noise profile is still one of the best. So why not just build or even copy the hull of the T31, give it a stealth superstructure and plonk it all in. The only difference then would be that the T31 does not have a large mission bay, not Chinook capable and some space might be needed to be found for a 16 tube Mk41 VLS. Oh and the VDS will be one generation older than the T26. Surely it is worth consideration.

  6. As we all know, this type of escort duty can be Carried out by River Class OPVs or type 31e, eventually freeing up the 45s for carrier escort/strike duties and 23s/26s for ASW.
    The press always sensationalises Russian vessels transiting U.K. waters, especially (East-to-West) at the narrowest part of the channel, when it’s nothing more ‘headline Sensational’ than U.K. vessels transiting the Bosphorus Straights.
    As mentioned, a three or four vessel (transiting) task group, consisting of a Tug and RAS, hardly requires a type45 or type23, with or without Anti Ship missiles. A Typhoon’s Spear-3 or lurking/shadowing Astute Class would soon deal with it, but that’s never going to happen.

  7. During the cold war thr Soviets rarely used the channel/ north sea route, preferring to keep thier distance via north Atlantic corridors. In recent years the trend to display themselves adjacent to foriegn territorial waters is purely a political gesture, hence the requirement for a visible response, bear in mind not only UK warships escort them. As said above the weaponry of escorting vessels is irrelevant, it is a case of simply letting them know that they are being noted ( and a chance to gain elint info). In fact sending a small OPV may be a significant political gesture as it could be seen as a snub? I’m sure these tactics are thought through. T45 are publically reported be be elint capable more so than any other UK warship

  8. Quite a bit, however this is probably not the best platform to discuss details. Suffice to say anything electrical emits electronic ‘noise’ when operating, some of which can be unique to the source. This was an area that the batch 3 type 22 frigates were configured for, now the mantle being taken by T45.

    • I should imagine they speed-dial-in vessel signatures for more effective friend or foe capabilities. But electronic warfare is advancing rapidly, decoys are becoming much more advanced and no one really knows how the likes of F35 will hold up against offensive EMI/EW attacks. Was the Donald Cook Incident ‘Fake Russian Propaganda’?
      As you know, even mines are becoming much more difficult to detect, lying in a benign state until they recognise the pre programmed signature.
      It appears to me, EW/EMI is at the sharp end of modern warfare and shouldn’t be underestimated.

  9. I actually agree with Rob on the Sub.

    NATO and Fleet HQ / MIC at Northwood will have been long aware of this group coming from Murmansk and assigned assets to it accordingly.

    Why use an SSN? They are sailing from their ports up in the Kola to I guess the Med, and NATO has plenty of opportunities to deploy SIGINT assets against them.

    Thus Defender with Shaman, and no doubt land based assets too.

    As for the RN being a “laughing stock” I disagree.

    At the end of the day, navies far and wide send their ships to FOST, and count the number of navies world wide who have assets like QEC, 45’s, Merlins, Astutes, and plenty of other high end kit at their disposal.

    Laughing stock we are not!! Reduced in numbers and under armed in some areas yes.

    A navy cannot have it all and ASM is an area that has been left with low prioroty for now as the risk is minimal, and that will have been arrived at by the DIS carrying out threat assessment.

    Indeed in recent speeches the emphasis interestingly from DS, CDS and others in on ASW and espionage by Russian midget subs on cables.

    • All I can do in response is to pass on what my cousin says about this, he serves on a T23 and is responsible for the weapon systems. He is pretty confident that a T23 can hold its own against peer vessels and survive to fight another day. But he is scathing about the T45, he says Sea Viper is fantastic, but 48 Aster missiles is nowhere near enough for its primary role and he just cannot fathom why they do not carry ASM as standard on all 6 ships, especially as Sea Venom isn’t ready yet.

      You can disagree of course, but that comes from someone who actually maintains the very weapons we discuss so I tend to listen when he speaks.

      • Rob, I was disagreeing with the term “Laughing Stock” in the eyes of other navies that you used and gave some examples as to why we are not.

        I agreed with you on the SSN and as for your comments after of lack of missiles yes fair comment. Who am I to argue with your cousin?

