The Royal Navy vessel HMS Tamar visited Darwin this week after the successful completion of her first deployment in the Indo-Asia Pacific as part of Britain’s permanent naval presence in the region.

HMS Tamar is permanently deployed to the Indo-Pacific region alongside her sister ship HMS Spey.

HMS Tamar visited the Northern Territory briefly for crew rotation, before continuing her permanent deployment in the region say the Ministry of Defence in a press release.

The Ministry of Defence say here that over the course of their five-year deployment, HMS TAMAR and sister ship SPEY plan to work with allies and partners across the region and plan to visit countries from Australia to Japan, and Fiji to Singapore.

“Since deploying in September 2021, Tamar and her sister ship Spey have travelled 25,000 nautical miles to Columbia, through the Panama Canal, transiting along the US West coast and into the region via Hawaii. Some of the highlights of Tamar’s operations include:

  • In January Tamar patrolled the East China Sea to conduct monitoring and surveillance against illicit maritime activities, including ship-to-ship transfers with North Korean-flagged vessels prohibited by the United Nations Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs). This activity served to ensure that commitments to demilitarization is adhered to in the Democratic people’s Republic of Korea and ensure Rules Based International Security is upheld.
  • In February Tamar took part in Exercise Bersama Shield with the Five Powers Defence Arrangements (FPDA) nations (UK, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand and Australia). This multi-national exercise which took place in Singapore and Malaysia included a range of exercises which demonstrated the interoperability and cooperative response of the five nations and their commitment to security in the region.
  • In March Tamar joined the Royal Brunei Navy Warship KDB DARULEHSAW for a passage exercise off Brunei, highlighting the continuation of relationship building in the region.

Highlights from HMS Spey’s operations include the following:

  • In January, the Ship came to the aid of the Tongan Government following the Hunga-Tonga volcanic eruption and tsunami, delivering humanitarian supplies and supporting repair work to communications infrastructure.
  • In February Spey deployed a medical team to deliver Covid booster vaccinations and dental treatment to the people of the Pitcairn Islands. The ship’s company also visited Fiji and Papua New Guinea, carrying out engagements with the military, government leaders and local communities.
  • Spey has also worked with regional partners to carry out environmental and hydrographic surveys as well as water sampling, contributing to studies on climate change. One of the greenest ships in the Royal Navy, Spey also carried out important Marine Bio-diversity taskings.
  • It has been an exciting time for the ship and crew where they have opened new relationships, strengthened others, delivered essential aid to countries in need and helped deter illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. The ship has worked with a number of maritime forces in the region including; the US Coast Guard, US Navy, Royal Australian Navy, Royal New Zealand Navy, Republic of Fiji Navy, Royal Brunei Navy and Indonesian Navy.

Alongside the Royal Navy, the British Army and Royal Air Force regularly conduct exercises and operations with partners and allies, underlining the UK’s joint commitment to security and stability in the Indo-Asia Pacific.”

You can read more on this here.

George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. He also works for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Martin
Martin
2 months ago

Have to wonder given the limitations of these ships what kind of utility or training can they provide to HMG or regional Allie’s. Nice to have forward based presence and these ships are vital in less contested areas such as the south Atlantic or Carribean but in the Indo pacific? Possibly forward basing in the pacific islands and re establishing presence there might serve as a counter to China but can’t see much else.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
2 months ago
Reply to  Martin

I’ve mentioned within the last few days that the RN’s ‘official’ newspaper, Navy News, shows an artist impression of T31 integrated into UK CSG. Additionally, it was clearly toting cannister anti-ship missiles. A mute statement of future considerations by the RN, as security deteriorates? Logical, not to mention always the intention if unit numbers don’t multiply sufficiently rapidly, I and many others would hazard. To date, the T31 has been promulgated for the River B2 role, as you know. But the latter are themselves downgraded corvettes, for want if a better classification – at 2000 tonnes, median naval survival rating,… Read more »

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
2 months ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Admitted 25 knots !

David Steeper
David Steeper
2 months ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

That’s very interesting about 31’s and CSG. You could well be right about what that would mean for the B2’s and either a longer life for B1’s or even a batch 3.

