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Royal Navy and RAF track Russian vessels in waters close to the UK

31 August 2023
Royal Navy warships and RAF patrol aircraft tracked a series of Russian vessels in the waters close to the UK in a concerted monitoring operation.

HMS Tyne, HMS Portland and P8 Poseidon aircraft from RAF Lossiemouth reported on the movements of the Russian Navy in the English Channel, North Sea and North Atlantic.

Plymouth-based HMS Portland and the Poseidons worked together to monitor Russian vessels, including corvettes Boikiy and Grad, cruiser Marshal Ustinov, the Udaloy-class destroyer Severomorsk and others.

With their collective array of powerful sensors for locating and tracking, the British submarine-hunting frigate and maritime patrol aircraft are a formidable duo for locating and monitoring operations, allowing for constant surveillance from the sea and air.

Having detected a ship or submarine, the aircraft can communicate the position, allowing a warship to intercept and track.

Royal Navy ships and aircraft routinely conduct training with the long-range RAF patrol aircraft, enabling a seamless transition to operations to protect the sea areas around the UK.

Lieutenant Sam Charleston, one of HMS Portland’s bridge watchkeeping officers, said: “It was rewarding to conduct operations protecting UK waters and interests. The team worked hard in rough weather and difficult conditions.

“This is my third time conducting this type of operation and I enjoyed seeing the wide-area search capability that the P-8 brings and working with the RAF aircrew.”

Commander Ed Moss-Ward, HMS Portland’s Commanding Officer added: “P8 aircraft operating with a Type 23 frigate with an embarked Merlin helicopter provides the UK with a world-leading anti-submarine warfare capability.”

Many of the Russian vessels were associated with the Russian Navy Day, which was held in St Petersburg on July 30.

Portsmouth-based Tyne shadowed three Russian ships in separate tasks, including Merkury, a Steregushchiy-class corvette and research ship Akademik Nikolaj Strakhov, taking over duties from NATO warships.

HMS Tyne’s Executive Officer, Lieutenant Ryan Grieg, said: “The operations Tyne has executed over the last few weeks are a reflection of the hard work and dedication delivered by her ship’s company all year round. 

“She has again demonstrated her alacrity and flexibility in proving herself as an efficient asset providing assurance and security in UK home waters.”

HMS Portland visited Belfast following their mission in the North Atlantic.

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