HMS Medway, on her first operational mission, was dispatched from Portsmouth to monitor the Marshal Ustinov.

The vessel then handed over to the Marine Nationale as the Russian warship continued south past France, say the Royal Navy in a news release.

“The Ustinov’s journey is the latest activity in home waters prompted by Russia’s annual navy day event in St Petersburg, after which participating warships have spread out across Europe.

Medway, which only raised the White Ensign for the first time in March and whose crew have spent the spring training and readying the ship for patrol duties, is the second of five second-generation River-class ships being built for the Royal Navy to safeguard home waters but also deploy around the globe.”

Image result for Marshal Ustinov
Russian cruiser Marshal Ustinov.

“This has been Medway’s first operational tasking – we picked up the Ustinov on Wednesday and handed over to the French last night,” said Commander Ben Power, HMS Medway’s Commanding Officer.

“It was a good opportunity to display the flexibility, speed and reach of the new offshore patrol vessels whilst conducting what for the Royal Navy are routine escort duties.”

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Eeeek….bet the Russian Navy was petrified!

Daniele Mandelli


In all seriousness though I like how the Russians cram
Weaponry into their warships.


I remember when I was a kid in the 70s a documentary on the Royal Navy. The skipper of a Leander was commenting on an old style Russian cruiser with 8X 8 inch guns…. it might be old, but I’d crap myself if it came over the horizon! Nothing much has changed apparently!


Looks “mean” may have a huge radar cross section but you have plenty of guns and massive missile tubes to lob ammo from and scare adversaries. Definitely looks like Fitted with and with!


Absolutely!! No FFBNW there!!! Hmmm…. a lesson for HMG perhaps??


Strange people continually berate the type 23 for being ‘old ships’ rapidly heading for obsolescence and need for replacement, hell even the Type 45s are talked of in terms of their prospective replacements on here, yet a Russian Steampunk cruiser from 1982 is somehow deemed to be some sort of scary wonder threat. This ship was laid up for years because the Russians couldn’t afford to repair her till they sold off her sister ships to finance it. In a time of vertical launch missiles those overt external missile or is it pods look decidedly archaic even if they are… Read more »


I agree with you and will go further, Exactly what would a T23 or T45 be able to sink, having watched many a sinkex , they are unbelievably underarmed, as are the majority of British warships and submarines in comparison to their enemies. I do not subscribe to the lets put a helicopter on it and it will be alright brigade. 8 x Mk41 or Sylver VLS (Tactical or Strike) should be the minimum for any of our surface ships, as should a 76m Otto. Our bigger ships should have at least 48 Mk41 with a minimum of 24 of… Read more »

r.n missed the boat on seeing what can be produced

looking at the specs of the sigma 10415 corvette, it shows with its almost identical basic, the sigma is 10 meters longer 20 more crew 5 knots faster, similar range, yet is fitted with a 76mm main oto melara gun, twin triple tube torpedo launchers, twin quad anti air launchers, exocet,slightly smaller flight deck. the r.n missed the boat or(ship) not looking at what such a vessel this size can clearly be, and still can be especially designated as corvettes and whats more, the ROYAL NAVY’S SHIPS ARE ALREADY BUILT!


I wonder how much money it saved sending an OPV though instead of a destroyer or frigate.


Who cares? It was only going through the Channel. If it was me I would just send a tug, and fly some signal flags asking, “are you in distress”.


Exactly it’s only going through the channel so why send destroyers and frigates? That’s my point!


You can bet there’s also a Brit or NATO sub in the vicinity shadowing them.

Rob Collinson

Surely this begs the question, “Do we not need a Naval Base on the East Coast/London Estuary?”

Daniele Mandelli

Nope. Why when NATO knows the ships are coming, so the FRE or whatever is allocated has plenty of time to position.

It’s not like the Battle of Britain and our defences have a limited time to react as the bandits appear on the radar!


It looks a big old ship. Those tubes are huge


Hopefully Julian they are just huge ‘Party Poppers’


Might look big but I expect it’s accompanying tug is not far behind
Its got a radar cross section bigger than a Moscow
housing estate and they will hear the engines in Faslane

Barry Larking

Well done Medway.


