The Hunt class will leave service between 2029 and 2031 and the Sandown class will leave service between 2021 and 2025.

The information came to light via a Parliamentary question.

Mark Francois, Member of Parliament for Rayleigh and Wickford Commons, asked via a Parliamentary written question:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the planned out-of-service date is for the (a) Hunt class mine countermeasures vessels and (b) Sandown class mine countermeasures vessels.”

Jeremy Quin, Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence, responded:

“On current plans, the Hunt Class Mine Countermeasures Vessels will leave service between 2029 and 2031 and the Sandown Class Mine Countermeasures Vessels will leave service between 2021 and 2025.”

The future beyond the Hunt and Sandown classes

The Sandown and Hunt class Mine Counter Measure Vessels are based in Scotland.

According to the Royal Navy website:

“The staff and ships of Mine Counter Measures 1 (MCM1) Squadron deploy in the Northern Gulf, conduct NATO exercises with other nations and work around the British Coastline, protecting our shores and clearing the old ordnance that remains as a legacy of previous wars.”

They’ll be replaced with uncrewed platforms in future.

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Mark B
Mark B
7 days ago

Even if the unmanned vessels are a magnificent success would mother ships be a limiting factor? The out of service date for the Hunt class I assume means they would not be seaworthy after 2031? Might they be used in a different role if the unmanned capability arrived ahead of time?

Andy a
Andy a
7 days ago

I think they will add the un manned platforms and probably use them based of the hunt class short term.
Can anyone compare the sandown and hunt class? What’s difference?

Wolf
Wolf
6 days ago
Reply to  Andy a

The Hunt class are slightly larger than the Sandown Class in terms of displacement and size (length more so).
Hunt Class – 750 tones – 60m x 10.5m x 3.4m
Sandown Class – 600 tones – 52.5m x 10.9m x 2.3m

Andy a
Andy a
6 days ago
Reply to  Wolf

Do the serve exactly same function?

Wolf
Wolf
6 days ago
Reply to  Andy a

I’ve read that the Hunt class has a secondary role as offshore patrol vessel, not sure if that’s also the case with the Sandown class.
The Sandown class operate as the First Mine Countermeasures Squadron (MCM1). I think that’s the main difference in roles anyway as the Hunt class isn’t part of MCM1.

David Steeper
David Steeper
7 days ago

Have to say what a grand job the Hunts have done over the years. I was still in secondary school when they first entered service and no the old King wasn’t still on the throne ! They’ve certainly paid there price tag of many times over.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
6 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Same.

Paul C
Paul C
6 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Same here, I left school in 1985. They were a huge leap in capability and attracted a lot of attention at the time. I always found the Hunts interesting ships and can remember an in-depth article about them in Armed Forces magazine, maybe 1984. It said they had a potential hull life of up to 60 years and were by displacement the most expensive ships in the fleet. How time flies.

Mark.c
Mark.c
6 days ago
Reply to  Paul C

That’s just because of the money needed to be spent on supplying the navy cds with brill cream aNd sun glasses.

Peter S
Peter S
6 days ago

But no mention of any mother ships to host the new systems. France, Netherlands and Belgium will have dedicated vessels and the USN will deploy from LCSs.

Wolf
Wolf
6 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

… I think that’s where the type 32 comes into play. Time will tell.

donald_of_tokyo
donald_of_tokyo
6 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

At least in the Persian Gulf, I understand the Bay-class there will be used as a mother ship (including maintenance and control).

Near British water, RN says the system will be operated from ground.

In other places? This is the point missing, I agree.

James H
James H
6 days ago

Can someone explain what is happening, we are renowned for our mine hunting skills. The ships provide a presence in the gulf, we have the Nato groups, they provide leadership experience.
All this cant be replaced by the unmanned system and they need to be taken to the area of need to be used.
So what is the plan, 5 type 32s cant be an escort and a mine hunter at the same time.

Klonkie
Klonkie
6 days ago
Reply to  James H

Hi James, see my suggestion above to use the river class opv’s in the role – a thought

James H
James H
6 days ago
Reply to  Klonkie

It’s a sensible idea but it takes away ships that are replacing escorts.
I just hope there is a plan better then the current one of shrinking the numbers of everything.

Mark.c
Mark.c
6 days ago
Reply to  James H

The opvs are predominantly based abroad now on overseas protection Falklands. Caribbean and now appently in the far East besides they got steel hulls too. mine hunters nowadays are made with none magnetic stuff. Just like the new Russian craft that’s just finished sea trials.

Klonkie
Klonkie
5 days ago
Reply to  Mark.c

Hi Mark ,thanks for the point re the steel hulls. My thinking was they cold act as mother ships for the new breed of small remotely operated MCM boats. .

Klonkie
Klonkie
5 days ago
Reply to  James H

cheers James

Klonkie
Klonkie
6 days ago

I wonder if the River class OPV can be fitted with a modulised MCM system? Seems daft to burden the Type 31/32 to do this along with their core general purposes roles- there will only be 10 of them,

I’m unsure what wartime role the Rivers have, so it seems plausible.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
6 days ago

Over the years I have worked deeply on both classes of vessels, their MCM systems and their mechanical systems and still do occasionally when the need arises. Some points that people may not know. Sandown class MCMV are Low Magnetic signature mine hunter vessels and are not designed to go deep into minefields . With their VDS minehunting sonar, bow thrusters and Voith propulsors they where designed to hunt for individual deep water mines whilst maintain a distance from the threat. Hunt MCMVs where originally Non Magnetic vessels designed to go into a mine area and to sweep using a… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
5 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Thanks for taking the time to write that up. Here’s hoping readers, including some regulars, take the time to read and absorb it. Particularly the second half. You should save it and post under the next Navy Lookout article on MCM too. 😉

ex RN MCMV
ex RN MCMV
5 days ago

“Risk Free MCM ops” this will put men out of jobs and the RN will lose so much specialist skills as a result. What is to become of a Navy with global aspirations if it wants to be risk free?

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
3 days ago
Reply to  ex RN MCMV

So can the unmanned speed boats/pleasure craft/ships be brought online quickly enough to cover the retirements? 2021-2025 is not far away. Apart from the type 32 I’m seeing a glaring hole or opportunity for ships to operate these unmanned ships. Could be a prespostioned Rfa asset like the rivers. It could also be a small casualty ship(Argus replacement) disaster relief etc. Give us 6 of them. I would add tanker/cargo to the list but I guess that pushes the cost up. we are really feeling the effects of not building enough ships to replace what we have in the past… Read more »

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
3 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Should also of added that not all these things are on the ship at the same time. They are all air transportable.
that way the raf can request more transport planes.

Nicholas Bassett
Nicholas Bassett
40 minutes ago

At the time of their introduction, the Hunts were renowned for holding the World record for the largest ever GRP/Composite-hulled ships. Don’t know if that record has been beaten in the last 40 years or not.

Nicholas Bassett
Nicholas Bassett
35 minutes ago

So, the Hunts are leaving after just a little over 45 years’ service (excellent and incredible of course!), whilst the Sandowns, introduced after the Hunts, are being withdrawn considerably earlier than the Hunts, after a ‘mere’ 30 years’ service. 30 years is no-doubt the intended service life, but I just don’t get why then the Hunts are being kept-going for so much longer. Has the reporting of these OSDs been quoted the wrong way round? Normally, with very similar classes of ship undertaking the same roles, the older would bow out first, then followed by the younger class.