Minehunter HMS Bangor has left Faslane for a two year mission to the Gulf.

The Royal Navy say here that the Sandown-class ship faces a journey of more than 6,000 miles to reach her future patrol ground.

“She’ll spend it in company with HMS Middleton, which is also Gulf-bound, having departed Portsmouth on Monday; she’ll do a like-for-like swap with HMS Brocklesby, which will sail back to the UK with Shoreham. This is the 15th year that the Royal Navy has maintained a continuous minehunting presence in the kingdom, working with allies and partners in the region to keep sea lanes open, hone mine warfare skills and generally promote peace and stability.”

Lieutenant Commander Rob Couzens, the ship’s Commanding Officer, was quoted as saying:

“It’s been a very busy year for Crew 8 and HMS Bangor,” said Lieutenant Commander Rob Couzens, the ship’s Commanding Officer. We started with getting the ship ready to proceed to sea after a very in-depth maintenance period, conducted operational sea training which tested the ship and crew to extremes – all while dealing with the effects of Covid and the difficulties that created including separation from loved ones. Crew 8 has fought hard and got HMS Bangor ready to deploy on operations and we are all very much looking forward to our transit out to the Gulf and what the rest of the year has in store for us.”

Sailors training to operating autonomous minehunters

The Royal Navy also add that the crews of Sandown-class vessels are gradually transitioning from the existing ships to the new autonomous force, spearheaded by the three new craft Hebe, Harrier and Hazard, led by the squadron’s Crew 7 who came home from the Gulf earlier this summer ready to grasp the future.

 

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Gunbuster
Gunbuster
9 days ago

Bloody hell… I remember when Bangor was out here last time!!!

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
8 days ago

I do hope that the RN can find the funds for a few ‘mother ships’ to support the autonomous boats at some point in the future. Probably, not so important in the Gulf but there will be areas / occasions where land basing of such small vessels is not feasible e.g. if the mine threat is a significant distance from a usable port or accessible coast line. Not all choke points necessarily have a friendly port near by. The vessels need not be expensive or complex. There are a lot of oil field support vessels becoming surplus to requirements so… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P
8 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

I haven’t done the maths for length and beam but I wouldn’t be surprised if given some clever cradles you couldn’t fit 15m Hebe, and 11m Hazard and Harrier on the flight deck of a River 2. The crane can lift 16tons.

https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2021/june/21/210621-final-autonomous-minehunter-delivered

John Clark
John Clark
8 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Sound thinking there CR, I assume the mission bays on T31/26/32 class will be able to handle these assets??

A T31 would be the ideal mother ship in a contested area (if the autonomous mine clearance assets fit in the mission bays), assuming they get 24 Sea Ceptor, it would take a determined and large air attack to get through that lot!

The gun armament is pretty ferocious for Fast attack craft and drones, add Martlet to the package and the Wildcat and you have a robust and well protected mine clearance package.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
7 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Hi John, I agree with everything you say, but my concern is that much of the MCM work is long term and on-going even during wartime. There is not always the need for any kind of conventional fire power for these operations as mines are often used to disrupt shipping where combat vessels would struggle to maintain a presence, e.g. Russian Navy in the Western Approaches. Why would they take the risk when they could sneak in with a mine laying sub, deploy some smart mines and get out before we even knew they were there. So if Russia is… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
7 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

I totally agree with your assessment of the situation CR. During this decade, the oil and gas industry will start to contact as demand starts to reduce. It stands to reason that sea based oil and natural gas will be the first to go as the costs involved will reduce its commercial viability. As you say, some of the ships designed for rig support are perfect for converting as Mine warfare motherships, ‘extremely tough’ and seaworthy by design and necessity, with a large reinforced cargo deck, high capacity cranes and designed for lean manning. Perhaps build a multi purpose Drone/… Read more »

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
6 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Hi John, RFA or RN crewed the MCM specialists would be RN obviously. So if these ships were to be used in ‘low’ risk missions e.g. as in the current ‘peaceful’ Middle East / Gulf mission I would suggest they could be RFA manned. The RFA is used to operating with lean civilian style manning (it is only 1800 strong in total) so would be the obvious way forward under those mission constraints. I would also point out that the RFA has been used for years as a, ‘hello we’re interested’ message carrying. In the past if something was going… Read more »

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
7 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Hi Paul, I agree provided that the cranes on the OPV’s can handle the weight. The 15m Hebe i sa pretty big boat and oddly the Batch 2 Rivers are fitted with a only a 16ton crane whereas the Batch 1 vessels are equipped with a 25ton crane. I cannot find out how heavy the work boats are, but the 15m RNMB Hebe is pretty big and can be loaded with significant quantities of mission equipment. I would be surprised if it was over 16 tons, but I would be happier with a 25ton crane. The intention is that the… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P
7 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

It was just a thought; that maybe we don’t have to wait for T32 mission bays to start deploying the autonomous mine clearance systems. I don’t see a need the R2s posted to the Caribbean, Falklands being tasked in this way. And I don’t know the endurance or remote control range of the unmanned vessels. For a narrow passage I suppose you are be able to launch the USVs from land and have the operator with the games console work from shore or any other vessel with a radio transmitter. Since HMS Bangor is going to the Gulf it seems… Read more »

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
6 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Hi Paul, I am going to respectively disagree with you regarding the Caribbean and Falklands patrols. The Falkand Islands Exclussive Economic Zone (EEZ) extends to about 300km to the north, east and south and to about 100km to the west where it boarders the equivalent Argentinan EEZ. This is a huge area to ‘protect’ and with no MPA available the only option is to use an OPV. Also, the withdrawal of the OPV might encourage Argentina to have ‘another go’. So I vote for keeping the Falkland patrol in place. The Caribbean patrol is more about maintianing relationships with our… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P
6 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Oops, sorry for confusing things. I meant to say I didn’t see Forth and Medway (I think) needing to trial being mother ship to autonomous MCM, not that they should be withdrawn. Completely agree Falklands and Caribbean OPVs are necessary. My thinking was just focussing on ‘choke points’.
I can appreciate the difficulties posed by deep water and rough weather in general terms but have to hand over to experts such as yourself and GB when it comes to detail practicalities Good discussion though.
Cheers P.P.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
6 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

🙂 Ah, now that makes sense – no worries mate.

Thanks for elevating me to ‘expert’. I have some limited professional experience on the naval front, mostly air and joint stuff and a lifetime of interest and reading. GB is one of the genuine naval experts on here. (Also, if I have time I’ll have a dig around online before posting, but don’t let on 🙂 ).

Cheers CR

farouk
farouk
8 days ago

I wonder if the ships motto is:
“Fiddlers dram”

I’ll get me coat.

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 days ago
Reply to  farouk

Didn’t we have a lovely time.

Leslie Stallard
Leslie Stallard
8 days ago

I saw her in Bangor two weeks ago, she was looking well.

Andy P
Andy P
7 days ago

Still sounds weird to me ‘crew 8’ instead of the ships company. Hey ho, you can’t get in the way of progress.

Andrew
Andrew
7 days ago

Happy trip lads and lasses