HMS Spey and Tamar have today begun deployment to the Indo-Pacific as part of a five year deployment to bolster the British presence in the region.

According to the Royal Navy, no permanent home has been assigned to the pair.

“The two warships have sailed on a mission which will see them deployed across a vast area, from the eastern shores of Africa to the west coast of the USA, for the next five years. Fleet Commander, Vice Admiral Jerry Kyd, was at HM Naval Base Portsmouth to wave them off as they begin final preparations on the south coast. Spey and Tamar will arrive in the Pacific on the back of the maiden deployment by HMS Queen Elizabeth and her strike group which have spent several months working alongside the UK’s allies and partners in the region.

They will act as the eyes and ears of the Navy – and nation – in the region, working alongside Britain’s allies, carrying out security patrols to deal with drug-running, smuggling, terrorism and other illegal activities, joining in exercises with other navies and armed forces, and flying the flag for Global Britain. No permanent home has been assigned to the pair – instead they will make use of bases and ports in the Pacific region which best meets their needs and mission.”

The Royal Navy also say that the crews will be joined by extra personnel – up to 52 Royal Marines or troops in a dedicated mess – or mission-specific equipment to deliver humanitarian aid or help with evacuations, depending on their mission.

“Two-thirds of the world is our playground,” said Lieutenant Commander Ben Evans, HMS Spey’s Commanding Officer, in a news release. “We are going to places that the Royal Navy has not visited in a long time – that’s really exciting.”

Lieutenant Thomas Adlam Royal Navy, HMS Tamar’s 1st Lieutenant, added:

“The deployment will offer an array of challenges but also a number of opportunities for many of us to see new parts of the world. I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this crew.”

Each ship is crewed by 46 sailors, with half the crew trading places with shipmates from the UK every few weeks.

“The constant rotation allows the Navy to get the most out of the ships, with the crews at sea for up to nine months of the year, while the vessels themselves ready for operations all year round.”

You can read more here.

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dave12
dave12
15 days ago

I’m a fan of the OP’S but its a pretty weak show using them presence in the pacific,

Steve M
Steve M
15 days ago
Reply to  dave12

Agree, if forward basing would like to see a ship that at least looks capable of looking after it self, Danish Absolm Support ships (now frigates) 36 ESSm/16 ASm, gun etc plus large flex deck for humanitarian aid etc would feel like a’presence’. fingers crossed the Type31 are suitable

Andy P
Andy P
15 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

You could send a T45 and a T23 (to be relieved by a T26), they’re still just a presence, plenty navies in the area (or one in particular) could still take them out and as it stands that would be a massive loss as a percentage. We’re not there to fight wars, we’re there to wave the flag and work with allies etc, nothing more serious.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
14 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

Exactly this.

Waiting for the 5 inch gun brigade again on OPV’s.

Dern
Dern
14 days ago

Only a 5 inch? It’s not really a gun unless it’s at least a BL-15in MkI!

john melling
john melling
14 days ago
Reply to  Dern

I would prefer a peg gun, spud gun, and tennis ball launcher to be fitted ASAP 😂 

Tommo
Tommo
14 days ago

Changing crews every 5 weeks does the Navy get homesick not seasick now hardly routine team building Bost and Cost were longer than that as ror 5inch wasn’t it the Nubian to be armed with that calibre a one off ?

Airborne
Airborne
14 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

Nothing wrong with rotating crews, as im sure they will be back again, on and off. The RN knows how to make an effort at looking after its people, but more importantly, keeping them. These OPVs are decent little assets, ideal for what the RN will use them for, but its still quite a small ship and being on it for 9 months or more would be a little head banging methinks.

Dern
Dern
14 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

Just ask anyone who’s been stuck in a FOB without RnR for anything approaching six months.

Tommo
Tommo
14 days ago
Reply to  Dern

We had R and R in the 80ts on the Stenna Navy Party 2010 all that meant was that we got 5 working days off for a 120 day draft wasn’t a lot to do down the Falklands in winter

Tommo
Tommo
14 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

We use to deploy for 9 months on Hunts with a 2 week ship shut down half way through prior to having a permanent base in the gulf 3 Hunts 9 months with the RFA Dilliegence as mother ship

Lord Adams
Lord Adams
14 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

Well we only have 10 ships and probably 40000 sailors who have never been to sea.

