HMS Dragon, a Type 45 Destroyer, has entered the Black Sea despite Russian warnings that it is ‘tracking the movements of the British warship’.

State media have reported that Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is tracking HMS Dragon after the vessel entered the Black Sea.

“The Black Sea Fleet’s forces and capabilities have started to track the UK Navy’s destroyer Dragon that entered the Black Sea on October 4, 2020.”

Use of the Black Sea by non-Black Sea states is limited by the Montreux Convention but it allows warships from outside powers to remain in the body of water for 21 days.

HMS Dragon’s main role as a Type 45 Destroyer is air defence and providing protection to other ships by detecting and neutralising enemy threats with the Sea Viper anti-air missile system.

Back in 2018, sister ship HMS Duncan was swarmed by 17 Russian jets in the Black Sea. Footage from a documentary showed the moment HMS Duncan was swarmed by 17 Russian jets as she led a NATO fleet through the Black Sea earlier this year.

The footage formed part of a four-part Channel 5 documentary called Warship: Life at Sea. This documentary premiered on the 26th of November at 9pm (GMT) on Channel 5, more information on the documentary can be found here.

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Harry Bulpit

Nothing unusual we track Russian ships all thr time. However, why is their a restriction on how long can be spent in the black sea? Surely as parts of it would fall under international water their should be no such restrictions.

Harry Bulpit

Thanks for the link.


Interesting question, it sent me down a rabbit hole! The montreaux convention was ratified in 1936 at the request of Turkey, through which the only Mediterranean access to the Black Sea runs through (the Dardanelles and Bosphorous Straits). At the time, there were bans on Turkey fortifying this very strategic prime piece of real estate. Due to the expansionist/colonialist policies of fascist Italy at the time, and the general re-armament of the European powers, Turkey felt that this ban was unreasonable. So, they had a meeting, presided over by the League of Nations. The Soviet Union was the only major… Read more »

Andy P

Thank you for the breakdown Joe, it wasn’t a treaty I was familiar with and for me, your abridged version is more than sufficient. Mad that its not been tweaked since 1936 eh ?


The Turks are looking at building a canal in which to bypass the Montreaux convention


Neither had I, but Harry’s question made me think! Military history and international politics are two great interests of mine, so down the rabbit hole I went!
I know what you mean by the longevity of it! Apparently, the terms were originally agreed that slightly disadvantaged the western allies (not NATO at that time, of course) to keep Turkey sweet and not push them towards Hitler’s rising Germany. I wonder how much appeasement of Turkey has prevented any tweaks in the last 90 years?

Harry Bulpit

Interesting. Although you’d think at a time of war convention be dammed. Surely the Turkish would just sink the any enemy vessel.


Yes, I’m sure you’re right. They’re not supposed to have emplaced defences along the straits, but I’m sure they do, and these days their aircraft and drones would make short work of any vessels trying to pass. My understanding is that the only big player on the Black Sea side is/was the USSR/Russia, and they got around some of the prohibitions on tonnage transmitting the straits by labelling their aircraft carriers “aircraft cruisers” because of all the ASMs they packed. I guess we’ve never felt the need to tweak the nose of the bear by breaking the treaty, and thankfully… Read more »


Random tangents, it’s what I do!

Brian Richard

It’s just Russia coughing at the presence of an RN Destroyer. Pay no attentiin to it.

Last edited 4 months ago by Brian Richard

Bet that is a terrific posting for the crew


Much better training than simulations and exercises. Genuinely high octane stuff if the Russians buzz the ship with many aircraft.


It seems the Babcock Rosyth facility will be capable of building 2 Type 31s at the same time, so I can’t see a duplicate in England.

Barry Larking

Agree. By the time the third vessel is being constructed the design will be obsolete at this pace.

Levi Goldsteinberg

Where did Albion and Lyme Bay disappear off to? I thought they were supposed to be joining Dragon


I guess we don’t to be more ‘provocative’ with sending more vessels that could be seen as a task force. DRAGON is making the point, we dont need a an assault ship(s) manned to the gunwales with bootnecks do we as well.


