The Royal Navy say it has kept a close eye on Russian ships off the Scottish coast after an intelligence vessel and tanker took shelter in the Moray Firth.

The Royal Navy say that HMS Tyne has been monitoring the actions of intelligence-gathering vessel Viktor Leonov and her supporting tanker Sergey Osipov which have been sailing around the Moray Firth.

The Portsmouth-based warship’s tasking falls under Defence Task One – protecting the territorial integrity of the United Kingdom.

In that role she has been observing the Russian vessels as they sheltered from Storm Aiden and carried out replenishment operations, before the Osipov left UK waters.

“It was apparent these two ships were making use of the shelter from the high winds and inclement seas of Storm Aiden, and Tyne remained close by to monitor their activity,” said Lieutenant Justin Shirtcliff, the ship’s operations officer.

“HMS Tyne and her sailors remain ready for short-notice tasking, whatever the weather, wherever the task.”


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Not quite HMS Norfolk shadowing the Bismarck, is it?


The sad thing is that even a couple of Fairey Swordfish now would do more harm to them than anything else in the RN surface fleet? Or what other anti-ship weapon would we use against them if they were naughty? Do we have any land-based weapon system to point at them, any old French Exocets in the Falklands confiscated locker? – I suspect not?


…and where is Kenneth Moore when you need him?


or Dan Dare! Or even Dixon of Dock Green!!


Ah halcyon days. My Dad always maintained that Doxen of Dick Green was the most realistic of the police dramas. As for Dan Dare….my Dad always got to read the Eagle first….then my older brother then me. Cracking comic and a cut above the others. I understand that the Mekon is now employed as an advisor to the PM at No 10 😀


Beano, dandy and trebor chews!


I got the Dandy… brother got the Beano. I always felt superior as the Dandy was a broadsheet whilst the Beano was a tabloid. My sister got the Bunty….we read that too. My favourite was the three Mary’s…. I fancied all of them 😜


I don’t think the Swordfish would get close enough because that spy ship has a CIWS and SAMs. However a couple of Typhoons from Lossie would clean their clock.



It’s just the lack of actual anti-ship stuff on our actual “Navy” that bugs me. Also given that all our air assets are so concentrated into so few aerodromes, maybe a few dispersed land-based/mobile long(ish) range anti-ship missile batteries would at least show our intentions to defend these shores – even in “peace time.” The whole ELINT gathering thing is not to be underestimated as a threat.

Robert Blay

We still have Harpoon in service, Martel on our Wildcats, Spearfish Torpedoes from nuclear submarines. Spear 3 will have a anti ship capability. But at the end of the day, we don’t need to point big expensive missiles at a couple of spy vessels. Rules of engagement would prevent the use of land based systems in all but full on invasion. And that will only happen in Tom Clancy novels 😄


Interesting seeing the links to info on Brimstone yesterday and the work to make it not only longer range and better generally but making it a land/shore and sea based system too. Now how would that compare to Martlet on a ship I assume or a snore battery even, the Martlet is a much cheaper and less capable option for a start I presume. Both lightweight against anything very large is a given too but certainly a salvo of Brimstone at even moderate sized vessels esp with its extreme accuracy against soft spots wouldn’t be much fun for the target… Read more »

Robert Blay

Yes, Martlet is at the lower end of cost and capability, but could still seriously spoil someone’s day, and would be very effective against fast attack vessels, and smaller warships. In this day and age, it’s more about disabling a warship, rather then blowing it to kingdom come. And these smaller but very accurate weapons are just the job. Spearfish on the other hand, is more like a underwater cruise missile, then a conventional torpedo. 👍

Supportive Bloke

Those massive Soviet era intel ships are not really needed anymore. Sure a bigger antennae generally gives more sensitivity but TBH you could collect most of the data with a compact aerial small head amp, usb a->d converter and a laptop. Or a few mods to the top of a camper van lid if you wanted the surface area. And that could be fitted to a car or a girl in a B&B’s ruck sack. Or more likely a discreet trawler from somewhere not to obvious. As it is all passive there is nothing to give the slurp away. The… Read more »


And a bit of poison in a perfume bottle…

it does not matter what they do, you know they are a bunch of barstewards.

Andy P

Maybe worth pointing out that submarines are also used for this kind of stuff and nobody notices…..

Sending surface vessels is more of a statement though.


If you want raw RF data thats all well and good. However if you want to develop a picture of the electronic order of battle, comms and data nodes, process and procedures you need a vessel that can carry all the gear and a few Analysts to interpret it.
The RN does most of this type of stuff using Subs and FF/DD vessels. For the surface ships anything of particular interest goes straight back to the UK over the SATCOM for further investigation in near real time.

