HMS Echo has returned to the United Kingdom after a 668 day deployment.

According to the Royal Navy, Echo’s 668-day tour of duty began supporting the international effort to prevent illegal migrant trafficking in the central Med, joined NATO’s efforts to clamp down on terrorist activity in the same region (Operation Sea Guardian) and used her array of sensors to gather key military data to support naval operations.

The Royal Navy said in a release:

“She was the first foreign warship to visit Ukraine in the wake of Russia’s illegal seizure of her naval vessels and personnel last November. Reassurance and freedom of navigation activity in the Black Sea also included visits to allies in Romania and Georgia as well as military data gathering operations off the Crimean peninsula.

The ship’s company, who have swapped around every few weeks to sustain Echo on her lengthy deployment, have taken the opportunity to pay tribute to the UK’s fallen in distant locations, visiting Commonwealth War Graves in Odessa and Batumi, Georgia, and joined Ukrainians at their liberation day celebrations in May. All of which added 58,000 miles to the Echo ‘odometer’. She visited one port for every 1,000 miles sailed… spread across 15 countries. And the rotation system used by crew has meant that her sailors have generally spent nine in every 12 months at sea.”

The final month of her deployment was spent around Gibraltar, surveying territorial waters.

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Why do RN ships seem to count the days to returning ”home” as soon as they sail somewhere? I don’t understand why they are not able to manage crew changes and logistics away from a so called ”home port” like all the other thousands of (merchant) ships around the world on operations? What is the justification for that steaming back to the UK?



Harry Bulpit

Its a miltary ship you can’t just tie it up at any old port and let contractors do maintenance on her.


She has managed maintenance and crew changes extremely well. This has been a 22 month deployment and the crew swaps over regularly. However, this can’t be maintained indefinitely. The survey vessels are hard worked, often being called to complete a wide range of tasks which should really be undertaken by other assets. HMS Enterprise and HMS Protector also both returned recently from long deployments and both entered a period of maintenance, which required drydocking. It’s likely Echo will do the same.

John Clark

A very good point Lusty, though crew hot swapping is one answer to limited hull numbers, long term deployments mean assets being worked much harder between maintenance periods than is ideal.

This unfortunately means ships returning to base with a long rectification list, longer alongside being turned around and ‘perhaps’ a shorter overall operational life, with systems being pushed harder between maintenance than advisable.

The only answer is more crew and enough hulls to enable a sensible deployment period/ maintenance ratio.

Come on Boris, let’s hear some good defence related press releases and pledges!

Steve Naive

Couldn’t agree more mate, it’s about bloody time that the Government take a big wedge of cash and give it to the defence sector.
Yes it’s great that we have our shiny new aircraft carriers and are on our way to filling them with the hardware they need but the British Army needs to be expanded and modernised as well.
Both the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy have recently a huge amount of money for upgrades and yet again, the Army is left behind.

Levi Goldsteinberg

Just as the BBC reports our armed forces have shrunk for the ninth year in a row, surprising exactly no one.

Thanks HMG you useless bunch of pansies


Apparently, they (HMG) are asking people to donate their old fibreglass bathtubs for the UK’s new Mine Hunter class: HMS Duck, HMS luffa, HMS Radox, HMS Tidemark…
They’ve also sourced some iffy secondhand lawnmower engines off Del-boy Trotter to power them.

He’s also offered them some ‘end-of-line’ Blow-Up F35’s to flesh out QE, should Iran decide to kick off!

An Island Nation with a bathtub navy…

Daniele Mandelli

A bathtub navy…..

With QEC, T45, SSNS, SSBN, the,RFA, TLAM, and we have a “bathtub navy”

Tell me, what other countries have those sort of assets?

If the RN is a bathtub navy then what are they?

We need more assets but let’s not deride our forces more please.


Get back in your Pram, Dan!

My sarcasm is obviously in the vein of disdain for our politicians, and support for our navy.

Daniele Mandelli

That rhymes! I like that! Despite the un necessary rudeness.

If I have misread you happy to apologise.


Only noticed it rhymed whilst typing it, no disparagement intended.

Daniele Mandelli

Note also I replied to your final sentence. Not the sarcasm, which was obvious even to one in a pram…


The last sentence related to the sarcasm “donate their old fibreglass bathtubs”.
But I can see how it can be interpreted as being deridingly flippant on its own.

Thought it was obvious myself, I would never drag down our armed forces!


Daniele Mandelli

Agreed mate.

Daniele Mandelli

I misread your meaning. Apologies.

I complain as much as any about numbers but comments like that, when meant, really rile me.

All understood.


Shame…I have already taken my old bathtub to my local waste management centre. I was told that the glass fibre ones are not recyclable …and it was summarily crushed. A really good idea to find another use for it and help out with DoD funding at the same time!

John Clark

Levi, our armed forces have shrunk every year since the end of WW2.

Perhaps of more relevance though, our armed services have contracted year on year (below a sensible minimum) since the mid 1990’s, through governments of both colours.


Careful Levi, you give HMG too much credit. They’ve been running it down continually since the 70s at least & it directly led to the Falklands war.


Built at appledore shipyard! Shame that yard closed, the world needs thousands upon thousands of new ships every single year and ships of all sizes, shame our yards couldn’t get a slice of that massive pie!! It’s dam infuriating.