Royal Navy tracks two Russian submarines in North Sea

The vessels surfaced separately north west of Bergen, Norway.

22 July 2022

Two Russian submarines have been tracked by a Royal Navy warship in the North Sea as training continues for the Ukrainian military by the UK’s armed forces.

British submarine hunter HMS Portland shadowed the submarines, cruise missile submarine Severodvinsk and Akula-class attack submarine Vepr, after they surfaced separately in the North Sea, north west of Bergen, Norway.

A Navy spokesman said they were tracked as they made their underwater journey south along the Norwegian coast from the Arctic.

He said: “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.

British submarine hunter HMS Portland (top) tracking Akula-class attack submarine Vepr in the North Sea, north west of Bergen, Norway
British submarine hunter HMS Portland (top) tracking Akula-class attack submarine Vepr in the North Sea, north west of Bergen, Norway (Ministry of Defence Crown copyright/PA)

“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.”

Royal Navy sailors are currently training personnel from Ukraine’s navy in operating two Sandown-class minehunters which are set to be sold to Ukraine.

Ukraine’s deputy defence minister Volodymyr Havrylov met with UK armed forces minister James Heappey and parliamentarians in London before visiting soldiers and sailors training in Scotland.

The ministers spoke with trainees and the Royal Navy instructors, observing them practising key skills at sea, such as weapon drills and damage control, while learning to operate the machinery on the vessels.

Mr Heappey said: “The intensity with which the Ukrainian soldiers and sailors are training is something to behold.

“They work with the focus of troops who know they’ll be fighting in a war in just a few short weeks’ time.

“Delivering training that matches that intensity and focus is not straightforward.

“The Royal Navy and the British Army are working long hours and drawing on all their operational experience to make sure their new Ukrainian friends are sent into combat with the best chance of victory.”

The Sandown-class minehunters, which were introduced into the Royal Navy in the late 80s, specialise in finding and neutralising mines in deep waters.

The programme is part of training being provided by 1,000 UK service personnel at military sites around the country aimed at preparing volunteer recruits with the skills for frontline combat.

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