RFA Cardigan Bay and minehunters HMS Blyth and Ledbury of the UK’s Gulf mine warfare force spent a few days in Qatar this week.

According to the Royal Navy, the crews of Blyth and Ledbury are drawing to the end of their time in the Gulf, preparing to return to Faslane and Portsmouth respectively after nearly six months on operations. The visit was designed to advertise the significant mine warfare skills and equipment they bring to bear.

“It’s always a pleasure to open our ships up to visitors, and our time in Doha proved an ideal opportunity,” said Lt Cdr Louise Ray, Blyth’s Commanding Officer.

“We hosted and provided in-depth tours for MCM experts from the Qatar Emirati Navy – we’re proud to work with our Qatari friends to help provide security at sea.”

According to the Royal Navy website:

“British sailors discussed joint operations with their Qatari counterparts, in particular mine warfare.

The Qatari Emiri Navy operates well over 70 vessels – mostly patrol craft, although it is investing in a helicopter assault ship and  – to safeguard its 350-mile coastline and territorial waters, but doesn’t possess any minehunters, a branch of warfare in which the RN is widely-regarded as a world leader.”

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Sceptical Richard

And long may we remain a world leader in this field!

Daniele Mandelli

Watch em get cut in upcoming reviews.

The MCMV fleet has been slowly salami sliced since the 90’s.

Sceptical Richard

You’re probably right Daniele. But in terms of the kit and the people we’ll probably remain one of the best MCM countries in the world. Let’s face it, we only built six T45s. We will only build eight T26s. We’ll probably start cutting T23s before the 26s arrive. The T31 will probably never materialise. We’ll probably cut the marines and some of the amphibious ships as well. The fate of the seventh Astute remains in the balance. It’s disastrous but what can we do apart from moaning and writing to our MPs?

Daniele Mandelli

I’m more optimistic. At least trying to be. MCMV easy to cut which is why they are always targeted. I expect the RM and LPD to remain, and the 7th Astute which I believe long lead items were already ordered. T23 cut before T26 arrive agree but as Lee said a while back if we do not have the crews anyway what difference does it make if they start removing the GP types, we cannot crew them. MDP needs to result in uplift in manpower. Going by past reviews agree with you will probably end in disaster but with this… Read more »

Sceptical Richard

I so hope you’re right!


Yeah. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the MCMV fleet cut back further. I fear that unless the defence budget does get a worthwhile increase then at some point we might see something more than salami slicing, i.e. a quite severe reduction to create something of a capability gap to help the MoD balance its books with a view to regenerating the capability once the next generation mothership+UAV systems are ready to roll out and any holes in the overall budget have been plugged. We’ve seen MPA and carrier strike both gapped but ultimately regenerated, I wouldn’t put… Read more »

Rick O'shea

Seems like a waste of a Bay, surely a less capable vessel could play the role of mothership.

John West

Fantastic photo – It really shows the sheer size of Cardigan Bay.


Huge plaform, dwarfs the minhunters.


Apparently there will not be cuts to the MCMV fleet. NATO and Gulf commitments mean that the proposed cuts won’t happen. Not enough boats to absorb the extra work load that would come onto fewer hulls. The yanks in the gulf where not happy when proposed reductions in numbers meant that we could only put 2-3 hulls in the gulf. That’s not enough to cover the commitment especially as we have the only MCMV vessels with any modern capability there. The USN Avengers cannot cover it because of them always being down with defects not just in the gulf but… Read more »