A surveillance ship will built for the Royal Navy in order to help deal with the threat of Russian submarines interfering with “critical undersea cables”.

It has been reported that the new surveillance ship will come equipped with underwater drones and mini-subs to help it seek out any threats.

The vessel should be available in 2024.

According to reports, the vessels will help protect critical national infrastructure such as undersea cables which carry trillions of dollars of financial transfers each day and transmit 97% of the world’s global communications.

3 3 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
James Fennell

One or two? Or maybe one now and one later?

Last edited 2 days ago by James Fennell

One but built for two in MOD gobbledygook no doubt.

Daniele Mandelli

Will this/these be in addition to or instead of HMS Echo, Enterprise, Scott?

Because if it is the latter it is a cut. Their defensive role monitoring undersea cables ( or offensive if needed ) differs from Scott’s support of the Silent Service.


Hi Daniele, You are of course correct to point that out, however, it could be that at least some of the tasks currently undertaken by a conventional survey ship can now be handled by autonomous vehicles with super long endurances. There is at least one such submersible that I am aware of that can stay at see for weeks on end and cover quite considerable distances. It is fitted with horizonal dive planes that provide a propulsive force as it changes its depth. All it does is change its buoyancy to provide a vertical force which the dive planes convert… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Morning CR


I know the RN has purchased its first UUV, photos recently of it on twitter on one of the Bays.


Yeh, I think I saw that photo this morning on another thread and I am sure I have read something about them recently.

All very promising regarding the up take of new tech. Just hope it effectively fills the gaps left by old stuff going out of service.

Cheers CR

Glass Half Full

You’re describing an ocean glider CR. They can operate for months if required.


Yup, that’s the type of thing I was looking at about 10 years ago now!

Damn I feel old…

Cheers CR

Levi Goldsteinberg

I would imagine – and I am totally speculating here – that this is a singular replacement to Scott since she is reaching the end of her life. Additionally, Enterprise and Echo are typically referred to in MoD nomenclature as survey vessels, not surveillance ships – I’d imagine they’re being kept on


Is this a replacement for HMS Scott then?


The Beeb mentioned a crew of 15….so not an Attenborough then? More like a repurposed mine hunter!


Yes I heard that, it’s hardly Ark Royal but then again it doesn’t need to be.

Levi Goldsteinberg

I think you can comfortably crew a cargo ship with as little as 15 crew members. Now considering this is supposed to transport multiple UUVs, I’d imagine she’ll have quite some size to her, similar to HMS Scott

Andy P

Its one thing to crew it but RN vessels have other tasks like boarding and damage control and duty watch responsibilities alongside. 15 crew will make that difficult. I’ll be curious to see how this plays out.

Daniele Mandelli

Agree. I visualise a mothership akin to Challenger.


Hi Herodotus,

Did it say anything about additional ‘passenger’ spaces? I ask because it occurs that the crew for the ship could be counted seperate to the specialists rather like the crew of the carriers if counted seperately to the air wing. This might be especially relevant if the vessel is designed with a flexible mission bay type concept, i.e. it could be a swing role design capable of undertaking a number techie roles.

Cheers CR


yes I could imagine that a base crew of 15 would be fine a long as there is room for additional crew and experts as needs dictate other like room on ships for marines for example exists but not fulfilled at all times.


There wasn’t any further explanation. But you know media reporting on such issues….unless it’s a specialist journal, the reporters generally don’t have a clue what sort of questions to ask!


Available 2024? Must be a conversion, I read elsewhere it would be able to support other defence tasks.

John Hampson

How are one or two surface vessels going to protect thousands of miles of cable. Surely they need to be working in conjuction with other assets that can detect, track and trail the threats before the get to the cables. It would cost billions to improve the resilence of the cables themselves. Possibly increase ASW patrol aircraft, a smallish fleet of AIP subs or AI undersea remote vehicles?


Something akin to an Oil rig support/ ocean going tug. The one I am working on now has a crew of around 15 and supplements the crew with specialists such as sea lions and other marine mammals!!!


Yes, I spent a good portion of my sea-time on such vessels. Some I worked on were really well appointed and made great hydrographic vessels. I am sure that we could have bought a handful of these sorts of vessels to do most of the tasks of the River class boats! Relatively cheap and very adaptable for a number of offshore activities….supply, hydrographic work, ROVs, diving support, maintenance etc etc.


Folks, I don’t know but I might have found a lead, the concept and some of the numbers add up, Take a look at the Steller systems/Thales TX ship, 750 tons fully automated mission bay for manned and unmanned mission, stern acess, moon pool can deploy covertly surface and subsurface vessels and either has a 15 person crew or can be fully automated. Apparantly the design was demonstrated at DSEI in 2019. What do you all think, could it be possible.

Slighly a side topic but it appears that the first Crowsnest has joined the fleet.