HMS Kent and HMS Ramsey were part of Exercise BALTOPS in the Baltic Sea.

Exercise BALTOPS is the largest annual multinational exercise in the Baltic Sea. Its purpose is to test the skills and capabilities of the participating nations and their ability to fight together.

According to the Royal Navy in a press release:

“Frigate HMS Kent and minehunter HMS Ramsey flew the flag for the Royal Navy, while RAF Typhoons stationed in Lithuania joined in the aerial element of NATO’s Baltops. Crews of both ships say the two-week workout proved to be a supreme test – and makes them better prepared for global challenges, individually or working side-by-side with our allies.

More than two dozen vessels, led by the US Navy’s amphibious command ship Mount Whitney, a similar number of aircraft and upwards of 3,000 military personnel threw their hat in the ring for the 49th iteration of Baltops. The exercise underlines the importance of the region to NATO – and demonstrates the ability and resolve of the alliance and partner nations to safeguard the freedom of nations on its shores, as well as keeping the sea lanes open.”

The Royal Navy also say that Ramsey is remaining in the Baltic with a NATO minewarfare group while Kent is concentrating on training around the UK and in the North Atlantic, before a well-deserved period of maintenance and leave in her home port of Portsmouth over the summer.

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
50 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
maurice10

Just a thought, what if the Type 23 upgrade programme were to be enhanced by further ‘Life Extension’ improvements to at least six of the class, to create a viable reserve after the Type 26/31 are all in service? After COVID-19 the pressure to improve the RN will still be a pressing situation, and there are bound to be some budget drawdown? This being the case, the retained Type23 could be a viable prospect if no further orders are achievable? Any foreign sales would be proof that these vessels have a credible service life after RN service. The status of… Read more »

Fedaykin

No ‘Reserve’ fleets are a terrible waste of resources.
https://thinpinstripedline.blogspot.com/2018/05/the-utter-pointlessness-of-reserve.html

maurice10

Thank you for that Fedaykin, an interesting read. The whole question of retaining ‘paid off ships’ is a thorny issue, and mostly politically loaded? The Defence Minister can not be seen to support the idea if he’s negotiating new builds with the Treasury. However, modern methods can maintain a practical level of preservation, and these technologies should only improve in the future? There are other ways to keep vessels combat-ready, and that would be to man with reservists who would be employed to ensure no deterioration to the more complex equipment. A crew of between six-ten per ship could possibly… Read more »

Fedaykin

I’m sorry there isn’t the money and there isn’t the people available. Keeping 6-10 people as caretakers on an elderly mothballed frigate would still be unsustainable for a Royal Navy that is suffering desperate shortages of personnel. Also if we want to take the vessel and actually send it to a fight the rest of the crew will need to be found and trained. The training pipeline would need to be held open for vessels that were no-longer in active service drawing even more resource away from the active fleet, the vessel would also need to be constantly upgraded at… Read more »

BB85

Its interesting that there will not be much government furnished equipment taken from T23 and installed on T31. I was expecting them to canabalise them and put them into a new larger hull. Considering some are getting stripped back to the bones with new engines added some prob could do another 20 years.

Fedaykin

The reason for that is the equipment fitted to T23 is earmarked for T26. That is why T31 has little to no Government furnished items and a new for the Royal Navy weapon, sensor and system fit.

Meirion X

If the T31 gets a new type of sonnar as well, that will mean the MoD will eventually sell all 5 T23 GPs as all T31s enter service, I think.

Fedaykin

Not much point putting a sonar on T31 beyond possibly a basic mine detecting one similar to that fitted to T45. T31 is not built to be quiet so so there is little benefit putting a high end sonar capability on. It would also send the cost through the roof!

If there was money about it would make more sense getting the Thales FLASH dipping sonar on the AW159 Wildcat.

Paul42

I would have thought keeping 6 of the Type 23s that have had the full life extension including new engines for a good few years to actually bolster fleet numbers and take on roles like the UK active response vessel in UK waters or Gibraltar guard ship would be a good idea. But there’s the problem of crewing…… if we could bolster numbers and even use a 23 for active sea training it would be a blessing. You could keep.a small reserve fleet with the vessels in powered reserve – basically all systems remain powered and training can be undertaken.… Read more »

Paul42

Comms

Fedaykin

We don’t need a frigate as a Gibraltar Guard ship, basing a T23 out of Gibraltar as a guard ship would be an absurd waste of resources for that type of platform! The Type 23 are already operating beyond their intended OSD and are thrashed within an inch of their lives, the current SLEP is taking longer because of the poor material state of the vessels passing through the yard for overhaul. As T26 come on stream the T23 will be pensioned off quickly, they are so worn out it is unlikely we would even be able to find a… Read more »

alloallo

Ease up. If people don’t know its been brought up before and are ignorant of its pointlessness, just tell them. They’ll learn. They aren’t trying to rile anyone up.