Tommo
Tommo
12 days ago
Reply to  Lord Adams

And extensive lengths of apron strings it’s not as if once you deploy your out of sight and mind . With all personnel able too WhatsApp, Facebook, etc all we had was Blueies thank the lord they didn’t need stamps.

Dern
Dern
14 days ago
Reply to  dave12

… given that a River can spend 250days a year at sea?
Seems like a pretty good thing to have for presence missions.

Steve M
Steve M
14 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Yeh but as it states part of role is anti-piracy, smuggling etc, it cannot see beyond hozion, couldn’t catch anything more than a Dhow. slightly larger vessel as i mentioned above can carry a Wildcat & Scan Eagle as well as something like CB90 which would give it alot more credibility to actual Navies (scare crap out of pirates) and ability to deliver aid after storms etc rather than to try and impress on the Ambassadors cocktail circut thats what the BOJO Yacht is for.

Dern
Dern
14 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

River B2 can carry both Wildcat and Scan Eagle, in fact it’s flight deck can carry a Merlin. It doesn’t have CB90 true, but carries 2 RHIBs. As for Pirates, a Martlet armed Wildcat or a 30mm is enough to scare the crap out of them. Hence why the B2’s have taken over ATP(N), successfully I’ll add. And unlike a single Frigate (which is currently all we could hope to deploy), 2 River OPV’s will be able to cover the area every day of the year, as opposed to less than half which a Frigate would do (not to mention… Read more »

Last edited 14 days ago by Dern
Steve M
Steve M
14 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Wilcat/merlin can land but with no hanger to enable maintenace wouldn’t last long before going U/S, Scan Eagle/Blackjack would greatly enhance.

Dern
Dern
14 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

If only they where operating in the region of allied bases where the maintenance could be carried out when required….

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
14 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

“carrying out security patrols to deal with drug-running, smuggling, terrorism and other illegal activities,”

While I see no need for any serious up arming of these, if they are to undertake the roles stated a helicopter, UAV and most of all RM with fast boats so they can actually board vessels are needed, surely?

Where are they?

It mentions RM on a temp basis to help with evacuation/HADR only.

Andy P
Andy P
14 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

I’ve said it before on here but those slagging the 30 mil maybe haven’t seen one let rip. They’re no pop gun.

Steve M
Steve M
14 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

not dissing the gun, but unless the target is within surface radar range (20Miles?) it will never find it

Andy P
Andy P
14 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

These aren’t high end warships with over the horizon weapons capability. They’re a reasonably large (for accommodation/sea keeping/stores/spare capacity/and yeah, probably cock and arse parties) OPV vessel that can stay on station with reduced inboard support for long periods. Part of that is because they’re more ‘low end’. These vessels aren’t really there to lead the charge, they’re there to support small nations, train with allies and wave the flag. Yeah, there will be the ‘cock and arse’ parties, shmoozing etc and all done relatively cheaply. Any serious ‘enemy’ will gub them but that’s not what these vessels are there… Read more »

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
14 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

30mm is optically directed anyway with THIM, TV and laser range finding. The THIM can surface scan

Tams
Tams
14 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

Even quite bigger ships wouldn’t have the capability to see much further. So why bother with anything bigger?

I onow ‘dream navies’ are a thing in these comments, but be realistic for once.

Steve M
Steve M
14 days ago
Reply to  Tams

a larger ship with a hanger can have a land and support a clever invention called a helicopter which can see/patrol much bigger area much quicker than a 20kt boat provide intelligence and observations its not rocket science or dream navy just simple fact. example look at what the Israels fit in the same size boat (Sa’ar 6-class corvette) not saying exactly the same but even 1/3 of the fit would be a step up?

Last edited 14 days ago by Steve M
Dern
Dern
14 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

Someone is confusing the Batch 1’s with the Batch 2’s….
If it’s not rocket science you’ll have no problems replying to everyone else who has picked your logic apart though.

Steve M
Steve M
14 days ago
Reply to  Dern

i have never mentioned B1’s? as to yopur response re friendly bases yes they could be while they are sailing back to a port to get the helo fixed they wouldn’t be doing much ‘patrolling’ they have the pad but only use for visits hence why there is an RFA in Windies as well as a B2 it’s carrying the Helo / relief supplies. It is just my opinion the the B2’s configuration is fine for UK waters but i feel they should have been improved Hanger etc if being sent further a field.

