The number of occasions that the Royal Navy were despatched to respond to Russian Navy ships approaching UK territorial waters has doubled since 2013. 

Data obtained the UK Defence Journal shows that Royal Navy vessels were despatched 31 times in 2018 to intercept and monitor the Russian Navy. This is up from 12 in 2013.

 

The most recent event occurred in March this year when HMS Defender intercepted a Russian task group along the coast of the UK. This involved the frigate Admiral Gorshkov and three auxiliary ships. Defender continued to track the group until they had left what the MoD described as the UK’s “area of national interest.”

“Russia has developed a more assertive military posture towards the West”

Defence Minister Mark Lancaster

Commander Richard Hewitt said the operation showed the Royal Navy’s “enduring commitment to protecting our home waters and readiness to undertake such tasking whenever it’s required”.

Russian warships from its northern and Baltic fleets routinely pass through UK territorial waters en route to or from deployments in the Mediterranean and Gulf regions.

When the Ministry of Defence was asked about this in a parliamentary written question, it stated:

“The Ministry of Defence routinely monitors the activity of foreign military vessels, but does not release these figures for National security reasons”

While is unclear why they chose to release the data on this occasion, they took 85 days to respond. This is considerably higher than the usual response time for Freedom of Information requests.


The full data is as follows for ‘Number of Occasions that Royal Navy Ships were Activated in response to Russian Navy ships approaching UK territorial waters’:

  • 2013: 12
  • 2014: 11
  • 2015: 14
  • 2016: 20
  • 2017: 33
  • 2018: 31
  • 2019 (to 31 March): 1

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Paul.P
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Paul.P

Good decision to retain some R1 and go to 5 R2. I’m thinking 8 T31 when we let the R1s go. When do we find out which bidder’s design has been chosen?

andy reeves
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andy reeves

i’m beginning to think that, due to the usual finger twirling at the m.o.d, that the whole t31 programme will be ditched. rest assured we, who will foot the bills will be the last to know

Paul.P
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Paul.P

Can’t see how the whole program can be ditched. There’s a limit to how many times you can Lifex Type 23. The biggest Russian threat is their submarine fleet. To me this suggests the Meko A200 is the preferred choice for T31.

Trevor
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Trevor

A “task group”? Number in 2019… 1?

dave12
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dave12

Minus their aircraft carrier which is most likely to be scrapped after the floating dock disaster.

Ulya
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Ulya

I believe that is still undecided Dave, but I hope you’re right

dave12
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dave12

Whys that Ulya?

Ulya
Guest
Ulya

We don’t need it and it will cost to much to repair, money better spent on other things the military needs. Part of the navy want to keep it so we don’t lose carrier capability and doing those silly willy waving trips you males like to do, the other part of the navy is honest with itself and admits frigates and corvettes are more than enough for our needs. Personally I think air and ground based medium and long range cruise missiles and ballistic missiles are a better way to spend the money. PS, I only learned the willy waving… Read more »

Julian1
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Julian1

Thats hilarious Ulya, any other colloquial school boy humour we can teach you?

Would Russian sailors pull a ”moony” at a passing ship? What about the guys sunbathing on the stern during the South China Sea incident 2 weeks ago?

DaveyB
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DaveyB

You should try watching some Blackadder. I think that program pretty much sums us up as Brits.

dave12
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dave12

” I think air and ground based medium and long range cruise missiles and ballistic missiles are a better way to spend the money” ,,,,,Fair enough Ulya in Russias position at the moment considering it being the largest nation on earth ,but losing carrier capability limits any expeditionary task force should it need it in the future ,a capability which is more than willy waving lol. Russia does have a problem with having the facilities to build and maintain such large ships anyway since they lost the only dockyard large enough to do so to the Ukraine after the USSR… Read more »

Ulya
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Ulya

Most of my English influence is from a couple of Kiwi friends but if you gentlemen have funny sayings you wish to share I an always ready to learn. Dave, I personally don’t want Russia to have an expeditionary ability, we are not the US, I don’t want us to try an police the world, our interests are Eurasian and the ME so big ships/carriers offer no real benifits for their costs and our limited force was more than enough for a Syria type operation, full navy to navy combat against the US is a lost cause before it even… Read more »

dave12
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dave12

No offence Ulya but I dont want Russia to police the world either considering the kind of allies Russia has and Protects and you know what I think about Putin and his buddies in power.

Alan Garner
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Alan Garner

Not that I’m a fan of Putin in any way but if we judge countries by the allies they protect we wouldn’t compare favourably even with Russia.

dave12
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dave12

Arab states allied to the west granted, but you name me one democracy that is allied to russia? answer none

Ulya
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Ulya

No offence taken Dave, I work in Iran, love the people and culture, don’t like their government, but I’m not here to like them, I’m here to trade and look after Russia’s long term interests in a strategic location. In this part of the world it’s the long game that needs to be played

dave12
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dave12

Good answer Ulya ,having a leader for twenty years has some advantages over democracys with a 8 to 10 year goverment cycle in terms of playing the long game,
but only some.

