The plan to base a Type 23 Frigate in the Gulf will likely follow the same method used to station minehunters in the region, with the ship’s company flown out to take over the vessel on a rotational basis.
The current British presence in the region is based primarily around Operation Kipion, a long-standing presence to promote ‘enduring peace and stability in the region’, and ensure the safe flow of oil and trade. A permanent presence of 4 minesweepers forms the Mine Countermeasures element of this tasking with a Bay class vessel acting as mothership.
At the RUSI Sea Power conference Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
“In the Gulf we have our new naval support facility in Bahrain at Juffair, and our commitment to the port of Duqm in Oman, all of this signals we’re investing heavily in the Middle East at a time of unprecedented uncertainty.
And I can today announce that we will be extending that commitment by sending T23s to the Gulf from 2019 as an enduring presence.
Over in the Asia-Pacific, for the first time in recent memory, we will have three Royal Navy vessels in the region supporting our allies and we’re continuing to strengthen our bi-lateral relationships with Royal Navy helicopters deploying off the French Jean D’Arc, our submarine working with the US – HMS Trenchant in the High North and our Royal Marines recently training with the US Marine Corps in Guam.
We’re weaving a web of partnerships, demonstrating our global reach and world class capability.”
Britain is consolidating a new support facility in the Sultanate of Oman, a historic British ally and partner. Alongside HMS Juffair, the Duqm Port facility is set to enhance Britain’s military capabilities in the Middle East and wider Indian Ocean and the use of the new support base and a Type 23 frigate is a step change in British naval capability in the region.