The Russian guided missile destroyer Severomorsk has been sailing in international waters just north of RAF Lossiemouth for around one week.

The vessel, staying outside British territorial waters, is accompanied by the tanker ‘Sergei Osipov’.

Readers should understand that the vessel is in international waters and is doing nothing illegal or inappropriate, in fact, most navies (including the Royal Navy) perform these kind of actions with their ships.

In addition to submarines and small vessels, it is understood that there are two Royal Navy frigates in Scottish waters, one of them currently operating near the Clyde. Additionally, it should be noted the Royal Navy do not comment on submarine operations.

More notable is that RAF Lossiemouth is home to the UK Maritime Patrol Aircraft fleet, currently four P-8A Poseidon aircraft, and the Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon jets for the northern half of the UK.

A military source at RAF Lossiemouth has told the UK Defence Journal “be under no doubt that the Russian vessel is being watched 24/7”.

The UK and US also sail vessels close to Russia. Earlier in the year, American destroyers and a British frigate were in the Barents Sea following seven days of Arctic operations. The surface action group comprised of Arleigh Burke class destroyers USS Donald Cook, USS Porter, USS Roosevelt, fast combat support ship USNS Supply and the Royal Navy’s HMS Kent entered the Barents Sea in May to conduct training and operations in the challenging conditions of the Arctic region.

Many will have noticed the tanker ‘Sergei Osipov’ in the Moray Firth, well, the press team for the Russian Northern Fleet have confirmed she is sailing in company with the Severomorsk.

According to a Russian Northern Fleet announcement:

“The large antisubmarine ship of the Northern Fleet Severomorsk and the large sea tanker Sergey Osipov left the Moray Firth Bay of the North Sea and headed for the Barents Sea. The detachment completed the assigned tasks in the North Atlantic and proceeded to move to the main basing point.”

It is understood that the vessels conducted an anti-sabotage defence exercise and worked conducted replenishment of fuel and fresh water from a tanker.

The Russian Northern Fleet say that Severomorsk together with the tanker Sergei Osipov operated in the North Atlantic after participating in the “ninth cruise of the Arctic group of the Northern Fleet”.

Since the start of the cruise, the ship has covered about 11 thousand nautical miles, they add. The Destroyer will now be moving to the coast of Norway to conduct submarine hunting and air defence exercises say the Russian military.

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Darren hall

That is one tired looking vessel…
But I bet it still packs a punch.

Stevo H

I wouldn’t be too worried fella, it’s not about quantity over quality. A lot of their fleet follows the typical Soviet era military doctrine of all bark but no bite in my opinion. Their ships look good with lots of missile systems, guns and torpedoes on deck but they are of far less quality and lack the sophistication that the West has.
The same goes with their aircraft, tanks, missiles etc…..


Russian doctrine from ww2 onwards was mass over quality, which is why things like the AK47 was designed to be cheap rather than high tech, but equally why it is so effective even now as it was designed to be used by anyone. If you look at WW2 and before warship battles it took dozens of shells to get even one hit, so the thinking could be the same, low tech missiles but in volume. A western naval ship would rapidly dispense itself of missiles, whilst a Soviet era ship could keep going for a fair bit longer. On the… Read more »

Sceptical Richard

i immediately thought, fresh water? Wow, that’s an admission of something really wrong.


Thank you for explaining about the significance of having to replenish fresh water. You would think the machine to convert sea water is fairly standard. Available from many commercial suppliers.


Every time I look at a Russian ship I feel our surface fleet is hopelessly outgunned on a 1 on 1 basis. With our low numbers it’s asking a lot to rely on a numbers game.

The same applies to our subs who would be the preferred counter to a surface threat. Too few in number and they can’t be everywhere.

Don’t get me started on the raf and faa lack of an anti ship weapon.

Truly shameful that our illustrious leaders have left our defences in this state.

Peter S.

Agreed. I just checked the equipment listed for this ship class- amazing amount of firepower by our standards. It is very worrying that this one anti submarine specialist ship carries more surface to air missiles than proposed for the entire T31fleet.

Robert Blay

It’s that good, the took 14 of them out of service, leaving 6, of which 2 of them are in major overhaul.

Peter S.

