HMS Westminster returned to Portsmouth today after five months on what the Royal Navy call a “critical patrol safeguarding UK waters and keeping a close eye on submarines on operations”.

According to a Royal Navy news release, the Type 23 frigate has patrolled vast areas of the Atlantic using her “state-of-the-art weapons and sensors to track submarine movements but also escort ships through waters closer to UK shores”.

“Sailors of HMS Westminster spent the festive period away from their loved ones on patrol after being at sea almost constantly since deploying last summer to guard the UK’s ‘back yard’ and work with allies to monitor any potential threats lurking beneath the waves. Westminster has been at the tip of the nation’s submarine hunting spear as the Royal Navy’s TAPS – the Towed-Array Patrol Ship – that is part of a comprehensive protective ring around waters key to UK interests, determined to keep the prying eyes of hostile submarines at bay.”

Commanding Officer, Commander Louise Ray, was quoted as saying:

“It is occasions like these that remind all of my team that we would struggle to do what we do without the support of our families and friends. Waving to all of those who were on the hot walls and Round Tower today is really important and I thank them, and all of our friends and family who could not make the journey, for the support they show us each and every day when we are deployed.”

Westminster spent 121 days of their 151-day deployment at sea, sailing 24,000 nautical miles and stopping in Hamburg in Germany, Trondheim in Norway and Reykjavik in Iceland along the way, you can read more about this from the Royal Navy itself here.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
30 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Bob
Bob
12 days ago

Jeez, respect guys. Hope your next jaunt is a trip to the Caribbean.

Paul42
Paul42
12 days ago

What ‘state of the art’ anti-submarine weapons do we carry on a Type 23 these days?

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
12 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

Hi Paul 42, Sting Ray, Type 2150 Sonar and improved data management. “While Sting Ray torpedoes are deployed on Anti-Submarine Warfare mission, including frigates, Merlin and Wildcat helicopters. They provide a close attack capability which also automatically targets in on enemy threats.” https://www.gov.uk/government/news/230-million-contract-to-bolster-royal-navy-torpedoes “HMS Portland becomes the first ship to be fitted with Ultra’s next-generation Hull Mounted Sonar Type 2150 as part of a wider refit to the Royal Navy’s frigates.” https://www.navalnews.com/naval-news/2020/04/first-s2150-sonar-fitted-aboard-royal-navy-type-23-frigate-hms-portland/ “Ultra announced 22 November 2021 the successful update of the Platform Data Management (PDM) for the Type 23 Royal Navy Frigates. The updated PDM system provides navigation and… Read more »

Last edited 12 days ago by Nigel Collins
Paul42
Paul42
12 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

I thought for a moment there was some new secret weapon in addition to Stingray lol

Jon
Jon
12 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

There may be, but it’s secret.

Paul42
Paul42
12 days ago
Reply to  Jon

Lol

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
11 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

All top secret no doubt!

The Duke Class is fitted with the Type 2070 towed torpedo decoy system as well so a pretty useful system all around. 

Paul42
Paul42
11 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

I do wonder if we’ll look at ASROC for Type 26 now the VLS version exists for Mk41……

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
11 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

Doubt it. GB has explained many times why a helicopter is a better asset for ASW for the RN.

Paul42
Paul42
11 days ago

Helicopter is great providing its servicable and weather conditions allow flight/operation. But ASROC is a useful back up for those occasions when your helo is unavailable…..and in circumstances allows a two pronged attack on a sub!

David Steeper
David Steeper
11 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

Others have commented that if the Ship and Sub are close enough for ASROC to come into play one or both of them have flipped up.

Paul42
Paul42
11 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

The latest version has a range of 20,000 yards, that’s 11.364 miles…….I would say that’s pretty handy when you consider your ship launched Stingray has a maximum range of 12,000 yards and is all you have if your helo is US….which is why the USN is using it…..

Last edited 11 days ago by Paul42
David Steeper
David Steeper
11 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

In modern Ship, Sub and Helo sonars have much greater detection ranges except under exceptional circumstances. USN still deploy it but in my opinion and i’m no expert. It’s almost a psychological thing. A backup in case everything goes pear shaped not a weapon they expect to have to use. If I had the money to equip to equip RN ships with ASROC I wouldn’t spend it on ASROC. There are better uses for that money.