RT put the headline “Royal navy, from ruling the seas to penguin patrol” on the last river class escort. They did not mention of course their navy has the inability to build new larger ships then frigates , frigates may I add dependent on Ukraine built engines lol!!


Losing the Ukraine hit the Russian defence industry enormously hard.


Yep but they will not admit of course.


Ukraine’s a millitary power house or was, I’m not sure how good all their new export tanks are though, and it annoys me when people get antanovs country of origin wrong! They keep thinking it’s dam Russian! The An-225 is a true beast and ok it’s a soviet era beast buts Atleast it’s a Ukrainian Soviet era beast.


Kind of, Oleg Antonov was Russian, born on Moscow Oblast and founded the Antonov design bureau in Russia. It was only moved to Ukraine after it was formed as part of Soviet policy of spreading the defence industry around.

The modern Antonov company was liquidated by the Ukrainian government in 2017 and absorbed into the state defence sales organisation Ukroboronprom.



Nigel Collins

Is there room to fit anti ship missiles onboard? The crane seems to take up some very useful space.
Even a small amount would be a useful addition.

Improving the capability of a future OPV squadron


I posted this on another page yesterday:

This is the other end of the spectrum of the River Class OPV. The Thai Navy Krabi Class OPV is a modified 90m River Class. It has a 76mm Oto Melara gun, 2 MSI 30mm cannons and the newest ship has 4 RGM-84 Harpoon missiles fitted as well :

Harry Bulpit

Thank you Rokuth, no reason why we cannot do the same thing and opt for the fifth-generation Naval Strike Missile (NSM) instead.


I think the R2 are brilliant ships. Let’s remember their capabilities: crane, large flat fisheries/ helo/ container deck, military comms and 2-D radar, some combat hardening and redundancy, 30mm cannon, 5500nm range, 34-60 crew plus 50 RM or casualties, top speed 24 knots…ideally suited to what they will be tasked to do: fisheries, constabulary, humanitarian aid, special forces insertion, plus fleet ready escort duties in peacetime. Regarding how they came into being necessity might be the mother of invention. I reckon these ships will prove an excellent investment.


This is totally wrong, we must match ships. To deploy a lightly armed vessel is sending the wrong message. These Russian and Chinese sail by’s are demonstrating the UK’s lack of naval prowess.

Robert blay

Don’t be ridiculous, these vessels are in international waters, they arent testing anything. That big old ship would be about as useful as a fart in a real shooting war. These are very day to day operations for the RN, so why waste a very valuable Frigate for somthing very routine


Because it’s about the principle. Russia is a power unofficially hostile to the UK, as such a full warship should he escorting them through the channel. You saying this is like saying that Russian nucelar bombers making a beeline to the UK should be met by a Cessna 172. After all they’re still in international airspace right? Don’t want to make the Russians think we might object or anything.

Plus a Frigate isn’t wasted being posted in the UK. As far as I’m aware one is required to be in the UK at all times to meet unforseen threats.

Robert blay

We have been escorting Russia warships through the channel for decades Lewis, do you think we should escort them with our guns pointing at them. It is very routine to see them through the channel. We aren’t loosing face by sending a smaller warship to see them through; and yes, we do have the fleet ready escort available. The threat of russian warships is a very low threat to the UK. The ships are old, unreliable, and lacking modern weapon systems. Look at the state of their aircraft carrier, it took a fleet of tugs just to get it to… Read more »


Latest reports suggest that Russia has now replaced 62% of it’s naval assets with modern equipment.


Most Russian ships are corvettes. NATO have lots of powerful ships. The French followed us in shadowing this archaic ship. Following on from poisoning UK innocents with nerve gas, the Russians have been filling their own citizens with radio activity. They have also just effectively blown up one of their own submarines. They are more interesting in subverting their own people than anything. That’s why they are busy drinking themselves to death.

David Flandry

There should be a squadron of 4 ships, with light crews of perhaps 25 reservists, and a 76 mm gun , to escort Russian and Chinese ships. No one is going to attack them, and there is no use wasting a large crew on escorting them.


We should send the HMS Boaty McBoatface, and run a signal flag saying, “England expects most Russians to have drunk themselves to death quicker than you can whip out a bottle of poisoned perfume.”
The don’t deserve any respect.