Sean
Sean
2 months ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Actually one of the reasons why they cost so much is that the RN took the original Amazonas corvette design and required that design’s survivability be UPRATED compared to the original. Specifically these included enhanced magazine protection, improved hull integrity, fire safety modifications, and greater system redundancy.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
2 months ago
Reply to  Sean

Mm, at the very least they’re potential convoy escorts. Starting to consider the boring logistics aspects.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 months ago
Reply to  Martin

Not everything involves the Ops room Warfighting on a RN ship. In addition to the article Other things you end up doing: Navigation training using old school charts or modern Electronic Chart Systems. AIS training Boarding ops and vessel searching. Officer of the Watch Manouvers Flight deck training.with other nations aircraft. Sea Boat drills (mobex) B2s are an excellent asset for working with smaller, coastal focused navies who are looking at EEZ enforcement etc not fighting off Carrier Strike Groups. More Ships have visited Pitcairn in the last 5 years than in probably the previous 50. The locals are probably… Read more »

Martin
Martin
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

I don’t disagree with any of that, however the South China Sea area is very much a point of potential high intensity conflict, we need to be actively engaged with military exercises rather than Low end security tasks and training in the region. Much the same as when we sent the other B2 to the eastern Med following invasion of Ukraine. What was it really going to do. Don’t get me wrong I think the B2 are great in the right area but they should never be used instead of a frigate and that seems to be what is happening… Read more »

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
2 months ago
Reply to  Martin

SCS and ECS indeed militarily intense, and an Australian, Japanese and US concern for the most part. However, Tamar and Spey backyard encompasses mid Pacific to East Africa. Not a bad value for money operational area outside of your evident main concern, Martin. Even so, they’re pretty valuable low profile intel assets, along with everything already highlighted.
Hit me with those positive vibes, man. 🤘

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
2 months ago

I love the river class. Such useful ships with work deck, extra accommodation and go well with a limited budget. The type 31 will hopefully fit nicely between river and type 26.
Also the rivers don’t cost a fortune to keep at sea

Sean
Sean
2 months ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Agreed. People moan because they don’t have towed sonar, ABM missiles and 16” inch guns, but they are great for the job that they do. Plus they have growth potential as although classified as OPVs they’re based on a corvette design and have room for extras to be fitted.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
2 months ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Agree with you on this. I wonder if the Rivers where ever put forward for the RANs OPV contract that was won by the TKM Arafura class? That was for 12 80-85m vessels I think.There’s been the Thai licence River builds but a few more wins would be nice but it’s a tough market, lots of good designs around.

Jon
Jon
2 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

I don’t understand why the 1600 tonne Arafuras are that expensive. Not only do they seem they hugely more expensive than the 400 tonne Cape class, they even make the heavier B2 purchase look frugal. They are roughly the same size as the B1s but cost about £170m each (A$300). So did we really get such a bad deal with the B2s? They also ask another question of the B2s. Some say the lack of a hangar on the B2s is primarily so there won’t be any possibility of the MoD being hassled to equip the OPVs with a helicopter.… Read more »

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
2 months ago
Reply to  Jon

Yes, the RAN could have gone with something a bit bigger (90-100m) and more capable and maybe less ships but there’s the balance of getting the right vessel for the job and in the right numbers. I think the Arafura’s only have a 4000NM range too so maybe they’re more geared to coastal, littoral, EEZ patrol. I read somewhere that the down grade from 40mm to 25mm is just temporary, they could even go up to 57mm with AShMs like Brunei or keep 25mm plus drones and there’s some MCM version proposed too. There’s been a previous article on different… Read more »

John N
John N
2 months ago
Reply to  Jon

Mate, When it comes to the cost of the Arafura class OPVs, you can’t just do ‘simple’ maths and divide the budget of $3.6b by the number of ships (12) and end up saying the OPVs cost $300m each. Usually here in Australia the Government provides a ‘project’ budget. That overall amount usually includes the ships themselves, new or upgraded infrastructure, spare parts holdings, crew training, sustainment, etc, etc. A good example are the RANs two AORs, Project SEA 1654, the actual construction cost of the two ships was approx $640m ($320m each), the total project allocation was more than… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by John N
Martin
Martin
2 months ago
Reply to  John N

It’s quite frustrating how Australia does that, that’s why your 8 submarines appear to cost $800 quintillion.