        My only comments as you can see above were to the possible reasons WHY this is so, not contradicting your cousin at all.

  10. Channel 5’s Warship Life at Sea on HMS Duncan was fascinating and she did go to the Black Sea & Eastern Med ‘bombed up’. Part of my fascination – and puzzlement – was Duncan’s apparently axcessively polite communications with Russian jet aircraft swarming in the Black Sea under ‘relatively mild’ tension, and later greater tension during the Syrian standoff. No doubt the comms were supposed to conform to some ‘suitable’ level of Engagement Rules, but to advise a multitude of fighters to kindly stay away as the 45’s (microwave) radar is powerful(!) and later the (Kamov?) Helo to please keep beyond two miles ( Aster’s minimum engagement range, I believe) – both requests completely and silently ignored, of course, and with Duncan let ride anyway – strikes me as naff in the particular circumstances. At best, I think just making a timely broadcast that the aircraft were duly noted and nothing else would have been preferable.

      • Rudeness is a sign of being rattled and lack of professionalism.

        A cool calm measured professional response from the RN oozes class. That we are telling you whatever you might be doing swarming our vessel WE are in control and can shoot you down, with fair warning, whenever we choose.

        I’d expect nothing less from the RN.

        • Yes exactly. Politeness is something that is demonstrated ad nauseum on this site by many of the frequent contributors. It is, after all, a very British virtue!

  11. It’s also a useful asset when presenting evidence before a court/enquiry, if the recorded communications sound clear, calm and reasonable as opposed to frantic gibbering it is powerful evidence.

  12. It’s a great opportunity for intelligence gathering, electronic /sound emissions, radar signiture etc, all done at various distances ( below, on and above) the water line.

  13. I wonder if the Tugs that accompany Russian ships carry out the AGI Elint role that Soviet trawlers and other small vessels used to do?

    They would be a regular feature near to western vessels.

    • They were always present. Although the Soviets would often send like for like. I spent many an hour watching a Soviet survey vessel following our H class ocean going hydrographic vessel in Iranian waters circa 1978!

      • Oh! H class. Now lets see, that takes me back to when I just started to get interested in the military as a small boy.

        There were 4…?

        Hecta, or Hecla? Hera? Hydra? Damn cannot recall their names. I should do.

          • Ah!! 2 right.

            Thank you. I just could not remember their names.

            Love the name Hecate, Greek Goddess of the Moon and Magic I think.

            Your vessel? So you’re our man for the Hydrographic Branch?

          • No, I am certainly no expert on the RN hydrographic side (only loaned to them). But have spent many years on the civilian side…oil industry etc.

  14. Always amused to watch the comments thread on this site veer from well informed and thoughtful to personal abuse no better than you would expect on some Daily Mail site, and quite often in a couple of nanoseconds. So my four pennyworth. Yes, good to see a Type 45 doing the honours, and I reckon that the crew don’t view the armament fit with the same disdain that some commentators here do. But has anyone picked up on the fact that we had to give them shelter in the Moray Firth while the weather was bad? Ok it blew a bit, but no worse than any of us would have had in our career, and I don’t recall ever stopping a passage because a few of the crew were seasick. And the point about the tug, it may be about to deploy as an AGI in its own right, but it could equally be
    there in case the new and shiny frigate breaks down.
    And everyone I think has missed the most important point. Defender sailed from Newcastle on Saturday. I bet you they were there for the weekend, and the Geordies always gave a tremendous run ashore, and probably still do. So our guys and gals have given up a weekend of high jinks and good food and wine, just to go and tune the ELINT system in case the other side transmit something interesting. That is over and above the call of duty. I bet no one in Whitehall says thank you.
    I was in Newcastle in 1971, and lost several things, one of which I won’t ever get back!

    • “I was in Newcastle in 1971, and lost several things. one of which I won’t ever get back.”

      OK, I’m thinking.
      A. The love of Football.
      B. The Ability to say anything without ending in “Wye Eye Man”
      C. Your Newcastle Brown Ale Tankard.
      D. A hamster named Dec.

