Two River-Class offshore patrol vessels, HMS Tamar and HMS Spey, departed San Diego for Hawaii after spending 6 days in port.

The pair arrived in San Diego on October 11th. They have been operating as Task Group 326.03, and will begin a new 5 year deployment to the Indo-Pacific region.


This article was submitted by John. John is a student at the University of South Carolina studying political science. He has also studied the Arab-Israeli conflict at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. John currently hosts ‘The Osint Bunker‘ podcast, a popular bimonthly production focusing on global events, you can read more about the podcast on our dedicated page here.


This port visit aligns with the operating doctrine outlined by the Royal Navy earlier this summer, as the task group will utilize “bases and ports in the Pacific region which best meets their needs and mission”.

Thank you to @WarshipCam and @cjr1321 for the use of their images below, I recommend you visit them and give them a follow.

Both ships are Batch 2 River-Class offshore patrol vessels, each armed with 1 Bushmaster 30 mm cannon, 2 Miniguns, and 2 General purpose machine guns. Additionally, both sport Merlin-capable flight decks.

According to the MoD:

“The crews will be joined by extra personnel – up to 52 Royal Marines or troops in a dedicated mess – or mission-specific equipment to deliver humanitarian aid or help with evacuations.”

The ships have been painted in a new ‘dazzle camouflage’ reminiscent of ship camouflages used extensively in World War I, and to a lesser extent in World War II and afterwards.

The mission comes on the heels of CSG 21’s visit to East Asia, during which it lead an international fleet into Chinese claimed waters. China has repeatedly warned British warships not to carry out any “improper acts”.

The deployment serves as a sign that tensions continue to increase in the region. Additionally, the Royal Navy is testing its ability to deploy ships for extended periods of time far from Britain.

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Ian M
Ian M
27 days ago

The RN guys n’ gals will be fighting to get a berth on those ships!

Tommo
Tommo
26 days ago
Reply to  Ian M

If Draftie is working on Cree changes then San Diego Should be Time for her first Crew change ? Or in Hawaii Civvie Flight back on the Cards

Ian M
Ian M
27 days ago

I see on Janes Defence news that the 3 batch 1’s are being kept for another six years.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
27 days ago

Could a B3 River type do the mothership role with the MCM kit? I asked this of the Hunts and GB told me why it was a non starter.

I’d like to see more of these vessels.

expat
expat
27 days ago

You may well do, the concept seems to be dispersed legality. Use of containerised weapons is also going to become a reality but this needs careful consideration. But would fit a B3 concept complementing T32s. There’s even talk of the T45 replacement being main a sensor platform with weapons dispersed to other vessels.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
26 days ago
Reply to  expat

I just hope with all the talk of “motherships” that these units/vessels are themselves well defended. If you knock out the mothership isn’t everything else attached to them then useless?

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
27 days ago

Hi Daniele,

I agree, we need MCM motherships.

Have you seen the latest on Navy Lookout? There is a nice graphic showing in-service, under construction, being negotiated, planned in the review and others. The others include a MCM mothership which apparently has been ‘mentioned’ recently – although no reference was given.

A B3 River would do nicely, although at a lower price point please…

Cheers CR

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
27 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Not yet mate. Stuck at work. Will check later.

James William Fennell
James William Fennell
27 days ago

Maybe. They have two TEU slots and 2 boat slots – and a big flightdeck. The MCM set seems to includes 2-3 USVs and a command ‘POD’ and a UAV for ISTAR/comms relay. I suspect after 2028 three River B2s will return to UK to replace the B1s and be themselves replaced by Type 31s in the Med and Indo-Pac. Type 31 can certainly carry a MCM set.

ATH
ATH
27 days ago

Not sure why you would choose something based on a River over something based on an oilfield support ship. The support ship designs often have big open work decks and lots of cranes inc the clever heave compensated ones. You would end up with something that looked a bit like the D’Entrecasteaux class but ideally a bit faster.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
26 days ago
Reply to  ATH

Hi ATH, I have suggested oil support ships in the past, there were quite a few laid up in Sunderland Docks at one time. For all the reasons you describe perhaps a couple could be taken into the RFA to support long term deployments such as in the Gulf. These would not necessarily need to be fast but could be deployed as part of any post war clear up or as in the Gulf part of a deterent or local quick reaction posture. Some smaller, faster motherships based on the Rivers could be built for the RN. These vessels could… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P
25 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

HMS Echo?