Paul42
Paul42
11 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

In a ship designed primarily for anti-submarine purposes the latest version of ASROC is one of the best weapons money can buy. If you have a servicable helo, you have a major advantage, if you don’t you have a problem…….being able to strike at a sub 11.3 miles away without a helo before he can close on you is a real game changer, ship launched Stingray at 12,000 yards narrows your options and hands part of your advantage to your adversary….

David Steeper
David Steeper
11 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

Absolutely. ASROC is an excellent ASW system. But Gunbuster among others has stated that in his experience no Helo mission has been scrubbed because the Helo was not operational. When you consider that in the not too distant future you can add drones into the mix I just see ASROC having a limited role in ASW warfare.

Meirion x
Meirion x
11 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Yes, I remember him saying that as well.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
11 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

The issue with ASROC is the torpedo it carries. It does not carry Sting Ray but the bastardised Mk46 backend mated to a Mk 50 front end making the MK54. Sting Ray was made because the MK 46 sensors, warhead and propulsion could not kill the then latest 1970/80s era subs such as Alphas and Typhoons. Since then nothing has changed the MK 54 has new front end sensors but still has the 1960s era blast warhead and a propulsion system that is simply not fast enough. In addition ASROC takes up launch tubes. Fire them and that’s it you… Read more »

Andrew
Andrew
11 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

I’m not in any way an expert on these things, but I would have thought that an enemy submarine at 11/12 miles away, the ship would be comfortably inside the subs kill zone?

Pete
Pete
11 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

The Japanese version of ASROC would be a great addition especially as uk is getting onto increased levels of technology sharing. I agree Helo may be best asset but as you say Paul it does represent a massive single point of failure / non availability risk…..and they do fail, have accidents, need maintenance, need refuelling.

Meirion x
Meirion x
11 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

ASROC is too short range, helo with stingray much more flexible.

Last edited 11 days ago by Meirion x
Bob
Bob
11 days ago
Reply to  Meirion x

I believe the argument is between a helo/ASROC or helo/LTS combination.
Is there no way to mount the ASROC rocket to a Stingray torpedo?

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
11 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

I tend to agree with you, with the addition of adding an all-weather and sea state capability to the type 26 with a range of 12 nm at a speed of mac 1 it would be a useful tool to have onboard and the latest version of Tomahawk of course!

After all, how much does a Type 26 cost compared to ASROC, and if one system fails…

https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2021/03/17/us-navy-set-to-take-delivery-of-the-latest-version-of-its-tomahawk-missile/

Last edited 11 days ago by Nigel Collins
Paul42
Paul42
11 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

The Japanese version Type 7 has a range of 30,000 yards with up to supersonic speed…..wonder if it could be matched with Stingray instead of Mk46/54 which is fact the NATO standard.?
Helo missions do get scrubbed, seen that with Merlins on HMS Illustrious, and bearing in mind an increased tempo of operations during wartime conditions, its not wise to place all your eggs in one basket……

Last edited 11 days ago by Paul42
Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
11 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

” its not wise to place all your eggs in one basket”

Exactly!

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
11 days ago
Reply to  Paul42
Tommo
Tommo
11 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

I don’t think Troy or Phones will be bragging not in the Next half hour anyway Paul

Meirion x
Meirion x
11 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

The towed sonar array!

Trevor
Trevor
11 days ago

They called in here just before Xmas, thought at first they were getting some sesonal shore leave, nice to know someone was minding the shop. Understand there is usually traffic of interest back to Murmansk for the Orthodox Xmas/New year.

David Barry
David Barry
11 days ago

‘Westminster has been at the tip of the nation’s submarine hunting spear as the Royal Navy’s TAPS – the Towed-Array Patrol Ship – that is part of a comprehensive protective ring’

May I have a pinch of salt with this story please, given what happened to one of her sisters as reported yesterday?

I sincerely hope the RN stop taking a leaf out of Bluffer’s book on spouting tosh.

Fantastic effort on the part of the crew, mind!

James
James
10 days ago

Is this the ship that the Russian sub collided with the towed sonar?