Dern
Dern
14 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

You keep listing stats for the B1’s, allow me to explain: If you are confusing B1’s with B2’s you don’t actually have to mention the B1’s, you just have to conflate what they are with the B2’s. Oh and I’m not referring to myself, I’m talking about your habit of ignoring a lot of posters here. As for a hangar, yes they would be nice, no they are not necessary to carry a helicopter, you can maintain a helicopter on a helipad. Yes for not as long, but it’s not just “for visits.” And yes, you can do a lot… Read more »

Steve M
Steve M
14 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Dern, confused what stats have i listed for B1’s? I don’t ignore other posters i try obviously just express my reasoning, I AGREE the avaialability of the 2 is better than 1 frigate and i never we should send frigates, just would have like to have seen the Rivers with slightly better spec/facilites. I don’t how long a Wildcat would stay fully serviceable sat expose on the back (will let someone with better knowledge explain to me) but unless they can still carry lot of spares if it go u?S (non flyable) then its a crane it off at docks… Read more »

Dern
Dern
13 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

Well for starters the speed? 20knts is the speed of a River B1, B2’s are considerably faster, pushing the listed speed for a type 23. I’ve even corrected you earlier in this thread already. BTW you think I can’t scroll up to see the multiple posts you’ve decided not to respond to because (I assume) you have no answer for them? Question, if you want to put better spec on the Rivers, what do you cut to fund them since it ‘s so vital? And why would you need to crane it off at a dock? If you’re in dock… Read more »

Steve M
Steve M
13 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Oh Ok didn’t realise were playing Top Trumps, I stand corrected as i didn’t realise the B2’s patrolled at top speed 24/7,I doubt they patrol at 20kts either but it was an easy (well to me) example of how much area the ship will cover patrolling while limited to surface radar range of approx 20miles compared with Helo or drone travelling at 80Kts, of course all our allies carry spares for Wildcat & Merlins all over Indo pacific, so can just pop into port pick-up an engine, and sail off, bet the techs will love changing an engine on open… Read more »

Andy P
Andy P
14 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

The Israeli corvettes are playing in a much smaller playground and designed for a different role. We’re not sending these OPV’s out into the world to be ‘the new sheriff in town’.

Dern
Dern
13 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

You also need to look at the Israeli force structure, remind me what ships do the Israeli’s maintain that are larger than the Sa-ar 6’s?

Tommo
Tommo
1 hour ago
Reply to  Steve M

And at 20mls you’d have to close the range pretty damn quick PDQ if you want to engage with a 30mm great weapon used and maintained them for 3 and a half yrs used to fly down from Rosyth to do trials for Sandown class 30ts

Tommo
Tommo
14 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

Twin or single use to maintain them and yeah they can kick out some SxxT as long as the barrels are fully rammed home and locked .Did see a single 30ts barrel go flying during OP Granby taskforce 321.1 someone didn’t do pre firing checks naughty

Tommo
Tommo
14 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

River class and that’s what they should patrol because I can’t see the Chinese being worried unless we go up the yangzee

Lord Adams
Lord Adams
14 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

I think the royal navy has learnt it’s not how big or advanced your guns are it’s how long you can be on patrol. If they get 300 days out of them a year that a lot of crossover more and if there cheaper to run good too. I can’t imagine that we will be launching cruise missiles at pirates and we generally know where the pirates hang out. I think it’s a good idea and of we have allies nearby they may enhance our abilities. I am not sure why rotations are so short having a new crew every… Read more »

Deep32
Deep32
14 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Exactly mate, given that we get 2×300 sea days per year out of these units compared with 120-180 for a frigate at less then half its running costs has got to be win win for team UK at the moment.
In an ideal world we would probably like to have a Pacific fleet again -2xT26,2x T45 and supporting RFA units. That’s not achievable any time soon, perhaps never, so small steps., let’s fly the flag again, be seen, where we haven’t really for several decades….

Dern
Dern
14 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

True, but while a pair of Rivers might be fine to support without a fixed base, task force built around several high end frigates and destroyers would need to spend more than half the year in a port….which means a home base is needed.

Deep32
Deep32
14 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Absolutely, costs for a fleet even a small one would be high. Probably never achievable on any scale, so the best we could expect is a frigate when T31 comes along.

