HMS Trent, an Offshore Patrol Vessel, will be based in Gibraltar.

According to The Telegraph, the vessel has been based permanently in the territory.

“A Royal Navy warship will patrol from Gibraltar for the first time as part of a defence review designed to increase Britain’s influence across the globe.

The announcement will be set out before Parliament in Monday’s Command Paper, titled Defence in a Competitive Age, which is also expected to include plans to reduce the Army by 10,000 troops over the next decade.”

HMS Trent is a Batch 2 River class offshore patrol vessel, named after the River Trent.

“HMS Trent, an offshore patrol vessel, will operate from Gibraltar later this year, where she will be able to support Nato operations in the Mediterranean, as well as work with North African partners and support counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Guinea off the coast of West Africa.”

You can read more here.

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What I can’t understand , is why hasn’t this been the case for a number of years.


Err because this is a simple “warship” with small crew already set up on the basis of a part beign embarked and a part being ashore (unlike larger more complex such as T23), and they didnt have any of those spare to put at Gib until all the B2s were available.

James Fennell

Because our numbers of ships have been nominal – much of the fleet has been tied up alongside due to insufficient crew, lack of operating funds and delays and pushbacks with refits.

Supportive Bloke

Also because the Rivers are ideal for the sort of maratime security role in the near Med which is a low threat environment.


I’m not sure what you are advocating having been done for a number of years. HMS Trent was only commissioned last August. Before the Batch 2 River class, there were only sufficient OPVs from the Fisheries Protection Squadron to base one overseas for long periods, HMS Clyde in the Falklands. The smaller Archers, based in Gib and formerly in Cyprus, had a more restricted role. But if you mean forward basing in general, I think a lot of it had to do with politics and the whole East of Suez thing. For most of the last 50 years, it wasn’t… Read more »


50 years ago we had Type 12s/derivatives on River Batch 2 taskings.

They had a medium gun, bunch of pink bodies and a light helicopter.

I cant help but think they were better suited to the task, and if a task force ever hove into view, could join that as near 1st rate ships.

Are the River IIs placeholders for putting T31/32/3X on these “stations” in the future (and the B2s replacing old B1s at home), I hope so.

Supportive Bloke

T12 and/or River are not 1st rate ships.

This is where RN has won the argument for more large 1st rate hulls rather than up-arming OPV’s.

Up arming Rivers would be a repeat of the T21 fallacy. A small ship that does not have the physical mass to be battle damage resistant is then sent to war and does not come out of it very well.

Far better off focusing resources on up arming T31 – which is a proper 1st rate hull and T32 being launched with a heavy duty fitout.


Supportive Bloke,

I must disagree with your assessment of the Type 12’s. They were indeed 1st rate ships.

I refer you to Jane’s Fighting Ships 1969-1970. Pages 337 to 339. Both the Rothesays and Whitbys are classified as 1st rate and also “Anti-Submarine Quality Type”.


T12 absolutely was a 1st rate warship, that was it’s descriptor! As were Leanders! They were often deployed singly on stations. Where am I talking uparming it? That would be absolute nonsense for a River. I dont see T31 needs uparming either tbh, already has Sea Ceptor, variou guns and a good sensor fit plus helo and boats. People need to stop trying to turn everything into an AB. What I’m hoping is once we have a fleet of T31/32s, they’ll be forward deployed like this and the Rivers (whose main deficiency is a lack of a helo – restricting… Read more »

Glass Half Full

I’d say yes to this – “Are the River IIs placeholders for putting T31/32/3X on these “stations” in the future (and the B2s replacing old B1s at home)”

B1’s are already on borrowed time as they were supposed to be gone by now. When T1’s become available it makes sense to pull most of the B2’s back.

Daniele Mandelli

So Falklands, Caribbean, Gib, one in UK for training, and ?

Geoffrey Roach

…Bahrain, Mombasa ???




I think the other two are expected to be Bahrain and Singapore aren’t they? I don’t think they are sufficiently armed for Bahrain though. Self defense systems are completely inadequate to counter swarm uavs and a it ship missiles.


Why are they under armed? For the job they will be doing they are adequate. The RN MCMV force has a 30mm gun 50 cal and mini and gpmgs and no flight deck. Most TG53 vessels are FF/DD and have spent their time doing drug busts from Dhow’s smuggling from the Persian coast which is hardly a good use of an FF/DD’s time. I have been in the ME for my last 3 years in the mob and 6 years as a Civvy. In that time I have worked on RN, RAN, USN, USNS, RFA, BDF. RSNF and a number… Read more »

James Fennell

Singapore – will be replaced by a T31 in due course.

Kizzy p

Hardly a “warship”

Daniele Mandelli

Has a gun on it. Kills people. Does not need to be as heavily armed as an escort due to the roles the Rivers play. Although size wise these are bigger than many WW2 “warships”

Kizzy p

That has always been my personal gripe with the Rivers . For 2000 tons + you should have a far more capable vessel in terms of flexibility / warfighting. I get the notion of a large OPV for the north sea fisheries protection etc . But call it what it is. Batch 2 are i believe built to warfighting standards in terms of bulkheads / electronics / through deck magazine capability,fire management etc . But now you essentially do have a 2000 ton warship hull with with a peashooter on it. I think the Navy were just happy to have… Read more »


Warships come in all shapes and sizes depending on the tasks been assigned to them. If you are a smuggler or pirate in an open boat with a small fishing trawler as mother ‘ship’ a 2,500ton B2 with a 30mm gun is a bloody big warship..! Obviously, things get very nasty for the B2 if it ends up in a mismatch the other way round but hopefully that would only ever happen if we were in dire straits and something went very wrong e.g. HMS Rawalpindi against Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in 1939… Using armed merchant cruisers to patrol the GIUK… Read more »


Other than taking on fishing boats, just what precisely is this “warship” supposed to do?


