The former USS Boone, a decommissioned American frigate, has arrived in Scotland and will soon be sunk as part of an exercise involving missiles being fired from a British frigate.

A local source told me that the vessel arrived in Campbeltown in western Scotland today after being towed to Scotland from Philadelphia in the US.

Additionally, another source not wishing to be named has told me that HMS Westminster will fire at least one Harpoon anti-ship missile at the USS Boone, but the ‘SINKEX’ will be run by the Americans as the main aim of the exercise will be to “test a new US targeting satellite”.

The former USS Boone is currently at Campbeltown’s NATO POL depot, that’s just an acronym for a petroleum, oils and lubricants depot. Built during the 1960s to NATO specification, the depots situated at Garelochhead (adjacent to the Clyde Naval Base), Loch Striven (near Dunoon), Loch Ewe (in Wester Ross) and Campbeltown provide a mainly maritime fuelling facility for visiting UK & NATO vessels.

What is a SINKEX?

The term ‘Sink Exercise’ or ‘SINKEX’ is undertaken typically to test a weapons system usually involving a torpedo or missile attack on an unmanned target ship. The US Navy uses SINKEXs to train its sailors on the usage of modern-day weapons, and these exercises are also used to dispose of decommissioned warships.

When is this happening, and where?

September, but the location is currently not public information.

Avatar photo
George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

77 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

RobW
RobW (@guest_666938)
1 year ago

I thought Lancaster set sail for the Gulf armed with Harpoon.

Rob N
Rob N (@guest_667016)
1 year ago
Reply to  RobW

Yes I saw that too, looked like she had her full quota of 8. I suspect that in such a potentially dangerous area they felt they needed to fully arm her…

JamesD
JamesD (@guest_667023)
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob N

Relieving Montrose in the gulf for 3 years

Graham b
Graham b (@guest_667053)
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob N

It was always standard procedure in the RN to put to sea fully prepared to be diverted to a conflict. Unfortunately the stockpiles of some missiles no longer allow this. Which is a bit worrying when wartime consumption as demonstrated in Ukraine will be in the hundreds if not thousands.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_666941)
1 year ago

That looks like a Oliver Hazard Perry to my, average at best, US warship ID skills?

Good to see those important POL depots getting a mention.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_666943)
1 year ago

Yep OHP with just about everything removed off of the upper deck. No POL, PCB transformers on board. Welded up hatches and doors…should take a fair amount of damage before a sub breaks its back with a torp and it goes glug, glug , glug.

so probably Harpoon .B52 launched weapons…probably some F35 and whatever surface and sub surface assets can add.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_666966)
1 year ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Perhaps an opportunity to invite contenders for “Son of ISSGW” procurement program to a live-fire demo/competition? Great fun for the whole family and no one dies. 😊

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_666954)
1 year ago

Ooh that will be fun. I never knew the harpoon launchers could be mounted separately like that. I always assumed the launchers were just a block that holds 4 missiles.
Fingers crossed the navy just get new harpoons. Anything else will probably be more expensive and complicated. They are only needed until 2030ish.
Anyone know the last time a ship was sunk near the U.K. ( on purpose)

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_666958)
1 year ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Didn’t some of our 22s get sinkexed?

Andy P
Andy P (@guest_666963)
1 year ago

I was on Sceptre when we sank the Brave out at AUTEC in ’04, it got towed out there to the Bahamas (Brave, Sceptre made it out itself 😉) and it was straffed by small arms then 4.5’s before we put a sub-harpoon into the hanger before breaking its back with a Spearfish. There was some quite good video through the periscope.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before on here but Brave was a bezzy oppo’s first draft so I took get pleasure in telling him the submarine service had sunk it. Immature…. moi…..