Steve M
Steve M
13 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

who mentioned fleets & high end warships? you can fit a lot more capability into a 90M/ 2000T ship (B2 not B1) with regards aviation etc which make it a lot more effective in roles stated. That is all i have said, the Sa’aR 6 was just an example of what can be done in the size, not a statement saying we need that capability in small ships.

Deep32
Deep32
13 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

Not entirely sure this was meant for me was it?

Tams
Tams
14 days ago
Reply to  dave12

Maybe, but this is going from one permanent presence to having something there.

And we don’t really want something that would be a big loss there. We can’t spare any frigates or destroyers. And besides, if there were a conflict we got involved in there, what good would one or two do for the couple of weeks it would take to send a task force over?

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
15 days ago

According to Navy Lookout each ship has 65 people assigned to the core crew in a 3 ‘watch’ system. Two watches are on board to provide the minimum crew requirement with the third on 5 weeks home leave, training etc. It seems that this is a very popular rotation system and highlights the Royal Navy’s embracing of innovative solutions. Also, the lack of a fixed base has advantages mostly political in that there is no need for long term defence agreements. What is more a fixed base might actually limit the ability of the vessels to ‘roam’ the huge operational… Read more »

Simon
Simon
14 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

As someone posted, a popular posting for crew. See the world and flown in and out after 10 weeks. It is UK soft power , build relationships gather intelligence. It could work really well.

Airborne
Airborne
14 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Agreed, great example of the RN utilising its assets and people correctly. They have learned how to keep people!

Peter S
Peter S
14 days ago

Navy Lookout has a longer quote from the RN on this mission. One of its core purposes is to advertise clotted cream and gin!!

DRS
DRS
14 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

🙂 and whiskey (HMS Spey) – maybe some of this Spey River – Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky – Spey River Whisky. But I think that just a throw away sentence and a bit of PR which is largely what is main mission parameter. Unless clotted cream can freeze and be sent out every 5 weeks with new crew 🙂

Cripes
Cripes
14 days ago

What a myriad number of unlokely tasks and justifications dreamt up for this deployment! Can’t actually do much on piracy and drug running as no over horizon situational awareness, due to no helicopter. Most unlikely to impress anyone having canapés on a little patrol vessel with one deck gun and anyway no one does business like that these days. What sort of ‘soft power’ can we possibly project with what is essentially a gun boat, virtually every Indo Pac maritime nation has larger and better armed minor and major warships. Biggest danger is that the R2s can’t protect themselves if… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
14 days ago
Reply to  Cripes

“What sort of ‘soft power’ can we possibly project” Soft power is not about how big or how heavily armed something is. Look up the UK’s relationship with Oman as an example, with few assets in country but vital in their roles out of all proportion to their size. “virtually every Indo Pac maritime nation has larger and better armed minor and major warships” None of which are permanently in European waters, and thus not engaging with anybody, the whole point. “cringing paintwork on the Boris Voyager” Describing the flag of what I assume is your nation in that manner… Read more »

Tams
Tams
14 days ago
Reply to  Cripes

1. That’s not how soft power works.

2. The British armed forces do not having the equipment or personnel for such a deployment without neglecting commitments elsewhere.

We aren’t the US and never can be militarily without causing immense domestic issues. So we have to do things differently.

Airborne
Airborne
14 days ago
Reply to  Cripes

Wow what a sad tenious link to add in the boring BREXIT theme once more. And I see by your post you actualy have zero understanding of the term soft power.

David Steeper
David Steeper
14 days ago

Is it just me or is the best cure for reading about the disaster that is Army procurement reading about what the Navy’s up to. Heart rate returning to normal overwhelming fury and despair disappearing.

Dern
Dern
14 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Just don’t pay attention to the Armchair Admirals though….

David Steeper
David Steeper
14 days ago
Reply to  Dern

But 32 cell VLS and 127mm guns and double hangers on Tugs makes sense !

Dern
Dern
14 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

But what happens if SD Northern River needs to fight off the entire Chinese Navy at once!

SD_Northern_River_(7901319836).jpg
David Steeper
David Steeper
14 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Ah well you see if they’d listened to me it would have been 10,000 tonnes and equipped with a plasma inducer deathray. But what can you expect from the fools ‘responsible’ for our defence.

Tams
Tams
14 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Nonsense! I’ll put up with nothing short of a two carrier force permanently based east of Suez!

We’ll have a fleet of 22 type 26s, 16 type 45s (upgraded of course), 2 QEs, and we’ll get in on Babcock’s South Korean bid for the extra two carriers!