Seems to me matching like for line would be a sign of over respect. This is a but a technical function of the RN Russian ships would not even be combatted by ships in the RN if it were some sort of shooting war they would clearly be taken out by air assets. I am sure the Russians would find it far more constructive tying up our frigates and destroyers in the channel than actually doing useful tasks elsewhere. That said like others, the River class fitted with a limited fit out of anti ship missiles (even if only a… Read more »


Check out Lewis’s comment above, we match Russian warplanes with appropriate aircraft, the reason we can’t do the same with warships, is we simply don’t have enough!


What air assets? We do not have a single air launched long range anti ship weapon. I would not want to put precious typhoons or lightning’s into close enough proximity to use lgb’s!
Rule out the surface fleet with their antique harpoons (assuming they are even fitted!), the only capable anti ship system we have is the Astutes. And they are so few in number we’d be hard pressed to get one in place.
The way it’s heading we’d struggle to control a duck pond never mind the North sea.


Then Robert blay, does the Navy feels it should monitor Russian and Chinese warships? Is the MOD ridiculous? The reason these ships come so close is nothing more than to test our reactions. That being the case, we should match ship size for ship size, to do otherwise is to demonstrate indifference. The Germans did the same before both wars, and for the same reasons and look what happened there. Think in military terms and what I suggest is not rediculous.

Robert Blay

It is ridiculous Maurice, it is. These ships are heading home after a Naval day in st Petersburg. And to compare to WW2 is even more ridiculous. Trust the Navy, it knows more than you.


As I said Robert, you obviously don’t think in military terms…’s as simple as that.

Robert blay

As ex RN, I assure you, I do, and I’m realistic.


Liberal Democrat by any chance?

Robert blay

Haha. No, not by a long shot. I vote Conservative Maurice. Served in the RN between 1999 – 2013. Aircraft Handler Fleet Air Arm Served on all 3 Invincible Class Carriers, served in the gulf ( op Telic) 2003 and Afghan (Kandahar) 2007 and many other exercises in the Med, Atlantic, Indian Ocean, North Atlantic, Artic Circle, Red Flag at Nellis Air Force Base Navada , 5 eyes in Malaysia ect. I also served at Faslane with the fleet protection group RM. RAF Cottesmore/Wittering, RNAS Culdrose and Yeovilton, and HMNB Portsmouth, and my last draft before leaving, HMNB Faslane. A… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli



Throughout history, those who temp a response have questionable objectives, that if ignored, can result in time-honoured surprise.

Very impressive CV by the way, and many thanks for keeping us all safe. Cheers.


That’s even worse!

Robert blay

Well that’s your problem then, note mine.


Sadly in the opinions of a lot of commenters, escorting a Russian vessel is an argument the RN can’t win. If they send out an OPV or MCM, it’s not enough. If they send out a FF or DD, that’s too much. It’s an opinion you can see from a cursory glance at any comment section. The fact remains, it’s routine work for the RN and using an OPV is appropriate. I agree with the points that you raise. The Russian military is in quite a state at the moment: their aircraft carrier has become a crane carrier, 14 sailors… Read more »


The site has withheld my comments about your impressive CV. So, I hope Robert, it is shown but failing that, thanks for your efforts in defending us all. The conversation has been good even if we still failed to agree, Cheers.




Its job is surveillance, not fighting the damn thing.


very good point HF

David S

I’d rather the T45’s and T23’s were making their presence felt in the South China sea than hanging around home waters in case some Russian ship passes through. I’m pretty sure they are not designed to trundle up and down the English Channel. Personally, I think the River class are perfect for this (not that i’m any expert).


Totally agree it shows a scaled response, showing the flag and that we are aware of them, without having to go into overkill for what is but a technical job. After all it’s not only the UK in control of this stretch of water there is ?France, Belgium, Netherlands and even Germany, Spain and Denmark in or on the periphery of the area. We hardly need to over respond when anyone knows including the Russians that any of their ships in those locations would have as much chance of survival as our ships in the Northern Black Sea would in… Read more »


Germany’s warships are busy guarding their docks. lol

Daniele Mandelli

God job they have no carrier then! We’d be sending the QEC out!!!!