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_666971)
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy P

You might well have done mate. I recall a poster had mentioned a sinking.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_667006)
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy P

Totally off-topic but you mentioned the Bahamas and roused my curiosity: Are the crews of the SSNs typically afforded as many port calls and as much shore leave as, for example, the surface fleet? Could argue the case either way–the assets are few, missions usually classified and high priority but at the same time, RN and USN probably desire to preserve morale in all volunteer Navies. Realize the crews of the boomers are totally screwed re leave. Understand if no one is permitted to answer question.

Andy P
Andy P (@guest_667036)
1 year ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Hi mate, SSN’s generally don’t get as many runs ashore as the surface fleet for a number of reasons, the ‘running’ SSN’s do mean you’re usually at sea for longer periods, cost plays a part too, you need a Z berth for a nuclear boat and due to the lack of beds/facilities the crew get put up in 4 star (plus) hotels. Then there’s the subsistence allowance… 😎 While SSN’s generally get less jollies, they’re usually a ‘fancier’ run ashore. As for the Bombers (Boomers), for the Brits is the charming Kings Bay as their only real jolly. I was… Read more »

Mark
Mark (@guest_666960)
1 year ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Id prefer the NSM as a replacement, and I think we’ve started negotiations on procurement. Has there been any more news on this?

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_667005)
1 year ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

If good value for money maybe the can then kit out the whole fleet of T23/45s not just getting 5 sets. Or jump over to the NSM? I think the Harpoon is over a $1 million dollar firecracker so still alot of bucks for a bang!

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_667019)
1 year ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Or this could be a test of Harpoon upgraded to current block?

And it might be getting targeting from the new shiny satellite?

And it might be able to meet rules of engagement with the added satellite and upgraded sensors….and two ways comms link?

Now I’m just waiting for someone to pop up and tell me Harpoon is a 1980’s weapon. Quite a lot has changed in the digital world since 1980’s.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_667022)
1 year ago

Yes, there’s got to be a good reason for the shoot off, surely? Lol. And then we have to wait for any constructive outcome.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_667058)
1 year ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

For sure it won’t be done for fun but to test something particular.

These things are expensive to organise.

SteveP
SteveP (@guest_667039)
1 year ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

I’d buy 11 sets of NMS’s for the T26 with them transferring to the T45 and T31 vessels as the T26’s retire

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_667049)
1 year ago
Reply to  SteveP

Hi Steve, I think you mean … NSMs for the T23/T45/T31s, and T23s retiring, T26s will likely get silo AShMs. But we get your drift… Lol 😁 Sorry if I have got you wrong.

SteveP
SteveP (@guest_667050)
1 year ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

You got it absolutely right! My error. Thanks for the correction

Longtime
Longtime (@guest_666962)
1 year ago

And if my memory is correct Boone is mentioned in multiple Tom Clancy books.
In my opinion the Oliver Hazards Perry’s are out there with the Type 23 for looks, lovely hull lines and some of the best looking vessels at speed the way both classes bow waves roll off gives the visual impression of an extra 10kts more.

SteveP
SteveP (@guest_667051)
1 year ago
Reply to  Longtime

I remember one of the characters starts off as a Captain on a Knox class frigate. He then goes on to command the Perry class frigate USS Reuben James. While in company with HMS Battleaxe, the British warship signals her “what on earth is a Reuben James” to which the Americans reply “at least we don’t name our warships after our mother in law”

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_667060)
1 year ago
Reply to  SteveP

Red Storm rising I’ve read, not others.

SteveP
SteveP (@guest_667066)
1 year ago

I should have said that the quote came from Red Storm Rising. It was a great book but I thought his fiction books went downhill after that. He did produce some terrific non-fiction books about the US military. They’re out of date now but were well worth a read. On his book about the US Navy he was very complimentary about the Royal Navy with whom he spent some time. He said that US warships were far better equipped than their RN equivalents but that US officers were very technocrat with a good understanding of how their ships worked whereas… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_667069)
1 year ago
Reply to  SteveP

I recognised that passage from the book.
I often re read it.

andy reevesandy262@gmail.com
andy [email protected] (@guest_667201)
1 year ago
Reply to  SteveP