Wollaston
Wollaston
14 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Perhaps the navy could loan some project managers to the army…..

David Steeper
David Steeper
14 days ago
Reply to  Wollaston

They’re busy !
  :wpds_cool: 

John N
John N
14 days ago

Ok, so two OPVs, no single home base, five year deployment? Yes? What could possibly go wrong? So let’s assume that the two wandering ‘floaters’ will probably stay based in the one location for at least three to six months at a time, then move to the next base and so on for five years. Those bases could be anywhere in the Indo-Pacific, lets say they spend some time here in northern Australia, at the PB bases in Darwin or Cairns, land based accomodation would need to be provided for the crew and the big one would be all the… Read more »

Dern
Dern
14 days ago
Reply to  John N

They already do this with HMS Medway in the Caribbean, if the dramas where deal breaking the RN would have learned that was the case already.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
14 days ago
Reply to  John N

The crew live onboard. If you go shoreside you lose sea pay and other allowances and Jack and Jenny do like their beer tokens… Maintenance isn’t an issue Montrose, the Gulf MCMV vessels and Bay class use civilian ship repair yards when they need to. You fly out specialists when needed and use in country expertise. There is very little on the mechanical, Hull or electrical front that a Ship repair yard cannot do. It’s mostly weapon systems that need experts to come and visit. I have managed work on RFA and RN ships involving engine changes, genset changes, top… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
14 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Got to say you’re doing sterling work on these explanations and rebuttals.

Airborne
Airborne
14 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Love it, love the GB interventions.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
14 days ago

Well there goes the speculation that Sembawang would be the home base.

Deep32
Deep32
14 days ago

Yes, but, they will need some form of engineering support during maintenance cycles, whilst in theory it can be any port, I’m sure that there will be some that are more attractive to conduct such tasks in, Sembawang being one of them perhaps?

Andy P
Andy P
14 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

How I take it too (without looking into it), there will be ‘main’ temporary base ports and ‘secondary’ temporary base ports as they flit around doing their thing, especially their more political thang. It would make sense to have infrastructure at a couple of points (maybe even one) and fly what’s required out as required.

Not a criticism before anyone tries to read some into that.

Deep32
Deep32
14 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

Yes, makes sense. I think we could all name 7-8 ports spread around that we might consider as ‘main’. But as @GB points out above, any where will suffice for the more mundane/basic stuff I expect. I just like the idea of some ‘main’ ones if at all possible.

Billythefish
Billythefish
14 days ago

Great idea – it’s the start of something positive I think.

Fantastic training and development opportunity for the Officers and Crews of these vessels.

Also good they are not ”home based” in a port. Better to work with the local allies across the region rather than put eggs in one basket.

A decent repair and maintenance, and stores ship would be a useful addition to the flotilla as well but lets see..

Ahms
Ahms
14 days ago

I’m sure the Chinese and Russians are quaking in their boots at the sight of these magnificent warships. Excuse my sarcasm but I think a couple of patrol vessels like these are going to have limited utility in the Pacific. A couple of type 23 frigates would be better in this role (I know we don’t have any to spare) in my opinion.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
14 days ago
Reply to  Ahms

Of course they won’t be. But they are not meant to be quaking either, as they are OPV’s.

They won’t be quaking at 1 RGR in Brunei either but that does not mean the OPV’s do not have usefulness at what they are for.

As for frigates, I think some the T31’s may be forward based in due course. 1SL suggested such.

Andy P
Andy P
14 days ago

And as and when they do I’m sure the same arguments will resurface about not enough guns and missiles.  😞 

For some it seems to ALL about the guns and missiles.

Richard Perou
Richard Perou
14 days ago

What a complete and utterly waste of money. I think that the slogan ‘Global Britain’ gives the clue. It’s part of the Imperial fantasies of the current government.

Frank62
Frank62
11 days ago

“Warships?” No AA, CIWS or SAMs, nothing to engage other ships beyond 3000m & even then only pea shooters & machine guns, no ASW capability & no embarked chopper. Any corvette, frigate or even fast missile boat would blow them out of the water with anti ship missiles or their medium guns, or aircraft/choppers with missiles, or subs with torpedoes before our Rivers got anywhere near close enough to do slight superficial damage. It’s a bit like sending a bicycle with a handlebar basket instead of a van to do a house move.