HMS Montrose has started two weeks of training with the Finnish and Swedish Navies.

On the eve of Exercise Baltic Cross, the Defence Ministers of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom signed a ‘memorandum of understanding’ for military cooperation between the nine nations.

The exercise – the first test of that new cooperation say the Royal Navy in a release – focused on developing the ability of the three navies to work together in forms of war at sea, from manoeuvring ships in close formation to transferring stores, defending each other from enemy air attack, locating submarines and hunting down enemy surface ships.

“It also tested Montrose’s Wildcat helicopter working with the Finns’ sleek, fast missile boats Hanko and Pori in the challenging waters around the Swedish and Finnish coasts – peppered with islands and inlets. 

As well as those two 30-knot-plus craft tearing around the Baltic, the Finns also committed their flagship FNS Hämeenmaa, a minelayer/corvette, while the Swedes fielded the futuristic-looking HSwMS Visby. The Visby is fast, stealthy and armed to the teeth – making her a formidable foe… and particularly tricky for Montrose’s operations room team to track.”

“This has been an intense and rewarding period of exercises and events, both at sea and ashore,” said Montrose’s Commanding Officer, Commander Conor O’Neill.

“Finland and Sweden have been allies of the UK for many years, but having them in the Joint Expeditionary Force makes that bond even stronger and has given real focus to improving our skills together. They are tough adversaries as well, as finding these agile stealthy craft in confined waters has been a challenge, but we have learnt a great deal from the experience. Ashore, Montrose and Ramsey were very proud to represent the RN and UK at this important milestone for the Finnish Navy.”

11 COMMENTS

  1. Visby is the radical thinking that we need to adopt. The cheeseparing forced on the RN may cost lives.
    The T23’s are fine ships but rapidly or even now, past their sell by date.

    • Visby’s been in service for quite some time. As for working with Sweden it was a de facto member of NATO in the Cold War – remember the Soviet sub episode in 1981 ?

  2. I like the visby class and think we should have built some of these under licence.

    At £200m each they are certainly good value for money and would fill a gap in our fleet

    In truth I prefer these over our Rivers.

    They look the part, are well armed and right sized for their intended role

    • They are not intended for the same role as the River class. They for instance can not carry many troops or as far as I know Launch ribs. They are very good at what they were designed for however which is basically a missile boat.

      • Understood Lee

        But I for one would prefer these to a river and think we could add a rear ramp that launches RHIBS

        Ultimately maybe they dont launch rhibs – not everything has to, I could live with that compromise for something a bit meatier in other areas.

        It’s primary role is ASW btw

  3. Pardon my french but CHRIST, we seriously need to get those Type 26s in the water. I don’t think I’ve seen a ship the last few years that look as aged as the Type 23 does next to most navies ships. Of course appearance isn’t anything but things don’t look good on the inside either with the anti ship missile debacle.

    • The T23 is still considered the best ASW ship in operation and was ahead of its time when it was built. Don’t get too worried about how something looks but rather focus on what it can do.

      • Agreed the French La Fayette made Type 23 look immediately outdated even though they where launched around the same time. The difference being Type 23 actually was multi-role while La Fayette still has no SAM or Radar system worth talking about. Ironically La Fayette went on to win multiple export orders with upgraded SAMs and Radar.

        No one is going to export an ugly ship, the Naval groups current OPV’s still look a generation ahead of BAE’s River class.

      • Matt

        I have said on another thread that we should re-use the hull design of the T23 and build new for the T31 and reconfigure every other element.

        Gun busters has said a number of times that it is a very good ship and for the life of me surely the RN should have said here’s a really good hull – go and re-design a modern warship within it. Would save a load of money that we will now spend on the hutifeldt class.

        If we accept that it is not the quietest most modern design but is still good enough, then surely that is good enough…. not everything has to be cutting edge

        New sensors, layout, weapons, engines. Less crew etc. etc would make this a perfect T31

        But there you go – no common sense exhibited by the RN once again

  4. Looks are nice and I do understand there impact on export sales but before we write off the type 23, let’s ask ourselves a question. If one of our allies, say Canada or America requested an escort for one of their troopships on an Atlantic crossing….. of all the asw frigates in the western navies, which do you think they would prefer?

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