I know that these (apart from Udaloy) are old Soviet era ships probably with little in the way of updating of weapons or sensors. No-one knows for sure how these might perform today. But the point about the T31 lack of firepower is valid. What will these new large frigates actually do that is of any real value? The proposed weapon fit is quite inadequate. Given that the only real current naval threat is the Russian submarine fleet(not their knackered old carrier or Soviet era surface relics) why are we wasting money on ships with no anti- submarine capability?

Steve Martin

The Type 26 will provide the role. Type 31 was always designed as a modular general-purpose vessel that we can generate more numbers of (potentially) and as an export option. It’s ironic that the Type 26 seems to be the big export winner so far (design wise at least).

Robert Blay

The T31 is designed to undertake some of the less glamorous but equally important tasks, anti piracy, patrol in the gulf, fleet ready support ship ect. It won’t be facing the Chinese fleet on it’s own And it will be very upgradable and adaptable, the ship that enters service will be a very different vessel 10 years down the line. We can’t carry on spending over 1bn for one warship, so this is a compromise between cost, and gold plated toys.


The issue with that is most of them tasks don’t need a military vessel. A military vessel needs to be able to fight when needed and that needs it needs to be able to bring something to the fight that the opposition does not.

The t31 appears to be somewhere between an OPV and a frigate, so effectively a corvette, so probably useful for escorting less valuable assets.

Stevo H

Bingo!!!!! 75+% of their fleet is Soviet era, same goes with their aircraft, tanks and other weapon systems. The one area that they excel in is air defence, they know that they don’t stand a chance against NATO air forces so this is why they sink a shed load of cash into this area.

Robert Blay

It’s 33 years old, can’t even produce It’s own fresh water, it will be about as useful as a fishing trawler. To many big up the Russians, and downplay our own capabilitys.

Christopher Allen

Well when we keep cutting the defence budget, I think it is justified in downplaying what we’re capable off. It wasn’t too long ago we were talking the potential of the British Army losing its Chally 2s.

Robert Blay

Well if that funds the equipment we actually need, rather than holding on to equipment that might have little use. I’m not saying get rid of tanks, but we need to seriously look at the capabilities we need. And be prepared to let others go that are sapping precious funds.


We have more capability gaps than capabilities. Surface fleets anti ship capability virtually nil. Air based anti surface capability absolutely nil.

Robert Blay

We have Harpoon until 2023, then a stop gap will be purchased , spear 3 will have a anti ship capability. And even Harpoon will be way better then anything bolted onto the above old Russian Destroyer.

Supportive Bloke

I’d be surprised if a lot of the weapons systems existed never mind worked.

Robert Blay

That’s very true mate


Yes comparing these old Soviet Union ships with poorly integrated sensors and weapon systems is not so meaningful. The most important think is being operational, finding the enemy and hitting the enemy. Not something these old Udaloy’s would be that good at. These old cold war relics make even our our pre LIFEX refit type 23s look like spring chickens and are not comparable to a post refit type 23 in any way.

Robert Blay

Well put mate.🤙🇬🇧

Paul T

I recall a Story i had Read in an Aviation Magazine many moons ago – when the Cold War (version 1) had thawed and the Eastern Bloc started opening up, there was an Airshow held in West Germany.This was attended by Aircraft from the then DDR ,which at the time was very rare.Exhibited on the Ground were both Tornado’s from the Luftwaffe,and SU22 Fitters from the LSK,and Pilots being inquisitive Creatures they had a good look around each others respective Aircraft.An East German Pilot concluded that the Tornado was basically Built for Peace whilst the SU22 was Built for War.


I don’t suppose the article covered why the East German pilots thought that? The only reasoning I can think of is that the easterners viewed the more advanced Western aircraft as being somewhat frivolous and too expensive to risk losing.

Wouldn’t be the first time people have levelled such claims at modern tech. Admiral Cunningham’s view of the Battle Class destroyers was (to paraphrase) that “they had every modern system except guns”.


Lets be honest most pilots have a love for their own aircraft, spoken to 2WW pilots who loved their Hurricanes and Whirlwinds despite both having their critics elsewhere for varying reasons in their case. Unless their mount is awful in which case they reverse the effect up-selling the opposition to compensate. Or of course when its something in-between and their immediate lives aren’t at risk you tend to get snide remarks of this nature to try to rebalance things in their favour. The Su22 was a rugged aircraft but more akin to a Jaguar than a Tornado in capability but… Read more »


It’s worth remembering that the Tornado was a multi-role family of aircraft, not one single multi-role type.

