HMS Westminster, HMS Tyne and HMS Severn were on hand to observe Russian warships as they passed through the English Channel.

According to a Royal Navy news release:

“Just a fortnight after HMS Westminster kept close watch on destroyer Vice Admiral Kulakov sailing through the Dover Strait, patrol ships HMS Tyne and Severn were on hand to constantly observe the same warship, plus corvette Vasily Bykov and two support vessels as they headed in the opposite direction.

The Portsmouth-based ships intercepted the Russian ships on the edge of UK’s area of responsibility and remained in company with the quartet through the English Channel, through the busy Dover Straits and into the North Sea, handing over to the Belgian Navy when the force entered their area. The submarine-hunting Kulakov is based with the Russian Northern Fleet on the Kola Peninsula, while the Bykov had sailed all the way from the home of the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, Crimea.”

“Once again River-class Offshore Patrol Vessels have demonstrated their versatility,” said Tyne’s Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander Richard Skelton in the release.

“We have quickly transitioned from Maritime Security Operations to internal navigation training and then to shadowing Russian warships – all of which is designed to ensure our nation’s security. This pace and level of activity is common for Tyne; during our last patrol the ship intercepted Russian warships soon after completing an exercise with our Irish counterparts.”

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

The Russkies build some good looking ships!

Jason Holmes

Hate to say it, but that Project 22160 pictured above is better armed than Tyne, Severn and Westminster combined. Ruskies certainly get value for money with their warships.


I don’t think it has any Sam’s or ASM but it definitley looks the part. The R2 opvs really are second rate designs compared to what the French, Dutch and Russians are producing. Obviously design isn’t everything but its not too much to ask for when paying out over £120m per ship


What they seem to do with their defence budget is just miraculous. How they can service and run such a huge military whilst researching and developing nuclear and diesel subs, fighters, stealth bombers, air defences, a huge range of nuclear/hypersonic/cruise missiles, helicopters, ships from corvettes to nuclear cruisers etc etc is beyond me. Maybe some of Putins reported huge wealth actually props them up? We are simply being left in the dirt in so many areas. And when we do ‘develop’ something, it’s usually actually based on french, italian or US knowhow ie Thales and such. The Ruskies seem to… Read more »

Tony Smith

Blank sheet and thinking “outside the box” perhaps?


They pump over 6% of their GDP into defense. I think France is a better comparison who match our GDP spending on defense but manage to do a much better job supporting national industries and maintain capability at the same time.


More than half the Russian fleet is still soviet era ships and they are struggling to refit them.


6% of a little is not a lot. It’s probably down to cheap labour all the way up the supply chain and Govt. subsidies


I think that is close to the mark. We only have to remember how its military were used as cannon fodder during the aftermath of the Chernobyl accident or indeed the accidents routinely suffered in their services. The sort of H&S and regulatory measures in all we do have massive related costs while the results are mostly hidden from us. But yes France is a far better comparison. Not a great fan of Boris but one thing he said recently about everything in this Country costing massively more than equivalents on the Continent has long been a bug bear of… Read more »

Meirion X

I agree! Very cheap labour indeed!

Robert Blay

First off, most of that equipment you have just listed is a load of rubbish, they haven’t built anything to rival Western technologies. They also pay peanuts, couldn’t imagine your average Russian soldier gets a fraction of the pay and benefits our personal get. And also Russia doesn’t have a health service to fund, or decent public services. they have a larger fleet of tugs, then anything else.


“They haven’t built anything to rival Western technologies.”

Not true, lets for example talk about anti ship missiles. What the West have that beat Russian missiles?

Western world have been sleeping at elm.


Yes true in certain areas the Russians and also the Chinese have been able to excel in specific areas. This is probably indeed due to the fact that in 80% or more of their general tech and equipment is inferior overall to western equivalents. Their advantage is in numbers and lack of care in terms of use of the military on the battlefield. I was reading only yesterday that their hypersonic weaponry has been a focus specifically because they know that Western Forces rely on very advanced but potentially vulnerable threat, command and control facilities be it on land or… Read more »


They have their best brains working on science through generations. Different priorities. We have gone too far for soft options in secondary and tertiary education.
I have looked at how remarkably our education has slid backwards since 1900 through the whole school folder of a great aunt brought up in Bethnal Green, the poorest part of East London.

Meirion X

It is really slavery in another name!


Don’t forget the equipment that is “sold” to the Russian military is bought at around cost price. The manufacturers really only make money on exports. The Government also funds the majority of their R&D. I think you have to take in to account the workers salaries and the standard of living. Which is probably far lower than the UKs that also brings down costs.

Meirion X

It is like a western worker earning a western salary and living and spending in a Third World country.

Meirion X

I mean that same salary would buy a lot more there, then living at home in the West!