Sounds good to me

andy reeves
andy reeves (@guest_667584)
1 year ago

but i cannot bear the shade of grey that the americans use on their ships

andy reevesandy262@gmail.com
andy [email protected] (@guest_667200)
1 year ago
Reply to  Longtime

Over 13 of them at the naval inactive ships facilit recent surveys of them for possible reactivation revealed that three of them cost over a billion dollars! To return to service

Tommo
Tommo (@guest_667062)
1 year ago

Yep Perry Class ,from the 80ts the Aussies purchased that Class as well if my foggy brain remembers

andy reevesandy262@gmail.com
andy [email protected] (@guest_667198)
1 year ago

Oliver hazard Perry frigates don’t sink easily

dan
dan (@guest_666944)
1 year ago

USN should have kept the Perry class ships and never built the LCS class of ships. The Perry was a tough little frigate proven in combat. Would have been even better with upgraded weapons and systems.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_666952)
1 year ago
Reply to  dan

Maybe built new Perry class, the current batch would be absolute mess if still in service and doing us navy tempo. Look at state of some of those Tico cruisers still in service for too long.

eclipse
eclipse (@guest_666953)
1 year ago
Reply to  dan

The ships are from the 70s, they can’t serve endlessly. But I agree that they should have gone for more conventional frigates and not gone for the Freedom or Independence classes. I hope the Constellation class will deliver what the USN very much needs.

Mastro
Mastro (@guest_667389)
1 year ago
Reply to  eclipse

Most were built in the ’80’s, really meant as convoy escorts. The whole Littoral mission got a bit too popular this century. The LCS are a complete disaster. Hopefully we let the Italians build the FREMM Constellation ships without too much interference.

SteveP
SteveP (@guest_667042)
1 year ago
Reply to  dan

The LCS is a total disaster. If I remember rightly it was a concept dreamed up under Defence Secretary Rumsfeld (who might be the worst politician in recent US history). He was obsessed with technology so programmes had to show a quantum leap in technology over the equipment that they replaced. Hence you got programmes like the LCS which is a technological solution to solve a problem that didn’t exist. For the money the USN could have had a large number of conventional frigates giving it a proper ASW vessel instead of relying on Arleigh Burke destroyers for that which… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_667090)
1 year ago
Reply to  dan

Great affordable frigates Dan, designed and built in the 70’s and 80’s as a relatively cheap force multiplier for the USN.

One of the best GP frigate designs, we can hope our T31 ends up being the OHP class of the 21st century.

Chris
Chris (@guest_666955)
1 year ago

So, uh, anyone planning a trip to Campbeltown to photograph her before she goes boom?

Jon
Jon (@guest_666969)
1 year ago

I wonder if they are selling tickets.

LongTime
LongTime (@guest_667057)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon

Sell a 100 bring your own boat ticket and few thousand need a boat tickets and stick them all on QE/POW.
Probably sell enough to build an extra T31

Last edited 1 year ago by LongTime
Jonathans
Jonathans (@guest_666989)
1 year ago

Should we really be firing off one of our few remaining in service harpoons, especially as we’ve not sorted a procurement for a replacement yet. I know the out of service date is 23-24 but Babcock were asked to give an option to keep them in service until 2027.

Longtime
Longtime (@guest_666994)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathans

Probably true but at the same time I reckon it’s reassuring to know the batch could still be effective

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_667026)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathans

Hi Jonathans,

My understanding is that they have to fire live rounds from time to time to maintain certification. Not sure if that requirement is for every ship so equipped or if one ship firing certifies the fleet? I think each ship has to do a live firing, but could be wrong, in which case from comments in this thread there would be 3x T23’s needing to fire a Harpoon missile once a year, I think. (Me memory ain’t what it used to be so perhaps someone else can confirm.)

