Royal Marines “stormed” a tanker in Plymouth Sound to practise maritime interdiction operations, say the Royal Navy.

According to a Royal Navy press release, Royal Marines from 42 Commando and 47 Commando (Raiding Group) headed into Plymouth Sound to practise maritime interdiction operations (intercepting, boarding and securing vessels suspected of involvement in criminal activities).

“Waiting to be boarded: 39,000-tonne naval tanker RFA Tideforce, normally used to keep HMS Queen Elizabeth and her carrier task group topped up with fuel. Climbing up the imposing side of Tideforce was a return to more regular duties for both Royal Marines units as the nation begins to emerge from the restrictions imposed by the Covid pandemic. Teams from 42 Commando, based at Bickleigh just outside Plymouth, helped to run mobile test centres for the virus to help key workers across the south west, including sites in Torbay and Salisbury.

Stood down from those duties, the marines can focus on their usual mission – especially as both 42 and 47 Commandos are constantly held in a state of very high-readiness to deploy on operations across the globe. Once the commandos have secured the suspect vessel, a Royal Navy boarding party of trained sailors comes aboard to conduct the search for anything untoward. They’ve recently been given enhanced search kits as smugglers use increasingly devious methods to hide their illegal cargos. The combined efforts of the Royal Marines and Royal Navy boarding teams have seized or destroyed more than £150m of illegal narcotics since the beginning of 2019 in a dozen major busts, with the Indian Ocean accounting for all but two of the successes.”

Captain Jack Denniss RM, Operations Officer of 539 Raiding Squadron, was quoted as saying:

“Maintaining this level of readiness for boarding operations demands that the unique techniques and procedures needed for success must be regularly exercised in the most arduous conditions.”

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barry white

” Normally used to keep HMS Queen Elizabeth and her carrier task group topped up with fuel. ”
What carrier task group?
Sorry but we haven’t got one yet


We have, T45, T23, Astute, various RFA.

barry white

Two Ships 1 destroyer and 1 frigate to protect a carrier?
Oh and the sub
And please dont go on about the T45 with its Samson radar being so super duper that it can track x amount of aircraft Thats a waste of time when you have so few missiles fire
Do you honestly think thats a carrier task group
Be realistic will you


Biggest in Europe and second only to the yanks, so, er, yes it is a carrier battle group. The carrier group can be tailered to requirements and will be expected to have 2 x T45, 2 x 23s, 1 x Astute and RFA. So please keep up, cheers. Sounds like its a case of you have no military knowledge or experience or an effort at Trolling, cheers.

Daniele Mandelli

If its OK for France to have a carrier and 2-3 escorts then same for the RN I guess.

Plus I believe there will be allied escorts. Do I remember correctly the Dutch were going to contribute?

Barry is ex RN I think mate.


Hi mate, sorry my reply was a bit to grumpy to Barry, I just in occasion get bored with people doing down our capabilities. We both know the issues we have with our military but what we do have is a pretty all round set of capabilities which most do not! It’s always easier to moan than than to cheer, but the near future could be a bit tough to do the latter I fear for what we have myself. Respect Daniele.

George Royce

I get your frustration but I think he’s just being realistic. Everyone and their pet budgie knows, the RN is a shell of its former self. Lack of funding, lack of ships and lack of willpower from politicians.

Barry White

No I have no military knowledge at all
But I suppose I must have dreamt being used as targets by the old Buccaneers flying at us at about 20 ft above sea level and watching the Phantoms take off and escort the Russian Bears out of the area when we had real carriers with cats and traps
Also I must of dreamt that I was less than a mile from when the Atlantic Conveyer was hit and watching her burn
Funny these dreams sent they


Barry I wasn’t offering a job mate I don’t need the CV, but with respect you need to get away from the good old days etc, it wasn’t always better and the technology and systems certainly weren’t better! Do you think carrying 24 sea dart, or a few sea cat, or a couple of ships carrying new and rather chuff sea wolf, better than say a T45. Yes in the 60s we had carriers that could carry Buccaneers and Phantoms but as tech progresses one or two F35 could take out the lot! It’s called progression, not always for the… Read more »

barry white

Im not living in the past just pointing out your sarcastic remark to my original post Yes i will admit the tech has advanced so much that it seems that the likes of yourselves think we are invincible We thought that back in 82 and look what they sunk our ships with just plain old iron bombs and of course if they had more of those dammed Exocets gods knows what would have happened The point im trying to make is dont put all your faith in this wonderful tech we have becouse the enemy (whoever that might turn out… Read more »


Your original post was flawed and someone else corrected it.
The air to air missiles and their availability forced the Argie Airforce to stay low and rely on iron bombs and made it difficult to hit or damage anything, allow them to be shot down and limited their range.