They won’t have anywhere near the same spending we have on wages, welfare, pensions etc on their service personnel.

Meirion X

Do you know what kind of health service Russia has, Mark?


Esp when you consider they have an economy the equivalent to that of Spain so we are led to believe…. though clearly that doesn’t tell the whole story. I will say that just because it is Thales, Siemens or Leonardo or others doesn’t mean it is inherently French or Italian or German technology just that much of our own, be it from an amazing company like Racal (where the shareholders decided they wanted to make a quick buck once the fantastic growth plateaued) or Ferranti, Plessey, GEC/Marconi and others were simply allowed to fall into foreign hands either through their… Read more »

Meirion X

Russia’s state owned defence Industries, seem to be heavily subsidised by other sectors of the state.
So real defence spending is really much higher then the headline figure of $65 bn yearly.

Meirion X

Their shipyards build vessels a fraction of the cost compared to build in a western yard!


More than half the Russian military is pre 1990 they don’t maintain 1/3rd of it they run platforms into the ground til they are dangerous they build a few modern things make wild claims about there capabilities then when it does go to war they seem to have a ready list of excuses as to why they fail from oh that was a export model oh it wasn’t manned by russians they make excuse after excuse


I’d 100% rather go to sea on a R2 than anything Russian! And they seem to have evolved FFBNW to the ultimate operational guessing game – they list every ship that sails as fitted with just about every weapon in their arsenal!

As for the defence budget, the wage bill is not such a problem when you still have a fair share of conscripts. And they don’t need to worry about pensions as most of them won’t see the age where they can claim.


We should have an RN design office like we used to have and fine ships they designed too.


Were all 3 RN vessels escorting them simultaneously or did they do a relay? Seems an utter waste of resources to do the former. The channel is an incredibly busy international thoroughfare and the Russians are well within their rights to pass through, all that’s required is a cursory escort, not the entire high-readiness surface force on the South Coast.

David Barry

Training exercise honing and testing a plethora of skills, perhaps?


Good to see a Geordie commanding HMS Tyne, I wonder if they are doing the same with the other river class boats.


This could be fun if expanded, is there any hope of a new HMS, Corfe Castle, Aladdin, Spartan, Amazon, Blonde, Bligh or Bulldog I wonder.


The R2 was in reality not much more than a deal between government and industry to keep British shipyards open. Using them to shadow Russian ships exercising free passage in international waters is not that problematic but it hurts national pride a bit. We do need to be more innovative though. Hopefully Arrowhead signals the right sort of thinking has taken hold.


I do wish all the batch II River vessels would be given the 40mm gun. Larger pool of common weapons and the ability to deal with a number of alternative threats reasonably well. The 20mm / 30mm already fitted can become secondary weapons or be redeployed to RFA etc.

With LAD provided by at least a frigate with CAMM the Rivers would then be able to work in tandem with a Type 23 / 31 in the gulf leaving overstretched 26’s and 45’s free to concentrate on CSG and Nato obligations etc.



If we are going to deploy one R2 in Bahrain they really will need to be up gunned with a pair of 30mm Bush masters with Martlet, a CIW, and probably the 57mm canon over the 40. They are only equipped to tackle wishing boats drug/people smugglers.

Meirion X

You would Not want a B2 River hanging around in the Gulf, without a T45 to provide Area Air Defence.
CAMM is only suitable to provide air self defence of a individual vessel.


CAMM has a 15 mile range & the ER version nearly 28 miles. So it can provide reasonable cover for a large battle group or convoy rather than self defence only. Not self defence only as you suggest. I’d prefer a 76mm gun like an awful lot of navies use for their OPVs. That gives a little anti-ship punch, AAA & shore bombardment ability at better ranges than the 57mm can provide. But better we restore the escort fleet to 25+ DDGs/FFGs with standard 4.5″ or 5″ medium guns & all with decent anti-ship missiles, ASW capability & SAMs. Our… Read more »

Meirion X

It could be Impractical for a group of vessels to rely on one T23’s CAMM and radar for air cover. A B2 River would have to keep close at all times to a T23, the radar horizon will be different for the different positions the River is at.
The RN does Not have CAMM-ER, which would be more suitable to provide wider air cover for a few vessels spread out.


Hi Merion. appreciate the comments. To clarify..I did say work in ‘Tandem’…meaning either end or either side of a convoy / in relative close proximity. Also min CAMM range often quoted does very much represent head first into oncoming storm force winds. In the generally benign weather conditions of the Gulf CAMM would achieve +/- 25 miles on any given day. Also we seem to be happy to have minesweepers operating in Gulf with only 30mm weapons without Type 45 always being present. My comments were on basis that the RII’s with minimal upgrade costs of adding a 40MM (or… Read more »