John N
John N
2 months ago
Reply to  Martin

We don’t know at this stage what the ‘at least’ eight SSNs will cost, and again the budget for the 12 cancelled Attack class was a budget allowance expressed in 2050 dollars. I think it’s far better to allow more in the beginning and potentially come in on or under budget. If I remember correctly a good example of under quoting cost was when Canada originally planned to procure F-35A aircraft for the RCAF, then of course there was outrage in Canada when much higher figures started being reported. However, the budget allowance for the RAAFs F-35 fleet has always… Read more »

Jon
Jon
2 months ago
Reply to  John N

Obviously you have allow for the project costs as that’s the money going out of the door, but it’s also useful to know what the construction costs and through-life costs are too. The question is which costs are reported and the level of transparency. As there’s no standard and no easy way of finding out what’s included there can’t be accountablity.

John N
John N
2 months ago
Reply to  Jon

The OPV project is still in its early days, the 12th ship is not due for delivery until December 2029.

This is a PDF of the Auditor-General report on the project from late 2020 (about 18 months ago).

Lots of facts and figures.

The total approved budget is currently approx $3.6b, the value of the contract with Lürssen is $1.988b, the project also has a built-in contingency fund of $426.6m.

https://www.anao.gov.au/sites/default/files/Auditor-General_Report_2020-21_12.pdf

There is accountability, but it’s impossible to slice and dice and produce those final numbers at this early stage.

Ian
Ian
2 months ago
Reply to  John N

Hi John N
We dream of 12 ships delivered by 2029….. it will take that long to make a decision

John N
John N
2 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

My understanding was that the BAE Systems River class OPV design didn’t make the final short list for the RAN Project SEA 1180 (which became the Arafura class).

The short list of three, was a Damen Netherlands OPV design and two German OPV designs, one from Fassmer and Lürssen.

And of course the Lürssen OPV80 design was the winner.

There are 12 ships under order/construction, there is also a plan to order another eight which will perform Mine Warfare and Hydrographic roles.

Ultimately there will be 20 Arafura class OPVs for RAN service.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
2 months ago
Reply to  John N

Thanks for the reply. Good info.

David Barry
David Barry
2 months ago

She’s not a warship!

Jacko
Jacko
2 months ago
Reply to  David Barry

Well she is painted various shades of grey, got a gun(small), RN crew and if needed will fight! So she is a warship👍

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  David Barry

Are the RMP soldiers?

They don’t go around in Tanks and armoured vehicles or fire big guns!

It is a disgrace!!! The RMP need their own Armoured Regiment, GMLRS Regiment, and dedicated AAC Apache Squadron!!

I give you one RMP PC does jump out of aeroplanes!

( Teasing David ) 😉

David Barry
David Barry
2 months ago

We don’t need any of that, we just need big, very hungry German Shepherds for fighting PARA on Friday nights @Airborne.

Something Different
Something Different
2 months ago

How ocean going are these vessels?

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
2 months ago

Well she has sailed to the other side of the world so I would say very ocean going.
The batch 2 rivers can cope with north atlantic storms and rough north sea work so I’d suggest the hullform and propulsion are upto the task of crossing the worlds oceans in almost any weather short of a cyclonic blast that would endanger any other vessel.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
2 months ago

Very!

Tommo
Tommo
2 months ago

Today is Military day for the Queens platinum jubilee celebrations 45yrs ago stood on the flightdeck of Hms Hermes for the Queens Silver jubilee Spithead fleet review outstanding day now consided too history .Review this time taking place on Canoe Lake Southsea (Sarcasm)

geoff
geoff
2 months ago
Reply to  Tommo

That must have been a great experience Tommo! A real pity that this wonderful tradition has been allowed to slide. Even with our reduced fleet i am sure a revival would be possible. is the fact that it is no longer held down to the cost?

Tommo
Tommo
2 months ago
Reply to  geoff

Thanks Geoff all we need now is a Royal yacht using the Gosport Ferry is a Non starter

MikeB
MikeB
2 months ago

Sounds like they are doing the flag waving role the old Hong Kong squadron used to do, who were frequent visitors to a lot of the places these ships visited in the Far East. These were also stationed out east but permanently and had a extra role of patrolling HK waters. The Peacock class were also very capable in assisting environmental disasters and SAR ops though they didn’t have a flight deck but had a great Oto Melara semi automatic bang bang on the bow.
Lovely little ships.

Keng
Keng
2 months ago

Nice little patrol vessel Scottish built

David Flandry
David Flandry
2 months ago

Really a patrol ship with a 30 mm main gun, no missiles or ASW assets. Fine for an OPV though.