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
25 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Hi Paul,

HMS and HMS Scott need replacements. However, I am not aware of any particular programme to achieve this. Given the importance their roles in support of the submarine fleet I suspect that there is something going on behind closed doors. Given the RN’s move towards autonomous vehicles and the fact that these are being used in the civil sector for maritime research and survey I wonder whether an underwater autonomous vehicle is being considered or even assessed quietly…

Cheers CR

Jon
Jon
25 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

I think the MROSS ships are supposed to do oceanic survey work as well as sweep undersea cables. We share the task of Atlantic seabed survey with the Yanks, swapping data. So a short gap between Scott’s departure next year and MROSS operational in 2024 (in theory) is not a disaster. However, I’m not a big believer in MROSS being operational that quickly. There’s even no public agreement as to how many we’ll get. Wallace anounced 1, Gommit — I mean Radakin — announced 2. I hope they don’t sell Scott too quickly. It’s twice the size of a Type… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P
25 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

I believe Echo, Enterprise and Scott all have secondary roles as ‘MCM command’ ships; and have exercised in this role, which I’m thinking is subtly different from MCM mothership?
They have lots of sensors and black boxes and real time data transmission capability.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
26 days ago
Reply to  ATH

As CR says! Was thinking of the potential River B3 being able to switch to other roles when not doing its mother job. Multi capability on single hull.

Whether it is feasible I’ve not the foggiest, just an idea really.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
26 days ago

Hi Daniele, Just read an article over on Navy Lookout. Apparently the details of support contract for the Rivers has just been released with the B1 Rivers to be supported until 2028. This would mean that the B2’s will return home to replace to replace the B1’s in 2028 or leave the UK with no OPV’s in home waters. If the T31 programme can maintain the tight build schedule then the first of class HMS Venturer will enter service in time to replace the B2’s on forward deployments. If Navy Lookout is right about this then the T31’s will be… Read more »

Steve M
Steve M
26 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

I thought the Type 32 were going to be motherships? Was reading article on Navy Lockout which was saying about missiles on QE’s and the current risk of having to have t26 / t45 in close to provide goalkeeper cover which will serverly hinder primary roles (Noise Carrier make hard to detect sub), we should get another 3-4 T31 with large fit of Sea Ceptor and poss 40/57 MM guns to goalkeeper for QE’s, that would allow the 2 -T26 & 2-T45s to be more effective

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
26 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

Hi Steve, The T32 are indeed intended to be drone carrying ships, however, the T31’s have been mooted as MCM drone support ships. Clearly, there is a lot of discussion on-going with in the MoD / RN as the recent mention of MCM specific motherships shows. In reality, nothing is cast in stone until it enters service and even then it can get ditched early… I hope that the T31 / T32 ships are free to operate in patrol / frigate roles rather than being tied down as MCM motherships – I suspect most on here would agree with that.… Read more »

Steve M
Steve M
26 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Hi CR yes agreed you could use T-83 as a master control (isn’t the Aegis? it can control all SM2 armed vessels and launch in ‘god’ mode) have smaller remote ships with large numbers of vls, but unless the sensors suite can see huge distances sure the range they can be pushed out is limited. maybe you could have remote towed array ships with torp or even torp carrying drones controlled by master ASw. For other things i think too carry enough drones you would end up with something Bay size to a: carry enough, b: be able to service/repair… Read more »

Klonkie
Klonkie
26 days ago

Hey D, That’s was my idea! Seriously though. good you raised the point. I’m unsure what role the River’s are tasked with in a war situation (God forbid). It seems logical to fit them with a containerized MCMV systems fit. From a layman’s perspective there is plenty of aft deck space to accommodate .

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
26 days ago
Reply to  Klonkie

Good to know K mate.

I have no idea re Rivers. Staying out the way probably!

Klonkie
Klonkie
26 days ago

that sounds like a very sound idea!

