Royal Navy tracks movements of Russian submarines into the North Sea
British submarine hunter HMS Portland was on watch as cruise missile submarine Severodvinsk and Akula-class attack submarine Vepr made their underwater journey south along the Norwegian coast from the Arctic.
The Type 23 frigate shadowed the submarines as they surfaced separately in the North Sea, north west of Bergen, Norway, on July 16 and 19, before NATO and Baltic forces took over duties as they continued to St Petersburg for Russian Navy Day celebrations on July 31.
Portland and her specialist Merlin helicopter – both equipped with cutting-edge sonars, sensors and torpedoes for submarine-hunting operations – reported on the movements of the Russian Northern Fleet vessels.
One of the RAF’s new long-range maritime patrol aircraft, the P8 Poseidon, also worked closely with HMS Portland to hunt and track the submarines.
This operation comes soon after HMS Portland took part in NATO’s premiere submarine-hunting exercise. This large scale joint exercise proved to be the ideal prelude for this type of live operation.
HMS Portland’s Commanding Officer, Commander Tim Leeder, said: “Our success on operations marks the culmination of many months of specialist training and exercises. Critically, the cohesiveness of Royal Navy, RAF and our allies capabilities ensures that we are capable of conducting and sustaining these types of anti-submarine operations in the North Atlantic.
“It is testament to my sailors’ dedication and professionalism, alongside that of our allies, that we are able to conduct this strategically crucial role.”