For better or worse though you’re probably right, single-role aircraft are on the way out. The requirements for all roles are becoming effectively the same: stealth, strong radar, range, and payload. Basically take the avionics and other systems out of the Lightning, put it in a 30% larger aircraft, and bam. You’ve got the undisputably best fighter ever made.


There was no West and East Germany for Cold War 1.0, it was still the Weimar Republic then 😉

Mr Bell

Yes but anF35B lobbing a laser guided bomb or 4 at it from 5 miles away would wreck this vessels day. Or alternatively I wonder if this ship can detect an astute approaching from 20 miles away to get a bearing and lock on for a heavy weight wire guided torpedo? These ships are heavily armed for sure but have they got the advanced sensors needed to survive in a modern conflict ? I dont think so.


I’d be reluctant to risk getting an f35 within a few miles of a surface ship. The loss of just 1 would be catastrophic when we have so few.


Also what is the point, Russia knows we have no air borne anti-ship missiles and therefore our aircraft pose very little threat.


I have never got why they spend hundreds of millions on a platform and then save a million or two on weapons.


Numbers do have a quality of their own, and we are certainly lacking a decent kinetic effect on our own dwindling surface fleet, however most of the current floating pieces of Russian garbage are so outdated and unreliable that at this moment, as during the cold war, it’s the underwater threat we need to be concerned about. I think Gunbuster could probably give us a heads up on the current Russian surface assets, and the issues they are facing. Cheers.

Levi Goldsteinberg

Retaliation for the Black Sea incursion of Dragon?


Almost certainly.

Barry Larking

Oh, dear. Never mind, moving on … Great Britain formulated the Laws of the Sea and central to that was peaceful navigation. Perhaps the Russians needed to see it in action?


Just further proof that the high seas are fast becoming the most effective place to linger with menace, and this trend will only increase, hence the need to strengthen the RN over the coming decades. How long will it be before these warships begin to intercept and hinder free passage around the globe’s oceans?


Not that one, rotting in a harbour in a few years is its fate, not being a terror of the high seas.


You hope!


Would a good secondary role for the Predator/Protector fleet not be the tracking of such surface vessels, whether it be Moray Firth or English Channel? Allow the meagre P-8 and naval resources we have to track sub-surface contacts elsewhere. Suppose the only issue is air traffic management with civilian traffic?

john melling

New Predator/Protector being bought and used at home for watching dinghies in the channel.
I very much doubt it will be popular to see them used like that
TBH they need to be an overseas asset…
A Watchkeeper however I think would be better.


There is talk of something of this nature in the future and I believe some tests for viability have been carried out but some way off using drones for such activities as yet I think, seaborne work seems to test systems some what from what I gather but surprised more consideration ha been given to its the Ausies once again are far ahead in using unmanned to keep an eye on the vat oceans they have to consider, our needs seen far less extravagant in the first instance.


Now I know why HMS Kent was up in the Moray Firth. Even though this is an old 1980 design she is still a nice looking ship. I looked at her weapons and radar outfit, typical Russian everything they have in stores is put on her. A anti sub missile/Anti ship missile? How does that work, they seems to be an either or with a torp such as the ASROC or the old IKARA or with a warhead for anti ship. As for the RBUs well that nothing more than a modern WW2 Hedgehog. A fully equipped T23 would take… Read more »


Very good point Gunbuster to highlight that weakness.

I presume we don’t need fancy tech to detect this ship – just smell it.

Daniele Mandelli

Have asked before, I don’t remember anyone gave me a reason, but why do many Russian ships have the decks painted Terracotta? I guess the USSR era ones. Cosmetic?


To hide the rust….


Its the anti-corrosion layer painted on the deck. Most navies paint it again in grey, the Russians and Soviets before them do not. In Soviet times many observers said it was due to paint rationing, the suppliers were told how much they could produce so why waste quota on a top coat which isn’t needed for anything other than looks.

Why the Russians still do this….. who knows, tradition perhaps.

Daniele Mandelli

Riiiiight. Thanks.


Otherwise known as Red Lead. Available in all good hardware shops…

Clive Scott

As a former paint Chemist, I thought that the western world had phased out lead containing pigments due to their toxicity. The terracotta colour could be the use of Iron Oxide pigment which is used in coatings.


True Scott. Basically it is a form of Hammarite (other suppliers available).

