U.S. Navy fleet replenishment oiler USNS Guadalupe and Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose conducted maritime security and logistics training in the South China Sea recently.

According to the US Navy, the drills involved Royal Marine commandos, Royal Navy sailors and Guadalupe crew members.

“During a visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) scenario, Montrose’s boarding team embarked and secured Guadalupe, which simulated a vessel engaged in high seas trafficking.”

The ships also practiced replenishment at sea using NATO procedures, which ensured that the two ships, despite never having worked together before, could safely and efficiently transfer fuel while underway.

“This was a valuable exercise for us, keeping our integrated Royal Navy and Royal Marines boarding team sharp and ready to deliver any mission assigned to them,” said Cmdr. Conor O’Neill, commanding officer of HMS Montrose.

“That we were able to achieve this training, and the replenishment drills afterwards, is testament to the close working relationship between the Royal and United States Navies, both in the Pacific and globally. It helps expand our capabilities and I believe it helps them, as well,” said Eric Naranjo, civilian mariner chief mate aboard Guadalupe. “It’s important because if you don’t practice these scenarios, you won’t have the skills necessary to succeed when the time comes.”

This is the third cooperative deployment between the U.S Navy and the Royal Navy in as many months.

USS McCampbell and HMS Argyll operated together in the South China Sea in January, and a trilateral anti-submarine warfare exercise was held in December between the U.S. Navy, Royal Navy, and Japan Maritime Self Defense Force.


  1. It’s essential that the Crew of HMS Montrose keep practising their boarding skills, because she will soon be forward deployed out in the Gulf, and they will definitely use them out there!

  2. As the RN plans to send a carrier battle group to the South China Sea in 2021, two type 45s should each receive 16-cell mark 41 vls modules. This should cost approximately £26m based on the recent Finnish acquisition. Also aster 30 should be made compatible with the mark vls. Furthermore, two sonar 2050 sets should be transferred from the two mothballed type 23s to these two type 45s. This should be combined with a purchase of asroc to de-risk its likely future adoption by the type 26. These changes should give the CBG more teeth, respectability and survivability when it enters possibly a very high-intensity environment in 2021.

    • It would take 3-4 years to just do the paperwork before they actually started any work.
      From my experience of trying to get weapon systems into service in the RN ….
      Mk 41- No in corporate in service experience. So a full package of buying, training and maintaining the system. Then Integrate it in a T45 including; New steel work, all the new wiring from the launcher to the ops room and equipment control room. No magazine fire fighting so a shed load of new pipe work and major alterations to the sea water fire fighting system. A whole new vent and fire alarm system.
      Why make aster mk 41 compatible? Its fine in the Sylver launchers. To make it Mk 41 compatible would require a whole series of tests and trials involving. Fire Safety, Magazine Safety, Electromagnetic interference, Reaction to attack trials.
      Sonar 2050 is not plug and play. New power supplies, through bulkhead connectors, consoles in the ops rooms, new steel work and foundations in the Sonar Instrument Space, possibly a new hull outfit/sonar dome, array alignment. More trials and setting to work which would take at least a year. integration with the Command System which would require a new software upgrade.
      ASROC- A non- certified weapon in UK service. So more compatibility trials, Response to attack trials, fire safety trials, magazine safety trials. New training and tactics to be employed. A new torpedo into service with all the associated shore support and servicing plus the launcher loading equipment. If you went with the Mk 54 torpedo that is in my experience a step backwards as it is an otto fuel powered weapon with inferior performance to that of the Sting Ray Mk 75.

      Best guess not much change out of 500m quid and that is from the Abbey Wood side of life , the Dockyards, the naval training and equipment schools, the armament depots and Fleet Headquarters.

      So in short from a purely practical point and knowing what is required it isn’t going to happen.

  3. Didn’t Williamson get rebuked by the Chancellor for upsetting the Chinese with his premature announcement about sending the carrier to the Pacific on its first employment in 2021?

    That gaff cost UK plc millions in trade in poultry and cosmetics sectors. Are we still sending the carrier?

    I wish politicians wouldn’t use defence and national security issues as a way to jostle and position themselves for Theresa May’s job. First it was Williamson and his gunboat diplomacy against at the Chinese and now its Sajid Javid revoking Shamima Begum’s nationality when he knows full well that it’s eventually going to be reinstated on appeal. We need well thought out policies, not knee jerk reactions mostly for personal gain.

  4. It’s not really a credible government anymore, more a collection of loose alliance’s. Definitely not strong and stable. more a Zombie government.
    We need to expand our defence industry. The idea we are unable use state investment in our industry is a fallacy. We have chosen not to. The French use the national security to do so.
    It’s hardly a competitive industry in the UK. So privatisation didn’t produce a competitive UK market. Just a smaller one.


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