Tommo
Tommo
23 days ago
Reply to  ATH

ATH, we’ve used Oilrig support/duve boats before Stenna’s Inspector and Seaspread Falklands Seaspread was still down there in 88 as Fwd repair NP 2010 another Oilsupport bt was used by the Clearence divers for Sat diving as a stop gap between Reclaim and Challenger Great accommodation 2 to 4 man berth with en suite heads and showers big well decks for workshop ISOs large Top flightdeck had 4mnths on Seaspread easy draft She even had apart from 4 bars/ Rec spaces there was even a Sauna

Steve M
Steve M
27 days ago

Did i miss posts about these 2? I would have thought would have been stuff about 2 RN ships transiting Panama etc? not just leaving San Deigo after being there for 6 days already. or did they get train? last i saw was regarding meeting up with Caribean ships.

Last edited 27 days ago by Steve M
Lusty
Lusty
27 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

No, you haven’t missed anything. Forces and the vessels’ own Twitter pages reported their progress through Panama.

Steve M
Steve M
27 days ago
Reply to  Lusty

Ah, don’t do social media thing 🙂

David Steeper
David Steeper
27 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

Try Navy lookout you can follow Twitter feeds on what’s happening in the RN without having to sign up. Plus CSG21, FOST and Joint Warrior etc.

Lusty
Lusty
27 days ago

Minor point, but they now use at least four GPMGs, rather than two.

See, they have been up-armed!

*grabs my coat*

Trevor
Trevor
27 days ago
Reply to  Lusty

Expect incoming re lack of strike length Mk 41 VLS…😀

Lusty
Lusty
27 days ago
Reply to  Trevor

I have already braced myself! 😀

Ian M
Ian M
27 days ago
Reply to  Lusty

Back to Captain Pugwash again!😂

Steve M
Steve M
27 days ago
Reply to  Lusty

Is aMerlin size flight deck big enough to put f-35 on? that would be good setup of course might need some heat resistant paint

Lusty
Lusty
27 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

Theoretically, you could fit an F35 onto the flight deck. It has a similar footprint to a Merlin, although it of course has a significant wingspan that you’d need to contend with, which can’t be folded up like a Merlin. However, the deck has been specifically designed with aircraft up to and including the size of Merlin. The F35 is significantly heavier than a Merlin, meaning that the flight deck itself might not support the weight of an F35. The ship itself might need to be ‘set up’ to allow for a landing and FlyCo trained in F35 operations, as… Read more »

Last edited 27 days ago by Lusty
Steve M
Steve M
27 days ago
Reply to  Lusty

🤣🤣🤣🤣 Lusty that is one hell of a reply. it was just a possible alternative to Strike length MK41 VLS as would give a variety of options from AAW to long range strike and a good ISAR ability all in 1 optional package that could be deployed if required 😀

Last edited 27 days ago by Steve M
Lusty
Lusty
27 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

Just trying to show I can think beyond the ‘upgunthemnaow!’ brigade. 😉

Personally, I think we should also add four 20″ guns in a quad turret. 😀

Steve M
Steve M
27 days ago
Reply to  Lusty

i think a couple L134A1 or Mk47 or GMG would be a good addition 🙂

David Barry
David Barry
27 days ago
Reply to  Trevor

Disseminating mis-leading information is naughty; they’re getting photon torpedoes.

David Steeper
David Steeper
27 days ago
Reply to  David Barry

Your all so cynical but what happens if they come up against those extra terrestrials from Battleship. Then you’ll be sorry.

Ian
Ian
27 days ago
Reply to  Trevor

Hi Trevor….. how about Cats & Traps…
Haha 👍

Trevor
Trevor
27 days ago
Reply to  Ian

I was reluctant to mention that as the official secrets act is for life not just for christmas, but I can divulge the boffins are working on how to accelerate say a Hawkeye to flight speed in the length of the River B2 flight deck. Basically that subjects a 2G airframe and 9G crew to maybe 100+G. also the superstructure might get in the way….

Goldilocks
Goldilocks
27 days ago

according to Jane’s the B1’s will stay in service until 2028 now, reminds you that the River-class will eventually need a replacement. I think that a common hull should be developed for replacing Echo’s and Rivers and potentially MROSS?

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
27 days ago
Reply to  Goldilocks

I think you are more likely to see more T31esque ship than more Rivers.

Crewing is not that different – in an austere config they won’t be crazy expensive to run and they are, when up armed, suitable for hot situations.

Also R&R space on a T31 is better which is vital for retention.

Jon
Jon
25 days ago

I understood a single crew for T31 to be over 100. Wouldn’t dual crewing be twice that? Whereas B2s need between 65 and 70 for the rotating triple watch. I may have misunderstood something, but wouldn’t Type 31s require three times the crew to achieve a similar percentage of sea days?

