The UK regularly reviews the number of RN and RFA vessels in the region, say the MoD.

While there is occasional overlap of ships when one deployment begins and another ends, this is not uncommon say the Ministry of Defence.

“These long-planned movements do not reflect an escalation in the UK posture in the region and are routine Op KIPION deployments,” according to an MoD news release.

There are 7 RN and RFA vessels, with embarked Royal Marines for force protection, currently deployed to Op KIPION:

1 x Type 23 Frigate

  • HMS MONTROSE. The ship is due to undertake pre-planned maintenance and crew change during which she will be replaced by HMS DUNCAN.

1 x Type 45

  • HMS DUNCAN is transiting to the region to ensure we maintain a continuous maritime security presence while HMS MONTROSE comes off task.

4 x Mine Counter Measures Vessels


1 x Landing ships Docking Auxiliary (LSDA) – Mine Counter Measures Support Ship

  • RFA Cardigan Bay

Future routine deployments to Op KIPION include:

  • RFA WAVE KNIGHT – The vessel will join OP KIPION tasking at the start of August as part of a long planned deployment to Op KIPION in the role of KIPION Ready Tanker.  With a ship’s company of around 70 RFA personnel, RFA WAVE KNIGHT’s role is to deliver food, fuel, water and other essential supplies to RN and Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) ships.
  • HMS KENT – Later in the year, Type 23 Frigate HMS KENT will deploy to the Gulf taking over from HMS DUNCAN, ensuring an unbroken presence.

This comes after Iranian naval craft unsuccessfully attempted to seize a British flagged oil tanker in the Persian Gulf.

The tanker ‘British Heritage’ was reportedly sailing out of the Persian Gulf and was crossing into the Strait of Hormuz area when it was approached by boats from the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard.

It is understood that the Iranians ordered the tanker to change course and stop in nearby Iranian territorial waters.

Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose had been escorting the tanker and it has been reportedthat the British warship ‘pointed its guns at the Iranian boats’ in order to deter the seizure.

The Iranian boats then reportedly withdrew after HMS Montrose warned them to move away.

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It has also been reported that a tanker has been “escorted” by Iran towards Iran after broadcasting a distress signal (that was not picked up by anyone else). It also turned off its tracker before disappearing. Iran seems to admit this but gave little info while there are conflicting reports of who owns the tanker. It is a very odd story.


Yeah I read the same story, seemingly it’s flagged out of Panama & owned by a UAE registered company who have denied that they own any ships? Very strange indeed!


Maybe it’s their way of causing some chaos and being able to say that they have hit back, without targeting a ship that would start a conflict they would lose. Maybe.


I am sur I heard on Sky News that Kent was on her way there now although it might mean she has other duties in transit on her current deployment

Mike Saul

Given the recent successful firings of the Martlet Lightweight Multirole Missile adapted to fit a 30-mm automatic gun on HMS Sutherland by the Royal Navy, I would hope these would be fitted as a matter of urgency to all those ships deploying to the Arabian Gulf.

Martin S

I hope they fit them to the Wildcats as a matter of urgency now.

Mike Saul


Nigel Collins

No doubt they could be flown down with engineers and fitted to each warship currently assigned to policing the straits?

Mike Saul

I would like to think that would the case, but I never underestimate the incompetence of the UK MOD on such occasions.


Well they stepped up to the mark in the Falklands. Everybody including the MOD did. It was a great demonstration of British improvisation.

Mike Saul

The comment was based on my personal experiences, the MOD is incompetent and rigid.

Sadly the hollowing of the UK military over the past thirty years together technological.progress means the UK will be hard pushed to improvise now and in the future.


Not sure how long it would take, but apparently Montrose’s refit will be 3-4 weeks in Bahrain. Should be enough time to modify their 30 mm, surely?


Sorry for being a pedant, but Montrose is supposed to be permanently deployed in the Gulf until 2022. I appreciate that there will be some maintenance work at the next crew swap, but I understood this to be minor, right? We haven’t just sent a ship round the world to sit in a dry dock for 6-12 months in Bahrain, have we? In which case, as I understand it, Duncan has been deployed to cover for Montrose while she is alongside. But we are also committing to send Kent to replace Duncan. But surely by the time Kent arrives, Montrose… Read more »


Sky news says that Montrose should be docked in Bahrain for 3-4 weeks, so should be sailing again by the time HMS Kent arrives. Not sure why they’re sending Kent in that case, if they’re officially not increasing force presence in the area…


Ah great, thanks – I hadn’t seen that. So I guess the MoD is quietly reinforcing then, without drawing too much attention, which is good. Wonder if they chose Kent because she has Sonar 2087 fitted and there was a sub-surface threat, or if it’s just because she was the next ship ready to deploy…


All good prudent precautions to make sure.. If need be.. One vessel on the warer to escort whatever british flqgged vessels are coming through the straits… Which would be highly frequently… And i assume better if that is the type 23 which i assume are slightly more nimble in congested waterways


I hadn’t made the sonar connection, but it’s a good point- should be interesting to see if they get a chance to use it!


Montrose is part of forward baseing in Bahrain is an attempt to move away from Gulf-centric ops and move into areas outside of like the far-east.
Kent is to take on the Gulf operation to Kipion.
Duncan programme probably changed due to events and provide escort to UK flagged ships, and will proberbly return to her previous programme on Kent arrival.
We will wait and see what Montrose does a few weeks after the crew change has occured to see if her program has changed.


Well I think the point of basing a vessel there is quick response to crisis (already proven its worth), and to reassure allied nations. Providing 24/7 roving patrols, escorting tankers up and down the straights for a long period of time wouldn’t have been considered. I’d assume given the current situation there is a level of redundancy that has crept into the thinking at the MOD. The current situation seems to be, that you need a significant hull in the water patrolling 24/7. One ship can’t maintain that over a long period of time, months, and even weeks might be… Read more »


Good point.

May be the new crew needs good training for a month or more, finalizing with FOST? Not sure.

For example, HMS Montrose’s (with CAMM) crew is coming from HMS Monmouth (still with SeaWolf), before and after LIFEX. So, it will surely take time. But, how long it will be is not clear for me…

Mike Saul

Certainly want this crisis shows is that we need more capable and affordable warships and the personnel to crew them.

I hope the next PM will deliver on those requirements.

Alan Reid

Agreed, Mike.


Hi folks hope all are well.

I must say the RN does appear to be rather busy at the moment. What with duties in the Channel and current deployment in the Gulf. Just proves the point of many posts on this site, the UK needs to get on with more defense spend, and increase the number of Type 26/31. The new PM must increase the defense budget. Modern high tech Navy vessels take time to build. Need to get on with it now!!!


OT but big news… Turkey is OUT of the F35 business. HMG needs to step up to capture that opportunity.



This is a good example of why this work should have been carried out in the UK in the first place. We’re solid and reliable and unlikely to go running off to the Russians!

Now, if all the Turkish F35 component construction and maintenance contracts went to us, I could be persuaded to take their order of F35As alongside our F35B orders…for a reduced price of course 😉


Now that is an idea that I can get behind. Your right it should have been done here in the first place, so lets get it sorted now.

peter french

So why do we have to deny a military build up in the Gulf. Are we to afraid of upsetting IRan. The seizure of the British flagged Ship by Iran surely should have been forseen but the usual Incompetance by the UK Government has let the Iran have the Last laugh to date
We do have the resources to increase the RN presence in the Gulf , instead we whine that HMS Diamond will be a routine replacement,
One just loses faith in the fortitude and objectivity of our Government and wonder if they have any guts at all