Supportive Bloke

All true.

My real point was that this is just an in-your-face calling card.


Agreed. The assertion that gunnery isn’t important in surface warfare with modern AShMs falls apart when you gap AShMs & fit frigates with smaller guns than any enemy will carry.


The RN isnt the only one to gap Anti Ship Missiles . Most of the USN AB Destroyers don’t have any Anti Ship Missiles.Flight 1 AB’s have missiles but no Helo so the over the horizon targeting capability is a limited
Standard 6 will bring back an Anti Ship Capability and the modernisation of Tomahawk to a full anti ship spec will also help.


Just to be clear folks: my comments are really just a bit tongue-in-cheek so don’t take too literally. However, there is a serious background point about lack of ant-ship stuff, as well as the “symbolic” stationing of spy ships on our coast safe in the knowledge that we have nothing shore-based or on ships that could give them a nasty day. Its the difference between going on a holiday cruise, or somewhere where there is a feasible possibility (albeit remotely) of getting hurt, which may make them less inclined to do it.


I have some photos at home in my collection of HMS Norfolk engaging the Bismark, (Admiralty photos original with censor comments) also one of Rodney in action with Bismarck dated 06/06/41 taken from KGV. Now they were guns that would cause chaos and destruction out to 20000 yrds. A 30mm pop gun ah well.

Alan Reid

Hi Ron
Yes, one could argue that it was the big 16 inch guns of Rodney that sank the Bismarck – and not the guns of the KGV.


Always loved the Rodney/Nelson despite being quite old at the time to me they looked like the most modern looking and powerful battleships in the navy and Certainly packed a punch as long as they weren’t moving away from the opposition with their unusual turret formats. The PofW and KGV were problematic to say the least with their compromises and 4 gun turrets which while a good idea on paper, to save tonnage for where it was needed, were far from successful in practice from what I read at least early on.

Last edited 3 months ago by Spyinthesky

I believe I read once that Nelson & Rodney suffered with weight issues throughout their lives due to the strange turret layout. Still very valuable as the most modern battleships in RN service on the outbreak of war though.

I forget, did the KGV class have 14inch guns due to the Washington Naval Treaty which the Germans and Japanese completely ignored by fielding 16inch turrets instead? Or was it another consideration involving production or the ships design?


Rodney and Nelson (what names to conjure with) were built to conform to Washington Naval Treaty limitations….so the compromises meant that they ended up being rather slow…about 22 kits with a following wind. Not sure about KGV class……an odd size gun at 14”. The turret arrangement of 3 x 4 guns proved top heavy and B turret had to be replaced with a two gun turret…..looked rather odd.



john melling

Upgrade the gun and add MARTLET or BRIMSTONE and HMS Tyne and others of class may look a bit more scary ;P

But good to see them doing what they are tasked with!


I’m curious, bearing in mind SSN’s are in short supply, AShM’s are also a dwindling sight on the RN’s surface fleet and Martlet/Sea Venom are firecrackers intended for opponents in the speedboat – corvette range, as it stands does the Typhoon fleet have any anti capability to add to the mix?

Aside from strafing with the cannon could Paveway target a vessel? Presumably dumb bombs (if any were available) would be too inaccurate and require a very low flyby.

Paul T

The Italian’s have integrated MARTE-ER on the Typhoon, not knowing of any specific differences between theirs and the RAF examples but it’s an option that’s not likely to be taken up here.


Paveway is laser or GPS guided so yes you could use it but it’s still a dumb bomb with a guidance system so not going to be a stand off weapon


The answer is nothing. There is no weapon available besides Harpoon on a frigate which has a reliable chance of sinking these ships at acceptable range. With an interim anti-ship buy, air launched from typhoons must be a capability.


Good morning Gents from a wet and chilly(17 deg!) Durban. Enjoyable and informative comments but I suppose at the end of the day the Tyne is doing what she was designed for-keeping an eye out. Despite some frosty rhetoric on both sides of the fence we are very much in a peacetime setting so the Batch 1 OPV is very much fit for purpose with her 20mm(not 30mm Ron)


I would prefer to commission a home fleet of diesel electric coastal submarines for this monitoring work – much more useful assets than surface tin cans.

They can pack some lightweight torpoedoes and be used all around the North Sea and Western Approaches….

Always more worrying for the enemy to be shadowed by an asset they cannot see…

Graham Haxell

Time to send HMS Victory out to ruffle their feathers!