Ulya
Guest
Ulya

To be honest I don’t concern myself much if a country I need to work with is a democracy, it doesn’t seem to work that well anyway but that’s a very different discussion for another day. My main issue with Iran’s government is the human rights and it’s religious and although I’m technically a Sunni I think religion and state should be separated (1 of several reasons why I’m only technically). Anyway, my flight home is about to leave). have a good weekend everyone

dave12
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dave12

You are very open on a public forum on your views against the iran goverment considering you claim to do trade with them on behalf of the Putin goverment.

Ulya
Guest
Ulya

You make me smile Dave, I don’t work on behalf of Putin’s government, I work for a Russian company that has an office in Iran, but what we and other companies do affects Iranian perception of Russia and our long term relationship, much more constructive than aircraft carriers of their coast. As to expressing my opinion on their government, so what? At worse I might annoy someone and get deported, that’s assuming anyone can be bothered tracking my IP, working out who Ulya is or even reading what I say in the first place. You do have an odd perception… Read more »

dave12
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dave12

Fair enough Ulya but my perception on Russias goverment is well founded as many will agree and as I said before the BBC news is one of the better source of impartial news out there., which cant be said for Russias media. You have a good weekend too.

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Lol I’m sorry I introduced you to that Ulya!

Herodotus
Guest

Speaking of ‘willy waving’, there a few chumps on here that are clearly having their ‘plonkers pulled’!!!!

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

I’ll let you explain the term “plonker” to a Russian.

Ulya
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Ulya

Searched meaning Daniele, managed to use it on one of my brother’s already 🙂
Thank you

DaveyB
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DaveyB

The Kuznetsov is actually longer than the QE class carriers, but their deck area is tiny by comparison.

Evan P
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Evan P

And as we know Davey, girth>length.

Herodotus
Guest

Talking of short fat ones…..see above! Did he say ‘deck’ area?

MattW
Guest
MattW

So in 2018 there were 31 and this year to date there have been 1….id say that’s a massive drop not an increase, unless Russia are saving them all up for the next 6 months 😉

Trevor
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Trevor

Indeed… its a load of totally made up rubbish. The whole tenor of the article should have been written upside down on its head. The Russian Navy is a joke.

Julian1
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Julian1

Not so funny under the surface!

dave12
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dave12

What I found funny was 2 ships from one of Russians newest frigate class Admiral Grigorovich-class frigate
was sold to india, shell only, because russia relied on the Ukraine to supply the gas turbines and of course all that was stopped, so they just cut their losses and sold the hulls to india .The other 3 ships have been completed for the Russian navy still with out any engines.

julian1
Guest
julian1

so what will the Indians do that the Russians can’t…..don’t really understand that decision

Ankit Kumar
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Ankit Kumar

India will sign separate agreement with Ukraine to buy the engines for those ships. Russia couldn’t with their disputes with Ukraine.

dave12
Guest
dave12

That explains it.

julian1
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julian1

….and India could sell them back to Russia. We know how close the two countries are.

it makes sense though

Ankit Kumar
Guest
Ankit Kumar

Well millions of dollars are to be invested to upgrade GSL (A shipyard building OPVs for Indian Coast Guard currently) to be able to build frigates. And a separate agreement has been signed with Russia to build 2 more such frigates in GSL. With all these investments, i doubt anything like that will happen.

India mostly honours its end user agreements with foreign OEMs. Very unlikely what you are suggesting.

Plus Indian Navy has got to replace 3 ageing frigates soon. So these 4 won’t be finding their way to Russia for sure.

Rokuth
Guest
Rokuth

Will this be in line with the “Make In India” policy? Will they also be buying the design rights for the frigates?

Ankit Kumar
Guest
Ankit Kumar

Well the Russia shipyard will provide the necessary documentation and ToT to build the hulls in the Indian shipyard. The sensors will be Russian and engines from Ukraine. India will have a licence to build more ships of this design.

dave12
Guest
dave12

Yes good point ,I read all this from some web page I cant remember which one but it is mentioned in wikipeadia also.

lee
Guest

Well maybe if other NATO countries ( Spain ), stopped offering refueling, they wouldnt be able to go to far and so cut down on the number of trips

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Isn’t the main reason for increased naval activity passing the UK the ongoing operations around Syria?

I’d consider info on subsurface contacts far more relevant concerning any threat to the UK.

Steve
Guest
Steve

Russia isn’t really a threat to the UK, at least not currently. There economy is a mess and they just couldn’t afford a war or having any more sanctions put in place (currently they are fairly weak). This is Russia showing they are still relevant, just like us sending single ships to the south china sea etc to make it look like we are. The threats to the UK are now either cyber or terrorist related, neither of which requires a big fleet and that is why the Navy and the RAF keep publishing details like this to make it… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Now. But may be not tomorrow.

Which is why cutting your military too far is a mistake.

But I agree with your point a military need a bogeyman. And by that I mean the military industrial complex too, where the money goes.

Lusty
Guest
Lusty

I do agree with this sentiment. Obviously, we don’t need an increase to the full Cold War level, but incidents such as this and ongoing tensions in the Gulf do highlight the need for an increase in escort numbers. A well funded T31 programme is needed with an increase in hull numbers with a second batch ordered.

Of course, it will be interesting to see if the trend for Russian transits (not vans!) increases after the cessation of hostilities in Syria, if it remains the same, or if it decreases.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

if there were enough ssk’s in the fleet i’d like to think they were being used to deny access to u.k waters