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
25 days ago
Reply to  Jon

As ever it depends on what departments are fully manned.

I think the B2 crew is really bigger than that.

A B2 is a big ship IRL which has had the ‘interesting bits’ taken off to increase uptime and decrease crewing. If you put the ‘interesting bits’ back on you would end up with about the same sized crewing requirements.

A T31 would have the same crewing requirements as T26 if you out all the buts that go bang and sonar onto her.

Jason M Holmes
Jason M Holmes
26 days ago

Long trip for two small vessels !

geoff
geoff
26 days ago
Reply to  Jason M Holmes

Not so small Jason at 2000 tons! Some do it in 50 ft.yachts!!

Paul.P
Paul.P
26 days ago
ChariotRider
ChariotRider
26 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Ouch, that is a seriously damning report and it looks like heads are going to role.

Cheers CR

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
25 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Heads are going to a new role – likely

Or

Heads are going to a roll – also likely

Or

The heads are getting some more rolls…. – always

I’ll stop be a pedant now before I annoy George….

Andrew
Andrew
26 days ago

How times have changed! There was a time that if the Royal Navy sailed into an American Harbour, then the ships would be welcomed by cannon fire….aimed directly at them!

geoff
geoff
26 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

😂 and when the British Army visited Washington for the first time after Independence, they set fire to the place😆

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
26 days ago
Reply to  geoff

To be fair the British Army got it’s butt kicked in front of New Orleans in 1815 – all in the interests of balanced posting, of course 🙂

Cheers CR

geoff
geoff
25 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Haha CR-I am all for objectivity and our special relationship. This has been a light hearted exchange and one of my best pals is a retired US Navy nuclear sub First Engineer, so all good.
I remember that wonderful exchange in A Fish called Wanda when John Cleese told Kevin Kline that”..they(the Vietnamese) whipped your ass” with him replying ” No they didn’t-it was a draw..!”😂
God Bless America!
PS We were playing an away game in New Orleans-they’ve never beaten us at Home! 😂

Last edited 25 days ago by geoff
ChariotRider
ChariotRider
25 days ago
Reply to  geoff

Hi geoff,

My post was intended to be tongue in cheek as well – sorry if I didn’t achieve that.

Cheers CR

geoff
geoff
25 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

You did achieve that CR-on the same page and have enjoyed chatting to you guys. Cheers from sunny(today!) 24 degrees Durban

Jon
Jon
25 days ago
Reply to  geoff

I’ve told French colleagues we won the 100 Years War in exactly the same spirit. We only lost afterwards.

geoff
geoff
25 days ago
Reply to  Jon

😂 Perfect Jon. I got into trouble here some time back when a French gentleman replied irately to my comment-So apart from Waterloo,Trafalgar, Agincourt,Blenheim, Quebec….

klonkie
klonkie
24 days ago
Reply to  geoff

almost as good as Kevin Kline’s character thinking the London underground was a political movement !

geoff
geoff
23 days ago
Reply to  klonkie

Howsit Klonkie! Ya, desert island movie. Maybe one of the Rivers will make the long trip down to you guys in NZ as long as Jacinda doesn’t ban them for being part of a Navy that has Nukes😂

klonkie
klonkie
23 days ago
Reply to  geoff

Cheers Mate – I’m patiently hoping fo the day when QE pays a visit! Enjoy that sunny Durbs by the sea weather, bucketing down here (just for a change)

Frank62
Frank62
26 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

200+ years ago Andrew. Try to keep up mate.

Tommo
Tommo
26 days ago

Just read an update Batch 1 Rivers too be extended service time until 2028 like getting your Monies Worth

Andy Reeves
Andy Reeves
26 days ago

OPV’S in san diego?!! i went there in 1978 it was a great run ashore.to see batch river patrol ships so far from home is a real eye opener another opportunity to perhaps do some business after all brazil,oman and the thais have their own batch 2 derivertives.

Paul.P
Paul.P
25 days ago

An interesting development reported here.
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/britain-in-talks-to-sell-missiles-in-first-arms-deal-with-ukraine-7fmdddsmk
Would the surface launched ( and probably expensive) Brimstone make a sensible upgrade for the River 2s?