A successful experimental link-up between the Royal Navy’s HMS Tamar and the US Navy’s submarine tender USS Emory S Land has demonstrated the potential for enhanced operations in the South Pacific, according to a press release from the Royal Navy.

For the first time, HMS Tamar berthed alongside the USS Emory S Land in Cairns, Queensland, utilising the US Navy vessel’s fuel, water, and power supply.

This process, known as ‘rafting up,’ was further expanded with the inclusion of the Australian survey ship HMAS Leeuwin, creating a three-ship link-up.

The USS Emory S Land, a submarine tender, traditionally provides support to US Navy hunter-killer nuclear submarines, supplying electricity, water, consumables, spare parts, repairs, and medical aid. The Royal Navy wanted to see if similar support could be extended to larger surface vessels like HMS Tamar.

The Royal Navy states that extensive planning and discussions were required to ensure the successful connection of the three ships. Scale drawings and detailed coordination were necessary for Tamar to safely berth alongside the Emory S Land, followed by HMAS Leeuwin.

Commander Tom Gell, commanding officer of HMS Tamar, highlighted the significance of this operation in a press release, saying, “The Emory S Land’s support for Tamar – or any Royal Navy ship of a similar size – on operations for a sustained period both alongside and underway is a realistic possibility. The maintenance capabilities of US submarine tenders are significant. Discussions suggest that we could be afforded full support if required.”

The successful link-up allowed for the transfer of fuel, water, and electricity from the US tender to both HMS Tamar and HMAS Leeuwin. This capability opens the possibility of expanding operations in the region, leveraging the Emory S Land’s extensive workshops for engineering work, maintenance, emergency assistance, or operational equipment delivery.

HMS Tamar, a second-generation River-class patrol ship, has an impressive operational range of over 6,000 miles. This has enabled her to undertake extended missions, such as a 5,000-mile round trip to deliver Covid vaccines to the Falkland Islands and Tristan da Cunha. In their press release, the Royal Navy suggests that using the Emory S Land could further extend these operations, providing significant support capabilities in the Pacific.

Throughout 2024, HMS Tamar has conducted various operations in the Coral Sea and South Pacific islands, including missions in Pitcairn, Fiji, and New Caledonia, focusing on clamping down on illegal fishing and environmental protection. Cairns has become a key support base for these operations, with the Australian Navy also aiming to increase its use of this base.

Following the completion of the rafting and maintenance operations, HMS Tamar is set to resume her mission with a fresh patrol of the South Pacific islands.

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_828192)
16 days ago

Let’s be honest if the RN is going to be undertaking significant opps in the pacific. which it looks like it is the RFA is going to need to be resourced to support that commitment. Personally I think the east of suez commitments are entirely appropriate. But if HMG are committing to the Red Sea, gulf, Indian Ocean region as well as the western Pacific on top of the UKs Atlantic, Northern Europe and med commitments as well as maintaining a credible carrier battle group and amphibious response. Then HMG is insane if it thinks that can all be delivered… Read more »

Simon
Simon (@guest_828198)
16 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

It backfired to over talk about global British navy by some boosterish politicians. We have deep blue water capabilities absolutely. I do like the rivers, not fighting ships, but cheap and practical for policing and cooperation.

klonkie
klonkie (@guest_828238)
16 days ago
Reply to  Simon

spot on observation re the River class Simon. 👌

geoff
geoff (@guest_828315)
16 days ago
Reply to  klonkie

Howsit Klonkie. I hope you are well my friend. Love the Rivers and agree with you and Simon. We had the best of a bad set of outcomes in the Election so we all feeling a bit better here with the ANC-DA love in😃 Time will tell though. I am in touch with an ex-Rhodesia Regiment friend who farmed in the Mount Darwin area during the war. He has cancer but is under treatment and fighting it with military spirit. He is a cousin of the cricketer Colin Bland. Hope all is well in the Land of the Long White… Read more »

Klonkie
Klonkie (@guest_828325)
16 days ago
Reply to  geoff

Hey Geoff, how are tricks? I did think the election result was a pretty good outcome. Guess things can only get better from here on. Next month UK election will be interesting . I have no confidence in neither Labour nor Tory. It’s a real sad state of affairs. UK taxpayers deserve far better.