Paul42

I would suggest you contact the Inactive Ships Management office of the Program Executive Officer – Ships, Naval Sea Systems Command. Portsmouth Virginia. They actually know everything there is to know about maintaining Inactive Warships at their nactive ship maintenance facilities ( a couple of which I have been privileged to visit) at ley locations in the USA including Bremerton, Philadelphia and Pearl Harbour, and do not poo poo the idea! Indeed they maintain a fleet bigger than the RN in various categories, ensuring certain vessels actually receive ongoing maintenance and upgrades allowing them to be re-activated at short notice… Read more »

Fedaykin

The UK hasn’t got the resources to maintain any T23 in reserve..end of story! The USN itself doesn’t hold the number of vessels it used to in reserve.

For the UK it is an utter non starter!

What do you want sacrificed to maintain T23 in reserve?

maurice10

The issue is availability, a lot of our fellow contributors appear to think in past procedures? Today’s crises come at us very quickly and that will only increase as technology accelerates in the future. New warship build programmes are slow at best, (just refer to Astute Class) and the new frigates are frankly not enough. With this in mind, the Government will either scrap or sell on the 23’s because that’s how they have always done business. These paradigms are not only outdated, but positively dangerous, and could lead to a critical shortage when surface ships are most needed. The… Read more »

BB85

That’s a nice photo. For a long time I didn’t like the design of the T23, especially the gap between the forward structure and the funals and rear hanger. But it was always extremely well armed and capable compared to the La fayette design which was basicly an opv with a sonar.

Helions
Paul T

BB85 – My only criticism of the Type 23’s is that all its Major Weapons Systems are concentrated in the one area – unlike the Type 26’s where there is at least another VLS Amidships.Other than that they are fine Ships – ive said before in terms of Service probably the best Class the Royal Navy has ever had.

Jeff

Could the type 23’s be re purposed/ re configured by the U.K. border agency, coast guard, or even used for fishery protection? Would be one option to ensure U.K. waters are adequately protected. As I understand it, some of the equipment from the type 23’s will used on the type 26/31 anyway. Sure some agencies in the U.K. would re configure of a handful of hulls for their needs. I believe some navies around the world still operate type 21/22 anyway.

Gavin Gordon

I worked for UK Border Force – No!

Robert Blay

The running cost alone, would be a none starter, and how would the boarder force man a 200+ crew Frigate.

Bill

If we still retain 19 escorts post COVID 19 and the fallout from Brexit l will be more than pleasantly surprised. 23 would be better but anything less than 19 would not be acceptable. My beef is about NATO where Pres Trump has a cob on about countries not stepping up to meet their declared financial obligations. Fair enough. My beef is why the navies of Turkey and Spain are harassing/interfering with ships of fellow members, and in Spain’s case making constant and flagrant incursions into our territorial waters. Turkey obviously are engaging in some kind of dodgy activity with… Read more »

Fedaykin

“My beef is about NATO where Pres Trump has a cob on about countries not stepping up to meet their declared financial obligations.”

The Orange Skinned Small Handed Toddler in Chief Trump doesn’t understand that there is no such thing as declared financial obligations to NATO, it is a mutual defence organisation and each member can contribute however much resource to it they want. The only declared cost for members is the stipend they have to pay to keep shared NATO assets like the E-3A, C17A flying and keep the lights on at the NATO HQ in Brussels!

David

The so-called ‘The Orange Skinned Small Handed Toddler in Chief Trump’ as you put it, is absolutely right in what he is saying. It’s no secret the Europeans (UK excluded) haven’t pulled their weight for decades and have allowed the US taxpayer to shoulder the burden for defending their own continent. Let’s face it, why should the US pay to defend Europe at all? Mark my words, if the US ever decided to pull out from Europe and leave them to defend themselves there would be much ‘soiling of breeches’ in capitals throughout Europe. The point is Trump is only… Read more »

Fedaykin

No he isn’t and it looks like you also don’t understand how NATO works when it comes to funding.

David

…. and you sir, never answered my question – why should the US pay to defend Europe? Let’s not kid ourselves without the US there is no NATO.

Fedaykin

It isn’t, learn how NATO works before spouting off on it!

Bill

Very good with the anti-Trump rant, very original but as you will have noted that was not the point of my post but rather national self interest being pursued, in as you say a mutual defence organisation. It hardly gives confidence in those nations when push comes to shove.

Fedaykin

It wasn’t a rant just a statement of fact. He is Orange Skinned, his hands are small and he has all the ability of a Toddler.

David

WOW! – very mature! Why are you making it a personal attack on Trump? You don’t know the man from a hole in the wall. Are you that insecure?

BTW – I’m still waiting for you to give me a good solid reason why the US should pay to defend Europe….. I suppose I will be waiting for a long time.

Fedaykin

Because he is awful as a Man and as the President of the USA.

I gave you a solid reason:

1) Trump doesn’t understand how NATO funding works

2) And neither do you

Now bore off!

David

Just another narrow-minded Trump hater with no answers of your own to proffer. Pathetic!

Fedaykin

Just another narrow-minded Trump supporter who doesn’t know what they are talking about. Hilarious!

