A Royal Navy warship has escorted a Russian task group along the eastern coast of the UK.

HMS Somerset, a Type 23 frigate was used to monitor the Russian destroyer and its support ships as they transited through the UK area of responsibility. The Russian task group were returning from a deployment to Syria.

A Royal Navy spokesman said:

“HMS Somerset was on a training mission when she received the call to locate and escort the Russian units. As with other Royal Navy ships operating around the UK, HMS Somerset was at a high state of alert to deal with any maritime security task, including the monitoring of transits through the UK area of responsibility by non-Nato warships.

Somerset intercepted the task group off Brest as it approached the south west of the UK and escorted it through UK waters until they turned for home, after spending the Easter weekend off the east coast of Scotland. The group carried out an underway replenishment in the North Sea and off the Scottish coast outside of UK territorial waters.

The operation involved collaboration with Nato forces, with the French ship La Motte-Picquet and Netherlands ship Friesland also tracking the Russian task group as it passed French and Dutch waters respectively.HMS Somerset kept a watchful eye on the ships as they anchored in international waters, 20 miles from land in the Moray Firth to avoid Storm Katie.”

Commander Michael Wood, commanding officer of HMS Somerset, said:

“This transit was continually monitored through a coordinated response between the Royal Navy and our Nato partners. The transit of Russian ships from the Mediterranean to their northern ports is not unusual, but the Royal Navy is ready at all times to protect UK territorial waters.”


    • We’d know if Russia sent a task force WELL in advance if they plan to stupidly invade a NATO country.

      I believe the days of spotting sails on the horizon and signal beacons i well and truly over.

    • Good point! we should send a helicopter carrier with air wing plus two type 45’s and four type 23’s and a couple of hunter killer subs whilst overflying with a couple of Tornados just in case this one ship decides to do something stupid. NATO has a vastly superior fleet to the Russians.

    • Why would you escalate the situation by sending anything else?
      You can assume and pretty much bet your house that the British air defences (the actual ‘in that situation’ air defences would be on high alert!).
      It was a simple escort, as they would escort us through Russian waters in conjunction with international maritime standard actions.

      • This isn’t really the point.

        Ok, currently we have no threats to our territorial waters and so today it is a non-issue and hopefully we had a sub tracking it also.

        Plus the reality is we could have left it unescorted and it would have sailed past safely.

        The concern is that in peace time, the best we can do is have 1 ship assigned to our channels. It is not like we have a load of vessels in harbor, should they be needed.

        Which is why we shouldn’t be relying on ship based defenses, if we have insufficient holes to do the job.

        Let’s hope we fully kit out the p-8’s with harpoon missiles or similar, and then that gap is covered.

  1. We really should have air launched anti-ship weapons.

    We don’t have enough hulls to put a decent escort together, that is anything other than symbolic/PR.

    It would look far better if we had a few typhoons in the air shadowing them, rather than one frigate that was probably out gunned.

  2. A lot of bad mouthing of our navy on here yes it’s smaller than it was but it’s one of the most technological advanced navies in the world and far more advanced than any Russian ship and more than capable of dealing with any threats.

    • The physical space to accommodate a Phalanx CIWS (or Goalkeeper, etc) is available on the T23s (over the hanger, wide arc sweep available).

      However, they may have not installed them as the threat level was so low. They certainly could have purchased spares, kept them in storage (and thusly brand new condition), then mount them (relatively quickly) if the situation merited doing so.

      Its a modular install with no punch through of the deck below required, so, easy & quick to fit. Just needs power, which could have already been installed for the option.

    • No they were never designed from the start to be fitted. They cannot be retrofitted apparently according to a number of RN personal as they are too heavy for the positions that are available that do not interfere with the ships systems. Add to the fact the additional wiring etc.
      Whilst this may be true it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that work can be carried to fix this issue….just the Navy has chosen not too as very expensive. Not as expensive as losing a vessel however….

  3. UK Defence Journal is not at all bad, why it deserves you lot posting rubbish, it makes Arrse look positively intellectual


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