It’s supposed to fly the flag, annoy the Spanish and intercept narcotics. It is sufficiently armed for that although I would welcome a surveillance drone system.

Andy P

All the roles that patrol vessels usually do mate, fishery protection, anti piracy/smuggling, humanitarian aid, SAR etc.

Basically the same as if it had a 3″ gun on the pointy end.


Precisely. None of these missions have anything to do with fighting a war, mate. So it’s hardly a “:warship”, now, is it?

Andy P

Splitting hairs here aren’t we ? Its an OPV manned by a naval crew, its armed with the same armament as a Hunt or Sandown class which have traditionally been classified as Minor War Vessels.

You can call it what you want, its still going to carry out roles for the navy that will free up higher value units for other tasks.


Whilst DS30M Mark 2 remotely operated 30mm cannon turret and Martlet missile mounting system has not been adopted for fleet wide deployment. Would it not be reasonable to equip HMS Trent with this option….Test firing videos would suggest this option attached to main armament would provide a significant upgrade to HMS Trent’s defensive and offensive capabilities.


I agree or perhaps the Bofors 40 or 57mm guns instead of the 30mm currently fitted.


I think there is a shoulder launched version of Martlet for occasional use..


The 30mm is Thim and Laser range finder directed by remote operators. With the 30mm Bushmaster thats 200 rounds a min of HEIT…enough to ruin anyone’s day and the shells go where you aim as well . So aim for the bridge, engine room, intakes,waterline etc and you will hit and damage the target enough to disable the vessel.

Nobody likes having Nobby Clarkes front room pouring into your front room!

Andy P

Nobody likes having Nobby Clarkes front room pouring into your front room!”

Wonder who’ll be the first to ask you what that means mate.

Supportive Bloke

I think that is what a lot of the airchair experts miss when comparing this to older types with bigger guns with ‘more range’; hitting the target required reasonable skill and a small amount of luck, hitting a specific part of the target required blind luck. Whereas with the modern 30mm etc the shots go exactly where you want them to go. The gun maybe a lot smaller but much more effective. This also goes for conversations about patrol boats with old AA guns lashed to the front of them that are say 3” – on paper better armed but… Read more »


Guns Jam, missiles fail to launch.. If fitted with 5 shot Martlet missile launcher shoot and scoot might help whilst unjamming DS30M Mark 2 could be usefull, + as a bolt on accessory to the mount would I assume make it a cheaper option than upgrading main gun. 5 Martlets fired at any surface combatant would not be considered a walk in the park.

Martyn Parker

I wouldn’t describe any of the River Class as warships but then a warship isn’t required in Gibraltar, I see this as a sensible move, no need for a heavy weapons layout, there are plenty of other NATO Navies in the Med to do the heavy work all that is required is a presence and that is exactly what a River Class does, no doubt plenty will be screaming for more weapons, but to do what exactly? The River Class are glorified fishery patrol vessels, if you are relying on a River Class in a shooting match you are already… Read more »


Exactly. Nothing more than a R2 is required in the Med, West Indies or FI.

Save the 31 and 32’s for forward deployment East of Suez when they arrive and leave the 26 and 45’s for escorting the big stuff and dealing with Russian submarines closer to home.


Its is my understanding that River class Opv2 was built to warship standards. unlike HMS Ocean which was built to civilian standards with a short life expectancy.(Fantastic service from this platform and I would expect it to last another 20 years in Brazilian service )This was one of the reasons that some what justified the Opv2 costs I would think we all know the politics involved by now. More ships could have been built quicker for the money with bigger guns huge hangers etc etc, we got what we got Up arming these vessels would make them creditable light warships.… Read more »


Welcome back West Africa Squadron 🙂

john melling

Or its later name “Flag Officer, West Africa”…think they used Freetown, Sierra Leone in WW2
Yep think West Africa Squadron sounds better 😉

James Fennell

Yep have had lunch in the Flag Officer’s old residence, owned by Coca Cola at that time..


Is it sufficiently armed for this ? Without a flight of Typhoons based on the rock, as in the Falklands ?

Daniele Mandelli

Typhoons on the Rock?! 🙂

john melling

Sounds like a drink haha

Daniele Mandelli

Indeed. The thought of fast jets on QRA in that tiny area I find hilarious.
I know there used to be FRADU Hunters I think but…

The Snowman

It’s not there to protect Gib. Just like the FIGS is not there to protect the Falklands. It’s there to wave the flag and generally patrol. It saves having to use a T23/T45 for low intensity operations (smuggling, refugees, piracy in a row boat, exercising with partner navies).




Any ” HMS ” radio call sign is designated as a Warship. So that goes for P2000, Magpie etc…all warships.

Something different

We shall call this Force H

David Flandry

Hah! Good one.

Nige Manley (ex RN)

What a great draft to get …….not much left in the way of wages though !


Not very well armed is it

david L

The Spaniards will be terrified !


I suspect they will be outraged!,,, Good!!!!