David

I don’t know what I am talking about? Well that’s sweet considering I have asked you now 4 times to explain why the US should pay for Europe’s defence. The fact that you keep spouting off about how I don’t understand how NATO funding works just shows you simply are ignorant of the issue and can’t proffer an intelligent answer that would stand up to scrutiny.

Fedaykin

You don’t understand how NATO funding works which is why your question doesn’t deserve an answer. Now again bore off with your whining and let the grown ups talk…

David

Grown ups can defend their own arguments in a clear, logical and respectful manner – you clearly are incapable of doing so and therefore can’t be considered a mature grown-up. Pity.

Fedaykin

I did, I can’t help it if you are too slow of thinking to understand.

You stuck your nose in getting all huffy that I dared to insult the Orange skinned small handed toddler in chief and proceeded to throw your toys out of the pram with each response.

You are the pitiful one here…

…oh and you don’t understand how NATO funding works…like trump.

Get some sleep

David

Thank you for proving my point..

David Barry

Much easier to protect a country, countries than waste 100,000s of lives liberating it, them.

Furthermore, As Western Democracies, many invest in US weapons systems in addition to providing sometimes tax free markets to the likes of Google, Facebook, Amazon, and auto and IT industries to name but a few; however, I think you already knew that, didn’t you?

T.S

I’m sorry David, but the man is a joke, a very dangerous joke. He lies, he silences the media, he is spiteful and jealous, and many professionals believe he has significant mental issues. He is causing huge damage to Americas standing, and is weakening the wests cohesion just at a time when an aggressive Russia is on the prowl and China is pushing for dominance. For me he is abhorrent and symbolises everything that is wrong with America. The US is such a melting pot of culture, religion and polarised beliefs that they need a moderate leading them to hold… Read more »

Bill

Wow T.S! So David was supporting Trump? No, he was trying to elicit a sensible response from puerile know it all Fedaykin which was like trying to herd cats. Trump is a democratically elected President and may be so again. We and the rest of the world will have to deal with it. The US is a basket case generally but Trump’s ‘America first’ resonates deeply with a lot of people. Anyway, spats between allies i.e. the actions of Spain and Turkey, is hardly conducive to the concept of a ‘we’re all in it together’ NATO.

T.S

Bill, I generally like to be reasonable and moderate, but in Trumps case -NO! The more we excuse his dangerous behaviour the more it becomes the norm and sets examples for other countries. Yes his tag line resonated with much of the American people at the time and I understand why, but Trump was never about America first, it was just a ploy to get elected. Trump puts Trump first. You honestly think a spoilt billionaire son of a billionaire is a real man of the people? No, he’s about making money for him and his rich buddies of the… Read more »

Paul C

The number of escorts could drop to ~16 for several years if they decide to pay off some of the T23s early, which is not out of the question. Not sure if the government would contemplate cutting the planned T26/T31 numbers or if this is even possible, if it is then ~16 may become permanent.

David Barry

The problem with that outlook is that with so many laid up / refit / etc, the fleet is very small – this very website published t’other week stats on At Sea states and they were dire. This Govt is a joke that is leading us towards hell.

Gavin Gordon

HMS Kent operated as part of the enemy forces, according to Forces Network. Apparently the experience proved interesting.

Paul C

Those suggesting retaining T23s for reserve/secondary duties do not appreciate that there would be a significant cost attached to this. Did we not have the same suggestion with HMS Ocean and before that the Batch 3 T22 frigates? Surely a poor and impractical use of already overstretched resources to keep already life-expired platforms going when they are of highly questionable military value. Where would the savings come from to pay for this?

Christopher Allen

Of course there would be a great cost attached, the reason the US military budget is so large sn’t just because of expensive projects like the F-35, but also because of the sheer scale of military assets they have. They some degrees of military assets stationed in over 100 countries across the Globe. Whilst I disagree with retaining the 23s, I do believe we need a few more 26s/31s, especially with we are going to be sending a Carrier group aiding the US and Australia counter China’s aggressive territorial expansionism in the South China Sea. The only alternative is perhaps… Read more »

Paul C

Few are going to argue against the need for more frigates but they need to be modern ships which can do the job efficiently for many years. I think the only realistic way to do this is build a second batch of up to 5 T31s as T26s are too expensive. It is not that we do not need more T26s, we just cannot afford them when there are so many other plates to be kept spinning.

Meirion X

The T31 can Not replace the T26, because the T26 has been designed for a quiet hull in mind, including even the pipe network is designed to make minimum noise.
It will have electric motors as well as gas turbines, with rafted diesel generators.
There is a article about the engines on the Save the Royal Navy website, just use the search box there.

Paul C

I know the T31 cannot replace the T26. Very different animals intended for very different roles. The issue is that we are not going to get any more than 8 T26s however much we might want/need them. Therefore the RN has no option but to turn to the much cheaper T31 to keep hull numbers at a credible level which will free up the T26s for their primary role. More T26s would be ideal but unfortunately this is never going to happen.