The Royal Navy say it has tracked a Russian warship off the coast of France and monitored her movement through the English Channel.

HMS Mersey, an Offshore Patrol Vessel, was on routine security patrols in home waters when she was called on to locate and monitor the Russian Navy vessel – plus its support ship.

“Portsmouth-based Mersey tracked the Russian vessel, Steregushchiy-class corvette RFS Boiky, closely as she sailed into the Channel after taking over from the French Navy. Mersey watched every movement as the corvette linked up with RFS Akademik Pashin, an auxiliary vessel, to refuel and transfer stores, before getting underway again.”

Commanding Officer of Mersey, Lieutenant Commander Will Edwards-Bannon RN, said in a release:

“Working to preserve the maritime security of the UK has always been one of the Royal Navy’s very highest priority missions throughout our long history. The need to fulfil this mission hasn’t changed with the coming of the COVID-19 pandemic so, although we are living and working in slightly different ways on board to limit the risk from the virus, HMS Mersey’s fantastic ship’s company continues to work hard to protect our nation’s interests. This work includes the close monitoring of foreign warships operating near to our shores, which is what we – along with our sister ship HMS Tyne – have been doing so far on this patrol.”

Pictured is the support shipo accompanying RFS Boiky with HMS Mersey in the foreground.

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maurice10

An offshore vessel forsooth, we need to match ship for ship to make a real show of force. Sending such a small vessel speaks volumes, and would be better deployed elsewhere. We don’t respond to Russian aircraft flybys with a Piper Otter, so why is our Navy forced to display such an impoverished response?

Andy P

We don’t send a vessel out to ‘slug it out’ with these Russian vessels, its a token, it says we know you’re here and we’re watching you. They’re sailing in waters that they’re ‘allowed to’. Its just a big game.

Robert Blay

we have been doing this for the last 40 odd years, it’s as routine as it comes for the RN .

Daniele Mandelli

Morning Maurice.

Wouldn’t a frigate be better deployed elsewhere too? Like the Atlantic, the Med, the Gulf?

If we acted in a similar manner in the air domain as you reference we would be sending a Grob, as there are no Chipmunks left! And it would not have the performance to reach a Bear, Backfire, Blackjack.

I’d laugh actually if we sent out a QEC, just to go totally the other way! Then we’d have commentators accusing the RN of overkill!!!!

maurice10

Okay Daniele, it was slightly tongue in cheek, but we should have enough frigates to cover such situations. I still feel matching size for size is also part of the game. Maybe we should stop shadowing if it is such a low priority?

Daniele Mandelli

Hi Maurice. Me too.

Just a thought, may be a River is our version of a Corvette?

Even their tug boats are probably armed to the teeth, it’s the Russian way.

Ulya

I still find it odd that you don’t have corvette and that your River class so weak armed so can’t be double tasked, even more when you take in account cost of your opv

Ulya

Sorry, very lazy English today

Daniele Mandelli

It’s true about the OPV Ulya. Poorly armed. The RN doctrine is not to have comprehensive armament for various vessels.

I prefer your system myself.

dave12

The armed forces in the UK are not the priority in the UK or most western nations Ulya, a good living standard and health care is a priority, con’s and pro’s of a free nation and a democracy which Russia is not.

Ulya

Sorry for the late reply Dave, I was working on the collective farm with gulag prisoners, my bear wave hello btw. I think it a little bad taste to argue with you today about quality of health care for our countries don’t you?
Back to the ships though, considering how often UK ships come near Russia or panic everytime Russia ship goes in the channel, maybe your government should invest a little more money?

Daniele Mandelli

You’re right, actually. The UK wants to grand stand on the world stage as a UNSC P5 member, which I agree with given the UK’s status, but does not want to spend a penny more than minimum.

Ulya

Trying to make the budget stretch across all 3 services is not working Daniele. From what I see and I assume some here will tell me to mind my business, but UK needs to focus on Navy and airforce and equip them at expense of army unless government is prepared to spend more

Daniele Mandelli

Well obviously I’d like to see more spent. The budget is considerable, but it’s the way it is spent and on the vs like pensions and deterrent that is just one issue.

Failing that, I agree, I myself support the RN / RAF priority over Army. Always will.

Ulya

For me when I think of military priority for Russia, navy is always last in line for money. It is interesting to look at the different requirements for our countries. I hope you are well btw Daniele. Can I ask, what is good online media for UK news? I use to have BBC but didn’t like reporting during brexit so stopped but don’t know what other might be ok

Daniele Mandelli

Historically the Red Army have always been your priority. And now in modern times also your Strategic Rocket Forces. The navy is somewhat limited for Russia by geography.

I’m fine thanks Ulya.

UK media? I would look at all of them, don’t rely on just BBC. You soon judge for yourself any bias.
The BBC at least are comprehensive and will report in depth. Just form your own view.