Hilarious really. Joke if course.

Sending no ship out at all announcing to all and sundry we had no assets at all or had no idea they were there is a greater worry.

Steve R

If we are to match ships then, given the state of many Russian ships, we might as well sail HMS Victory out to meet them!

Daniele Mandelli

Or a Tug? HMS Tugboat.


I haven’t seen a Slava since the late 80s. I was on the FRE and we where activated to follow one of them and a Kirov all the way up to the top of Norway. She must be 30 plus years old by now. The radars still look the same as they did then. If I remember right it has some weird engine configuration of steam and lots of gas turbines. The reasoning for lots of radars and weapons on Soviet era ships was 1. The systems where not that reliable so multiple systems gave some redundancy. 2. They did… Read more »


He’s 11.500 tons and 185m long, so pretty big. From what I’ve read about the upgrades it was mostly to the surface to surface missiles, a new 3D radar and a new radar for spotting sea skimmers. Apparently the anti-air system has not been upgraded. One of the reasons it has so many radars is that each of the weapon system requires individual targeting i.e. no local network so nothing talks to anything else. Not sure how he survive in a modern shooting match.


Brilliant info gunbuster


Interestingly, she’s officially commissioning at Chatham in September, but yes, she already flies the White Ensign due to a few technicalities I won’t go into. It’s good to see she’s already being put to good use.


…and good looking to boot-certainly an improvement on the Batch 1’s in every respect!


No flags or pennents on the Cruiser
Is this usual ?


Talking of the old days, a Cmdr in charge of an OPV? Seriously?

There are too few platforms to create serious career opportunity and, vitally, experience. Terrible.


Is this that cruiser that misfired it’s missile on Russian naval celebration day in front of a huge crowd. The ruskies seem to missfire lots of missiles on land especially.

David C

They might look scarey all those tubes on deck but that makes them a easy target.


Is there a simple reason why the Royal Navy ships are so poorly armed? We were on holiday in Eire this year and saw one of the Irish Navy’s patrol vessels and it looked formidable with several guns and a proper turret! (Think it was a Samuel Beckett class) Since becoming interested in these things, I for one am amazed at how small the Royal Navy is and was surprised to find out it has no cruisers and only a handful of unreliable destroyers. Shameful.

Paul T

Mike – dare I say it’s probably down to cost in most cases .

Robert blay

And what unreliable destroyers might that be?


I see that there are only six destroyers in the whole RN and this is the article I read about the faults which seems to be authorative coming from Forces netwoek as it does – 5,000 Faults Recorded On Type 45 Destroyers
Britain’s most modern warships have suffered more than 5,000 defects since launching, Government records show –


Looks can be deceptive, the Samuel Beckett class at a cursory glance might look sleek and fighty with its big OTO-76 forward but in reality they have the sensor fit of a large fishing trawler, no CMS, no ESM or ECM and none of the survivability features required to actually take them into a fight like a suitable fire main or armour in the right places. They have a VHF, UHF and HF comms fit common to what can be found on a large fishing trawler and that is about it. Basically they suitable for basic offshore coastal Police work… Read more »


Irish navy is short staffed and spends a lot of time in port.


But I read that the RN is short staffed and its ships are tied up alongside including a destroyer and a frigate too – British military ranks decline for 9th straight year, stats show –


Thank you.Very informative.


I wonder what Samuel Beckett would have thought about having a class of warship (I use the term loosely) named after him. During WW2 he stayed in France saying, ‘I prefer France at war than Ireland at Peace. He did have a very dark sense of humour so he may well have been highly amused!


Top troll


Who me


There escape tubes for the crew.

Rob Collinson

I do not doubt the value of these new patrol vessels. Unlike others, I do not think they are a waste of money. Yes they were a bit over-priced, but if we were to buy many more they would have been cheeper. I agree with the comments regarding how these are very much upgraded from both the River Is, the other versions procured by our international partners. Or the Irish vessels quoted earlier! I would argue that we need 10 more, with at least 8 based around the UK. I agree that they were just escorting a vessel through international… Read more »

Rob C

If I were not old, partially blind, partially deaf and falling to bits, I would enlist.


One thing that the main picture in the articles here is always covered by text! Would like to actually see the picture!