Both are to heavy to go into the Black Sea and still comply with the treaty. It specifically limits the number of and size of ships entering the area from countries who don’t have Black Sea coastlines.

It’s a bit of an archaic treaty but its done its job over the years.


Interesting. Like others here, l knew nothing about the treaty. If it keeps unnecessary and unwarranted provocation or whatever you want to label it, in the Black Sea then so be it. Not our domain so to speak!

John Clark

Probably Crete, it’s the usual drop off point for NATO warships.


The US is stationing a ship at Crete, a landing ship.


To my knowledge, Dragon has never had Harpoon fitted and neither has Defender. Still, I agree all 6 of our 45s should have AShM fitted. I know their primary role is anti-air but for a relatively small investment, they can be much more versatile especially given how few escort hulls we have and the fact that it looks certain the 45s will never see the Mk41 VLS option fitted.


I agree, it only needs a handful of launchers for anti-ship missiles as it is not its primary role but it would be helpful for its own self defence and for an emergency role in defending other fleet ships. I also think the carrier’s should have this capability as it could be very useful. They do not even have to carry them most of the time…


I thought the 4 systems ripped off T22 B3s were shared between all 6 T45 hulls ?
Having said that, there are an unsual number of T45s at sea at the moment; maybe the Harpoons are assigned to protecting Big Lizzie..


Just looked at the pictures of the British Carrier Strike Group; dont see Harpoon on Defender or Diamond either. Maybe despite this discussion of a LIFEex they’ve already been quitely retired. 8000 ton ships with almost no armament. Thank heavens only one Arleigh Burke is there; its embarassing…


Hi Geoff,

You are absolutely right; 4 sets came off the retired T22s but Dragon and Defender never had any fitted whereas the other 45s have had them installed at various times. Look very closely at the latest pictures from the QE battlegroup – Diamond has the launch rails fitted but no missile canisters on deck; Defender has neither. I agree with you that the 45s are anemic in their weapons fit compared to peer navies – especially the Arleigh Burkes. Some things never change unfortunately…

Daniele Mandelli

Not by my understanding. I thought they went to 4 of the 6 only.

Paul T

I too thought that the Four Systems were Rotated around the Six Ships as and when they are deployed.Maybe it is the case that only Four of them have the Capability to mount the Harpoon Launchers.


Russia will always try and flex its muscle in these situations they’ve been doing it for years… The Russians are like the big bully’s mouthy mate… All talk and flash but when it comes down too it… They aren’t as superior as they would like us too think… They thought they could bully what it believed too be a weak Afghanistany people… But the kept getting turned over by the muj and the like.. The Russians like to let us think they are strong and unpredictable…they often love too give displays of military might…they are just all front and snakey… Read more »


How is “we’re tracking you” a warning? Don’t they track all ships in the Black Sea like NATO forces track all ships in their areas?


Yup, but we don’t make a song and dance about it. We just turn up stay a safe (navigationally) distance from the ship we are shadowing, have a little chit chat over the radio to say what we are doing, ask who they are and what they are up to and then wave good bye at the edge of our area of interest. We might handover to another NATO navy if the Russians are transitting on through Holland’s area of interest, for example. All very professional and polite. The Russian’s and Chinese on the other hand can get a bit… Read more »

Brian Richard

We do essentially the same thing with drones possing as Commercial Airplane, with their transponders.

Brian Richard

We already do sonething, we switch on our targeting radar, for our ship to air missles. You should see then “bug out”, in a hurry.

Jonathan Collins

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander!


Possibly this time Dragon could power up its radars to max and see is it really does damage aircraft electronics. I know about this treaty, in someways if was an attempt by Western Europe to resolve the issues of Russian desires on the Dardanelles. Or where some West European wanted control because of their alliance with Russia or some did not want others to have control because they saw Russia as a threat. The ammount of wars that have been started or extended be that regional or global due to control of the Dardanelles is mind blowing. All because Russia… Read more »


More like another vic of Blackjacks and Bears, maybe escorted by Flankers and Foxhounds, approaching Scotland. To be met again by Lossiemouth’s finest..




Any missiles that could be launched by Russia would almost definitely be coastal/air launched.