Cheers CR

GlynH
GlynH (@guest_667004)
1 year ago

The OHP’s were built despite some peoples (in the USN) aversion to 2nd rate ships. But they ended up being not only cheap to build, but good all-rounders and rather hard to sink. Its an ugly class in many ways, but at same time a master class in simplicity. SM1’s, Harps, Mk46/50/54s (lets not get into a Mk54 debate again). It’s what the Type 31 needs be concept wise.

Trevor
Trevor (@guest_667065)
1 year ago
Reply to  GlynH

I always thought of them as the USN take on the utility escort, but more successful than the RN Type 14 (remember them?) I agree they turned out better than the detractors expected.

andy reevesandy262@gmail.com
andy [email protected] (@guest_667204)
1 year ago
Reply to  Trevor

The type 14 is a reminder that frigates don’t have to be as big as destroyers Exmouth was fitted with a gas turbine and it was considered a big success a modern ship built in a similar size with the latest tec I think be a big step forward. Let’s face it, the type and now the 26 are easily designated as destroyers. There is a dockyard myth about the painter of the pennant number of the brave accidentally painted a ‘D’ Instead of the correct ‘F’ and that he was never seen again!

Trevor
Trevor (@guest_667225)
1 year ago

Fair points, and a number of navies are going down that route eg the German Braunschweig class of corvettes which are essentially the same size and speed as the River B2 but with a greater emphasis on weaponry. Re designation I think some thought the County class destoyers were in effect Dido replacements as AA screen for a CG and should have been cruisers.

andy reevesandy262@gmail.com
andy [email protected] (@guest_667203)
1 year ago
Reply to  GlynH

The simplicity of the design also allowed them to be built quickly

Blackavar
Blackavar (@guest_667007)
1 year ago

I spent a week on the Boone back in the mid 2000s. Not the best looking ship I’ve been on, but I do remember getting a decent breakfast. Might have to drive down the coast to see her one last time.

Knight7572
Knight7572 (@guest_667018)
1 year ago

Think the RN could send QE or Wales and their carrier strike group for this exercise?

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_667029)
1 year ago
Reply to  Knight7572

Would be nice, but I expect the RAF will just fly the F35’s up from Marham. If Prince of Wales is in the area perhaps they might land on just to get some practice in…

Cheers CR

Peter tattersll
Peter tattersll (@guest_667037)
1 year ago

That could be Russia’s flag ship .

SteveP
SteveP (@guest_667038)
1 year ago

A frigate with all of the weapons removed; it’s good to see the US Navy copying the Type 31 concept 😂

Last edited 1 year ago by SteveP
eclipse
eclipse (@guest_667088)
1 year ago
Reply to  SteveP

I disagree. I think that if one has a limited budget FFBNW is entirely appropriate. Fitting missiles to a ship doesn’t take nearly as long as building the hull. If i had the choice, in the position of the RN, of 8 properly armed warships and 10 insufficiently-armed but similarly large warships or 11 properly armed warships I would take the former option any day. The 11 comes from the cost of three extra Type 26s, which would be equivalent to the combined cost of the entire Type 31 and 32 classes. If we enter a state of war, or… Read more »

SteveP
SteveP (@guest_667186)
1 year ago
Reply to  eclipse

We don’t have a limited budget. We just spend it on the wrong things;

£1bn on Nimrod AEW
£3.4bn on Nimrod MR4
£5bn on Ajax
£250m on a National Ship

Just a few examples off the top of my head

eclipse
eclipse (@guest_667190)
1 year ago
Reply to  SteveP

Everyone has a limited budget. That’s the definition of a budget. Firstly, only one of those has anything to do with the navy. That’s the National Flagship. As a note, I don’t believe this is at all a waste of money since 250m GBP is a very small amount for what will gain us a lot of diplomatic prestige and influence. The truth is, I’ve often worked with politicians, from different countries like the US, Britain, India and even Russia. People may say that the ship is nostalgic nonsense reminiscent of the days of empire. Perhaps. But the fact is… Read more »

SteveP
SteveP (@guest_667231)
1 year ago
Reply to  eclipse

It’s all money from defence budget that has been wasted.