Cam

How about uk RT

dave12

lol You are joking Right?

dave12

Joke away about the Gulag Ulya ,Putins Russia may be a bit close to the truth lol. I’m not talking Covid-19 I’m talking in general that the UK spends 2% on its military not 15 % like Russia does and the UK as nation has a far more higher living standard like most western nation’s, With Russia’s economy ranked 12th largest in the world ,is it still wise to maintain the second largest nuclear arsenal in the world? I dont think the Royal Navy panics every time a Russian ship sails through the channel ,it is protocol ,If they panicked… Read more »

Cam

Exactly, and the Royal Navy normally takes over from a French or Dutch warship then after we have shadowed the Russians for long enough we pass the Russian shadowing task onto the Norwegian Navy. Makes sense I suppose.

Ulya

Good morning Dave, where did you get the 15% from? Is that what your media say? Russia being 12 by GDP, but 5 or 6 by PPP from memory which is more important, but I do agree with you about our nuclear weapons, we have to many, I am advocate for them but would like to see numbers drop to 1,000 warhead maximum but as US is probably not going to renew new start let alone renegotiate it I don’t see that happening unfortunately. As for living standards and medical standard, it is generally good in cities but does falls… Read more »

dave12

The link for Russia’s military budget spending a increase with invading the Ukraine me thinks.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_budget_of_the_Russian_Federation

Cam

Yeah but they are for everything but war fighting! Like constabulary duties and drug smuggling… Even larger navies still need these ships as it saves money not sending destroyers to do a patrol boats job… The new opvs do the job they are needed to do and mini guns and a 40mm is all they need for now, But we british should build half a dozen cheaper corvettes in my opinion for the slightly more dangerous duties.

Cam

Yep because the ruskies have very few allies or bases globally so they need to pack their ships. Dangerously at times.

Daniele Mandelli

Yes, true. But what I meant by geographically was the physical limitations of Russian fleets getting to the wider oceans. The Northern fleet is restrained by the GIUK Gap. The Baltic fleet at Kronsdadt by Denmark Sweden, the Black Sea fleet by the Dardanelles. And the Pacific Fleet at Vladivostok by Korea and Japan. All these areas, especially the later ones, could be closed in war. Only Petropavlovsk in the Kamchatka has access to open ocean, and I think there are SSN, SSBN there, not many ships. With western dominance of the seas it’s no surprise Russia, and before the… Read more »

Cam

How about a carrier battle group to shadow them right to their back yard, that should be their first deployment.

Steve R

To be fair, the article stated that the OPV HMS Mersey was already on a routine patrol, which is what the patrol vessels are for. It was already in patrol so could be quickly diverted. A frigate might match the Russian ship but would take time to even get underway. By which time the Russian ship could be gone.

And let’s face it, should a Russian ship take hostile action it’s not going to face either an OPV or a frigate, it’ll end up against Typhoons.

Cam

We know far far in advance of any Russian ship passing through the English Channel or near our waters. They are tracked from spain France ect then shadowed by spanish French or Dutch warships before the Royal Navy gets handed the shadowing task, then the Royal Navy hands over to the Norwegians normally.

David

Typhoons armed with what? We have no air launched ASMs.

Calpe

The shadowing of warships through the channel is a policing task, just as a police officer patrols the streets. Similarly, if the officer needs assistance then the shadow/police officer calls for it. It would be a complete waste of money and resources to put armed police and SWAT teams on every street just to provide ‘credibility’. No Russian (or any) warship would be so stupid as to launch an attack on a ship in the Channel or on mainland UK – that would inevitably result in the calling in of more resources, just as a bank-robbery results in the calling… Read more »

maurice10

Hello Calpe, For a start, the RAF sends a Typhoon to shadow a lumbering prop bomber, and the police will shadow a miscreant on the road, usually with a BMW 5-Series capable of doing 150 mph. The Navy sends the equivalent of a Moriss Minor panada car! Oh, and by the way, it’s all about jingoistic posturing.

Nicholas

If the Russians are sending ships our way to test our strength and ‘count our guns’ it won’t take them very long.

Andy P

One way to look at it, another would be that we’re keeping our cards close to our chest.

4thwatch

Nope but at least we still have these batch 1 Rivers actually out there and doing a job. Remember they were due to be flogged off (as is usual) until someone woke up and realised they had years more life in them and they cost squat all to run compared to a frigate.

Nicholas

I had heard that the batch 1 ships are currently without crews.

The Big Man

Must be the new autonomous version then.

Daniele Mandelli

Counting our guns….how very Zulu!

David

‘You heard that officer of Engineers!’ – great movie Daniele :-).

Daniele Mandelli

Brilliant David. A classic.

Cam

This is routine, why is it made out to be a big deal all the time. I supose it keeps the RN in the headlines and that can only be good and hopefully we will get more ships in future, we aren’t far away from having one of the most powerfull navys on earth.