    • I’m afraid that service to this country was ever thus. But it was never done for a thank-you…but always out of a sense of duty. Bloody hard to pin that one down…just seems to be innate…and what makes us what we are…nothing special, but at least as good as others!

    • Hmmm, just checked the Moray Firth on a map. Are you suggesting a spot of spying en route?

      Lossimouth, Kinloss, Buchan, Crimmond, Fort George all close by.

      Buchan and Crimmond would have signals emanating from them concerning the ASCS and the DHFCS.

  15. Daniele posted: “Rudeness is a sign of being rattled and lack of professionalism. A cool calm measured professional response from the RN oozes class. That we are telling you whatever you might be doing swarming our vessel WE are in control and can shoot you down, with fair warning, whenever we choose.”

    British understatement is well-respected over on this side of the pond. It conveys strength and competence. As Teddy Roosevelt put it: Speak softly but carry a big stick.

    A tip of the hat to you gents.

  16. Good Morning Gentlemen. 5 am in Durban-couldn’t sleep so came to read what you lot have to say!
    A few random thoughts-remember that huge damage was inflicted on the RN by ‘lumps of iron’ WW2 Bombs with faulty fuses/poor tactics, so sometimes one does not need State of the Art. Also notwithstanding weapons shortcomings,the possibility of a shooting match in this situation is literally zero. It’s all about posturing and observation. I would think that if a conflict threatened, the Armed forces would quickly arm up as they did in 1982, deficiencies notwithstanding. Remember we had no Sidewinders on our Harriers then and acquired them within a few weeks if not few days. That missile was a game changer. Finally-no matter what you think of the capability of the Russian Navy’s ships, they would win any beauty contest in my books-wonderful looking vessels!

  17. What concerns me is not this specific case, but what happens if ‘tomorrow’ another nation decides to go to war with the UK. The best approach to achieve this would be to sail a fleet past the UK pretending to be heading elsewhere and then use this as a way to launch a surprise attack. Our military assets should be in a position to defend themselves against a surprise attack and not have to go “on moment mr bad guy, i need to return to port to get my defensive / offensive equipment added”. In peace time it doesn’t matter, but peace time doesn’t last forever and pretty much ever war starts with a surprise attack (how surprised is a different question).

    On a side note, i notice the government is constantly dodging the question on whether the Prince of Wales will be sold, the latest statement in response to whether it will be mothballed or sold is a clear statement that it won’t be mothballed, and so not answering the question. Saying that, if we could find a buyer, sell off the PW and then build a 3rd it might temporarly balance the books and allow other assets to be brought, although it would just be tossing the problem firmly down the path for when the 3rd ship is finally built.

    • These vessels are monitored by every NATO member as they transit their waters, all information is shared and most often they are simply rotating duties.
      Russian vessels would be in range of every NATO partner.
      If there was any concerns about a pre-emptive strike from Russia, we would have been on a BIKINI Amber/Red Severe/Critical standing.
      The real game of chess is with the Nuclear Sub Deterent, but we mere mortals will never be privy to such activities.
      Nuclear Deterrence is the key to our (relative) stability in Europe. Which about the question of Corbyn and his toying around with Dreadnought!

        • I’m not saying it will be Russia, it could be pretty much any nation out there. The issue is that we are spread too thin, even if a NATO partner warned us, where is the defence going to come from? Our frigates/destroyers are spread all over the world pretty much operating solo, i am pretty sure so are our subs. We have no air based anti-ship missiles, and would be one brave RAF pilot that decides to fly within the range of the ships air defence to drop bombs.

          It doesn’t just have to be in the UK waters, same could happen around china or iran or … there are so many options where our ships are acting but are not adequately protected due to cuts and sharing of weapons.

          • I understand what you’re saying, but if we had even a smell of such scenarios, I’m sure Spear3 and Sea Venom would be fast-tracked into service.
            As for U.K. waters, I’d bet an Astute Class is always on station for such duties, maybe someone on here could clarify/broaden on that?
            As for China, Iran…we are usually part of a task group, unless displaying Right of Passage in the South China Sea, which one vessel would have little chance of defending against with China’s increased presence.
            But I agree in principle that we should be looking at it, and not for it!
            The governments option of filling the Harpoon gap with Off-the-Shelf systems, still leaves us with questions to be asked.

