The Royal Navy say that UK minehunters continue to push tech boundaries with US in the Gulf.

According to a news release, the two navies hold regular joint exercises to ensure there’s no ‘skills fade’ in the delicate art of finding and neutralising mines – “especially as crews and ships regularly rotate through the region, so there’s a high degree of churn”.

For the latest ‘interop’” exercise, HMS Chiddingfold, Middleton and Penzance plus RFA Lyme Bay, their command ship and home to the RN’s Mine Warfare Battle Staff, joined American minehunter USS Gladiator and giant MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopters – which drag minesweeping kit through the Gulf waters – for eight days of trials and test.

The RN vessels were joined by members of the US Navy’s Expeditionary Mine Countermeasures Company. That resulted in HMS Penzance becoming the first Sandown-class vessel to put a REMUS 600 vehicle through its paces.

“REMUS has been used by the Navy for several years – but traditionally it’s launched from smaller craft. The device, which looks like a torpedo, moves through the water at speeds of up to five knots, scanning the seabed with sonar on ‘patrols’ up to three days long. In doing so, it surveys a huge area and, crucially, ensures the ship itself doesn’t have to venture anywhere near the suspected minefield.”

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Goldilocks
Goldilocks
7 days ago

Shame were getting rid of these platforms, there not actually too expensive to replace, small, no advanced radars/missiles, just the mine hunting equipment – a small 6-ship class of about 800 tons could replace it

PragmaticScot
PragmaticScot
7 days ago
Reply to  Goldilocks

Definitely a capability we need to maintain even if the tech can now be deployed from different craft. If BAE, Babcock or another ship builder has plans or partners with someone who does they could have them in the water within a few years.

Peter S
Peter S
7 days ago
Reply to  Goldilocks

The Hunts and Sandowns are per ton the most expensive ships the RN has bought. But if the pricy GRP structure is no longer necessary for operating the new remote systems, you’re right that replacement vessels ought to be cheap. Makes more sense to me than routinely using scarce frigates as MW motherships.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
6 days ago
Reply to  Goldilocks

! Ton per GBP or by Foot per GBP they are the most expensive surface ships. Non Mag for the Hunts and Low Mag for the Sandown does not come cheap. Its not just the ships but the infrastructure and specialist support behind them that costs. For instance spare parts. All spares are mag ranged at the shore mag range in Portland to ensure they meet the exacting non/low mag criteria. . You need to keep the spares away from electrical cables, steel structures and layed out in a certain way to avoid inducing magnetism into them. The specialist kit… Read more »

Tommo
Tommo
6 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

2 days on the degaussing range up in the Forth to get the signature as low as possible , prior to OP Granby One officer talking too Reporters ” we even have to leave our Carkeys ashore as the ferrous metals ” Funny we all had metal thermos flasks Still got mine but yes most tools were nonferrous expensive but at least you knew no static couldn’t take your bikes for jollies when foreign So yes pound for pound up there with the Royal yacht, But they showed their worth Clearing the North Persian gulf of all kinds of mines… Read more »

Mike
Mike
7 days ago

Sad that these versatile little ships are soon to be scrapped or sold. They make useful patrol vessels in a small navy like the Royal Navy now is. After their demise, it will be smaller still.

Last edited 7 days ago by Mike
Gunbuster
Gunbuster
6 days ago
Reply to  Mike

They won’t be scrapped. Sold on to other navies.
Scrapping a GRP Hull is not easy.
The hulls have probably another 30-50years left in them at least. You just need to keep updating the internals.

Tommo
Tommo
6 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

They can delaminate, Brecon did but she was the first of the Hunts but the2nd GRP if you count Wilton

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
5 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

I have done a lot of blasting and hull work on Hunts and Sandowns. Osmosis is the biggest issue to look for but from what I have seen after we have surveyed the hull if its there at all its only in the first few mm . The hulls are unbelievably good. As experience and tech improved with the builders laying up the GRP you can see the hulls getting better and better.

Tommo
Tommo
5 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Can’t see why if these well proven Boats if going , can’t be A, University boats or B RNR,boats

David Steeper
David Steeper
7 days ago

It is a shame we’re losing these ships but the manpower we save is needed for the Type 31’s and 32’s to name but two. If unmanned can do the job then that’s the way to go.

Tommo
Tommo
7 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Great idea dave not being rude but you would have to retrain ,4xCDs 1xL/CD 1xPoCD , 16xMw Jr 4xlsmws 2xpomws for a Hunt Muppets and bubbleheads , for type 31and 32s ?

