HMS Monmouth conducts sovereignty patrol off Gibraltar
HMS Monmouth visiting Gibralatr.

HMS Monmouth conducts sovereignty patrol off Gibraltar

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Accompanied by HMS Sabre and HMS Scimitar, frigate HMS Monmouth conducted a ‘sovereignty patrol’ of territorial waters off Gibraltar.

AB(Sea) Kristoffer Auld said:

“Gibraltar has a certain mystique about it and everyone in the Navy has a good Gib story.

I’m really pleased to have visited this part of the UK and it will always be that little bit more special for me as it’s my first foreign stop.”

 

Also tested off Gibraltar in addition to her various machine gun weapons was her ScanEagle miniature eyes in the sky; the small drone has proved to be a crucial asset in monitoring shipping in the Gulf, beaming live camera footage directly into ship’s operations room.

British frigates will however soon be left without the maritime unmanned air system from late 2017, with no funding available to replace the drone.

ScanEagle is a small unmanned air vehicle developed by Insitu and Boeing. ScanEagle has a range of 1,500km and an endurance of more than 28 hours. The aircraft carries a stabilised electro-optical and/or IR camera on a lightweight inertial stabilised turret system, and an integrated communications system. Each ScanEagle system costs US$3.2 million.

HMS Richmond had recently used her ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle to locate and monitor smugglers and relay information to task force commanders. The frigate and her international counterparts in Combined Task Force 150, intercepted the six smuggler boats as the vessels headed for Tanzania.

The fleet seized nearly a tonne of heroin. Based on UK current wholesale value of heroin, the seizure has a potential price tag of £98m as an estimated street value.

In 2014, Philip Hammond, then Defence Secretary, said it would “play a crucial role in operations and humanitarian missions not only in the Gulf but also on Royal Navy vessels right across the globe, further underlining our commitment to invest in innovative capabilities”.

According to the Royal Navy,

“On sailing from Gibraltar HMS Monmouth will head east. She’ll join HMS Echo on the international Operation Sophia, the response of Europe’s military to the migrant problem in North Africa and the central Mediterranean, before passing through Suez for the core of the deployment dealing with terrorism/piracy/drug trafficking/arms smuggling in the Indian Ocean and Gulf.”

12 COMMENTS

  1. Couple of things here:

    1. Scan Eagle situation is another serious own goal alongside that of the harpoons and no MK41 or torpedoes in our ships (most notably T45)
    2. Lets hope the Spanish don’t send one of their modern Frigates to sink our life extended one..

    All a bit laughable if it wasn’t deadly serious.

      • HAHAHAHA,

        PAcman27, you do know what GIBRALTA is for don’t you ?

        This really is hilarious.

        Its effectively the world biggest and most effective anti shipping asset. Its there to close the Med to all but those we see fit in time of war, and has historically done this forever, seeing a good portion of many fleets sent to the bottom, most notably the Spanish.

        Any assertion that “the rock” is itself not capable of sinking anything within a 50nm radius right now is dodgy at best. I wouldn’t test it.

        Go there some time, its a great place. Truly Awsome. The world biggest and most impenetrable castle, and the single biggest visible statement of continuing British Military might.

        Beno

        • PAcman27 is right, though it’s incredibly unlikely the modern capable Spanish frigates (more like destroyers) would sink the 2 small patrol boats and inflatables, and the fortifications are open to tourists I believe, no big guns, small military detachment – and no permanent RAF units.

          Gib is used mostly for stopovers. In the Second World War it truly was fearsome – though vulnerable if … but that’s another story that got sunk, luckily for Force H.

  2. So much for Fallon’s 178Bn that we are sicking hearing about…… seriously, when are we ever going to get some genuinely good news on defence and especially the RN??? – not something that was already announced long ago and just ‘jazzed up’ but real, true good news….. sometimes the state of British defence really does make for depressing reading……

  3. ScanEagle obviously still works so seems a bit daft to get rid of it if the RN isn’t getting a replacement any time soon. Make you wonder what the MoD is thinking, assuming they do, of course.

  4. On a totally different subject, the SNP have now gone public on their wish for another independence referendum which presumably will happen sometime in 2019. The governments stated position is that it will not build complex warships in foreign countries for the RN, so what will happen regarding the order for the type 26, will it be delayed further? Will the building start on the hulls and then come south for fitting out? What will happen to the type 31? What will happen to the planned basing of all the fleet submarines and all the associated training and accommodation facilities? Scottish independence is far more likely this time, as at the moment it is only 53% to 47% for remain. We and more importantly the RN needs answers and steady orders.

    • Answers – not yet, depends on how much co-operation between Scotland and rUK, which would be (urgently I hope), in post-YES negotiations. Salmond would have been all for it “shared defence” as NATO would put it. I’d presume Sturgeon would be the same, or her defence advisers. Anyway if Scotland wants to be part of NATO I’d expect NATO to get involved early on – and give Scotland some “advice”.

      Contingency plans, yes, and I’d be very disappointed and even alarmed at the state of the UK if there wasn’t a full set in place or being worked on as we speak! Perhaps being put into operation, since September 2014. I would have.

    • Well if Scotland gains its independence we be losing a great chunk of are nation and are already small military. So if it does happen we really will no longer be a important nation so realistically are military would just decline.

  5. Why will we lose Scan Eagle in late 2017? Were we only renting them?

    And what is going to happen to Harpoon? Will it not work or are we just going to save a few quid by not renewing the maintenence contract?

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