I certainly don’t think we are invincible as 29 years in uniform, in various shit pits around the world has shown me otherwise. But we do rely on tech, as a force multiplier, as you are correct, the enemy may/will have the same tech and capabilities, so we need the ability to match/overmatch who we face. And in the grand scheme of things the planned carrier task group, in NATO, will be second only to the yanks. But it’s not just about numbers, it’s about the ISTAR and asymmetric warefare capabilities. It’s not just who has the biggest bombs now… Read more »


Unlike the days of SeaCat, Sea Wolf, Sea Dart and Sea Slug, Radar 996, 992 993 and 909,910, 912 and 901 TVA/B directors things have moved on. Lets not even start with ADAWS and CAAIS. The hit probability for a single Sea Viper is far beyond the hit probability for a salvo shot on the old systems. Because it is basically a 1 x Missile = 1 x Hit system you have the potential to hit 48 targets. That’s way better than the salvo shots for Dart and Wolf and far better than the USN Standard missiles that still need… Read more »


When I was at Plymouth Poly, the course I was on was split between the Poly and the FE at Devonport. The FE had a number of radars on the roof that we used to practice/train with. One of these was the Sea Slug 901 tracking radar from a County I believe. We used to track aircraft coming in and out of the airport. We got into serious trouble as we tracked a Sea Harrier during Navy Days, the pilot was less than happy. It was a very early radar so used a combination of valves and magnetrons to generate… Read more »


In a T22 Surveillance Radar office you could get a florescent tube to light up whilst holding it in your hand due to the RF whizzing around in there. That and the noise from the 967 Radar doing its 3 x Frequency changes meant that in later years it became an unmanned office due to H&S concerns.
Better late than never I suppose!


Yeah all together they will make a powerful carrier battle group, can’t wait for the pictures, must be the strongest Naval task force the UK has deployed in god knows how many years…also is it a Norwegian frigate that’s joining the task group also?


And HMS QE and her accompanying frigate or destroyers have been refuelled together by a tide tanker before multiple times, and you could call them a carrier task group all being a small one.


A US Navy Carrier Strike Group minimum;
1 x carrier
1 x cruiser
2 x destroyers

The announced U.K. carrier task group is
1 x carrier
2 x T45 destroyers
2 x T23 frigates
1 x Astute submarine

Seems reasonable.


of course you have to put the CTG in context. Sailing through the South China Sea represents a very different threat to sailing almost anywhere else in the world. Current reports suggest that even the USN would be highly vulnerable there, so it probably doesn’t really matter whether your escort group is 4 ships or 14


There’s a very good article on Safe the Royal Navy about the Sampson radar. Well worth a read.

Sad bit to note is that the MOD has not supported any further development of the radar so I guess we’ll loose our advantage soon enough – daft given the huge effort to get where we are (goes back to the late 80’s early 90’s!!!).

Cheers CR


They need one of those grappling hooks that automatically take you up like they have in Call of Duty. lol


How about magnetic gloves, or that gravity jet engine system that that Royal marine invented, the yanks on boats coming to board Hms QE when in USA We’re amazed and didn’t expect it in a million years! That Royal marine gravity guy flying around their transfer boats and flying from the carrier aswell ( better if was flight deck) was just great. Surely this system could be used on the carriers in some way..



Not a lot can go wrong with a lightweight boarding ladder or Rapid Roping onto a deck.
Boarding Ops in the NAG are some of the best times I had in the RN


Gunbuster, agreed K.I.S.S is always more reliable BUT there’s got to be some more amusing/fun ways of doing it. My slightly tipsy thought is marines in zorb balls being delivered by trebuchet

Jeff Recce Troop

42 cdo doing their best, my son is on the ship RFA OFFICER now and former RM commando with 42 cdo.. Me Rtd RM cdo Recce Troop 42, think we need more of the support attitude thinking than knocking our lads.. HOO RA.