            History has shown us what happens when unprepared.

          • You mean like the falklands were reinforced prior to the invasion after the intel indicated a pending threat, or like Q8 was reinforced.

            the problem is its not the military making these decisions, its politicians and it takes shot fired to really push them into action, which is way too late.

            Ok it is extremely unlikely event, but lets look at the Spanish ship with guns manned and refusing to leave Gib waters. What response has there been to show Spain that it is unacceptable, zero. Now clearly Spain isn’t going to do anything but there are multiple similar stories through out history where small things are ignored because it would be politically risky to not ignore them.

            Our miltiary assets are patrolling waters not to fish or sun bathe, they are there as a show of force, and an under armed show of force falls no one and just puts the troops in danger.

            Its like saying well Argentina won’t re-invade the Falklands, so we will keep the troops there as a show of power, but take back all their ammo

          • What do you think Argentinian pilots did and they had second rate aircraft and incorrectly fused iron bombs.

            With that they almost stood of one of the strongest navy’s in the work at a distance of 300 miles….

    • Who do you think would buy it?

      The only navy big enough to buy it with the technical depth necessary to operate it would be Japan.

      The US won’t buy them even though the main reason why we bought them and a big factor in their design and future operation is supporting the US.

    • Hello Steve, As much as I hear what you are saying, I have to Ask Which potential Enemy would Sail It’s Fleet past the UK. ? Other than Russia. As far As I can tell ( although recent Political Events do make me wonder ) The Continent of Europe Is mostly Inhabited by “Friends”. Canada and the USA, Also.
      So that leaves, Asia, and Africa with a small threat from South America. Not sure If Iran could make It Here nor North Korea. China Probably could but What Doesn’t Fall apart on the Way would probably Go the way of the Armada. Besides, We are way too big of a Market for them to want to Inflict too much harm.

      So what does that actually leave ?

      • captain – the Chinese Navy has joined the ‘Jiggy Jiggy’ club in Sailing through the English Channel,not spotted any myself yet though.

        • Yes, They sent their ships through the English Channel a couple of years ago to join up with the Russians.

          I guess that might be part of the Reason We are doing similar in their backyard.

    • Any nations navy (apart from the USN) that tried that would be very swiftly dead by RAF. A navy can’t opperate within another nations air defence envelope without achieving complete air dominance.

      Even the US would suffer massive losses if it did this against a peer nation.

      The tyranny of distance is the UKs best defence and always has been.

  18. The shame for the motherland only having a 4500 ton light frigate to escort 3 auxiliaries passed Great Britain, look it was met by a 7000ton RN destroyer, the shame the shame……their warship was bigger than ours………for shame………

  19. I think the first thing to note is that the Moray Firth, as opposed to the Inner Moray Firth, is over 100 nautical miles across at the mouth. Territorial waters run up to 12 nm, and then it’s international waters which are open to all.

    Lossie has the FGR4 which can take Paveway, and an Astute IS regularly perhaps always, off Scotland, probably currently HMS Astute herself as she spends a lot of time off Scotland, mostly west coast I think. Ships don’t really kill ships these days, though boats and aircraft can.

    Thirdly, unless the Russians have invented some sort of teleport device which is always possible, they don’t suddenly appear in the Moray Firth for at least the third time in a few short years – unexpectedly (sigh), to be discovered on twitter (sigh) from a fishing boat (sigh).

    Murmansk is maybe 2,500 nm from the Moray Firth which even at 30 knots is a few days. Just guessing the supply ships at 20 knots gives 5 days flat out. No idea what a tug does!

    I’d guess one of the reasons to fit the T45 with Harpoon is to shut some of the media up, including those that say “Defender scrambled from Newcastle” (sigh). Defender there would also be partly for that reason. On the other hand Defender should be able to function on her own.

    It is however quite possible the Gorshkov dipped into territorial 12nm waters “Ooops, sorry, we had some bad bortsch for lunch and then of course …”


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