Sorry to hear about your friends health, that is a really terrible curse.I hope he recovers fully soon.

Cheers, K

geoff
geoff (@guest_828330)
16 days ago
Reply to  Klonkie

Hey Klonkie-all good! The UK election should not impact Defence at all as agree with your sentiments about the Labour and Tory parties although I am Tory Lite at heart. But Reform and the Tories will commit joint Hari Kari at the end of the month and allow Labour to walk in for better or worse!
btw-the Rhodesia bit was because I thought you were born in Bulawayo and spent some of your life up there(?) Colin Bland was a brilliant cricketer who played for both Rhodesia and the Springboks but may have been before your time.
Cheers for now.

Klonkie
Klonkie (@guest_828455)
15 days ago
Reply to  geoff

cheers Geoff – you and me both centre right voters. A personal view. but I served in the Regan Thatcher year decade. They were the influencers of my politics.

Unfortunately Colin Bland was indeed before my time. I was born in ’64.

geoff
geoff (@guest_828461)
15 days ago
Reply to  Klonkie

Happy 60th for 2024 Klonkie.Free tea and biscuits at the supermarket and 5% discount on a Tuesday😆 My wife also turns 60 on 7th August. Chat soon

Klonkie
Klonkie (@guest_828519)
15 days ago
Reply to  geoff

🙏😚

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_828265)
16 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

These Rivers must be clocking up their miles so hope they’re not getting worn out too soon otherwise they’ll need replacements. Lol 😁 Some extra sales or joint production or license builds would be good. There were concepts of up armed and hangered versions which have come to nothing. The competition seems to be grabbing all the sales.

SailorBoy
SailorBoy (@guest_828323)
16 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

I think as soon as any whiff of the possibility of the retirement of the Rivers exists, Babcock will be all over it using Rosyth to continue building presumably while BAE are tied up doing T83.
We can already see what will be needed for the next OPVs. 40mm, an NS 50 basic radar, hangar for wildcat + UAVs, plenty of boat space up to the new 11m class.
There’s no reason why that couldn’t be fitted into a hull smaller than the Rivers are now, as is done by nearly everyone else.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_828324)
16 days ago
Reply to  SailorBoy

Evening SB, I think to be FFBNnecessarilyW some AShM (sea Brimstone/ Venom/ Matre type) and SAMs (Starstreak /Martlett/ LMM) might be useful too.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_828326)
16 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

The Rivers were BAE but Babcock are working with Saab on the next Swedish corvette so there should be some nice functional ships coming out that arrangement.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_828327)
16 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

The Harry Dewolf AOPV design looks useful too. Hangared, Artic capable, might be useful for Falklands and South Georgia area and even North Sea and further north.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_828273)
16 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Where’s the government’s desire and smarts to fix these issues? Is it that hard? People and pay, respect and appreciation, logistics and operational necessity. If the UK wants to do be able to do all that it wants and to stay in touch around the world and needs ships why not a few more T31s? Maybe there’s a bigger effort needed to get more sales happening. Why is the UK not in the final cut for the Aust light frigate requirement with the A140/T31 for 7-11 ships there? The Philippines needs ships, Indonesia is likely getting up to 6 French… Read more »

Steve M
Steve M (@guest_828317)
16 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

That is because all that ALL politicians are interested in is the next 10 second media byte they can get. Should be a law stating that politicians should have actual knowledge / intelligence rather just ego.

expat
expat (@guest_828339)
16 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

Great comment, catch 22 though as parliament passes laws.🤔

SteveM
SteveM (@guest_828368)
16 days ago
Reply to  expat

Broken system, defence and NHS should be done on 10/15+ year cycles which can’t be changed by changing parliaments every 5 years projects take too long to be given to &£#%heads with 10 second concentration spans.