Supportive Bloke

I think the topside coatings are related to the aggressive deicing required in their back yard.

Paul T

Back in the Day when i started work,we used Red (Aluminium) Oxide Primer.


They don’t bother painting over the undercoat with a nice grey colour, good solid Soviet waste not values….


I also remember being onboard some RN frigates back in the late 70s I think 78 the decks were green. Never did remember why some PO told us kids who spent a week with the RN to see if it was for us. Those were the days that I still remember a navy, cruisers in dock, deisel subs along side frigates and destroyers everywhere and the old depot ship Maidstone where the us school boys were accomadated.


In 2005 the Admiral Levchenko (The sister ship to the Severomorsk ) was part of the fleet review in Portsmouth and was open to visitors . I paid it a visit and was surprised at what I saw. for example there are railway tracks) on the front of the ship alongside the side of the front guns. (don’t ask me how) Those front missile tubes are huge a long walk down the back to the helipad where they had a Helix parked up and then back to the front and off ski. (As I was working there at the time, I… Read more »

The Artist Formerly Known as Los Pollos Chicken

Can somebody give Alan Brown phone let him know the RN has some ships operating just now up here 😂

Supportive Bloke

This was the problem on the carrier too apparently.

It really is a strange thing for them not to fix as osmosis gear is commercial hardware more or less order online. I suspect the other issue is limited power plant. Reverse osmosis uses a lot of juice. But even that is not insuperable as you could just have a simple diesel power pack dedicated to it.

I think the mentality Is ‘we have always done it this way’ & ‘fresh water freezes in pipes’…


Water freezing could have something to do with it, considering Russia vessels to operate long periods in very cold temps. Maybe adequate insulation is not in place.

Another option could be space, maybe the decision was taken that it is better to use the space for weapons / crew and have fresh water brought to the ships, since the Soviet navy pretty much limited itself to operating near friendly waters.


In past years I was lucky enough to get a look onboard a Sovremenny and some time later an Udaloy when both where fairly new build vessels. Its all well and good having the upper deck covered in radars, trackers, guns and missiles but it was also interesting talking to a Soviet Warrant officer engineer onboard the Sovremenny , He was a career NCO engineer. He was conscripted but had stayed.. He also like MARS bars and the ever popular Levi jeans for his kids (MI6 didn’t need spies it just needed an iso container of Levis jeans and you… Read more »


But more importantly, topping up your tan!

Stevo H

Well……what can you say? It really isn’t a major event as UKDJ points out that NATO forces do exactly the same thing in the international waters around Russia, China and the Middle East. What is surprising is the fact that she is having to receive fresh water, as the chap below has said in a very precise manner that a ship that size not being capable to do it itself. This is either yet another sign of the Russian Navy being in a poor state or a blatant lie as the ship was carrying out detailed surveillance of our defences… Read more »


In the text says she made 11000nm in this cruise. It is not unusual to have got fresh water after all that distance.


Where the tug? Probably busy towing another piece of 70s shite back to port.


Popping over to have a cup of tea and a chat about future defence intentions with the SNP shadow “I know nothing about defence” defence minister maybe.


Lots of talk here of how far behind Russia our navel assets have fallen. Perception is an interesting thing. Russia is not really the peer everyone perceives it to be. It’s really a second world nation with its only assets based around population and natural resources. Very much like China was during the Cold War. It has about half the UK total GDP and it’s per capita GDP is more in the ballpark of a second world economy. More importantly is is all heading in the wrong direction, population and GDP are all down. It militarily modernisation programme has mostly… Read more »

Supportive Bloke

I do not think anything RN has is behind Russia. The only area things are closer than they should be is sub sea. And that is **possibly** a numbers thing. I’ve heard the rumours on availability there too. Whilst I do think most of the Russian surface fleet is junk I don’t think the crews are dummies and they can be very ingenious technically well educated people. There is always ‘one thing’ that catches you by surprise and that is the real threat, like in ‘82 using Skyhawks to lob dumb bombs at guided missile ships. And it worked: because… Read more »


One thing Russia is very good at is unconventional warfare. It’s likely any action involving nato and Russia would involve Russia using all domains, the population in the target area (saving ethnic Russians), Miss information ( not our troops guv), political ( that’s what friends are for), energy ( do you want your gas Germany ?) and if really pushed probably nuclear blackmail

Paul T

I found this Video quite interesting


That is very interesting thankyou.