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
7 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

If you are going to have a full compliment of ASW / sonar on everything then manpower is needed.

Maybe the plan includes reactivating both Albions at the same time?

Someone has to man the POD’s as well.

Tommo
Tommo
7 days ago

Mone warfare,,, (muppets) are not the same as Sonar (Tas apes ) You have too have good hearing fir Sonar Prop cavitation classification of type of vessel n Mine warfare ping for objects that don’t move have no Cavitation And do a he’ll of alot of seamanship putting out floats cutters ,sweeps CDs just finish of the job

David Steeper
David Steeper
7 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

Not offended. Today n tomorrow little benefit but 10 years from now when 31’s and 32’s are in service. Yes.

Tommo
Tommo
6 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

David I Served ,on Hunts, with the Motto “Death was our Escort ,Glory passed us by” , We would Venture in Area deemed too unsafe for other Assets Area s such as Airdropped Mines, Surface laid Mines our Tupperware boats ,although filled with lots of Bells and Whistles are Classed as More expendable than a Frigate ,Destroyer Could you see a 31 entering areas Even with a uwav The yanks found that the hard way in OP Granby When we told them that we hadn’t Cleared a certain Channel into Kuwait their disregard of our warning didn’t end well if… Read more »

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
6 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

CDs will be retained. We will always need bubbleheads to look see at stuff that is found.

Tommo
Tommo
6 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Of course we will what I meant was on each Hunts compliment apart from ,1 gunners yeo, 2 Ros, 2 Cooks 2 greenness, 6 stoker’s and 1 Steward Can be Drafted too any Surface Vessel Muppets would have to either be Deck apes or branch change Bubbleheads as a branch would have to be Slimmed down

Ron
Ron
7 days ago

In many ways I think it is a pity that we are getting rid of these two classes of MCM. I am sure that we could find other uses for them until the hull is no longer viable. However for a replacement I would look at the Belgian/Dutch future MCM mothership concept. The motherships seem to cost about £100 million each made of steel and have a very comprhensive MCM capability. The Belgian/Dutch navys are getting 12 such ships. (copied from Mer et Marine) “The motherships are sized to accommodate up to two Inspector 125 USVs, two T18‑M towed sonars,… Read more »

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
7 days ago
Reply to  Ron

It does seem madness to get rid of all mine ships in a short time. I will hope that there is a plan in place more than three remote speed boats.
Call me silly if am wrong but I would think the Royal Navy wouldn’t give up such a capability without a plan or replacement ready to go and if it was such a big cut would be kicking up a stink about it

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
6 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Possibly!

1 x Autonomous Pacific 24 (APAC24) rigid inflatable boat, we can’t afford three 😂

June-25-unmanned-new-Brand-028-scr-750x500.jpg
Gunbuster
Gunbuster
6 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

11m workboats will replace the vessels . These are becoming the standard workboat in the RN. Currently Used for MCM they can also be fitted with other kit for non-mcm vessels. An active LF towed array is under development and could be used on T31 as the off board sonar system, negating the need for a fitted tail. The workboats will have a combined influence sweep which the RN has been lacking since it was removed from the Hunts. They will also be able to Route Survey, mine hunt using remote vehicles and unlike the current sea fox which is… Read more »

Tommo
Tommo
6 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Gunbuster I then take it Bubbleheads on T31s and 2s along with all their kit and 2 man decompression Pots ?” They’re going too have to get used too how the Navy actually works bye bye Ships divers if that little Number still exists

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
6 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

They will need pots but maybe bigger ones because space won’t be constrained… Possibly the containerised units FSU has…. The money spent on their dive sets and the development time spent on all the other kit they use… Its just to big a niche to lose.
They are also Royals best mate for beach surveys, opposed boardings and other sneaky stuff.

Tommo
Tommo
6 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Worked with for 3 yrs ,they didn’t like Big Navy rules or regs when deployed as the Coxswain is also a Diver they’ll be quite a few at Skippers table , if the MCM squadrons are resigned to history And Divers will be Scrambling to get onto Bomb Teams

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
6 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

Top mate of mine who I worked with for years is a WO Diver. I know a few other bubbles as well. They could do worse than to put CDs on deploying ships. The loss of ships divers has left a big capability gap for engineering.