expat
expat (@guest_828333)
16 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Thats why the carriers or at least one of them will not see out the end of the decade. They’re only really useful deploy 1000s of miles away not 10s or even 100s. So best dispose of one, park up the other or lease it to the EU then use the escorts to defend the ever expanding offshore foot print. If we’re at the point where we need to launch an amphibious response into Europe with carrier support then in all honesty we’ve probably already lost. Of course joining the navy becomes a little less attractive if you’re not going… Read more »

Jon
Jon (@guest_828391)
15 days ago
Reply to  expat

Nothing would destroy the Navy right now like decommissioning a carrier. People assume that if the money wasn’t spent on the carriers it could be spent on escorts, amphibs, logistics or whatever they feel the Navy is lacking most. Unfortunately decommissioning the carriers will simply lead to a reduction in overall naval expenditure and a reduction in the number the Navy is allowed to recruit. Government’s current priorities are munitions and stockpiles, services family acommodation, R&D, Ukraine, Strategic Headquarters, and Resillience Planning. Not a ship mentioned in that lot is there? Nor will Labour’s list. Carriers are shiny and politicians… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_828395)
15 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Hang on! Labour have not withdrawn them yet! Give them a chance.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_828448)
15 days ago

I hope they don’t, that would be bad form and just give the Chinese a bit more…”mmmm the west does not care” thoughts..and they are having a lot of those.

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_828322)
16 days ago

“larger surface vessels like HMS Tamar.” In what sense is a 2,000 ton River OPV larger than an 8,000-10,000ton Virginia class H-K sub?

If we want a global presence we need to dig deep & build the escort fleet to at least double the disgraceful 15 we have at the moment. We had something like 30-35 escorts at the end of the last cold war. Now this new fairly warm cold war finds us with just 15 & most of them past their sell by date.

Last edited 16 days ago by Frank62
expat
expat (@guest_828338)
16 days ago
Reply to  Frank62

In reality we need that number just to defend the offshore infrastructure that will continue to grow across the NS, seems to escape people and in particular politicians that 50GW of wind will cover over 5500 sq kms in the next 6 years, but off course due to things like water depth and a other physical restrictions this can’t be one big farm so its 5500 km dispersed around the UKs coast. But it gets far worse by 2050 with much more offshore power planned. And considering it takes what 4-5 years to build a frigate we are somewhat behind… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_828358)
16 days ago
Reply to  expat

But in the future we could significantly uplift our capacity, the Uk will have 4 undercover slips as well as one outside, and one covered assembly shed..plus all the smaller yards..we could at anyone time have 6 keels laid down plus those fitting out if the HMG really wanted to build the escort fleet.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_828357)
16 days ago
Reply to  Frank62

hi Frank your figures are a bit off, at the end of the Cold War ( which was essentially a stable time as well ) the RN had 1) 47 escorts 2) 32 attack submarines ( both electric and SSN) Your figures are closer to what was supported in the 1997 defence review. The last defence review with any meaning required 30+ escorts in a complete peaceful world in which Russia and china were poppets…at that point the identified need was: 1) 34 escorts ( frigates destroyers) 2) 12 SSNs 3) 3 carriers 4) 25 mine countermeasure vessels At the… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_828396)
15 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

but the fundamental crash in numbers occurred from 2010 to now which has seen a drop of 13 escorts.”

Bit of a Labour sided slant there, J!

The Labour government up to 2010 was responsible for a drop from 35 escorts to 23 by only replacing 11 T42 with 6 T45, the last few of which were still in build post 2010.

So I disagree with a “fundamental crash” the damage had already been done. The Tories just compounded it, and of course, did not get off their arses and order the GCS.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_828447)
15 days ago

Oh I don’t disagree, all administrations in the 21c are culpable ( it was Labour that did not order the correct number of T45s) …but I put the biggest blame on the Cameron administration…that 2010 defence review was pure vandalism of the worst kind..everyone else was just stupid…I give the later conservative administrations their due on development of frigate recapitalisation from 2016 onward…but 2010 to 2016 were wasted years and are directly responsible for the numbers issue now.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_828536)
15 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Yep, fair one. I was itching to mention all this to Sunak in these TV debates.