A National Ship is not a priority when you have warships that aren’t properly equipped

Sceptical Richard
Sceptical Richard (@guest_667054)
1 year ago

Usually only way these ships are finally sunk is with a torpedo from a submarine. Bombs and missiles might render them useless but breaking their backs is what sends them to the bottom. We need more submarines, that’s what we need

SteveP
SteveP (@guest_667067)
1 year ago

Definitely. A priority for me would be to buy 3/4 SSK”s for ASW operations around the UK and put a MK 41 with the latest version of Tomahawk on the T31.

That would release our SSN fleet from home waters operations and from being hugely expensive cruise missile carriers and let them focus on the deep water ASW and ASuW misssions at which they excel.

eclipse
eclipse (@guest_667087)
1 year ago
Reply to  SteveP

Operating 3 submarines of a class is not very fiscally sound.

SteveP
SteveP (@guest_667187)
1 year ago
Reply to  eclipse

If they’re an existing design bought off the shelf then it’s perfectly reasonable. We operated 4 Upholder’s for a number of years before selling them as part of the ‘peace dividend’ and they were a bespoke design

andy reevesandy262@gmail.com
andy [email protected] (@guest_667206)
1 year ago
Reply to  SteveP

And the fact that they are still in service with Canada shows the idiocy of the class’ demise

Mastro
Mastro (@guest_667390)
1 year ago

Upholders in Canadian service is hardly a story of glory.

Sceptical Richard
Sceptical Richard (@guest_667149)
1 year ago
Reply to  SteveP

👍

andy reevesandy262@gmail.com
andy [email protected] (@guest_667207)
1 year ago
Reply to  SteveP

Too much common sense there can’t have that at the admiralty

Martin
Martin (@guest_667064)
1 year ago

I wonder what this new us targeting satellite is, done form of radar satellite tracking surface ships? Very Tom Clancy.

DanielMorgan
DanielMorgan (@guest_667109)
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin

The US has all kinds of ways to test the ability of their satellites. Why would they use an obsolete stationary ship to do so? I think the test of a new satellite is from someone who has read too many Tom Clancy novels.

eclipse
eclipse (@guest_667112)
1 year ago
Reply to  DanielMorgan

Why would they use it? I don’t know, but George said they’re doing so and usually he’s very reliable.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon (@guest_667102)
1 year ago

High time we celebrated the Russian navy’s long tradition, still fully upheld by the BSF. Always been crap, and not about to relinquish that record any time soon…….

eclipse
eclipse (@guest_667191)
1 year ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Indeed. If you read about those Chinese-Russian exercises in the Far East apparently the PF didn’t perform so well either.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon (@guest_667261)
1 year ago
Reply to  eclipse

No knowledge, ‘fraid. What’s the source, eclipse?

andy reevesandy262@gmail.com
andy [email protected] (@guest_667209)
1 year ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Especially when most of their fleet rotting faster than New ships can be built-. Rust pollution around the Russian bases must be off the scale.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon (@guest_667260)
1 year ago

Rust ain’t that much of a Hazard, though, Andy. Still, probably make more sense for Putin to donate them to the SINKEX – the Perrys’ are always getting in the neck. He’ll have to hurry, though, before the Ukrainians collar the market.

andy reevesandy262@gmail.com
andy [email protected] (@guest_667197)
1 year ago

After all the ordnance that went to the Ukraine, I hop that the low number of harpoons available isn’t the reason.

Simon
Simon (@guest_667319)
1 year ago

I woundnt have thought we handed over any Harpoons, as we were low on stock anyway. Denmark was one country who donated theres

Citizen
Citizen (@guest_667298)
1 year ago

They’re just going to let those thousands of tons of steel sink to the bottom of the sea?

Bob
Bob (@guest_667455)
1 year ago

I thought HMS Bristol was going to be used for the SINKEX?