Tommo
Tommo
6 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Or as CDs would say as they looked down their Nose Clips Ships Divers ? Frog spawn more like 30mtrs is for Tadpoles

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
5 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

30m(and a bit) works for me …PADI rescue diver!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
6 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

There will be more. Those 3 are just 1 system, part of “Wilton” I believe.

More systems will follow.

I also think it a shame the MCMV are going, as they can self deploy.

Steve M
Steve M
6 days ago

You would need something like an ASL to act as Mothership for longer (time/distance) deployments (like Gulf) it could be home to numerous teams of mine hunting Unmanned AV, having the well deck would allow easy deployment, recovery, maintence and storage in transit and allow management/co-ordination for them. You could even fly additioanl units out on C-17 and USL to mothership under Merlin?

Tommo
Tommo
6 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

MONKEY, spanker , if in a couple of years you hear that a Weapon was discharged in Whitehall , then it’s probably the MOD shooting themselves in the FOOT

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
5 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

Haha. Heard it goes off a lot round there. So long as they now what they are doing. I vote for gun buster for head of mod.

Tommo
Tommo
5 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Hope he still wears his steel toe capped DMS boots might offer some protection

David Steeper
David Steeper
5 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Don’t tell the Army or you’ll be reading about all the puppies and kittens he’s been strangling in his spare time !

Tommo
Tommo
6 days ago
Reply to  Ron

RON Not being Funny but Good luck on a steel ship, for MCM work if you want it to go into Enemy waters Tupperware did the job and we did it good degaussing of the mothershio as well ,would have to also be done on a regular bases If these Ships are too be deployed into Enemy waters

expat
expat
6 days ago
Reply to  Tommo
Tommo
Tommo
6 days ago
Reply to  expat

Thanks Expat ,for that as the post says we’ve used these ISOs for years And now with the Abundance of Shipping containers they are relatively Cheap to purchase a bit more too configure just hope that if used they are made too NBCD standards, , ask 39 Vietnamese sorry poor taste I take it Rash or Ram would be applied as they don’t have the caraterisics of a Small radar cross section if placed on the upper deck

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
6 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

G3 at Portland Osprey Quay are the MOD iso container specialists. You Name it… They have containerised it.
Search the Think Defence site for the excellent article on containers and you will see some of the stuff they can do.

expat
expat
5 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

I really like the idea, but needs thought, would make sense for the ships to have an open architecture so you just plug in the container and don’t need personnel sat inside the container. Or if that’s not possible the container is inside the mission bay. We also be good if the outer skin of the container could be removed, so it just there for its ISO size and shipping purposes. It will depend the role, say its drone to deliver aid fit em on then pack them on deck as is.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
6 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

Thing is with remote boats they can standoff 30 miles from an area of interest. Another big plus is getting the sweep capability back. I was the Level 3 workshop CPO/CCWEA base maintainer for TAG, TAM and magsweep in Pompie for a good while. Combining the sweep capability with hunting on the same group of workboats will be a game changer and no need to go into a field. There are a few unmanned boats undergoing testing out here at the moment. Saw a large remote rib today with a remus 600 on it pelting around near the base area.… Read more »

Tommo
Tommo
6 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Just hope that if remote sweeping can be trailed effectively and boats are fitted with a remote wire cutting device if a sweep wire either rides up and tangles winch or if sweepers encounters submerged objects something like Dyhedral cutters placed round the sweep wire everytime sweeping commences Gunbuster

expat
expat
6 days ago

Slightly off topic, this went under the radar or at least under mine.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/defence-secretary-announces-launch-of-national-shipbuilding-office

Tommo
Tommo
6 days ago
Reply to  expat

Cheers Expat you don’t think that this Government Scheme has anything to do with Boris’s New yacht sorry I meant National Flagship ?

expat
expat
5 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

I’ll be optimistic and say it looks like its about developing the industry beyond RN vessels and not just building ships but the wide supply of components and sub systems. Only time will tell.

Tommo
Tommo
5 days ago
Reply to  expat

So Expat ,looks like Boris is shopping round looking at British companies for the Rebirth of British Shipbuilding which has over the decades declined , When was the last time Britian built a Cruise liner 1960s QE2 wasn’t it ,we went from World leader too World Bleeder, its time too start rebuilding just hope this isn’t a Pie in the Sky or a Paperwork exercise

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
6 days ago

I just checked the press release for the date. Yep… Was around 10 days ago…As Lyme Bay, RN minehunters and the USN minesweeper involved have been alongside close to my office for well over a week.
T23 alongside today and a Point boat full of stores arriving as well.